City grows 2.2 percent

Published 8:04 pm Friday, January 25, 2013

The city’s population has grown 2.2 percent since the 2010 census, according to estimates released Friday from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

About 86,463 people lived in the city as of July 1, 2012, according to the center. Its estimates are the official numbers for Virginia and are used by governments and organizations to allocate money, budget, apply for grants and plan improvements. The estimates are based on statistics such as housing stock, school enrollment, births, deaths, driver’s licenses and tax exemptions.

The city’s population grew by less than 2,000 from the 2010 census. The growth was less than 800 from the 2011 estimate by the Cooper Center.

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Suffolk’s growth from the 2010 census was slightly under the state’s rate of 2.3 percent, but it outpaced that of every other city in Hampton Roads except Chesapeake, which grew by 2.7 percent.

The city’s 2010 population by the U.S. Census Bureau was pegged at 84,585, up from 63,677 in the 2000 census. The astronomical growth rate of 32.8 percent for the decade outpaced most other localities in the state, but the economic downturn has since slowed new home construction in most areas, including Suffolk.

The Cooper Center also calculates projected population. Suffolk’s residents are expected to number nearly 100,000 by 2020, surpass 110,000 by 2030 and be up to 132,000 by 2040.

Other area localities experienced high levels of growth since 2010, including Franklin, which grew by nearly 3 percent, and Isle of Wight County, which grew by more than 2.5 percent.

The state now has nearly 8.2 million residents and posted the 13th-highest growth rate and sixth-largest numerical gain compared to other states. Most of the state’s growth was concentrated in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads, with more than half occurring in Northern Virginia, researchers said.

The nation as a whole grew by only 1.7 percent from the 2010 census, according to the Weldon Cooper Center.