Estimates show population growth in state, local areas

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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Virginia’s population grew from 2022 to 2023, as did the populations of Isle of Wight County, Franklin and Southampton County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Program.

The Virginia Public Access Project presented the population estimates at, noting that the estimates show the statewide population grew by nearly 37,000 from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, which translates to a 0.4% uptick.

The U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Program also measured the populations of 133 localities in Virginia, including Isle of Wight, Franklin and Southampton.


From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, the city of Franklin experienced an estimated 0.8% increase in its population. This growth rate ranked 43rd out of 133.

The estimated population numbers were as follows:

  • 2022 population: 8,274
  • 2023 population: 8,339

Robert “Bobby” Cutchins

“Any growth is always exciting,” Franklin Mayor Robert “Bobby” Cutchins said in reaction to the 0.8% increase. “It’s a start.”

He noted there are many reasons that living in a small city can work for residents in a positive manner. He started by mentioning home prices and continued the list.

“You get more for your dollar in this area than you do going back eastbound,” he said. “We’re still close enough to the heart of the Tidewater region, but we’re just far enough away to make it comfortable. We also had several houses that were built, and they sell fast. They’ve hit the need of what people were looking for, and they were new construction, so people were jumping on it.

“Franklin has less violence than the neighboring cities,” he continued. “As mentioned with the heart of the Tidewater region, we’re close enough but nowhere near as bad from a traffic side of things. It’s kind of like a comfort zone. It’s warming, and it just feels a little more homy. That’s my take.”

Cutchins described Franklin’s 43rd-ranked growth rate out of 133 as “pretty good.”

“We have a lot of growth going on around us, like all the warehouses and stuff in Suffolk and Isle of Wight and back through,” he said, noting that a lot of people move to Franklin to be part of a bedroom community. “So there’s a lot of good positive things, and we’ve got the nature, agriculture, the land out here, it’s a different feeling. I just feel it’s a wonderful place to live.”

Wynndolyn H. Copeland

Franklin Vice Mayor Wynndolyn H. Copeland said, “I am elated to know that the population has increased and looking forward to the continued growth in our community. A +0.8% population increase in Franklin, while seemingly small, could signal economic growth or stability in the area. More residents means an increased demand for goods and services, potentially boosting local businesses.”

When asked what she thinks accounts for the city’s population growth, she said, “I think that the population has increased due to housing affordability and the new housing development projects. This increase has attracted more residents to the city. People moving into the area are seeking a small city atmosphere, new lifestyle preferences and the overall benefits of a relatively quiet and peaceful environment.”

Interim Franklin City Manager Darlene Burcham just started with the city on Monday, April 1, but she provided some analysis of Franklin’s recent growth by drawing from her more than 20 years of public service in the government sector.

“While some localities are experiencing a decline in their population, the growth in the city of Franklin, while small, is an indication that new residents are being drawn to our community, which I attribute to the council’s progressive leadership and the town’s employees’ commitment to quality service,” she said. “I would anticipate continued population growth in the future.”


Alan W. Edwards

From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, Southampton County experienced an estimated 0.4% increase in its population. This growth rate ranked 58th out of 133.

The estimated population numbers were as follows:

  • 2022 population: 17,899
  • 2023 population: 17,975

Southampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dr. Alan W. Edwards stated that this population data indicates that people are moving to the county to escape city congestion and hostile environments, and they are seeking the peace, quiet and safety of Southampton’s country way and philosophy of life.

He noted that there were no surprises in the data for him.

Brian S. Thrower

Southampton County Administrator Brian S. Thrower said his overall reaction to the population information is that it is good that Southampton County has a positive growth rate. 

“Although our rate of growth is not as high as some of our neighbors to the east — Isle of Wight, Suffolk and Franklin — it is better than our neighbors to the west — Greensville, Emporia and Brunswick — who have projected population decreases,” he said.

Accounting for Southampton’s 0.4% increase, he said, “I believe some of the projected growth is coming from people who have moved from more urban areas to enjoy our rural way of life here in Southampton County.”


From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, Isle of Wight County experienced an estimated 1.4% increase in its population. Out of the 133 localities measured, it ranked 15th with this growth rate. 

Donald T. Robertson

The estimated population numbers were as follows:

  • 2022 population: 40,135
  • 2023 population: 40,711

“This is generally consistent with other data we have seen relative to the county’s population growth,” Assistant Isle of Wight County Administrator Donald T. Robertson said.

He noted that Isle of Wight has experienced a healthy rate of growth over the past decade. 

“The growth is attributable to a number of factors including the desire of many people to seek housing in a rural community with easy access to the amenities of more suburban and urban parts of Hampton Roads,” he said.