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Where in Virginia are More People Leaving than Arriving?

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Newly released numbers from the Census Bureau show Virginia added more than 160,000 people last year, although that growth wasn’t distributed evenly. As Michael Pope tells us, some of Virginia’s most urban areas lost more people than they gained.

It’s called “outmigration,” and it happens each year in major metropolitan areas. Essentially it means more people leave than arrive. That's because cities usually attract young people and shed older residents.

It’s been happening for years in Norfolk and Hampton and Newport News. Outmigration has also recently started happening in Fairfax County and Virginia Beach.

Luke Juday at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. He says, "Both of them have reached the stage where they can’t rapidly expand very easily or very cheaply."

He continues, “What we’re seeing now is that growth has slowed in both of those localities, or rather growth from domestic migration has slowed. And so they’re still both growing. But now they’re growing in the way that most cities grow, which is through natural increase."

Frank Shafroth at George Mason University wonders what the long-term implications might be.

Shafroth says, "as these young people who’ve been moving in tidal waves into inner cities get married and have children, will they stay or will we see another reversal?"

If they leave, they’re likely to head to a place like Loudoun County, which continues to be the state’s most rapidly growing county. It added about 8,000 people last year.

You can see where outmigration is happening below.

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