Qian Cai, Director of Weldon Cooper Center's Demographic & Workforce Group, highlights early results from the 2010 census. Virginia experienced another decade of steady growth, reaching over 8 million people. The commonwealth’s growth rate (13 percent) outpaced the nation (9.7 percent) and was only slightly lower than the 14.4 percent growth rate of the prior decade. Virginia is the only state in which natural increase (more births than deaths) and net in-migration (in-migration less out-migration) contributed equal shares to population growth. Virginia remains a highly attractive state for people from other parts of the nation and the world to come to work and live, ranking 7th nationwide in the number of net in-migrants.
The state’s population continues to concentrate in three large metropolitan areas--Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads. When combined, the three are home to 70 percent of the state’s population and accounted for 82 percent of the Virginia’s total population growth. Northern Virginia alone composed more than half of the state’s growth.
In addition to total population counts, the Census Bureau released data on race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin). Virginia, like the nation as a whole, is experiencing increasing racial diversity with the rapid growth of Hispanic and Asian populations. Statewide, the most notable changes were: (1) Hispanics, who can be of any race, were the fastest-growing minority group in Virginia; (2) the Asian population grew considerably; and, (3) the proportion of the white population continued to decline.