Updated population projections for Virginia in 2020

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Projections for Virginia's population in the upcoming 2020 Census finds the population will be aging and growing more slowly.

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia says the Commonwealth's population is expected to reach 8.65 million by 2020.

This means Virginia is expected to add more than 650,000 residents in this decade.

"While Virginia continues to grow in population size, the pace of growth may be a little slower than what was earlier projects," said Shonel Sen, the demographer at the Weldon Cooper Center.

Sen is the one who developed the projections for all counties, cities and large towns across Virginia, and he says the statewide growth rate has decelerated to eight percent, down from 13 percent in the previous decade.

That growth rate of eight percent is expected to hold steady through 2030, assuming the continued lower birth rates, higher death rates, and fewer people moving into the state.

According to a release, more than 60 localities are projected to see a decline in population.

The numbers also show a significant rural-urban divide, which is becoming more evident as time progresses.

The population in Northern Virginia is expected to reach more than three million, and Richmond and Hampton Roads will likely have more than 1.5 million each.

However, rural communities have witnessed a population decline, and that is expected to continue over the future decades.

The release shows that 70 percent of the population currently lives in the three largest metropolitan areas, and only 12 percent of Virginians live in non-metro areas.

Regarding Charlottesville and Albemarle County, the city is expected to grow to more than 50,000 people by 2020, and the county is expected to continue growing faster than the state as a whole.

The release also says that by 2020, one in seven Virginians will be over the age of 65.

The share of people under the age of 19 and those of working age is expected to shrink while the share of older residents is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2030.

This is being fueled by an aging baby-boomer generation and declining birth rates.

Certain rural areas are expected to see their population of residents over the age of 65 reach 30 percent, including Lancaster, Northumberland, Middlesex, Highland and James City.

To learn more about the projected population, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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