The Washington metropolitan area lost nearly 30,000 people from mid-2020 to mid-2021, according to new Census Bureau population data, making the region among a number of large urban cores to see a decline over the first year of COVID.
The decline was largely the result of more than 54,000 people leaving the area during the one-year period. It was offset by a net increase in births (about 73,000) minus deaths (about 47,500).
In Northern Virginia, the inner suburbs saw declines, with Arlington’s estimated population down from 238,766 to 232,965 and Alexandria’s off from 159,097 to 154,706.
Fairfax County also posted a decline, from 1,148,472 to 1,139,720.
But in the outer suburbs, there was growth: Prince William County’s estimated population rose from 482,738 to 484,472, while Loudoun County’s was up from 422,597 to 427,592.
The drop in D.C.-area population came as the nation’s overall population grew an estimated 393,000 during the same period, with the bulk of that increase (about 70%) coming in the slightly fewer than 400 metropolitan areas dotted across the nation.
Nationally, the largest mid-2020-to-mid-2021 population dropoff came in the nation’s most populous metro area, New York City, which lost an estimated 328,000 residents. Other big losers included Los Angeles (down 176,000), San Francisco (off 116,000), Chicago (down 92,000) and San Jose (off 43,000).
On the flip side were a number of metro areas – large and small – that saw big bumps up, including Atlanta, Austin, Boise, Dallas, Raleigh, Jacksonville, Houston, Tampa and Fort Myers/Cape Coral.
Nationally, the Census Bureau reported about 3.58 million births and 3.43 million deaths during the one-year period, with net migration from outside the U.S. borders totaling 243,000.
Virginia’s estimated population rose from 8,632,044 in July 2020 to 8,642,274 in July 2021.