The research shows most Virginians remain clustered in the state’s big metro areas.
“The prominent rural-urban divide is expected to continue in this decade, with over 70% of Virginians being in the three largest metropolitan areas and just 11% of the populace living in rural communities,” Sen said. The rest of the state’s population is spread out among smaller cities and towns.
The projections predict Northern Virginia will be home to well over a third of the state’s residents with a share of 37% of the population, or about 3.4 million people. The next largest region will be the Richmond area at 18%, or 1.64 million people, and Hampton Roads at 17% or 1.59 million people.
Virginia’s population is not just getting bigger and more metropolitan, it’s also getting older. The statewide share of the older adult population – aged 65 and above – is expected to grow from 12% in 2010 to 19% in 2030 and beyond.
Not only will one of every five Virginians be older than 65 by 2030, but several rural localities including Lancaster, Highland, Northumberland, Middlesex, Mathews, Northampton and Charles City counties will have more than a third of their populations in that in that age group.
According to the projections, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties are expected to be the top three communities in population by 2030. Loudoun, New Kent and Stafford counties are expected to be the quickest growing with Loudon potentially increasing its population by 24% between 2020 and 2030, the figures show.