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D.C. area is biggest source of new RVA residents, Census Bureau data shows

The Richmond metro area has been growing, and new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows where people are moving from — especially the D.C. suburbs, Hampton Roads and the New York and Philadelphia areas. RVA also receives a lot of international migration, particularly from Asia. The data also shows where former Richmonders move to — notably, Atlanta.

Capital News Service

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By Hannah Eason

Kayla Walker is from the Virginia Beach area but moved to Richmond to pursue a pharmaceutical career. She says diversity, better opportunities and Virginia Commonwealth University’s pharmacy program influenced her decision.

“There’s literally all walks of life in Richmond, versus in Virginia Beach, it’s very military- and family-based,” Walker said. “In Richmond, it’s sort of a whole spectrum of people.”

Walker was one of more than 60,000 people who moved to the Richmond metro area since 2013. The area’s population increased by about 5% during that time period, and new data shows where new Richmond residents have moved from.

The U.S. Census Bureau released data estimating how many people moved from one place to another. The data shows the migration between metro areas, states and counties.

“These data tables highlight the geographic mobility of people between counties, metropolitan statistical areas, minor civil divisions in some states, and municipalities (municipios) in Puerto Rico,” the U.S. Census Bureau stated in releasing the statistics. “The five-year data provide estimates of in-migration, out-migration and net migration of movers and nonmovers between origin and destination of these geographies.”

The Richmond metro area — which includes the cities of Richmond and Petersburg; the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover; and 12 other localities — has seen about 10,000 people move annually from the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. The numbers are estimates from surveys conducted by the bureau, and they have a margin of error. The influx of people from D.C., for example, could be 1,000 higher or lower.

At the same time, about 7,000 people a year moved from the Richmond area to the D.C. area. So the Richmond area had a net gain from the Washington region of about 3,000 people annually, according to the Census Bureau.

Richmond also saw a large amount of migration from the Virginia Beach-Norfolk metro area — about 7,900 people relocated from Tidewater to River City a year. Around 6,300 Richmond residents went in the opposite direction — giving the state capital region a net gain of about 1,600 people a year from Tidewater.

Internationally, approximately 3,000 people migrated to Richmond from Asia, and 1,000 from Europe.

The data shows that the Richmond area also had net gains in migration from the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area (more than 1,700 people per year); the Philadelphia metro area (about 650 annually); Lynchburg (around 550); and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area (about 450).

The Census Bureau estimated that about 500 people moved to Richmond from the Atlanta, Georgia, area. At the same time, however, almost 1,500 people moved from Richmond to the Atlanta region, making a net loss of about 1,000 for RVA.

Grayson Glueck, owner of social media company Grayson Media, was one of the estimated 7,000 people who moved from Richmond to the D.C. area last year.

After graduating from Radford University, she moved to Richmond in 2017. In 2018, she moved to Fredericksburg and started developing her social media marketing, photography and videography company.

“Both places I lived in Richmond had less traffic and people than I have now,” Glueck said. “Where I live now, if you leave between four and five you’re stuck in bumper to bumper.”

Chris Joseph, a real estate agent with 28 years of experience, says there are many reasons the Richmond area is attractive to D.C.-area residents, such as lower taxes, affordability and easy access to the ocean and mountains.

Joseph says many businesses are opening offices in the Central Virginia region, and the ability to work remotely from Richmond has become more common. With transportation options like carpooling, Amtrak and driving on Interstate 95, living in Richmond and commuting to D.C. is still a common option.

“The distance between Richmond and DC is getting shorter and shorter, but takes a lot of time and is very expensive,” the RE/MAX Commonwealth associate broker said. “It’s much more affordable and less stressful when it comes to commuting.”

Recent college graduate Mohamed Bushra moved from Richmond to the D.C. metro area after getting a job at the Embassy of Qatar.

“I wanted to come back to where I grew up,” Bushra said, “and D.C. is a much bigger city with more opportunities.”

While he is closer to his job living in Springfield, he says traffic and affordability are still prominent issues.

“If you’re looking for a one-bedroom, in Richmond you can get that for like $1,000, and I used to think that was expensive,” Bushra said. “But over here, you can pay $2,000 for a studio apartment, and it’s tiny.”

