Tip Sheet: U.Va. Demographers Can Provide Context for 2010 Virginia Census Counts

February 4, 2011 — Today, the United States Census Bureau released Virginia's 2010 Census population counts at the local level, as well as data on race, and on those of Hispanic origin. The highlights include:

Overall population trends in Virginia from 2000 to 2010

Virginia's population now totals 8 million, and grew by more than 900,000 between 2000 and 2010; 82 percent of this growth occurred in the commonwealth’s three major metropolitan statistical areas: Northern Virginia (55 percent), metropolitan Richmond (17 percent) and Hampton Roads (10 percent).

70 percent of Virginia's population lives in these three areas: one-third in Northern Virginia, 16 percent in the Richmond metropolitan area and 21 percent in Hampton Roads.

Northern Virginia continues to lead in population size and growth. Fairfax County remains the largest locality in the state, growing by more than 85,000. Growth in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties accounts for 40 percent of Virginia's total growth.

In addition, Loudoun County topped the list of fastest-growing Virginia counties, adding 84 percent in 10 years. Other fast-growing counties include Prince William, King George, James City and Stafford.

•  While most localities saw their population increase during the decade, 30 localities experienced population loss. Most of these are rural communities in Southside, Southwest, the Shenandoah Valley, the Northern Neck and the Eastern Shore. Accomack and Buchanan counties and Danville and Martinsville cities each lost more than 10 percent. In Hampton Roads, both Portsmouth and Hampton lost population.

Race and ethnicity in Virginia in 2010

The largest racial groups in Virginia are: white (69 percent) and African-American (19 percent). Other groups include Asian (5.5 percent) and "some other race, or two or more races" (6 percent) – with less than 1 percent being American Indian, Alaskan, Hawaiian or other Pacific island natives.

Hispanics, who can be of any race, account for nearly 8 percent of the total population, up from less than 5 percent in 2000. 

Racial/ethnic minorities account for one-third of Virginia's population.

Among all minority groups, Hispanics had the largest growth (more than 300,000) and growth rate (92 percent) in the last decade.

Sixty-two percent of Virginia's Hispanic population lives in Northern Virginia. Manassas Park City ranks the highest in the percentage of population that is Hispanic (33 percent) followed by Manassas City and Prince William County. Harrisonburg City and Galax City are the only two localities not in Northern Virginia that make the list of the 10 localities with the largest percentage of Hispanic residents.

While the African-American population is concentrated in the southern part of the state, the Asian population predominantly resides in D.C. suburbs, as well as in Virginia Beach; college towns Charlottesville, Williamsburg and Harrisonburg; and Henrico, Montgomery, York and Albemarle counties.

This release marks the first time that decennial census data does not include details on a number of topics, such as education, income, poverty, citizenship and commuting. That information is now provided annually through the American Community Survey, also administered by the Census Bureau.

For information about the census and the American Community Survey, visit the Cooper Center website or call 434-982-5581.

The website also includes a map of population change from 2000 to 2010, with locality-specific data shown in tables: 


Table 1: Top Ten Fastest Growing Localities in Virginia


Percent Growth, 2000 to 2010

Loudoun County


Prince William County


King George County


Stafford County


James City County


Manassas Park city


New Kent County


Culpeper County


Spotsylvania County


Suffolk city


Table 2: Top Ten Largest Localities in Virginia


Population on April 1, 2010

Fairfax County


Virginia Beach city


Prince William County


Chesterfield County


Loudoun County


Henrico County


Norfolk city


Chesapeake city


Arlington County


Richmond city


Table 3: Top Ten Virginia Localities In Percent of Population Decline


Percent Loss, 2000 to 2010

Accomack County


Danville city


Buchanan County


Martinsville city


Highland County


Grayson County


Henry County


Bath County


Hampton city


Alleghany County


REPORTERS: For questions or comments, contact Cooper Center demographer Qian Cai (pronounced "Chien Tsai") at 434-982-5581 or e-mail qian.cai@virginia.edu.

Media Contact

Rebecca P. Arrington

Assistant Director of Media Relations Office of University Communications