VA Migration TrendsVirginia is one of the largest states on the eastern shoreline, with an estimated population of 8.6 million people, according to the U.S Census Bureau. The state’s economy has grown and attracted new residents over the years. We have a high quality of life here, a wide range of jobs, transportation infrastructure, and education opportunities, all of which help to keep Virginia an attractive place to live.

The Census Bureau measures net migration by the difference between in-migration and out-migration in a geographic area. According to 2021 data, about 5.1% of Virginian residents moved to a different county/city within the commonwealth (438,600) and 4.9% moved within the same county/city (421,400). Roughly 3.2% (275,200) of residents moved to Virginia from a different state, and 0.5% came in from another country (43,000).

Based on the American Community Survey, more Virginian residents moved within their respective metro areas than those that moved from a different metro in the state. Only in the Richmond MSA, Lynchburg MSA, Harrisonburg MSA, Charlottesville MSA, and Blacksburg-Christiansburg MSA recorded that more residents relocated from another region than those that moved within their respective cities and counties. The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria MSA had the most in-state migrants in 2021.

In the Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News MSA, there were 180,560 in-state movers, and about 50% of them moved in from another MSA within the state. During 2021, the Richmond area had an inflow of 74,452 people that moved in from another MSA and 61,390 people that moved within Greater Richmond. About 70% of movers in Charlottesville came in from a different MSA in Virginia in 2021, an inflow of 19,011 new residents. The Blacksburg-Christiansburg MSA had 6,333 residents that moved from either outside of Virginia or from abroad in 2021, many of whom are likely students at the universities in the area. In 2021, there were 14,619 in-state migrants in Lynchburg that moved in from outside the MSA, which is 15% more than those that moved within Lynchburg MSA.

Virginia is becoming more attractive for residents to move to live as the state economy grows. It can be a great place to live, but as living and housing cost rise above the national average, it could deflect people from residing in the commonwealth. As new residents move into various areas throughout Virginia, the competition for housing will continue to increase, driving up housing and rental prices. The state needs to continue to strive for sufficient housing supply to meet demand as more and more people move into the state in the future.

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