From military bases in the north to agriculture in the south and computer chip manufacturing in between, Virginia is a state with a lively, diverse economy.
The birthplace of the first American colony is home to a thriving economy that is No. 9 among states in its contribution to the nation’s GDP, according to a report by the U.S. Commerce Department.
If you’re looking for a place that is growing in a state where geography has a direct influence on the health of regional economies, it pays to know where to move. NerdWallet crunched the data to help you find the cities and communities that are growing the fastest. Our series has analyzed states across America to determine which cities are “on the rise” based on growth of the working-age population, employment and income.
When we analyzed the numbers from 2010 to 2012 for Virginia, certain trends became apparent. Here’s what our top places had in common:
  • Northern Virginia is growing. The fast-growing places were largely communities in northern counties — including Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun.
  • Employment is high. While employment didn’t dip in Virginia as much as in many other states during the Great Recession, the rate isn’t growing as quickly as other places.
  • Virginians are getting wealthier. All of the places in our top 20 boasted income gains from 2010 to 2012.
Virginia residents were largely insulated from large-scale job losses during the recession, with the unemployment rate never climbing above 7.4%. However, recovery has been slow, and the most recent jobless rate of 5.6% is unchanged from a year ago. The top three areas that added jobs — Waynesboro, Fredericksburg and Kings Park West — all saw employment grow less than 5%.
Virginia’s struggles are evident in its private-sector employment, which grew only 6.1% since the nation’s low point in February 2010. The state’s lagging expansion is clear, especially when compared with its neighbors: Maryland saw 6.9% growth and employment in Washington, D.C., rebounded 13.0% in that time.
But despite the state’s slow growth, Virginia’s unemployment rate of 5.6% is lower than Maryland, the nation’s capital and the national average of 5.9%. Virginia’s relative health as it slowly recovers explains why places on our list, such as Broadlands, can be second in the state in overall employment, while only seeing jobs increase 1.8% from 2010 to 2012.
The mixed employment picture isn’t reflected in residents’ incomes: Virginia is ranked 10th in per capita income in the U.S., and the state is home to four of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the nation, including Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington, according to the most recent American Community Survey.
In some places on our list, income is growing rather quickly. With a 19.7% increase,Gainesville had the third-highest income growth rate on our list, followed by strong gains of 19.2% in Mount Vernon and 13.8% in Fredericksburg.
Working-age population is also seeing a healthy increase in Virginia. Neabsco, our top spot, grew 32.7% from 2010 to 2012, followed by a 27.1% increase in Brambleton and 14% in Linton Hall. Our top 10 cities on the rise show that the growing working-age population is in line with overall gains, primarily in counties in the north — Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William — which outpace the median state growth rate.
It appears that Virginia has a solid economic foundation to support its potential for growth. Now, the only question is: How much longer will it take for the state to embrace a larger expansion?
Here’s our list of the 20 cities and places on the rise in Virginia. Take a look at our methodology below to see how we calculated U.S. Census Bureau data to find our top cities.
nerdwallet

