Clay is a town in and the county seat of Clay County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 491 at the 2010 census. It is the only incorporated town in Clay County.
The city of Charleston, West Virginia, the state capitol, is about 40 miles (64 km) away from Clay to the Southwest. Clay is centrally located within Clay County at 38°27′46″N 81°4′48″W / 38.46278°N 81.08000°W / 38.46278; -81.08000 (38.462855, -81.080024), along the Elk River and West Virginia Route 16 at an elevation of 708 feet (216 m). West Virginia Route 4 overlaps with Route 16 in the North of Clay. There is not much bottom land in Clay, as the river cuts a deep gorge through the city, limiting growth.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.62 square miles (1.61 km), of which 0.56 square miles (1.45 km) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 491 people, 218 households, and 134 families residing in the town. The population density was 876.8 inhabitants per square mile (338.5/km). There were 275 housing units at an average density of 491.1 per square mile (189.6/km). The racial makeup of the town was 97.8% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.4% of the population.
There were 218 households of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 17.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.5% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.80.
The median age in the town was 38.8 years. 21.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.8% were from 25 to 44; 25.8% were from 45 to 64; and 16.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 52.7% male and 47.3% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 593 people, 261 households, and 153 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,034.8 inhabitants per square mile (401.7/km²). There were 316 housing units at an average density of 551.4 per square mile (214.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.82% White, 0.17% Native American, and 1.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.17% of the population.
There were 261 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% were non-families. 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $14,712, and the median income for a family was $15,000. Males had a median income of $25,893 versus $14,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,415. About 47.3% of families and 39.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.4% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.