On Monday, January 28th, the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service released population estimates for 2018 at the local (county and city) and state levels. The table below summarizes population changes within the West Piedmont Planning District and the Commonwealth of Virginia from the 2010 Census to July 1, 2018, the time at which the Weldon Cooper Center estimated the state’s population.
The Weldon Cooper population estimates are not to be confused with the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), most recently released in December 2018. In contrast to the ACS, the Weldon Cooper Center estimates rely on formulas factoring in grades 1 – 8 school enrollments, licensed drivers, births and deaths over a three-year period, and total housing availability to establish a household population at the local level. The ACS, by contrast, utilizes other factors to estimate population including federal income tax returns, and other records. For additional information on data methodology used by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service and the U.S. Census Bureau, please visit the University of Virginia Locality Population Estimates Methodology, at https://demographics.coopercenter.org/sites/demographics/files/VA_PopEstimates_LocalityMethodology_Jan2015.pdf, which serves as the source for the information contained within this paragraph.
The population estimates summarized in the table show that each locality comprising the West Piedmont Planning District exhibited a population decline between the 2010 Census and the Weldon Cooper 2018 population estimates. The Planning District, as a whole, experienced a 3.4%, or 8,478, population decrease. By contrast, the population of the State of Virginia increased by 6.5%, to 8,517,685. An interesting note is that the City of Roanoke surpassed the 100,000 population threshold by 33 persons and, according to a recent Roanoke Times article, the last time the city’s population was above 100,000 was during the early 1980s.