According to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2018 and 2019, Virginia’s overall population grew by more than 34,000, or a 0.4% annual increase. But some places across the Commonwealth grew at a much faster rate.
The county with the fastest population growth (measured in percentages) was New Kent County. Located in Central Virginia between two growing metropolitan areas, the population of New Kent County grew by 3.5% between 2018 and 2019, or by an estimated 774 people. The vast majority of growth in New Kent County was due to net domestic migration—and estimated 702 out of 774 new people added to New Kent County’s population moved from somewhere else in Virginia or from other states.
The populations of Goochland County and Louisa County, both northwest of the City of Richmond, also increased at a much faster rate than the state, with population growth in both communities being driven almost entirely by domestic migration.
The City of Lexington, ranked 4th in terms of population change, saw a greater share of its growth between 2018 and 2019 as a result of natural increase—that is, births minus deaths.
In Northern Virginia, Stafford, Loudoun, and Spotsylvania counties had the 5th, 6th, and 7th fastest population growth in percentage terms between 2018 and 2019. While Stafford and Spotsylvania counties’ growth has been driven primarily by domestic migration, a relatively large share of the population growth in Loudoun County was from international migration. Loudoun County also experienced a population bump as a result of natural increase.
Culpeper and Powhatan and the City of Staunton rounded out the top 10, with population gains of between 1.5 and 1.6% between 2018 and 2019.
Top 10 Fastest Growing Counties in Virginia, 2018-2019
|Rank||County or Independent City||Population Growth||Percent Increase|
|1||New Kent County||774||3.5%|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 County Metro Population Estimates
About 60 counties and independent cities saw their populations decline between 2018 and 2019. The biggest decline in percentage terms was in Bath County (-2.5%, or -106 people). The biggest population drop in numeric terms was in Fairfax County, where the population declined by 931 people (0.1%) between 2018 and 2019.