The Rise and Fall -- and Rise Again -- of the Population in Richmond, VA

John Egan

Richmond, VA Population Growth Header

As the Richmond, VA, metro area sees its population increase, the city of Richmond can take some of the credit. Reversing years of declines, Richmond is witnessing a surge in population.

For decades, the population of Richmond, VA, has seesawed. Back in 1970, the city had nearly 250,000 residents. Since then, however, the population has gone up and down -- and hasn’t approached the level it was 36 years ago.

Times are changing, though. In 2015, the population of Richmond climbed to 220,289, continuing a growth streak dating back to 2006. In 2007, the city’s population pushed past the 200,000 mark for the first time since 1994. The city’s population jumped by nearly 7.9 percent from 2010 to 2015.

So, what’s behind the population resurgence in Richmond?

Tammy Hawley, a spokeswoman for the City of Richmond, says the administration of Mayor Dwight Jones “has focused on ways to improve the city’s brand, and we’ve made a few decisions that have gotten us on national and global platforms. These decisions have been intentional and seem to be attracting people to our city.”

Here’s one statistic that underscores the city’s attraction: Richmond ranked 42nd on U-Haul’s list of the top 50 U.S. moving destinations in 2015. In the rankings, Richmond was sandwiched between Seattle, WA, and San Jose, CA. Houston, TX, took the top spot.

That’s not the only recent accolade for Richmond. Others include:

  • Fourth hottest housing market in the U.S. (Zillow)
  • Third best place to start a business in the U.S. (Inc.)
  • One of the 10 best cities to relocate to in the U.S. (Lincoln Property Co.)
  • One of 50 best places to live in the U.S. (Men's Journal)

In the not-too-distant past, Richmond was recognized not for being a great place to live but being a great place to die. In the 1980s and ’90s, Richmond had one of the highest murder rates in the country. The city’s notoriety as a crime capital even crept into the early part of this century.

In 2015, Jones recalled that there was a time when few people “were proud to call Richmond home.”

Now, thanks in part to a significant drop in crime, more and more people happily are calling Richmond home. In fact, Richmond was the fastest-growing midsize to large city in Virginia from 2014 to 2015. This infographic examines Richmond’s population rollercoaster ride from the 1950s to today.

If you’re an Richmond resident looking for lawn service, check out our Richmond lawn care page to see how easy it is to schedule service for your home.

Richmond, VA Population Growth Infographic

Infographic Embed Code: