Review of Huntington, West Virginia

Star Rating - 5/17/2009
We're getting ready to retire in the next several months. Currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We'd like to move to a small (for us anyway...there are more than a million people just in our county)city with a college and some cultural (music, art) activities. One of our questions about Huntington involves ethnic diversity. My wife is of Asian (Chinese) heritage and wonders how she would generally be accepted there. Thanks in advance for any information you can share.
Vincanto | Pleasant Hill, CA
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3 Replies

As a social scientist and both resident of CA and WV with family in both areas, I can tell you that your question about diversity is important. Yes, there is some ethnic diversity but one needs to ask, how is it tolerated. There is still to quote, "a colored part of town." Yes, the university and medical school have helped some and generally attitudes are changing with the youth, however, generational ignorance and poverty have led to barriers for social improvement. People there are some of the nicest you will ever meet, hands down. That is unless you are "an intolerant liberal", have an alternative religion, are a "foreigner", speak a language other than English, or heaven forbid are LGBT (I have sat in church services in recent years where it was asserted that gay people are of the devil and are ruining our country). Of course this is becoming minority opinion but the newspaper once claimed that G.W. Bush had been sent by God to save the world. I have heard many hurtful aspersions cast about Asians and seemingly based on some ideas people got from a 1940's cartoon. I do not wish to frighten, like I stated, a university town is generally good with diversity and the youth are changing things. I have heard it said that one plus (if you can call it that) to the bigotry there vs. CA is that there it is pretty out in the open and one knows where they stand. Prejudice tends to be more hidden in our so very PC SF bay area. There, if you aren't the right ethnicity some bars, for example, will simply lock you out. As an adult this wouldn't scare me and I would chance it. If I were a parent, I would think diligently about the decision and how my child might be perceived. Huntington people are absolutely beautiful for the most part but you may face some challenges with some people if you aren't white, fundamentalist Christian, conservative politically, and straight. Not unlike many places outside the Bay Area. Best wishes on a happy transition! I hope I am just being pessimistic but I felt obligated to share.
Abhd | Los Gatos, CA | Report Abuse

I would stay away from this place because there are plenty of other small cities/towns that offer more. I lived here for 5 years with my wife and our daughter, just born when we arrived. I grew up in a small town just south of San Jose, CA and Huntington is not a place you would want to retire, believe me. I try and explain the way Huntington is to my family and friends and they aren't able to understand because they have never experienced life like this. They are all from the west and there are very few places like this, but in the Appalachians this is more common than people admit. The only word that seems to come to mind when I'm describing Huntington is "apathy". Most people are on welfare, most people don't care about what they eat, what they do, or what there children are doing. They only care about there satellite TV and doing nothing. My wife and I knew this older couple that had a daughter that had multiple children taken by CPS. They approached us to see if we would want to try and adopt this baby boy since they already adopted another one previously. Apparently the father's goal was to have 6-7 children so he could pull in enough welfare money so he wouldn't need to work and do nothing all day long. I had only heard of these stories before in the news, but in WV these situations are at your front door. A few good things about Huntington are that the "normal" people are very nice and accepting. We left some very close friends whom we consider next to family. It is pretty there and love the spring and fall. The winters are usually mild.
Joel | Tucson, AZ | Report Abuse

You and your wife would fit in just fine here. Thanks, in large part, to Marshall University and the hospitals in the area, there is diversity here. Is it as much as you are used to in San Fran, probably not but I don't think you would feel out of place either. Hope this helps.
Tim | Barboursville, WV | Report Abuse
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