A Growth Slowdown in the Making?

Signs of the times from Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads…

Scholars at the Brookings Institution see indications that the “galloping growth” of Washington’s Virginia suburbs is slowing. The Washington Post quotes William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings:

“There’s still growth in the Washington region, and there’s still migration from the inside of the doughnut to the periphery. But it’s kind of slacking. From being a very fast-growing exurban place, Washington has now come down to more normal levels.”

Meanwhile, the Virginian-Pilot reports that, according to newly released Bureau of Census estimates, Norfolk and Virginia Beach are actually losing population.

According to the new estimates, Virginia Beach, the regon’s most populous jurisdiction, lost 1,402 residents in 2006. Its population now stands at 435,619. Norfolk lost about 1,663 residents in 2006. Its population stands at 229,112. The Weldon Cooper Center, which tracks Virginia’s population, believes that Norfolk and Virginia Beach actually gained a small number of inhabitants last year.

What seems indisputable is that growth in Hampton Roads appears to be shifting to the metropolitan periphery. Chesapeake has gained 21,000 residents since 2000, while Suffolk has gained 17,000. The Pilot’s article does not indicate whether that represents a continuation or a slowdown for the metropolitan area as a whole.

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4 responses to “A Growth Slowdown in the Making?”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Well, we all knew the party wouldn’t last forever, right?

    May I suggest a visit to Bubble Meter, http://bubblemeter.blogspot.com/

  2. Freddie Avatar

    I know one person who recently found a job outside the Washington area because the rents in the outer suburbs were too high. There is a point where living costs and heavy traffic chase people away. While one example does not make a trend, I’m not surprised by this Brookings report. The same thing is apparently happening to California.

  3. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    There may be another factor:

    When we read the WaPo story today on the census the first thing that came to mind was “undercount.”

    There are a lot of new roof tops in Fairfax, a lot of units for sale but not many empty ones.

    Are we sure Census is counting the undocumented workers and their growing families?

    The municipal governace practitioners quoted all doubted the numbers.


  4. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Why is this shocking? If you add a hundred thousand to a million people it is ten percent growth. If If you add a hundred thousand to five million is is five percent growth. Over time we have increased the area in the definition of metro area, wich also dilutes the percentage, because you are now counting as origianl many of those who might have moved to the periphery previously.

    It is another example of outmigration of homes nad jobs that EMR still denies is happening.

    Besides, are we talking about population growth or economic growth? I don’t see the W-C has revised their estimates for increase in VA population, so all that growth is going somewhere.

    But more population growth and less economic growth equals, what?

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