Working in the public relations department of the embassy, and serving as “the connection between the diplomats and the outside world in the U.S.,” Bushra says the traffic can be overwhelming.

He says it often takes him about 90 minutes to drive to work each morning, and a five-mile trip can frequently take him half an hour.

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The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

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Government

United Way offering free virtual tax preparation service ahead of July 15th federal tax filing deadline

Virginia households earning under $66,000 are eligible for United Way’s free virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

RVAHub Staff

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With the federal tax-filing deadline extended to July 15, and Virginians receiving an extension for state returns, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is offering free virtual tax preparation services to households with incomes below $66,000.

Traditionally, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is held at 16 tax sites across the region, but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has shifted its focus to assisting taxpayers virtually until the tax sites can safely be reopened.

United Way partnered with Code for America to bring GetYourRefund to the region, allowing its local team of IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers to virtually assist taxpayers with completing and electronically filing both federal and state returns. To utilize the program, participants need just a smartphone with a camera or a computer with access to a scanner.

The program also encourages people to think about ways to save, implement financial best practices, and make plans for achieving financial independence. And for those with low to moderate-income, the service helps eligible taxpayers take advantage of potential tax savings through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

“For many around the region, the last few months have been difficult to navigate, but we’re pleased to be able to ease some of the anxiety and stress that those who haven’t filed yet might be feeling,” said James Taylor, president & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We knew a shift to virtual preparation was important because this service has made a tangible difference for local families over the past 10 years, particularly for those who have taken advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

In 2019, local United Way volunteers helped secure more than $3 million in tax refunds for 3,667 households in our area. Families who took advantage of the service received a total of $838,300 in EITC funds from the IRS. The average household income for customers was $22,900.

Find more information here.

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Downtown

New report finds Virginia Capital Trail generated $8.9 million in local economic activity last year

The report concluded that the Capital Trail contributed approximately $8.9 million in economic activity during FY 2018-19. The Trail which has seen a 65% increase in trail usage in March and a 46% increase in April over last year, is a driving stimulus for local business, tourism, and economic activity, the report found.

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The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation recently released an economic impact report by the University of Richmond in collaboration with the Institute for Service Research, the findings were significant.

The report concluded that the Capital Trail contributed approximately $8.9 million in economic activity during FY 2018-19. The Trail which has seen a 65% increase in trail usage in March and a 46% increase in April over last year, is a driving stimulus for local business, tourism, and economic activity, the report found.

The full economic impact report can be found here.

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Food & Drink

No Kid Hungry Virginia offers families access to free meals for kids this summer via text message

The summer months are already one of the hungriest times of year for many children. The need will be even greater this summer with more than 10% of Virginians facing unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RVAHub Staff

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Free meal programs for children will continue to be available across Virginia during the summer. No Kid Hungry Virginia encourages families to text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free summer food sites organized by school districts and community organizations.

Meal sites are offering a variety of distribution models to help safely connect students with meals and promote social distancing, including “Grab and Go” service and food delivery along bus routes while passing out multiple days’ worth of meals at one-time.

The summer months are already one of the hungriest times of year for many children. The need will be even greater this summer with more than 10% of Virginians facing unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent estimates show that as many as 1 in 4 children could experience food insecurity in the aftermath of this crisis.

“A big challenge is making sure families know how to find resources,” said Sarah Steely, No Kid Hungry Virginia Associate Director. “Please share the texting number with family and friends and on social networks, and check with your local school division for the most detailed information. We need to make everyone is aware of free meal resources in their communities.”

The Summer Meals program is funded by the USDA and operated by school districts and local organizations. Schools have been utilizing the Summer Meals program to operate emergency meal sites throughout the pandemic. Families can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 and type in a zip code to find nearby summer meal sites, along with operating days and times. No application or registration is required at sites.

Summer hunger can have a long-term impact on a child’s health, ability to learn, and general well-being. No Kid Hungry Virginia is focused on providing funding and strategic assistance to schools and local organizations implementing summer meal programs to help them reach more kids during the pandemic.

Visit va.nokidhungry.org for more information about No Kid Hungry Virginia’s work.

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