Montgomery County and Radford’s populations on the rise

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Marty Gordon

Recent numbers from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service shows both the city of Radford and Montgomery County’s populations continue to climb.

The data, based on changes since 2010 in housing stock, school enrollment, births, deaths and driver’s licenses, are used by state and local government agencies in revenue-sharing, funding allocations, and planning and budgeting.

Numbers from the 2010 Census had Radford with 16,408 people and Montgomery with 94,392.

The Cooper Center data show those localities with a slight increase from 2010 to 2017: Radford rose to 17,208 and the county 98,776.

The state of Virginia, overall, continues to experience steady growth. Up 6.5 percent since the 2010 Census, passing 8.5 million residents in 2018 with highest population gains are concentrated in the Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads metropolitan areas.

Meanwhile three of the state’s statistical regions—Eastern, Southside and Southwest—have all declined.

Despite that growth, and over 50,000 new residents, the annual population growth in Virginia is the lowest it’s been since the 1920s and the increase is at a slower rate than the U.S. overall.

The slowdown in the state’s population growth is a result of domestic outmigration, more people moving out of Virginia than into the state, said Hamilton Lombard, a demographer at the Center who prepared the annual estimates.

“Over the last five years, 80,000 more Virginians moved out than residents from other states moved in,” Lombard said. “Many were young families, which helped cause Virginia’s public school enrollment to decline last fall for the first time since 1984.”

Virginia’s independent cities have been experiencing their largest population gains in decades, accounting for 10 of Virginia’s 20 fastest growing counties and cities since 2010. In 2018, Roanoke City’s population passed 100,000 residents.

Virginia is expected to leapfrog New Jersey and Michigan to become the nation’s 10th-most-populous state by 2040, when more than 10 million people will be living in the commonwealth.

Those same projections predict Radford will have 18,808 residents by 2025, 19,272 in 2035 and 20,193 in 2045.

Montgomery County is forecast to have a major jump with 105,877 in 2025, 113,913 in 2035 and 121,094 by 2045.

Elsewhere in the region: Giles County fell from 17,286 to 17,053; Pulaski County is down from 34,872 to 34,467; Floyd County did rise slightly from 15,279 to 15,550.

All of the New River Valley’s other localities are also forecast to see slight growth during that same time period.