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Commonwealth metro migration

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Its location has led the Richmond metro to be among the fastest growing areas in the state.

Population is a key factor in determining the health of a region. Of the nine metro areas in Virginia the Richmond metro is among the state’s fastest growing over the last three years. 


A.J. NWOKO: According to a recent population study, the second fastest growing metro area in the state is Richmond. And a big contributing factor is RVA’s location, which isn't just drawing new residents, it's attracting new businesses as well.

PAUL PATENAUDE (MOVED TO RICHMOND IN 2023): And we said, "Okay, where do we want to move next?"

A.J. NWOKO: Paul Patenaude is used to a life in motion.

PAUL PATENAUDE: We've lived in, I'm going to say seven or eight different states in many different cities.

A.J. NWOKO: But after 10 years in Greenville, South Carolina, the retired engineer says, he and his wife were finally ready to wind down in the capital of the Commonwealth.

PAUL PATENAUDE: Just over a year now. We said we want to be close to family. Close to the ocean, but close to the mountains, not too far. Close to an interesting center, like Washington, DC. A lot of things, and you boil them all together, and Richmond was in the top tier.

A.J. NWOKO: Factors that Greater Richmond Partnership President and CEO, Jennifer Wakefield, says have also been key to Central Virginia's growth.

JENNIFER WAKEFIELD (PRES. & CEO, GREATER RICHMOND PARTNERSHIP): Nearly half of all the new residents into Virginia have been locating in the Richmond MSA. We work with our local partners at the city of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico to recruit new companies to this market.

A.J. NWOKO: There are approximately 1.3 million people in Virginia.

JENNIFER WAKEFIELD: We are a perfectly size Goldilocks. Overwhelmingly, one of our largest advantages is our location. We are within 2 hours of the nation's capital. We are the capital of the state. But our number one feature and strength is really our people. And we are continuing to grow.

A.J. NWOKO: Wakefield says Virginia has been growing at a rate of around 1% a year since 2020.

Adding about 30 new residents daily. But according to a University of Virginia study, it's still just the second fastest growing area in the state with a much smaller Winchester leading Virginia with a 4.6% population growth in the past three years. But with recent expansions of companies like Amazon and CoStar, Wakefield says Richmond’s size and location gives it an edge when competing for economic opportunities.

JENNIFER WAKEFIELD: We have been named the number 11 hottest job market by the Wall Street Journal recently. And so that in turn attracts other companies to want to think about considering locating in Richmond, Virginia. To have positive migration into a community it makes sure that it's a healthy community, that there’s new dollars that are flowing into the community, and that there are new jobs for residents that are here, and for those that are choosing to relocate into this market.

A.J. NWOKO: Which can directly

impact the value of goods and services.

JENNIFER WAKEFIELD: When you lose population like New York, and a San Francisco, a Chicago is that companies tend to leave those markets. Which means jobs tend to leave those markets, which mean average salaries tend to leave those markets. And so, it puts those communities at a disadvantage.

A.J. NWOKO: For VPM News, I'm A.J. Nwoko.


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