Regions Central Virginia

Virginia’s population growth slows but beats the national average

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Virginia’s population grew by less than 1 percent last year, the slowest pace since before the Great Recession.

Nonetheless, the Old Dominion ranked 14th in growth rate compared with other states and still grew faster than the national average, according to estimates from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Virginia added 74,531 people last year to increase its total population to nearly 8.3 million.

Large population gains were concentrated in urban localities particularly in Northern Virginia, the center said.

Fredericksburg has been Virginia’s the fastest-growing locality since 2010, increasing by more than 15 percent.

Most urban localities in Virginia also experienced above-average growth, representing a change from the previous decade.

Between 2000 and 2010, urban localities grew much more slowly than suburban localities in Virginia. In the past four years, however, many urban areas are among Virginia’s fastest-growing localities, with Arlington, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Radford and Richmond among the cities growing at a rate faster than the state since 2010.

Most localities losing were outside of the “urban crescent,” stretching from Northern Virginia through Richmond to  Hampton Roads.

In Southwest Virginia, all seven coal-producing counties declined in population in 2013, the center said.

The Cooper Center’s population estimates are based on changes since 2010 in housing stock, school enrollment, births, deaths and drivers’ license issuances.

They are used by state and local government agencies in revenue sharing, funding allocations, planning and budgeting.


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