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Northern Virginia Drove State's Population Growth Since 2010

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Four northern Virginia counties and the city of Alexandria have accounted for more than half of the growth in the state since 2010, according to new population data from the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Between 2012 and 2013, Virginia's population grew less than one percent, to nearly 8.3 million people. That's the slowest growth in the state since the recession, but still higher than the national average.

"We had about .9 percent of growth, where the country as a whole had only .7 percent," says Qian Cai, the center's director of demographic research. "So we are still among the leading states growing faster than the nation."

Cai says that within Virginia, the biggest population gains were in urban areas such as Northern Virginia, with Fredericksburg coming in as the fastest growing locality in the state since 2010, increasing in population by more than 15 percent. Arlington, Harrisonburg, Radford, and Richmond also grew faster than the state average.

That wasn't the case for Southside and Southwest Virginia, where all seven coal-producing localities declined in population.

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