|• Cooper Center • Demographics • Estimates • 2005 Population Estimates for Virginia Cities & Counties|
NORTHERN VIRGINIA GROWTH LEADS STATE
Northern Virginia continues to lead Virginia’s growth into the mid-decade, according to new population estimates produced by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Since the 2000 census, the state’s population has increased by nearly 7 percent (488,500 people), reaching more than 7.5 million as of July 1, 2005. Northern Virginia, by comparison, has grown twice as rapidly. Sixty percent of the state’s total growth occurred in Northern Virginia.
Virginia remains the 12th largest state in the country, though it gained more people than all except six other states (California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina).
Ten localities in Virginia grew by more than 10,000 in the last five years. Loudoun County heads the list with a phenomenal population increase of 82,700—up 49%, followed by Prince William County (an increase of 74,500), and Fairfax County, the state's largest jurisdiction, with 52,400 new residents. Nearby Stafford and Spotsylvania counties each gained close to 25,000, and two suburban counties around Richmond City—Chesterfield and Henrico—gained 26,600 and 21,000 respectively. In the Hampton Roads area, Chesapeake City gained 14,200; Suffolk City 13,400, and Virginia Beach, the state's largest city, increased by 10,300.
“Population growth occurs in two ways,” noted Dr. Michael Spar, the Cooper Center researcher who prepared the estimates, “by natural increase (births minus deaths) and by net migration (in migration minus out migration).” Between 2000 and 2005, Virginia registered 228,600 more births than deaths, and 259,900 more people moved here than moved away. “The growth pattern, however, varied considerably across regions and localities,” added Dr. Spar. “In fast-growing Loudoun County, for example, natural increase of 18,500 was swamped by the tremendous in-flux of new residents, producing a net migration of 64,200.”
Population change in the state’s 11 metropolitan areas also varied widely. While Northern Virginia grew by 13.7 percent and Winchester by nearly as much—12.7 percent, Danville declined by 1.8 percent, experiencing more deaths than births and net out-migration. Among the remaining eight metro areas, three —Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and Richmond grew at about the same pace as the state as a whole. The other five grew much more slowly, with growth rates ranging from 1.4 to 3.7 percent. While the state’s smaller communities and rural areas increased by more than 24,000, they accounted for only 11.5 percent of the total population in 2005, compared to 11.9 percent in 2000.
The Weldon Cooper Center's estimates serve as the official population figures for the Commonwealth of Virginia and are used by state and local government agencies to allocate funds, assign personnel, authorize staffing levels, calculate revenue sharing formulas, and in planning and budgeting.
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