- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Northern Virginia has driven a modest increase in the state’s overall population since 2010, with Arlington County among the fastest growing of its localities.

A report by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service Demographic Research Group showed that Arlington County’s population grew by 9.4 percent from the 2010 Census through July 2013.

“Arlington has grown quite a bit in the last three years. It is actually ranked third in the state,” said Qian Cai, the center’s director of demographics.

Only Loudoun County, which grew by 11.4 percent, and Fredericksburg, which grew by 15.1 percent, showed larger increases relative to their population.

The growth is part of a larger trend in which urban areas account for most of the statewide population increase.

Ms. Cai said Arlington is a part of the state’s “urban crescent,” from Hampton Roads to Richmond and up the Interstate 95 corridor to Northern Virginia, where more births occur than deaths. A third of Arlington’s population growth is from births, and two-thirds is from migration, she said.

“The migrants tend to be younger. They are in the stage of raising families. So one migrant may bring one, two, three or more to the locality,” Ms. Cai said.

While the D.C. area grew in population during the recession, largely due to jobs associated with the federal government, the growth has continued despite the threat of job losses associated with sequestration.

The densely populated Northern Virginia suburbs, close to the District, accounted for half of the state’s overall growth of 259,381 residents since 2010. Fairfax, the state’s largest jurisdiction, grew by 35,171 people to more than 1.1 million residents. Prince William County’s population grew by 29,256, a 7.3 percent increase to 431,258 residents. Alexandria’s population of 151,218 was an 8 percent increase that amounted to 11,252 new residents.

Ms. Cai said 33 Virginia localities — most of them outside the state’s urban areas — lost population. All seven of Virginia’s coal-producing counties lost residents from 2012 to 2013, the report said.

The state’s overall population of 8.3 million was up in 2013 by less than 1 percent from the prior year — the slowest growth since before the economic recession, but still higher than the national average of 0.7 percent.

The study, which accounted for legal and illegal residents, was based on five indicators: births, deaths, school enrollment, driver’s license issuance and housing stock.

• Emily Hoosier can be reached at ehoosier@washingtontimes.com.

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