It’s no New Jersey (with a whopping 1,200 people crammed into every square mile) and New York (fuggedaboutit!), but Virginia does rank as among the more urbanized states in the nation, based on a new analysis.
The Old Dominion sits at #19 on the list of most urbanized states, based on a variety of criteria brought together by Porch.com, using data from FiveThirtyEight, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Using the data, researchers compiled a score for each state that “better reflects population clustering, giving it an advantage over a simple population density or urban land-use measure,” analysts noted.
Researchers also included the urban land area percentage of total, the population density and the total population as part of the equation.
Virginia’s score was 10.91, representing a number of factors:
• The percentage of land area across the commonwealth considered urban totaled 6.9 percent, compared to 3.1 percent for the nation as a whole.
• The population density of 216.1 per square mile compares to 92.9 nationally.
• With an estimated 8.54 million residents, Virginia totals about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population.
(Find the full data at https://porch.com/advice/most-urbanized-states.)
Nationally, New York ranked as the most urban state in the nation, with a composite score of 12.56, followed by New Jersey (12.24), California (12.19), Massachusetts (11.84) and – proving that one does not need a significant statewide population density to be considered an urban hotbed – Nevada (11.77).
Rounding out the top 10: Rhode Island (11.72), Maryland (11.71), Illinois (11.62), Florida (11.46) and Connecticut (11.41).
On the other end of the scale, Wyoming and Montana were seen as the least urban, with scores lower than 8.5 and statewide population densities of less than 10 people per square mile – or less than 1 percent that of New Jersey, which tops that list at 1,208 per square mile.
The COVID-19 pandemic has punctuated an otherwise steady trend towards increased urbanization in the U.S. that began not long after the founding of the nation.
Urban areas now comprise about 80 percent of the total U.S. population (despite occupying just 3 percent of the land area), having overtaken the rural population in 1920 and kept on going ever since.
What will the future bring? The Porch analysts are wondering that, too.
“This pattern [toward increasing urbanization] may not hold in the coming years,” they said. “With the rise in working from home seen during the pandemic, many city-dwellers are rethinking their location and moving to more affordable and less crowded parts of the country.”