Estimates indicate Caroline County’s population is growing faster than most of its neighboring counties, according to a study released Jan. 28 by the University of Virginia Cooper Center.
Caroline grew in population by 3.3 percent (936 residents) from April 2010 to July 1, 2013, according to an estimate by the center. It went from a population of 28,545 to an estimated 29,481 during that time.
During the same time, Hanover County grew by 1.8 percent from 99,863 to an estimated 101,702. King William County grew by 1.3 percent from 15,935 to 16,148. Spotsylvania County’s population increased by 2.6 percent from 122,397 to 125,555.
King George County is the only neighboring county that outpaced Caroline. King George grew by 3.7 percent from 23,584 to an estimated 24,460 residents.
Big growth took place in some Northern Virginia counties, such as Arlington County, which grew by 9.4 percent from 207,627 to 227,146. Loudoun County increased by 11.4 percent from 312,311 to 347,969. Stafford County gained 6,189 residents for an increase of 4.8 percent.
“Caroline County is a great community with an outstanding quality of life for its citizens and a growing employment base,” said Gary R. Wilson, director of Caroline County Economic Development and Tourism. “There is every reason for people to want to be in Caroline, and we should expect our population to reflect the appeal of our beautiful community and friendly citizens.”
Fredericksburg increased by 15.1 percent and Alexandria increased by 8 percent.
Some nearby counties decreased in population, such as Essex, which lost 74 residents, and Goochland County, which lost 317 residents.
Each year, demographers at the Weldon Cooper Center develop and release the official population estimates for Virginia and its counties and independent cities to illuminate population counts between decennial censuses. These estimates, generally released at the end of January, provide the best approximation of the population count on July 1 of the previous year. Population estimates are an important tool used by a variety of state agencies in their planning processes — from developing budgets to determining salaries for public officials.
“Due to population aging and lower birth rates, almost half (66) of Virginia’s localities experienced natural decrease (more deaths than births) between 2010 and 2013,” said Qian Cai, director of the Demographics Research Group. “While many localities gained sufficient population through migration to compensate for these losses, 33 localities in Virginia had a net overall loss in population.”
Most localities that lost population or experienced natural decrease were located outside of the so-called “urban crescent,” which stretches from Hampton Roads to Richmond and up the Interstate 95 corridor to Northern Virginia. In Southwest Virginia, all seven coal-producing counties declined in population between 2012 and 2013.
Virginia’s population grew between 2012 and 2013 by less than 1 percent, or 74,531 people, to increase the state total population to nearly 8.3 million. While growth last year was the slowest in Virginia since before the recession, the commonwealth still grew faster than the nation, which grew by 0.7 percent. Compared to other states, Virginia posted the 14th-highest growth rate and the seventh-largest numerical population gain.
Within Virginia, the large population gains were more than ever concentrated in urban localities particularly in Northern Virginia.
While Fredericksburg is the fastest-growing locality since 2010, increasing by more than 15 percent, most urban localities in Virginia also experienced above-average growth, representing a change from the previous decade. Between 2000 and 2010, urban localities grew much more slowly than suburban localities in Virginia; in contrast, during the past four years, many urban areas are among Virginia’s fastest-growing localities, with Arlington, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Radford and Richmond among the cities growing at a rate faster than the state since 2010.
The Virginia population chart is at: http://www.coopercenter.org/sites/default/files/node/13/July_2013_PopulationEstimates_UVACooperCenter.pdf