Cities on the Rise in Virginia

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cities on the rise in virginia

From military bases in the north to agriculture in the south and computer chip manufacturing in between, Virginia is a state with a lively, diverse economy.

The birthplace of the first American colony is home to a thriving economy that is No. 9 among states in its contribution to the nation’s GDP, according to a report by the U.S. Commerce Department.

If you’re looking for a place that is growing in a state where geography has a direct influence on the health of regional economies, it pays to know where to move. NerdWallet crunched the data to help you find the cities and communities that are growing the fastest. Our series has analyzed states across America to determine which cities are “on the rise” based on growth of the working-age population, employment and income.

When we analyzed the numbers from 2010 to 2012 for Virginia, certain trends became apparent. Here’s what our top places had in common:

  • Northern Virginia is growing. The fast-growing places were largely communities in northern counties — including Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun.
  • Employment is high. While employment didn’t dip in Virginia as much as in many other states during the Great Recession, the rate isn’t growing as quickly as other places.
  • Virginians are getting wealthier. All of the places in our top 20 boasted income gains from 2010 to 2012.

Virginia residents were largely insulated from large-scale job losses during the recession, with the unemployment rate never climbing above 7.4%. However, recovery has been slow, and the most recent jobless rate of 5.6% is unchanged from a year ago. The top three areas that added jobs — Waynesboro, Fredericksburg and Kings Park West — all saw employment grow less than 5%.

Virginia’s struggles are evident in its private-sector employment, which grew only 6.1% since the nation’s low point in February 2010. The state’s lagging expansion is clear, especially when compared with its neighbors: Maryland saw 6.9% growth and employment in Washington, D.C., rebounded 13.0% in that time.

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But despite the state’s slow growth, Virginia’s unemployment rate of 5.6% is lower than Maryland, the nation’s capital and the national average of 5.9%. Virginia’s relative health as it slowly recovers explains why places on our list, such as Broadlands, can be second in the state in overall employment, while only seeing jobs increase 1.8% from 2010 to 2012.

The mixed employment picture isn’t reflected in residents’ incomes: Virginia is ranked 10th in per capita income in the U.S., and the state is home to four of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the nation, including Fairfax, Loudon and Arlington, according to the most recent American Community Survey.

In some places on our list, income is growing rather quickly. With a 19.7% increase, Gainesville had the third-highest income growth rate on our list, followed by strong gains of 19.2% in Mount Vernon and 13.8% in Fredericksburg.

Working-age population is also seeing a healthy increase in Virginia. Neabsco, our top spot, grew 32.7% from 2010 to 2012, followed by a 27.1% increase in Brambleton and 14% in Linton Hall. Our top 10 cities on the rise show that the growing working-age population is in line with overall gains, primarily in counties in the north — Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William — which outpace the median state growth rate.

It appears that Virginia has a solid economic foundation to support its potential for growth. Now, the only question is: How much longer will it take for the state to embrace a larger expansion?

Share your thoughts in the comments section, and tell us why you think your city deserved (or didn’t deserve) a spot on our list.

Here’s our list of the 20 cities and places on the rise in Virginia. Take a look at our methodology below to see how we calculated U.S. Census Bureau data to find our top cities.

nerdwallet

 

