Richmond is a city located in the state of Virginia. It is the capital city and is also one of the most populous in the state. Richmond was first was incorporated in 1742 and later became an independent city in 1871. The city’s population is estimated to be 223,170, reflecting strong growth from its official population of 204,214 taken during the 2010 census. Current numbers make the city the fourth most populous in the state. Richmond is the location of many government agencies for both the state and the nation and has a long and interesting history.
After the settlement of Jamestown, Christopher Newport and other explorers made their way northwest to what is currently Richmond. At the time, the inhabitants were the Powhatans. Plans to settle the area and create a town began in 1737. Just five years later, Richmond was first incorporated as a town. In 1780, it took over the role of the state capital from Williamsburg.
Many important historical events occurred in Richmond. The “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech spoken by Patrick Henry was delivered in 1775 by Patrick Henry at St. John’s Church, located in Richmond. The city was destroyed by the British in 1781 but bounced back in just one year. After the war, Richmond took on the role of a significant industrial center. Other important historical events occurred during and after the war, including the signing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
The state seceded from the US in 1861 and became part of the Confederate States of America. It was a target for Union armies and required much of the Army of Northern Virginia to defend it. The city continued to thrive. It was a railroad hub, had one of the largest slave markets and also had an arms factory and iron foundry that were critical during the Civil War.
Following the Civil War, Richmond once again bounced back economically. Tobacco was a big part of the economy, and it was also the site of the first electric trolley system in the country.
When the 20th century rolled around, the city was the most densely populated in the south. Richmond had a large population of black residents, many of whom became quite successful. Richmond’s Jackson Ward was nicknamed "Wall Street of Black America" due to the success of these residents. During the early 1900s, the city also began developing performing arts venues and had its radio station. During the 1960s, more than 700 buildings were built in the downtown area, and in 1970, the borders of Richmond expanded to encompass 27 additional square miles.
In recent years, the city has become a center for entertainment and nightlife. Today, the economy is driven by finance, law, and government. It is home to one of the US courts of appeals, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and multiple Fortune 500 companies.
Richmond Population Statistics
The city’s total current estimated population of over 227,000 is spread across 62.5 square miles, putting the population density at over 3,700 residents per square mile. The city’s total metro area population is over 1.26 million.
Breaking down the population by age shows that almost 22% of the population is under the age of 18. The largest age group is 25 to 44, which makes up nearly 32% of the total population. Over 13% are at least 65 years old. Approximately 21% of Richmond’s population lives below the federal poverty line.
Richmond is very diverse when it comes to population and is the location of many historic churches. The city also has religious institutions for Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and other groups.
One of the drawbacks of the city is its history of high crime rates. During the 1990s, the murder rate of Richmond was one of the highest in the nation. During the early 2000s, the city was consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the US. However, Richmond has seen a decline in its crime rates, dropping 47% between 2004 and 2009. Though these rates remain on the decline, the city still has rates that fall above national and state averages.
Richmond Population Growth
The city of Richmond overall has seen steady growth throughout its history. However, it did experience declining growth during the censuses taken in 1990 and 2000. This could be due to the high crime rate and its ranking as one of the most dangerous cities in America. However, the census taken between 2000 and 2010 showed that the population was on the upswing again, and current estimates indicate that the population has risen over 9% since the last census taken in 2010. The economic opportunities and a declining crime rate are contributing factors to the city’s population rising once again.