Suffolk population growth tops in Hampton Roads

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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Suffolk, Virginia —The United States Census Bureau published population change estimates for counties nationwide on March 14, 2024. According to the estimates, Suffolk experienced the most significant increase in growth percentage compared to other cities in the Hampton Roads region and the sixth highest in the Commonwealth from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023.

Estimates show Suffolk and Chesapeake as the only two localities in the seven-city area that experienced positive population growth. 

Suffolk’s 2.3% increase pushes the city population to 100,659 (+2,233), up from the previous year’s 98,426. Chesapeake moved up .6% from 252,459 to 253,886 (+1,427).

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Of the cities that experienced a decrease, Norfolk’s percentage of loss was the highest at .7% or 1,628 people.

Virginia’s population, according to the estimates, grew nearly 37,000, or .4%, with New Kent seeing the largest increase at 4.7% (+1,152).

According to a December 2023 study released by Old Dominion University, in 2000, there were approximately 7.11 million residents in Virginia, growing to about 7.93 million residents in 2009, an increase of 10.1%. In 2010, 8.02 million residents called Virginia home, growing to about 8.56 million in 2019, an increase of 6.6% over the decade. In 2020, the U.S. Census

estimated Virginia’s resident population was about 8.64 million, increasing by 0.5% to about 8.68 million in 2022.

The ODU study says that while population growth in the Commonwealth is on the rise, there are warning signs that Virginia’s economy is not well. The study cites that net domestic migration remained negative as more Virginians left the Commonwealth than residents of other states moved in. 

Three components drive population change: natural increase in the population (births minus deaths), net domestic migration (domestic arrivals minus domestic departures), and net international migration (international arrivals minus international departures).

Hampton Roads, according to the study, accounts for 20.2% of Virginia’s population. The study also says the 2020-2022 growth of the Hampton Roads region is flat compared to 2010-2019.