County Tops 1 Million
Some Virginia Counties Losing Population While Growth Spreads Elsewhere
January 30, 2003--
The total number of Virginia residents is growing steadily
in the first decade of the 21st century, and for the first time
in the state's history, the population of a single locality -- Fairfax
County -- is estimated to be over 1 million.
a substantial number of rural counties, along with smaller cities,
are losing residents, according to new annual estimates from the
University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.
center's provisional 2002 estimate shows Fairfax County at 1,006,300,
more than twice the 428,400 population of the state's second-largest
locality, the city of Virginia Beach.
of the state's new growth is spreading from densely populated Northern
Virginia west along the Interstate 66 corridor and south along both
U.S. 29 and Interstate 95. Growth is also occurring in the Interstate
64 corridor between the Charlottesville metro area and Richmond
suburbs, said Julia H. Martin, the center's director of demographic
regions with substantial numbers of localities losing population
in the new decade include Southside, Southwest Virginia, the western
Shenandoah Valley and the Northern Neck in the east.
center's official state estimates for 2002 show Northern Virginia's
Loudoun County, growing at 21.3 percent between 2000 and 2002, as
the state's fastest-growing locality. In 2001, Loudoun was the second
fastest-growing county in the nation, according to the Bureau of
population growth overall remains healthy, but it is more concentrated
than ever," Martin said. "Many more areas are losing population
than in the 1990s, probably as the sluggish economy prompts people
to leave the state’s most rural areas in search of jobs. But
at the same time, growth along several of the major urban corridors
is continuing. "
highlights of the new population estimates include:
significant number of Southside, Southwest and western Shenandoah
Valley counties are losing population.
Growth is spreading along the I-66 corridor as far west as Clark
and Shenandoah counties in the Shenandoah Valley.
As might be expected, Northern Virginia grew the fastest of all
Virginia's eight metropolitan statistical areas. And for the first
time since the mid-90s, two metro areas -- Danville and the Virginia
portion of the Bristol area --lost population.
The Charlottesville metro area, including Fluvanna, Greene and
Albemarle counties and Charlottesville, is the second fastest
growing metro area in the state.
The state's estimated 2002 population is 7.29 million, up about
3 percent from the official 2000 census figure of 7.08 million.
So far, Virginia's average annual growth rate is 1.3 percent for
U.Va. center's annual estimates use an equation based on regression
analysis of population statistics. School enrollment, births, licensed
drivers, housing stock and state tax return exemptions are used
full report of 2002 population estimates and growth rates for all
Virginia localities and regions is on the Weldon Cooper Demographics
Web site at http://www.ccps.virginia.edu/Demographics/. The site
includes maps and other graphs.
Spar was co-researcher in preparing the estimates.
Bob Brickhouse, (434) 924-6856