Harrisonburg population projected to see big increase in next decade

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Valley is expected to see continued population growth over the next few decades, according to a recently released projection from the University of Virginia.

Using past trends and municipality planning, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service forecast Virginia to become the tenth largest state in the country by 2040. Right now, it holds the number 12 spot.

Over the next decade, the center expects population to grow in all counties and cities in our area except Page, which is expected to see a slight drop.

Harrisonburg stands out with a double-digit increase in the number of people living in the city by 2025.

"It's a vibrant area. We have a great, growing university community," said Brian Shull, the city's Economic Development Director. "We have great healthcare in the area. People want to come and live here. It's a testament to that."

Shull said economic planners use projections like the one from UVA to attract and keep businesses.

""When we talk with our existing employers and new employers, they want to know, 'where's my future workforce coming from?' So we show those numbers," said Shull.

The center also predicts more people to move to Virginia's urban areas, especially in the northern part of the state. Rural areas are expected to experience little growth or a decline in population.

In addition, the economic and racial divide between Virginia's cities and rural areas is expected to become more sharp.

Population projections from the UVA Weldon Cooper Center between 2016-2025