City 2012 Working-age population 2010-2012 Working-age population growth 2012 Employment rate 2010-2012 Employment growth 2012 Median income 2010-2012 Median income growth Overall growth score
1 Neabsco CDP 9,069 32.70% 70.10 1.89% 62,575 3.34% 75.94
2 Fredericksburg 20,226 5.01% 57.30 4.18% 42,732 13.75% 68.24
3 McNair CDP 13,767 12.90% 77.50 1.71% 79,073 10.53% 65.64
4 South Riding CDP 16,375 7.69% 75.00 2.18% 90,936 12.85% 64.65
5 Broadlands CDP 7,639 12.42% 78.80 1.81% 106,688 8.26% 63.24
6 Linton Hall CDP 25,065 13.93% 76.30 0.66% 72,839 9.02% 62.40
7 Brambleton CDP 6,996 27.06% 80.00 -2.32% 102,264 2.81% 60.07
8 Falls Church 9,545 6.45% 71.10 3.34% 88,048 4.22% 58.00
9 Mount Vernon CDP 9,629 3.93% 62.20 -1.74% 86,101 19.16% 57.84
10 Reston CDP 47,438 7.58% 72.20 0.84% 78,642 8.68% 57.09
11 Merrifield CDP 12,197 5.21% 78.40 3.29% 75,131 3.89% 56.50
12 Kingstowne CDP 11,334 -3.87% 73.40 2.95% 84,924 11.39% 55.24
13 Waynesboro 16,559 -0.15% 56.10 4.47% 34,756 4.08% 55.05
14 Marumsco CDP 27,469 13.84% 68.50 0.15% 40,134 2.71% 54.84
15 Tysons Corner CDP 16,645 14.50% 70.30 -2.23% 85,148 7.30% 53.98
16 Oakton CDP 27,335 3.95% 71.20 1.57% 81,643 6.58% 53.75
17 Short Pump CDP 19,011 8.76% 70.10 -0.43% 76,169 7.10% 53.38
18 Harrisonburg 42,300 2.78% 48.80 1.04% 33,379 8.56% 53.37
19 Gainesville CDP 8,069 2.29% 70.10 -3.31% 79,056 19.70% 53.04
20 Colonial Heights 14,079 -0.01% 58.50 1.92% 41,214 7.32% 51.97
21 Lansdowne CDP 8,253 18.75% 67.30 -0.30% 87,444 -3.53% 51.79
22 Arlington CDP 178,878 5.63% 74.90 0.67% 73,851 5.08% 51.46
23 Kings Park West CDP 10,801 -6.29% 67.30 4.18% 72,849 6.25% 51.21
24 Great Falls CDP 12,010 4.07% 60.50 0.33% 138,069 6.68% 50.86
25 McLean CDP 37,357 4.02% 61.20 -1.13% 127,222 10.21% 50.62
26 Fairfax Station CDP 9,458 -0.69% 65.70 2.18% 97,716 5.85% 50.59
27 Sudley CDP 11,360 -0.28% 70.70 -1.26% 44,094 14.17% 50.53
28 Lincolnia CDP 17,087 4.96% 69.40 3.27% 54,759 -1.95% 50.49
29 Fort Hunt CDP 12,529 4.66% 59.80 -1.48% 121,629 10.39% 50.47
30 West Falls Church CDP 22,127 -0.32% 73.80 2.36% 55,741 4.88% 50.40
31 Lakeside CDP 9,918 -3.14% 66.40 2.95% 40,953 5.42% 49.99
32 Idylwood CDP 13,586 6.75% 75.80 0.93% 67,964 1.70% 49.75
33 Dranesville CDP 8,910 -4.51% 68.30 -2.98% 103,721 21.23% 49.54
34 Vienna town 12,007 0.36% 69.30 1.61% 80,175 5.23% 49.47
35 Groveton CDP 11,021 2.99% 68.30 0.74% 46,948 5.09% 49.38
36 Charlottesville 37,565 2.35% 56.10 -1.58% 42,770 11.53% 49.38
37 Hybla Valley CDP 11,758 6.95% 68.50 -0.29% 42,186 3.87% 49.00
38 Montclair CDP 15,079 4.32% 69.30 0.58% 71,683 3.92% 48.98
39 Bull Run CDP 10,461 11.38% 76.40 -1.29% 47,543 2.49% 48.92
40 Huntington CDP 9,805 4.35% 76.10 -1.17% 60,240 7.72% 48.36
