Population Projections Show Future of Central Virginia

By: Val Thompson Email
By: Val Thompson Email

Racial Population Change By 2040
In Virginia

  • White: +16%
  • Black: +33%
  • Asian: +92%
  • Other: +117%


Population Change By 2040

  • Nelson - 0.3%
  • Charlottesville + 11.7%
  • Greene + 28.5%
  • Louisa + 31.0%
  • Fluvanna + 34.4%
  • Albemarle + 56.4%

Source: Weldon Cooper Center



July 24, 2013

Virginia's population is going to look quite different in three decades, according to the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

The center has released demographic projections for all 50 states, looking at population estimates up to 2040.

The numbers show that minority groups will continue to rise nationwide. And that trend will show itself in Virginia.

"Interracial marriage, interracial births, that would all contribute to the growth of non-traditional white and black," said Qian Cai, director of the Cooper Center's Demographics and Workforce Group.

The Asian population is expected to rise more than 90 percent between now and 2040 in Virginia, according to the report. And the population of those who identify themselves as "other," which includes Hispanics and interracial people, is projected to increase by 117 percent in that time frame.

"That's going to be a challenge for school districts," said Rebecca Tippett, another researcher. "Do they need to have staff that can help communicate to a population that may or may not speak English very well?"

Virginia is expected to become the tenth most populated state by 2040, compared to its current 12 ranking.

"Virginia has a really vibrant economy," Tippett said. "Plus the proximity to D.C., we have a lot of government jobs."

However, that growth will not be even in Central Virginia, according to the center's estimates.

Charlottesville's population is projected to rise just 11 percent between 2010 and 2040. That is much slower than most surrounding counties.

"We have a finite amount of space where buildings can happen," said Charlottesville spokeswoman Miriam Dickler. "So, like all cities, as we get denser we need to look at ways to bring more people in."

During the same time period, Albemarle County is projected to grow by 56 percent, the highest in the area, thanks, in part to the development along Route 29 North, according to researchers.

"That gap between Charlottesville and D.C. is going to be filled in with population," Tippett said.

That's not great news for Joyce Smith, a lifelong Albemarle resident.

"They're just taking up all the space," Smith said. "They're building and I don't know where the people are coming from, or where they're going to go, but they're building a lot of things."

The new Stonefield Commons apartment complex is in Smith's backyard.

"There was nothing back there when I first moved here, but just those pine trees, and you couldn't see anything," Smith said. "Now I'm sitting out in the back yard, and I'm looking at 29."

A recent survey of Albemarle residents said 53 percent say the county is growing too fast.

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