The most recent nationwide Census took place in the United States in 2010, and it revealed that the Virginia population had exceeded eight million for the first time in its history. The final figure was confirmed at 8,001,024. This was a rise of 13% on the numbers declared at the census of 2000.
The US state of Virginia is situated on the central eastern tip of the country and it is the 35th largest in the Union in terms of land mass. As with the majority of states on the US Eastern seaboard, however, Virginia is densely populated. Virginia now ranks 12th in terms of population in the country and 14th in terms of density. Virginia has a population density of 202.6 people per square mile over a total surface area of 42,775 square miles.
Virginia has 11 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), and Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Richmond-Petersburg are the most populous. The capital, Richmond, and its metropolitan area has a population of nearly 1.3 million, but Virginia Beach is the most populous city in the state. The most populated counties in Virginia are Fairfax and Prince William counties, with respective populations of 1,148,433 and 463,023.
The median age among the population of Virginia is approximately 37.8 years of age. In terms of the ratio of sexes in the state, 50.8% are females and 49.2% are males.
In terms of preferred religions across the population of the state, Christian based faiths lead at 73% of the population, with non-Christian faiths at 6%, and non-affiliated residents at 20% of the population.
Virginia was one of the 13 original States. Kentucky was part of Virginia until 1792, and a small part of Virginia was included in the District of Columbia from 1791 to 1846. West Virginia was separated from Virginia in 1862, becoming a State in 1863 and adding two more counties in 1866. Since then Virginia's boundaries have remained essentially unchanged, with slight modifications as early surveys were reviewed and corrected. Details of the Virginia-Tennessee boundary were not settled until 1901.
In 1790 census coverage included all of Virginia's present-day territory; Kentucky was reported separately. The populations for 1800-1840 include the area that was then part of the District of Columbia, and the populations for 1790-1860 exclude the counties entirely or primarily included in what is now West Virginia.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Virginia was:
The majority of states on the eastern edge of the USA displayed healthy population figures from the latter half of the 18th century onwards. Virginia is no exception to this generalization, and in 1790, numbers were recorded at an impressive 691,737.
Just ten years later, this had grown by over 16% to 807,557 but increases in population over the years have been a little sporadic, and there was even a fall in numbers recorded at the 1840 Census.
It wasn’t until the latter part of the 20th century that these increases began to settle down, and at every Census from 1960 onwards, the growth tends to average out at around 15% on a Census by Census basis, making Virginia one of the fastest growing states in the USA.
Therefore, as a result of this pattern of sustained and substantial growth, the population of Virginia in 2016 has comfortably exceeded 8.3 million.
The overall picture with regards to the population of Virginia in 2016 is one of sustained growth, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. The milestone of eight million has now been reached, but if Virginia can achieve a population increase of 15% again, that number will go beyond nine million at the 2020 Census.
As far as current estimates go, Virginia is projected to add over 800,000 new residents every decade, finally reaching 10.5 million by 2040. It's also estimated the population will have a larger representation of racial and ethnic minorities. By 2030, nearly 20% of Virginia's population will be over 65, compared to just 12% in 2010. By 2040, the population under 50 is projected to be the majority minority.
The state of Virginia contains a diverse set of ethnic groups and one of the higher percentages of Asians and African Americans in the country, ranking 9th in terms of percentage when compared to the other 49 states. Its most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic whites, declined from 76% in 1990 to 64% in 2012.
Many people in the state are of English heritage and are the descendants of those who settled in the state during the colonial period, although British and Irish heritages are also very common. Most people who identify as "American" ethnicity are of English descent. Interestingly, 75% of the English immigrants to Virginia during the 17th century were indentured servants.
Virginia also has a very large population of African Americans, most of whom are descendants of enslaved people who worked the plantations in the state. While a large percentage of the black population left during the Great Migration north, reverse migration occurred in the 1960s.
The state of Virginia's counties have seen both gains and losses in their populations, according to comparisons of data from the 2010 Census and estimates taken by the US Census Bureau in 2015. This comparison showed that Virginia had a pretty balanced mix when it came to which counties had a population jump and those that had a drop in population. The highest increase came in the northern county of Loudoun, which posted 19.02% growth. Its neighboring county of Prince William saw an increase of 11.16%, while other significant population increases were observed in New Kent, James City, King George, and Stafford.
There were also declining populations recorded across the state, with the highest loss happening in Buchana at 5.26%. This was followed by a 5.14% decrease in Bath County. Other smaller losses occurred in many of the southern counties, particularly those located in the southwestern corner of the state. These counties include Lee, Russell, Halifax, Wise, Giles, and Bland.
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 81.39%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 53.79%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
83.54% of Virginia residents speak only English, while 16.46% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 7.37% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Virginia is Black, with 20.03% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Virginia is Asian, with 8.55% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 1.84%. Among those working part-time, it was 13.47%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 17.43%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Virginia
86.7% of Virginia residents were born in the United States, with 48.79% having been born in Virginia. 5.64% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.