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What is considered a rural area?

Until relatively recently in history, it was easy to determine whether a place was urban or rural. Walking was the main way to get around, so a strong incentive existed for urban areas to remain compact. But with transportation improvements, particularly highway construction since 1945, the boundaries between urban and rural areas have grown increasingly […]

Is population decline bad?

Soon after Mike Duggan was elected Mayor of Detroit in 2013, a city that has lost over half its population since 1950, he stated that: “the single standard a mayor should be defined on is whether the population of the city is going up or going down.” Since Duggan’s election, Detroit’s unemployment rate has been […]

2017 estimates show growth slowing, with most concentrated in Northern Virginia

For decades, Virginia’s population has grown steadily, adding around 900,000 residents each decade. After accounting for slowing growth due to an aging population, Virginia’s population should have increased by around 590,000 residents by this point in the decade; however, the Weldon Cooper Center’s 2017 population estimates show that Virginia’s population has only grown by 469,000 […]

What is the biggest demographic trend in Virginia?

Every year the Demographics Research Group is asked to give presentations on Virginia’s demographic trends, and this year, as is true every year, the demographic trends we explored depended on our audience’s area of interest  —school enrollment change for the Board of Education, population growth trends for the House Appropriations Committee, or population projections for […]

Youth labor force participation and workplace readiness in Virginia

Recently, the Cooper Center’s Demographics Research Group (on behalf of Virginia’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education) collected feedback about the workplace readiness skills of entry-level workers from nearly 400 Virginia employers and workforce professionals. One of the comments most frequently made by the survey respondents was that young, entry-level workers need more hands-on/real-life […]

Out-migration from Virginia continues for a fourth consecutive year

Late last week the IRS released their annual migration flows data, which showed that more people are moving out of Virginia than into it for the fourth year in a row. Virginia’s recent shift into out-migration is notable because prior to 2013, the IRS had never recorded out-migration for Virginia since it first began publishing […]

U.S. House districts are colossal. What’s the right size?

The recent wave of populism and anti-establishment voting behavior in the United States made me want to take a closer look at how the structure of the U.S. political representation system might be contributing to the development of these sentiments. In what ways has this system fallen short, for example, in responding effectively to U.S. […]

Counting unauthorized immigrants: Easier said than done

“How many unauthorized immigrants are there in Virginia?” This is a question we get asked quite often, but there is really no good data or any official statistic on it. Migration numbers are difficult to estimate and counting the number of unauthorized or undocumented migrants can be especially challenging given the limited availability of records. Neither censuses nor surveys conducted […]

Population growth and age distribution in Virginia

While the population of Virginia as a whole is projected to continue growing steadily over the next two decades (albeit at a slowing pace), the growth patterns of the 95 counties and 38 independent cities that make up Virginia vary tremendously, ranging from high growth to continuing decline. What can the age distribution of a […]

Taking a look at fertility trends

“All models are wrong, but some are useful” – George BoxTrying to predict the future is a risky business because it is inherently uncertain, but we need to do so in order to plan.The Cooper Center recently released Virginia population projections for 2020-2040. The projections were developed by extrapolating historical population trends. As part of […]