State's Population Increasingly Diverse and Growing Unevenly Across Communities, U.Va.'s Cai Reports in Latest Va. News Letter

June 30, 2011 — Over the past decade, Virginia's population grew increasingly diverse and unevenly across regions, according to the latest issue of The Virginia News Letter, published by the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

The article, "A Decade of Change in Virginia's Population," written by Qian Cai, director of the Cooper Center's Demographics & Workforce Group, presents analysis of 2010 U.S. Census data and includes these findings:

·     Northern Virginia alone supplied more than half of the state's growth. Its population size dominates statewide trends and statistics.

·     Thirty localities experienced population losses during the last 10 years. Deaths outnumbered births in 55, mostly rural, localities; and net out-migration (more people leaving an area than moving into it) occurred in 30 localities, including major cities in Hampton Roads.

·     While the growth of the black population was enough to maintain its share in the population, the growth of the white population lagged far behind Hispanics, Asians and multi-racial groups.

·     One in every three new Virginians in the past decade was Hispanic.

"Virginia's population will continue to grow as a whole, but regional differences are likely to further polarize public debate," Cai said. Growth in major metro areas is likely to have spillover effects, stimulating growth in surrounding counties. On the other hand, many rural communities with significant aging and out-migration are likely to experience further losses in the coming decades.

Cai also reports that the population under 18 years of age is more diverse than the overall population, due to minority groups' concentration of prime working and reproductive ages, higher fertility rates and increasing interracial marriages.

"Virginia's future population and workforce will be increasingly diverse, due to the birth rate differentials and immigration," Cai said, "different cultural, linguistic and socio-economic characteristics will enrich our society and strengthen our workforce quality –increasing Virginia's edge in global competitiveness."

The article is available on the Weldon Cooper Center's website.

About The Virginia News Letter

Launched in 1924, The Virginia News Letter is a publication devoted to Virginia public policy issues. Its authors are drawn from the University of Virginia, other public and private higher education institutions in Virginia and non-academic experts in the state. Each issue features an article by a different author.

The Virginia News Letter is issued six to eight times per year. John L. Knapp, senior economist at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is the current editor, and Robert Brickhouse is a consulting editor.


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