Virginia’s population growth is slowing

(Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)

Virginia’s population might grow over the next decade, but it could be slower than it’s been in the past, according to population projections by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

The center found that population growth has decelerated to 8 percent, from 13 percent last decade. The rate is expected to hold steady “assuming that the commonwealth continues to experience lower birth rates, higher death rates (the result of an aging population) and fewer people moving into the state,” a UVAToday daily report states.

Virginia can also expect to see a deepening rural-urban divide, with population growth in urban areas and declines in rural communities. Seventy percent of the population reside in the northern Virginia, Richmond or Hampton Roads metro areas, while only 12 percent of Virginians live in non-metro areas, according to the report.

Just as it is nationwide, the share of older Virginians who are 65 and older is expected to increase, from 12 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2030.

“In rural areas like Lancaster, Northumberland, Middlesex, Highland and James City counties, more than 30 percent of residents are projected to be over the age of 65 by the end of this decade,” the UVAToday report states.