The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center released its official population estimates for Virginia counties and independent cities this January. The Weldon Cooper Center’s estimates provide an accurate approximation of a locality’s population count on July 1st, 2021. Government agencies use this data for funding allocations, planning, and budgeting purposes.
The CSPDC’s 2021 population estimate is 307,875. From the prior year, the region’s population grew by 664 people or .2%. Since the 2020 Census, Bath County experienced the greatest growth change. From 2020 to 2021, Bath County added 67 people to their population count, a 1.6% population increase. In contrast, Highland, Rockbridge, and Rockingham Counties and the City of Lexington experienced a slight population decline since the 2020 Census.
Notably, localities with large college populations were often undercounted in the 2020 Census. For localities with a 20% college population, like Harrisonburg and Lexington, the Weldon Cooper Center compared its 2020 and 2021 estimates in order to correct the undercount. Once the remainder of 2020 Census Data is released, the Cooper Center will revisit estimates and make necessary adjustments.