Virginia Metropolitan Areas Dispersing

Population data from the 2010 Census has been made available for Richmond and Virginia Beach- Norfolk. In both cases, the bulk of the population growth is in the suburbs.

Virginia Beach-Norfolk: The Virginia Beach-Norfolk metropolitan area grew from 1,576,000 in 2000 to 1,672,000 in 2010, a gain of 6.0 percent, which is a decline from 8.8 percent in the 1990s. The municipal core municipality of Norfolk gained from 234,000 to 243,000, an increase of 3.6 percent.

Suburban growth was 6.5 percent and the suburbs accounted for 91 percent of the population growth. The suburbs include Virginia Beach, which is largely a post-World War II suburban municipality. The metropolitan area is principally named for Virginia Beach because it is the largest municipality.

Richmond: The Richmond metropolitan area grew from 1,097,000 in 2000 to 1,258,000 in 2010, a gain of 14.7 percent. The historical core municipality of Richmond grew from 198,000 to 204,000, for an increase of 3.2 percent. Richmond remains below its population peak of 249,000, reached in 1970. In both the 2010 and 1970 censuses, Richmond’s land area was 60 square miles. In 1950, the population (237,000) was higher than in 2010, despite a land area of only 37 square miles.

The suburbs added 17.2 percent to their population and accounted for 96 percent of the metropolitan area growth.

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