Apr 17, 2023 - News

Mapped: Where Virginia is growing

Change in Virginia population, 2020 to 2022
Data: U.S. Census; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Virginia's population barely changed during the pandemic, growing by just 0.55% between 2020-2022, per new U.S. Census Bureau data.

The big picture: The past few years have been especially turbulent for population trends, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting birth and death rates, interstate and international migration and more.

Yes, but: The parts of Virginia that are growing the most are concentrated in the central part of the state.

  • New Kent, Louisa, Goochland, Orange and Spotsylvania are the top five fastest-growing counties in the state.
  • And every locality in the Richmond area except Henrico saw population growth.

Zoom out: Idaho, Montana and Florida saw the highest population growth among U.S. states between 2020-2022, while New York, Illinois and Louisiana suffered the most shrinkage.

Zoom in: Some cities have been hit particularly hard by population loss.

  • San Francisco, for example, lost a staggering 7.1% of its residents — a trend that was likely at least partially fueled by tech workers newly unshackled from their offices in the remote work era, combined with high housing costs in the area.
  • Manhattan, however, grew a bit, as Axios' Emily Peck reports, complicating the sweeping "big cities are dying" narrative of the late pandemic era.

The intrigue: Some of the fastest-growing areas — we're looking at you, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico — are also some of the most vulnerable to the ongoing effects of climate change, like drought and a dwindling water supply.

The bottom line: It'll take a few more years for the effects of the pandemic to fully shake out, but there's never been a more fascinating time to look at data like this.


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