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Suffolk continues to grow

Suffolk is continuing to grow, according to new population estimates released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

From 2010 to 2018, Suffolk’s population has increased by 6,613 people, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated.

The 2010 census counted 84,585 people living in Suffolk. The 2018 estimate is 91,185, giving Suffolk a 7.8-percent population change in those eight years.

It remains one of Virginia’s faster-growing localities.

“I’m not surprised,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said of the rising population estimates on Friday. “People are moving to Suffolk. I think they think we’ve got a lot of good things going, and we’ve got a lot of room to continue to grow.”

The population estimates are used for federal funding allocations as well as to aid in community planning, business planning and other vital undertakings. The estimates are produced starting from the base number taken in the last census, adding births, subtracting deaths and adding net migration.

Roughly half of that change was due to “natural increase” — more births than deaths — and the other half due to migration. About 900 persons were counted as international migration, which can include American citizens — both military and civilians — moving back from overseas, and about 2,400 moved from other places in the United States.

Just between July 2017 and July 2018, the city gained 910 people through both natural increase and migration, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated.

The Hampton Roads metropolitan area has grown by 3.1 percent in the same time frame. Suffolk was the second-fastest-growing locality in the region after Chesapeake, which had 9.1-percent growth. Portsmouth, Newport News and Hampton all lost population, according to the Census Bureau’s estimates.

Virginia’s overall population has increased by 6.5 percent this decade. It has surpassed 8.5 million — up more than 500,000 since 2010.

The entire U.S. population is about 327.2 million — an increase of 6 percent this decade.

Loudoun County is the fastest-growing locality in Virginia. Its population has jumped more than 30 percent, to almost 407,000, since 2010. Nationwide, only 19 counties have grown more than Loudoun County this decade, the data showed.

Other fast-growing localities in Virginia are Manassas Park and New Kent County (up 21.5 percent since 2010), Fredericksburg (20.5 percent) and Falls Church (20.3 percent).

While the population is growing in some areas of Virginia, that is not the case in other areas. In the western and southern regions of the commonwealth, the population has dropped significantly.

The city of Emporia, 11 miles north of the North Carolina line, has had a population decrease of about 800 people or 13.6 percent — the greatest percentage loss in the state this decade.

Buchanan County, bordering West Virginia and Kentucky, lost almost 2,900 residents — an 11.9-percent decrease.

Tazewell County, also in southwestern Virginia, saw its population drop by more than 4,200 residents, or 9.3 percent.

All in all, the Census Bureau’s data showed that 72 localities in Virginia gained population and 61 lost population since 2010.

The bureau conducts a national census every 10 years; it is getting ready to do a headcount in April 2020. In addition, the agency issues population estimates every year.

—Jayla Marie McNeill of Capital News Service contributed to this story.