Roanoke, Virginia Population 2018

Roanoke is a city located in the state of Virginia. It is an independent city located in the Roanoke Valley. Roanoke has an estimated population of 99,660 people, making it the largest by population in Southwest Virginia. Roanoke serves as a center of commercial activity and culture throughout the region.

Roanoke History

Roanoke was first established as a town in 1852. At that time, it was called Big Lick. The name came because of the outcrop of sale near the Roanoke River that attracted wildlife. The name was changed in 1882 to Roanoke, and in 1884, it was incorporated as a city.

Through its early history, the city grew quite quickly. It was designated as a stop along the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad during the mid-19th century and later, the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. The city saw very prosperous times in the year ahead. In particular, the development of coalfields and the manufacturing of steam locomotives led to growth of the economy and the population. Today, the coal from Roanoke is used in plants and mills around the world.

Manufacturers in the early 20th century were attracted to Roanoke because of its access to the railroad. However, later in the century, the closing of plants and the conversion of the railroad to diesel resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.

From the 1960s through the 1990s, the city’s growth slowed significantly, falling below national and state averages. This is primarily due to underemployment and many residents being unable to find satisfactory employment—or “brain drain.” The city has launched initiatives to address this problem, including the creation of a job seeker database and career fairs.

Despite these struggles, Roanoke continues to be a hub of retail and economy within the region. It is home to many businesses and headquarters, including Advance Auto Parts and Carillion Health Center. The city’s surrounding suburbs continue to grow and according to recent estimates and the last census, the city of Roanoke’s population is once again on the rise.

Roanoke Demographics

Roanoke has over 99,000 residents. The city has an area of 43 square miles, with a population density of 2,300 people per square mile. The city is made up of just 0.3 square miles of water.

The city’s population is primarily white, making up nearly 70% of the total population. Over 26% is black, 1.15% is Asian, and 1.78% are mixed race. Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and other races each make up less than 1% of the total population. Approximately 1.5% of the population is of Hispanic or Latino origin.

The 25 to 44 age group is the largest in Roanoke and makes up over 30% of the population. Over 22% of the population is under age 18, while 16.4% are at least 65 years old. There are more female residents than males, with 84.3 men for every 100 women. Close to 16% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. Roanoke’s top employer is Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, which employs more than 1,000 people. Other top employers including Roanoke City Public Schools, the City of Roanoke, and Carilion Professional Service, each of which employ at least 1,000 people.

Roanoke Population Growth

Roanoke saw significant population growth throughout history, primarily due to annexation. Between 1880 and 1890, the population jumped by over 2,000%. The city reached over 50,000 residents in 1950 and doubled that number in 1980. This was when the population peaked before it dropped by 3.8% at the time of the 1990 census. The population continued to fall through 2000 before increasing again at the 2010 census. Current estimates show that the population has risen by 2.7% since the last census, indicating that efforts made to prevent “brain drain” and other initiatives to transform the city may be successful.

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
201799,837940.09%
201699,743-80-0.08%
201599,8233030.30%
201499,5205820.59%
201398,9388400.86%
201298,0981,2521.29%
201196,846960.10%
201096,7501,8390.19%
200094,911-1,486-0.16%
199096,397-3,823-0.39%
1980100,2208,1050.85%
197092,115-4,995-0.53%
196097,1105,1890.55%
195091,92122,6342.87%
194069,287810.01%
193069,20618,3643.13%
192050,84215,9683.84%
191034,87413,3794.96%
190021,4955,3362.89%
189016,1590.00%

Roanoke Population in 2018Source: Joe Ravi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Population by Race

Race Population
White63,336
Black or African American28,073
Two or More Races3,524
Asian2,691
Some Other Race1,259
American Indian and Alaska Native272
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander174

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey)

Roanoke Population Pyramid 2018

0%2%4%6%8% Male Population0%2%4%6%8% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

Roanoke Median Age

38.1


Total

36.1


Male

40.1


Female

Roanoke Adults

There are 77,477 adults, (14,800 of which are seniors) in Roanoke.

