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Outmigration is still worrying some Virginia lawmakers

Virginia lawmakers continue to worry about the number of people leaving the Commonwealth.

Demographers call it outmigration, which essentially means more people are moving away from Virginia than moving here. It's a trend that's worrisome to Governor Glenn Youngkin, who touched on the issue recently when laying out his budget proposal to lawmakers.

"While the number of Virginians moving away versus moving here from the other 49 states has dropped dramatically – at less than 7,000 for the past 12 months versus the average of 14,000 over the previous nine years – we are still exporting Virginians," the governor said.

That trend is not spread out evenly across Virginia. Hamilton Lombard at the UVA Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service says people are moving out of northern Virginia at a rate that’s driving the numbers.

"The state as a whole had the lowest outmigration rates since 2013," says Lombard. "This past year, we had the lowest rate of outmigration; a lot of that because rural parts of Virginia and Richmond pulling in more people. But, northern Virginia is still shedding a lot of people."

So, where are those people moving? He says places like Raleigh, Charlotte and Jacksonville are picking up new residents who are leaving northern Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.