A new season in Suffolk

Published 7:10 pm Saturday, March 25, 2017

Two different estimates of Suffolk’s growth since the 2010 census have been released during the past week or so. Here’s what they agree upon: Suffolk is growing more quickly than most of its neighbors, more quickly than the rest of Virginia and more quickly than the nation as a whole.

According to estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, Suffolk’s population grew to 91,722 by the July 1, 2016. That new number represents growth of 8.4 percent since the last hard count was taken by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010.

Using the Cooper Center’s estimates — which take into account a variety of factors, including housing stock, school enrollment, births, deaths and licensed drivers — Suffolk is the 15th-fastest growing municipality in the commonwealth and the fastest-growing city in Hampton Roads.

Email newsletter signup

The Census Bureau considers a different set of factors when making its annual growth estimates, looking only at births, deaths and net migration.

Those factors led the bureau to announce this week that Suffolk has grown 5.5 percent since 2010 and that the city is now home to 89,273 residents, a couple of thousand fewer than the Cooper Center estimates.

Still, even by the government’s accounting, Suffolk rate of growth is outpacing other municipalities in the area, along with the state of Virginia as a whole.

Whether we’ve broken the 90,000 mark or not, the message is clear: A lot more people are finding Suffolk to be a good place to call home than ever before, and anybody who spends much time here can see the many ways — small and large — the city has changed because of all those new faces.

From increased traffic to the need for new schools to growing retail choices, the impacts are clear. Some might wish things were just the same as 20 years ago, but that’s akin to wishing the seasons would not change.

This is Suffolk’s season. Let’s enjoy the benefits of this season and do what we can to mitigate the inconveniences. And let’s look to the ways we can work together to prepare Suffolk for whatever the next season might bring.