Virginia is Getting Older, But Some Places Are Aging Faster Than Others

Aug 1, 2017

The Primland Resort in Patrick County. The county is one of a number in Virginia that could see their population over 65 double or triple in the next two decades.

In the next 20 years, the number of people over the age of 65 in Virginia is expected to double. But as Michael Pope tells us, some places will get older than others.

In the next two decades, Virginia is about to become a lot more senior. But some places will be older than others, according to a new analysis from the Virginia Public Access Project and the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. Some parts of the Commonwealth will see their population over 65 double or triple, places like Powhatan County, Prince George County and Patrick County. Hamilton Lombard at the Weldon Cooper Center says the geography of aging is based on existing trends.

“Those are mostly outer suburban counties that have in the past attracted a fair amount of retirees, and right now they already have a fairly large middle aged population that will be retiring within the next decade or two. So that’s why you see some of the biggest spikes.”

Frank Shafroth at George Mason University says the places that are slated to become older are not necessarily destination points for people just out of college.

“They want to be someplace that is lively where there is a lot to do, so there is a real attraction for younger people to leave rural areas and move to urbanized areas. So that’s a big factor.”

On the other end of the spectrum, some parts of Virginia are expected to get younger in the next two decades — Lexington, Radford and Lynchburg, all college towns, are expected to have a smaller percentage of seniors two decades from now.

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

Credit Virginia Public Access Project