Northern Virginia Population Growth

Population Growth

Northern Virginia is on the frontlines of a demographic transformation shaping the United States. The first round of 2010 census data provides a glimpse of the extraordinary population growth in Northern Virginia over the last decade.

From 2000 to 2010

Key findings include:

  • Population increase of 415,230 surpassing a previous decennial record of 360,000 added during the 1980’s

  • Average gain of almost 42,000 per year

  • Growth rate of 23 percent compared to 9.4% nationally.

  • The population growth last decade was equivalent to adding a number that exceeds the 2010 population count for Prince William County

  • Nationally, the population growth figure exceeds the population increase recorded in 35 of the 50 U.S. states

  • Two-thirds of the population growth of the Washington metropolitan region settled on the Virginia side of the Potomac River; two-thirds of population growth of Northern Virginia is located along the outer-ring suburbs of Prince William and Loudoun Counties and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park

  • This was the first time in the history of Northern Virginia that the preponderance of new population growth moved to the outer rim

Mid-decade 2010 to 2015

At mid-decade, five years out from the last census, Northern Virginia has added more than two hundred thousand people, an increase, once again, that is greater than that found in 35 states over the five-year peri­od. What is different this decade, however, is where in the metropolitan region the growth is locating.


100,000 of the more than 430,000 people added to the population of the Washington metro area during the first half of this decade, approximately one of every four persons, has settled in the inner-core localities of Washington DC, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. These inner-core jurisdictions accounted for only 8 percent of MSA population growth from 2000 to 2010, a net population gain of 65,800 over the ten year period.


Intensification of developmental pressures in the inner-core represent a significant alteration of long-standing metropolitan settlement patterns, a response to demographic, urbanization, transportation and other market pressures.

Minority Majority Transition

The second big story of the 2010 Census is an accelerated transition to a day when there will be no racial and ethnic majority in the region.

  • Results from the 2010 Census reveal:

    • 52 percent of the region’s 17 and under population meet the census designation of a minority population; the figure for the population as a whole is 45 percent

    • An estimated 90 percent of the net population increase in Northern Virginia this decade came from increases in minorities; they account for 86 percent of the increase from 1990-2010

    • It is immigration, combined with higher fertility rates among minorities, that has been driving many of the major demographic trends in the region, including:

      • Population and labor force growth

      • Rising numbers of births

      • School enrollment increases

      • Explosive increases in the number of Hispanics and Asians

      • Transition to a day when there will no longer be a racial or ethnic majority in Northern Virginia

Minority Population Growth
Population Growth