This map compares the population of Northern Virginia with that of Southwest Virginia and the rest of the state, and shows a significant change over the past century.
In 1920, the combined population of area “A”, or the three Virginia counties furthest to the southwest (the counties of Lee, Scott and Wise–the independent city of Norton did not exist), was 96,569. The combined population of area “C”, or the Northern Virginia region (the city of Alexandria and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William–the independent cities of Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park did not exist), was 90,280.
As of the U.S. Census population estimates for 2015, the population of today’s area “C” (the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park) is 2,447,654. Not only is this larger than the population of area “A” (which is 90,525), but it is larger than the populations of area “A” and all of area “B”, a region which covers a large geographic portion of Virginia and includes not only all of Southwest Virginia but most of the Shenandoah Valley area and much of Southside and Central Virginia. The combined population of this region is 2,438,611.
It is worth noting that if this comparison were to use 2010 census data, the area whose population Nova exceeds would be 6 counties smaller (in 2010, area “B” would not have included the counties of Amelia, Culpeper, Goochland, Louisa, Orange and Powhatan).
The rate of population growth of Northern Virginia, compared with the rest of Virginia, has been such that area “B” has grown by one or two counties in each of the years between 2011 and 2015 (it grew to include Orange and Powhatan in 2011, Louisa in 2012, Culpeper in 2013, Powhatan in 2014, and Goochland in 2015).
Source of 2010-2015 data: U.S. Census Bureau 7/1/2015 County Population Estimates
Source of 1920 data: U.S. Census Bureau Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990