Weldon Cooper Center estimates show regional growth of 2.5 percent since 2020 Census

The population of the six localities that make up the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission grew by 2.5 percent between the 2020 U.S. Census and the beginning of the fiscal year. 

That’s according to the latest population estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia. These are used by the Commonwealth of Virginia for all manner of planning purposes. 

“Population estimates are an important tool used by a variety of state agencies in their planning processes — from developing budgets to determining salaries for public officials,” reads an overview of the website for the data that was made available yesterday. 

Note that the 2020 figure for Charlottesville is Weldon Cooper Center’s data and not the U.S. Census data

The entire TJPDC region is estimated to have a population of 270,139, up from 263,617 in the U.S. 2020 Census. 

Albemarle County is estimated to have added 3,100 people in two years and three months for a total of 115,495 people. That’s an increase of 2.8 percent since the 2020 Census. 

Louisa County had a 5.7 percent increase for a total of 39,725 people on July 1, 2022. The 2020 Census counted 37,596 people. 

Greene County’s estimate is 21,165, an increase of 613 people. That’s a 3 percent increase. 

Fluvanna County added 594 people over the period to an estimated population of 27,843. That’s a 2.2 percent increase. 

Charlottesville has the second smallest increase of the six localities with 0.4 percent with a 2022 estimate of 51,278. That’s 228 more people. The numbers for Charlottesville deserve a little explanation. 

“Across the country, localities with relatively large college populations, including some Virginia localities, were often undercounted in the April 1st, 2020 Census Count,” reads the website for the population estimates.

The U.S. Census counted 46,553 people in Charlottesville on April 1, 2020. That was after the University of Virginia canceled in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester due to the COVID pandemic. 

Weldon Cooper instead is using their own 2020 population estimates as a benchmark for Charlottesville, as well as Harrisonburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Montgomery County, Prince Edward County, Radford, and Williamsburg.

“Once the remainder of the 2020 Census data is released later this year, we will further examine the discrepancies in college town populations and make additional adjustments if needed,” the website continues. 

Nelson County rounds out the TJPDC region with a 38 person increase over two years with a population of 14,813. That’s a 0.3 percent increase, the lowest in the region. 

Regional conversations about population should also take Buckingham County into consideration given its proximity to Scottsville as well as its inclusion in the federally-defined Metropolitan Statistical Area. Buckingham takes Louisa’s place for these purposes. 

Buckingham County has an estimated population with 14 fewer people than on April 1, 2020. The total estimate is 16,810. 

The Charlottesville MSA increased by two percent to a population of 230,594. That makes it the 6th largest metro area in Virginia, in between Lynchburg at 5th and Blacksburg at 7th. 

A look at Virginia’s metropolitan areas (view the data here)

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the January 31, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

One thought on “Weldon Cooper Center estimates show regional growth of 2.5 percent since 2020 Census

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: