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News | 3 min read

Census: Migration propels Richmond City population growth

April 18, 2017

New residents increased housing density

RICHMOND, VA – The Greater Richmond Partnership (“Partnership”) has prepared an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates published on March 23, 2017. The City of Richmond led Virginia’s 38 independent cities in total population growth between 2010 and 2016, seeing a net population increase of 19,028 during the six-year period, rising to 223,170 from 204,115.

As the City of Richmond’s population grew, so has its housing stock. Between 2009 and 2015 (the most current year available) the number of housing units increased by 5,318. Over the past six years, Richmond has added an average of 8.7 net new residents per day and 2.4 net new housing units, which includes homes, townhomes, and apartments.

“There’s a tremendous influx of people moving to the city and it’s something you can see across the city’s skyline,” said Chuck Peterson, Vice President of Business Information at the Partnership. “Cranes and new buildings are being erected to keep up with the increase of families.”

Richmond’s growth was driven by people moving into the city from elsewhere, accounting for 67 percent of new residents (12,817 people), compared to natural population growth (births minus deaths), which accounted for 33 percent of the growth (6,211 people). A closer examination of the migration data reveals that 70 percent moved from somewhere else in the state or nation, while 30 percent of the new residents moved from international locations.

Combining data from other Census Bureau reports and the city’s school system, the City of Richmond appears to be gaining families with young children, where the adults have bachelor’s degrees and upper middle class incomes. Data points supporting this increase include age groups of adults between 30 and 44, and those under 18. Richmond’s public school system has seen increased enrollment of 1,500 in during this period with an 89-percent increase in elementary school grades. Households with incomes between $75,000 and $150,000 increased by 40 percent, but by only 9 percent in Virginia and across the nation. Residents with a bachelor’s degree increased by 25 percent in the City of Richmond, but by 9 percent in Virginia and across the nation.

“The Census numbers validate the trends that economic developers have been seeing on a national level,” said Barry Matherly, President/CEO of the Partnership. “As we’ve seen with the CoStar and Owens & Minor announcements, businesses are locating in high-population areas because of an increase of employees seeking a short commute for employment and lifestyle options.”

The Partnership service area, which includes the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the City of Richmond, experienced a net increase of 65,844 people between 2010 and 2016, with 60 percent of the increase due to migration. Statewide, however, only 38 percent of the increase was due to domestic or international migration.

The City of Alexandria was second with a population increase of 15,804, followed by Chesapeake (15,604), and the state’s largest city, Virginia Beach (14,695). Overall, 25 of the state’s independent cities had population gains, while 13 experienced losses.

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. is the regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. The Partnership impacts the Richmond Region by recruiting companies from all over the globe, which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for our local community. For more information, please visit

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