Roanoke Age Dependency

58.7

Age Dependency Ratio

23.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

35

Child Dependency Ratio

Roanoke Sex Ratio

Female

51,805

52.15%

Male

47,524

47.85%

Roanoke Households and Families

Roanoke Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Roanoke Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married71.8%28.2%
All52.1%47.9%
Non Family45.3%54.7%
Female36.7%63.3%
Male33.1%66.9%

52.1%

Rate of Home Ownership

Roanoke Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All42,5412.2852.1
Non Family18,9131.2445.3
Married14,2023.0571.8
Female7,2143.1536.7
Male2,2123.4433.1

3

Average Family Size

2.28

Average Household Size

6.5%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.6%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Roanoke Households

Roanoke Education

Roanoke Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade4,0765.88%
9th to 12th Grade6,1718.91%
High School Graduate22,04431.81%
Some College15,06121.74%
Associates Degree6,0698.76%
Bachelors Degree10,03914.49%
Graduate Degree5,8328.42%

Roanoke Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White45,56940,47912,895
Black17,52814,2671,601
Hispanic3,4162,174462
Asian1,6231,105617
Multiple Races1,2141,064210
Other Race69241358
Islander15115173
Native American1431355

The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 100.00%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among islander people with a rate of 48.34%.

Roanoke Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$29,861$32,995$26,169
Less Than High School$15,782$20,691$12,653
High School Grad$24,322$27,495$20,064
Some College$30,485$34,528$28,058
Bachelors Degree$38,470$43,843$35,064
Graduate Degree$56,610$75,441$48,000

$29,861

Average Earnings

$32,995

Average Male

$26,169

Average Female

Roanoke Language

Roanoke Language by Age

Roanoke Language

90.57% of Roanoke residents speak only English, while 9.43% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.53% of the population.

Roanoke Poverty

Roanoke Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black27,3439,33334.13%
White58,4658,68814.86%
Hispanic5,8541,82531.18%
Asian2,6911,06839.69%
Multiple3,41478122.88%
Other1,25123418.71%
Native2723312.13%

22.23%

Overall Poverty Rate

20.20%

Male Poverty Rate

24.08%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Roanoke

The race most likely to be in poverty in Roanoke is Asian, with 39.69% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Roanoke is Native, with 12.13% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 5.16%. Among those working part-time, it was 28.62%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 30.81%.

Roanoke Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School32.00%
High School21.05%
Some College13.38%
Bachelors or Greater6.92%

Roanoke Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed52.12%
Male Unemployed38.23%
Female Employed13.81%
Male Employed8.76%

Roanoke Income

Roanoke Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$39,201$53,271
Families$50,223$63,681
Married Families$64,700$81,503
Non Families$28,044$38,252

Roanoke Marital Status

Roanoke Marital Status

Marriage Rates

38.4%

Overall Marriage Rate

40.6%

Male Marriage Rate

36.5%

Female Marriage Rate

Roanoke Married by Age and Sex

Roanoke Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35To44.

Roanoke Marital Status by Race

Roanoke Veterans

Roanoke Veterans by War

6,888

Number of Veterans

6,560

Male Veterans

328

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam2,491
First Gulf War1,213
Second Gulf War922
World War II558
Korea480

Roanoke Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
35 to 541,902
75+1,541
65 to 741,523
55 to 641,409
18 to 34513

Roanoke Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White4,9939.55%
Black1,6027.84%
Hispanic3248.37%
2 or More1248.08%
Other8610.13%
Asian573.01%
Indian156.91%
Hawaiian116.32%

Roanoke Veterans by Education

13.59%

Veteran Poverty Rate

29.85%

Veteran Disability Rate

Roanoke Employment Status

Roanoke Employment by Age

63.9%

Labor Force Participation

59.1%

Employment Rate

7.4%

Unemployment Rate

Roanoke Employment by Race

Roanoke Employment by Education

Roanoke Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

64.43%

Born in Virginia

92.65%

Native Born

7.35%

Foreign Born

5.74%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

92.65% of Roanoke residents were born in the United States, with 64.43% having been born in Virginia. 5.74% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.