Jul 8, 2022 - News

How Virginia changed during the pandemic

Change in population estimate in Virginia, by county
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Note: Labelled counties have the largest change for those with population over 10k; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Turns out more people did move here during the pandemic, just not necessarily to the city of Richmond, new census data shows.

Driving the news: New U.S. Census Bureau population estimates were released last week, providing detailed information on a county-by-county level.

  • Virginia gained about 10,000 new residents between July 2020 and July 2021.
  • And population shifted in nearly every corner of the state as work-from-home, housing shortages and the global pandemic changed the way we live.

What’s happening: Nearly all of Southwest Virginia lost population, while Central Virginia, particularly the rural counties, saw some of the state’s largest population increases:

  • Powhatan’s population grew by 2.3%.
  • Goochland’s grew by 2.7%.
  • And New Kent grew by a whopping 3.5% — the largest population increase in the state (by percentage — it literally added only like 800 people).

Meanwhile: Richmond’s population remained relatively flat. Henrico lost around 700 people (I’d check New Kent for them), and Chesterfield just keeps growing, adding around 5,000 new residents in that 12-month period.

Change in Virginia population by race/ethnicity
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Skye Witley/Axios

Of note: Virginia also got more diverse during the pandemic. Nearly every category of race and ethnicity added population between 2020 and 2021, except white people, who declined by 0.5%.

Yes, but: The state’s population is 69% white.


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