41 Hollins CDP 12,423 1.16% 60.20 2.21% 42,944 1.74% 48.21
42 Fair Oaks CDP 24,694 5.42% 78.60 0.64% 70,215 2.02% 48.20
43 Fairfax 18,636 2.73% 64.40 0.94% 61,183 3.07% 47.69
44 West Springfield CDP 18,278 2.91% 66.50 -0.60% 75,548 6.78% 47.63
45 Cherry Hill CDP 11,069 2.99% 69.90 -1.13% 53,593 7.90% 47.47
46 Alexandria 118,211 4.41% 72.80 -1.09% 64,967 6.53% 47.45
47 Lorton CDP 14,573 1.21% 68.90 -1.71% 53,662 10.64% 47.19
48 Buckhall CDP 12,080 9.64% 69.10 -0.29% 80,129 -0.43% 47.07
49 Richmond 169,973 2.16% 57.60 -0.69% 39,561 7.03% 47.01
50 Woodlawn CDP (Fairfax County) 14,957 0.01% 74.00 3.79% 39,701 -2.96% 46.54
51 Newington CDP 9,794 0.55% 68.80 -2.41% 75,739 12.21% 46.42
52 Bon Air CDP 13,231 4.52% 65.10 -1.36% 51,384 6.03% 46.36
53 Chantilly CDP 17,519 6.39% 73.70 -0.67% 68,488 2.60% 46.31
54 Ashburn CDP 32,279 8.24% 73.10 -1.22% 80,386 2.15% 46.08
55 Franconia CDP 15,331 6.58% 74.00 0.54% 69,853 -0.93% 46.04
56 Dale City CDP 49,452 5.45% 70.70 -1.39% 50,524 3.73% 44.81
57 Newport News 141,990 0.02% 58.80 0.68% 38,453 2.92% 44.58
58 Annandale CDP 31,715 2.11% 67.70 -2.73% 51,747 9.78% 44.58
59 Christiansburg town 16,431 2.20% 68.50 -0.72% 40,562 4.54% 44.51
60 Staunton 19,755 -0.41% 56.70 -0.35% 37,232 5.70% 44.35
61 Lynchburg 62,825 3.11% 52.30 -2.43% 35,149 7.78% 44.22
62 Roanoke 77,745 0.76% 58.00 -1.02% 34,791 5.96% 43.93
63 Leesburg town 31,148 5.44% 73.20 0.41% 61,196 -2.11% 43.58
64 Suffolk 64,631 2.92% 59.20 -0.67% 45,243 2.47% 43.22
65 Highland Springs CDP 12,677 5.77% 61.60 -0.65% 35,883 -0.08% 43.21
66 Manassas Park 10,755 11.64% 72.20 -2.17% 40,618 -1.79% 42.74
67 Lowes Island CDP 8,271 0.78% 73.30 -2.66% 94,263 8.72% 42.57
68 Centreville CDP 55,724 1.53% 73.10 -1.08% 64,027 3.72% 42.23
69 Springfield CDP 25,061 4.44% 62.70 -1.26% 51,644 1.24% 41.84
70 Franklin Farm CDP 14,780 2.55% 72.30 -3.34% 102,147 8.01% 41.67
71 Sterling CDP 20,903 0.53% 75.60 -0.79% 51,293 3.15% 41.56
72 Burke Centre CDP 13,656 1.59% 69.00 -1.43% 68,912 3.84% 41.54
73 Tuckahoe CDP 36,374 0.97% 62.10 -2.97% 51,272 8.04% 41.29
74 Virginia Beach 346,596 1.45% 60.30 -2.27% 44,043 5.37% 40.82
75 Sugarland Run CDP 9,209 9.85% 71.50 -4.54% 52,013 3.29% 40.28
76 Poquoson 9,653 1.91% 61.00 -2.09% 57,218 3.59% 39.92
77 Mechanicsville CDP 28,063 4.76% 66.70 -2.49% 48,798 2.11% 39.91
78 Portsmouth 75,615 -0.58% 54.40 -2.86% 38,621 7.49% 39.70
79 Norfolk 196,929 1.16% 52.10 -1.70% 36,067 3.01% 39.68
80 Blacksburg town 39,052 0.07% 46.60 2.19% 37,113 -6.07% 39.55
81 Chesapeake 172,922 2.43% 61.60 -2.69% 46,526 4.26% 39.53
82 Lake Ridge CDP 30,821 1.42% 70.40 -2.09% 62,159 3.47% 39.39
83 Newington Forest CDP 9,955 -0.82% 72.30 -1.23% 68,568 2.82% 38.98
