Virginia, the 35th largest state in terms of area, is heavily populated, just like most other states around the U.S. Eastern seaboard. Virginia is currently the 12th most populous state, with a total population of 8,631,393. Virginia ranks as the 14th state in terms of population density, measuring 218.6 people per square mile, distributed over a total area of 42,775 square miles. Richmond serves as the state's capital, while Virginia Beach is the most populated city in the Commonwealth. Below is a list of Virginia's biggest population centers.
1. Virginia Beach - 463,766
The coastal city of Virginia Beach is located in southeast Virginia at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The city is located in Virginia Beach County. It is Virginia's largest city and America's 42nd largest city as of 2020, with a population of 459,470. Virginia Beach's population has grown by 0.93% since the most recent census, which is currently expanding at a rate of 0.47% yearly. Virginia Beach, which covers more than 497 square miles, has a population density of 1,895 inhabitants per square mile.
Virginia Beach, a sought-after vacation spot all year round, shines in the summer when tourists swarm to the boardwalk and seashore. Its beachfront is lined with beaches and have a 3-mile walkway. Virginia Beach is well-known for its thriving local dining scene, arts and entertainment, maritime history, and family-friendly attractions. It also has its distinct districts with activities that everyone can take part in. The bayside First Landing State Park commemorates the English colonists' arrival in Jamestown in 1607. Sharks, rays, and sea turtles are displayed at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in habitats with global themes.
2. Chesapeake - 254,864
The Commonwealth of Virginia contains an independent city named Chesapeake. It is the 90th-largest city in the United States and the second-largest city in Virginia as of 2020, with a population of 249,422. Chesapeake's population has grown by 2.18% since the most recent census, and it is currently expanding at a rate of 1.08% each year. Chesapeake has a total area of over 351 square miles and a population density of 753 inhabitants per square mile. The FBI regularly lists Chesapeake as one of the top five safest cities of its size in the nation. Additionally, Chesapeake has more deepwater canal miles than any other city in the nation.
3. Arlington - 244,847
Arlington is the seat of Arlington County in northern Virginia. It is the 95th largest city in the United States and the third largest city in Virginia, with a 2020 population of 238,643. Arlington's population has grown by 2.60% since the most recent census, and it is now expanding at a rate of 1.28% each year. Arlington has a total area of over 26 square miles and a population density of 9,418 persons per square mile. Recently, Niche.com named Arlington the "Best City to Live in America." Additionally, it is known for being the location of the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Air Force Memorial, and the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima).
4. Norfolk - 237,045
Southeast Virginia's Virginia Beach City County is home to the city of Norfolk. With a projected population of 238,005, it will rank as the 99th-largest city in the country and the fourth-largest in Virginia. Since the most recent census, Norfolk's population has declined by -0.40%, and it is currently falling at a rate of -0.20% annually. Norfolk, which covers more than 96 square miles, has a population density of 4,450 individuals per sq. mile. Norfolk is located along the coast. On Chesapeake Bay, it is home to the huge naval base Naval Station Norfolk. The massive World War II cruiser Battleship Wisconsin is on display at Nauticus, a maritime museum. The Chrysler Museum of Art features a sizable collection of glass artwork in addition to paintings and sculptures by European and American artists. Moreover, the riverfront Virginia Zoo is home to farm animals, lions, bears, and birds.
5. Richmond - 231,090
Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is spread across the Virginia's Chesterfield, Goochland, and Henrico counties. The city serves as Henrico County's seat as well. It is the 102nd-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in Virginia, with a 2020 population of 226,610. Richmond's population has increased by 1.98% since the most recent census, and it is currently rising at a rate of 0.98% each year. Richmond, which covers more than 63 square miles, has a population density of 3,856 persons per square mile.
Richmond is well-known for its thriving art and culture scene, delectable cuisine, and breweries that consistently rank at a national level. It is also the state capital and a center for history. Here in Richmond, the creative culture permeates all the city's numerous and unique neighborhoods.
