Howdy, neighbor: New Census data maps where new Richmonders are from

Hannah Eason, News Editor

The population of the Richmond metro area has been increasing in recent years, and new data shows where new Richmonders are moving from.

The U.S. Census Bureau released data estimating how many people moved from one place to another. The data, collected by survey, shows the migration between metro areas, states and counties.

The Richmond metro area — which includes the cities of Richmond and Petersburg; the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover; and 12 other localities — has seen about 10,000 people move annually from the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. The numbers are estimates from surveys conducted by the bureau, and they have a margin of error. The influx of people from D.C., for example, could be 1,000 higher or lower.

At the same time, about 7,000 people a year moved from the Richmond area to the D.C. area. So the Richmond area had a net gain from the Washington region of about 3,000 people annually, according to the Census Bureau.

Richmond also saw a large amount of migration from the Virginia Beach-Norfolk metro area — about 7,900 people relocated from Tidewater to the River City each year. Around 6,300 Richmond residents went in the opposite direction — giving the state capital region a net gain of about 1,600 people a year from Tidewater.

Internationally, approximately 3,000 people migrated to Richmond from Asia, and 1,000 from Europe.

Richmond Area Net Gains in Migration:

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area: more than 1,700 people per year
  • Philadelphia metro area: around 670 people per year
  • Lynchburg, Virginia: around 600 people per year
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area: around 450 people per year

At the same time, people tended to move out of the Richmond area to the Atlanta area (a net loss of about 1,000 a year).

Grayson Glueck, owner of social media company Grayson Media, was one of the estimated 7,000 people who moved from Richmond to the D.C. area last year.

After graduating from Radford University, she moved to Richmond in 2017. In 2018 she moved to Fredericksburg and started developing her social media marketing, photography and videography company.

“Both places I lived in Richmond had less traffic and people than I have now,” Glueck said. “Where I live now, if you leave between four and five you’re stuck in bumper to bumper.”

Chris Joseph, a 28-year real-estate veteran, says there are many reasons the Richmond area is attractive to D.C. residents, such as lower taxes, affordability and easy access to the ocean and mountains.

Information compiled by Hannah Eason. Infographic by Jeffrey Pohanka.

Joseph says many businesses are opening offices in the Central Virginia region, and the ability to work remotely from Richmond has also become more common. With transportation options such as carpooling, Amtrak and driving on Interstate 95, living in Richmond and commuting to D.C. is still a common option.

“The distance between Richmond and D.C. is getting shorter and shorter, but takes a lot of time and is very expensive,” the RE/MAX Commonwealth associate broker said. “It’s much more affordable and less stressful when it comes to commuting.”

Recent VCU graduate Mohamed Bushra moved from Richmond to the D.C. metro area after getting a job at the Qatar Embassy.

“I wanted to come back to where I grew up,” Bushra said, “and D.C. is a much bigger city with more opportunities.”

While he’s closer to his job living in Springfield, he says traffic and affordability are still prominent issues.

“If you’re looking for a one bedroom, in Richmond you can get that for like $1,000, and I used to think that was expensive,” Bushra said. “But over here, you can pay $2,000 for a studio apartment, and it’s tiny.” 

Working in the public relations department of the embassy, and serving as “the connection between the diplomats and the outside world in the U.S.,” Bushra says the traffic can be overwhelming.

He says it often takes him about 90 minutes to drive to work each morning, and a five-mile trip can frequently take him half an hour.

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