84 Herndon town 18,078 -0.50% 76.70 -0.78% 56,029 1.15% 38.74
85 Chester CDP 15,984 4.26% 60.20 -6.23% 46,041 9.71% 37.58
86 Burke CDP 32,368 0.01% 67.30 -2.75% 73,614 4.36% 37.40
87 Salem 20,701 1.19% 55.20 -4.17% 43,038 6.80% 37.25
88 Rose Hill CDP 15,244 -1.65% 66.20 -2.22% 68,003 4.20% 37.15
89 Hampton 109,903 -0.73% 55.10 -3.50% 40,376 6.58% 37.06
90 Manassas 28,459 5.60% 67.90 -3.82% 46,165 1.80% 36.96
91 Gloucester Point CDP 8,366 -0.42% 59.80 -3.55% 38,900 5.82% 36.46
92 Williamsburg 12,959 6.52% 43.70 -6.82% 41,542 7.84% 36.19
93 Cave Spring CDP 21,337 3.54% 64.40 -4.73% 47,156 4.80% 35.88
94 Culpeper town 12,178 2.92% 64.10 -3.90% 41,592 2.97% 35.65
95 Wolf Trap CDP 12,671 2.60% 61.70 -3.59% 122,586 1.91% 35.08
96 Madison Heights CDP 8,840 0.25% 58.20 -2.68% 36,548 1.59% 35.06
97 Cascades CDP 8,835 0.37% 71.60 -3.76% 88,663 2.66% 33.49
98 Hopewell 17,254 -0.95% 47.10 -6.36% 35,694 10.34% 33.41
99 Radford 14,521 0.28% 45.50 -2.99% 35,235 0.29% 33.03
100 Glen Allen CDP 11,951 -0.66% 68.70 -4.18% 48,707 4.14% 33.01
101 East Highland Park CDP 11,292 -1.02% 60.00 -5.51% 39,087 7.19% 32.39
102 Brandermill CDP 10,021 2.38% 64.80 -5.68% 55,323 3.89% 31.63
103 Danville 35,076 -1.46% 47.90 -4.39% 32,497 3.94% 31.62
104 Wakefield CDP 9,557 6.33% 60.90 -8.14% 92,051 5.65% 30.57
105 Laurel CDP 13,476 3.47% 63.90 -6.44% 39,156 3.41% 30.18
106 Martinsville 11,359 0.11% 45.10 -8.70% 34,270 11.99% 30.09
107 Manchester CDP 9,059 1.23% 64.00 -5.74% 40,690 1.88% 28.51
108 Timberlake CDP 10,968 -1.91% 59.90 -4.47% 37,774 1.12% 28.27
109 Bristol 14,466 1.00% 48.00 -6.07% 30,772 2.02% 27.63
110 Meadowbrook CDP 14,684 -1.17% 59.50 -6.74% 40,454 2.48% 24.55
111 Winchester 21,052 0.51% 60.40 -6.65% 38,882 -0.75% 23.05
112 Front Royal town 11,834 2.61% 59.70 -6.43% 39,184 -3.16% 23.02
113 Petersburg 26,247 0.25% 45.30 -8.85% 31,187 2.22% 20.22
114 Bailey’s Crossroads CDP 18,355 7.79% 64.80 -7.16% 42,856 -12.65% 16.27

Methodology


The overall score for each city was derived from these measures:
1. Population growth from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the working-age population (16+) comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
2. Employment growth from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the percent of employed residents comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
3. Income growth from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the median earnings for workers comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.

We evaluated 114 cities, towns and communities in Virginia with populations of 10,000 or more.


House in Fredericksburg, Virginia, image via Shutterstock.