6. Newport News - 187,353
At the confluence of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay, the independent city of Newport News provides a commanding vantage point. It is the 143rd-largest city in the United States and the sixth-largest city in Virginia, with a 2020 population of 186,247. Newport News' population has grown by 0.59% since the most recent census, and it is currently expanding at a rate of 0.30% each year. With a total area of more than 120 square miles, Newport News has 2,716 residents per square mile.
The Enterprise, Kennedy, Washington, Vinson, and Roosevelt are just a few of the American super aircraft carriers that were built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, which was founded in 1886. Immediately upon America's entry into World War II, the U.S. Army designated Newport News as a Port of Embarkation. Newport News is a community with a rich history that includes varied trades like shipbuilding, technological research, and international trade.
7. Alexandria - 163,367
South of Washington, DC, on the Potomac River sits the city of Alexandria in Fairfax County. It is the 168th largest city in the United States and the 7th largest city in Virginia, with a projected population of 159,467 in 2020. Alexandria's population has grown by 2.45% since the most recent census, and it is currently expanding at a rate of 1.21% each year. Alexandria has a total area of over 15 square miles with a population density of 10,939 persons per square mile. It is renowned for its Historic Old Town, a thriving hub of neighborhood boutiques, award-winning restaurants, and spectacular arts and culture that is surrounded by buildings from the colonial era and cobblestone streets.
8. Hampton - 137,090
East Virginia is the state where the independent city of Hampton is located. It is the 215th largest city in the United States and the 8th largest city in Virginia, with a projected population of 137,148 in 2020. Hampton's population has declined by 0.04 percent since the most recent census, and it is currently falling at a pace of -0.02 percent annually. With a total area of about 136 square miles, Hampton has a population density of 2,664 persons per square mile.
Hampton, which is blessed with miles of shoreline and spectacular water vistas, is situated at the Chesapeake Bay's mouth. The city is located right in the middle of both the East Coast and the Hampton Roads region. Affordable housing, easy access to serene beaches and waterfronts, and good weather are just a few of the advantages Hampton residents enjoy. The city is home to a thriving arts scene, unique festivals, iconic events, and cultural landmarks like the Fort Monroe National Monument, Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton History Museum, Hampton Coliseum, The American Theatre, port excursions, and cruises, among others.
9. Roanoke - 100,607
Virginia's Botetourt, Montgomery, and Roanoke counties all contain the city of Roanoke. The city serves as Roanoke County's seat as well. It is America's 346th largest city and the state's 9th largest city as of 2020, with a population of 100,011. Roanoke's population has grown by 0.60% since the most recent census, and the city is currently expanding at a rate of 0.30% each year. Roanoke has a total area of 43 square miles and a population density of 2,366 inhabitants per square mile.
Roanoke is nestled in Southwest Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountain city serves as a center for innovation. The Roanoke Star, also called the Mill Mountain Star, is a neon landmark that stands atop Mill Mountain and provides a view of the city. Roanoke is an ideal destination to live, work, and play since it has miles of trails, various parks, a bustling downtown, and welcoming neighborhoods with immense charm.
10. Portsmouth - 98,391
Portsmouth is located in southwest Virginia, on the other side of the Elizabeth River from Norfolk. It is the 356th largest city in the United States and the 10th largest city in Virginia, with a population estimate of 97,915. Portsmouth's population has grown by 0.49% since the most recent census, and it is now rising at a rate of 0.24% annually. Portsmouth, which covers an area of about 47 square miles, has a population density of 2,955 people per square mile.
With its collection of historic homes dating back three centuries, unique mix of independently owned restaurants and quirky businesses, and breathtaking shoreline along the busy Hampton Roads harbor, Portsmouth, Virginia's historic seaport, is a treasure of Coastal Virginia.
30 Largest Cities In Virginia