City2012 Working-age population2010-2012 Working-age population growth2012 Employment rate2010-2012 Employment growth2012 Median income2010-2012 Median income growthOverall growth score
1Neabsco CDP9,06932.70%70.101.89%62,5753.34%75.94
2Fredericksburg20,2265.01%57.304.18%42,73213.75%68.24
3McNair CDP13,76712.90%77.501.71%79,07310.53%65.64
4South Riding CDP16,3757.69%75.002.18%90,93612.85%64.65
5Broadlands CDP7,63912.42%78.801.81%106,6888.26%63.24
6Linton Hall CDP25,06513.93%76.300.66%72,8399.02%62.40
7Brambleton CDP6,99627.06%80.00-2.32%102,2642.81%60.07
8Falls Church9,5456.45%71.103.34%88,0484.22%58.00
9Mount Vernon CDP9,6293.93%62.20-1.74%86,10119.16%57.84
10Reston CDP47,4387.58%72.200.84%78,6428.68%57.09
11Merrifield CDP12,1975.21%78.403.29%75,1313.89%56.50
12Kingstowne CDP11,334-3.87%73.402.95%84,92411.39%55.24
13Waynesboro16,559-0.15%56.104.47%34,7564.08%55.05
14Marumsco CDP27,46913.84%68.500.15%40,1342.71%54.84
15Tysons Corner CDP16,64514.50%70.30-2.23%85,1487.30%53.98
16Oakton CDP27,3353.95%71.201.57%81,6436.58%53.75
17Short Pump CDP19,0118.76%70.10-0.43%76,1697.10%53.38
18Harrisonburg42,3002.78%48.801.04%33,3798.56%53.37
19Gainesville CDP8,0692.29%70.10-3.31%79,05619.70%53.04
20Colonial Heights14,079-0.01%58.501.92%41,2147.32%51.97
21Lansdowne CDP8,25318.75%67.30-0.30%87,444-3.53%51.79
22Arlington CDP178,8785.63%74.900.67%73,8515.08%51.46
23Kings Park West CDP10,801-6.29%67.304.18%72,8496.25%51.21
24Great Falls CDP12,0104.07%60.500.33%138,0696.68%50.86
25McLean CDP37,3574.02%61.20-1.13%127,22210.21%50.62
26Fairfax Station CDP9,458-0.69%65.702.18%97,7165.85%50.59
27Sudley CDP11,360-0.28%70.70-1.26%44,09414.17%50.53
28Lincolnia CDP17,0874.96%69.403.27%54,759-1.95%50.49
29Fort Hunt CDP12,5294.66%59.80-1.48%121,62910.39%50.47
30West Falls Church CDP22,127-0.32%73.802.36%55,7414.88%50.40
31Lakeside CDP9,918-3.14%66.402.95%40,9535.42%49.99
32Idylwood CDP13,5866.75%75.800.93%67,9641.70%49.75
33Dranesville CDP8,910-4.51%68.30-2.98%103,72121.23%49.54
34Vienna town12,0070.36%69.301.61%80,1755.23%49.47
35Groveton CDP11,0212.99%68.300.74%46,9485.09%49.38
36Charlottesville37,5652.35%56.10-1.58%42,77011.53%49.38
37Hybla Valley CDP11,7586.95%68.50-0.29%42,1863.87%49.00
38Montclair CDP15,0794.32%69.300.58%71,6833.92%48.98
39Bull Run CDP10,46111.38%76.40-1.29%47,5432.49%48.92
40Huntington CDP9,8054.35%76.10-1.17%60,2407.72%48.36
41Hollins CDP12,4231.16%60.202.21%42,9441.74%48.21
42Fair Oaks CDP24,6945.42%78.600.64%70,2152.02%48.20
43Fairfax18,6362.73%64.400.94%61,1833.07%47.69
44West Springfield CDP18,2782.91%66.50-0.60%75,5486.78%47.63
45Cherry Hill CDP11,0692.99%69.90-1.13%53,5937.90%47.47
46Alexandria118,2114.41%72.80-1.09%64,9676.53%47.45
47Lorton CDP14,5731.21%68.90-1.71%53,66210.64%47.19
48Buckhall CDP12,0809.64%69.10-0.29%80,129-0.43%47.07
49Richmond169,9732.16%57.60-0.69%39,5617.03%47.01
50Woodlawn CDP (Fairfax County)14,9570.01%74.003.79%39,701-2.96%46.54
51Newington CDP9,7940.55%68.80-2.41%75,73912.21%46.42
52Bon Air CDP13,2314.52%65.10-1.36%51,3846.03%46.36
53Chantilly CDP17,5196.39%73.70-0.67%68,4882.60%46.31
54Ashburn CDP32,2798.24%73.10-1.22%80,3862.15%46.08
55Franconia CDP15,3316.58%74.000.54%69,853-0.93%46.04
56Dale City CDP49,4525.45%70.70-1.39%50,5243.73%44.81
57Newport News141,9900.02%58.800.68%38,4532.92%44.58
58Annandale CDP31,7152.11%67.70-2.73%51,7479.78%44.58
59Christiansburg town16,4312.20%68.50-0.72%40,5624.54%44.51
60Staunton19,755-0.41%56.70-0.35%37,2325.70%44.35
61Lynchburg62,8253.11%52.30-2.43%35,1497.78%44.22
62Roanoke77,7450.76%58.00-1.02%34,7915.96%43.93
63Leesburg town31,1485.44%73.200.41%61,196-2.11%43.58
64Suffolk64,6312.92%59.20-0.67%45,2432.47%43.22
65Highland Springs CDP12,6775.77%61.60-0.65%35,883-0.08%43.21
66Manassas Park10,75511.64%72.20-2.17%40,618-1.79%42.74
67Lowes Island CDP8,2710.78%73.30-2.66%94,2638.72%42.57
68Centreville CDP55,7241.53%73.10-1.08%64,0273.72%42.23
69Springfield CDP25,0614.44%62.70-1.26%51,6441.24%41.84
70Franklin Farm CDP14,7802.55%72.30-3.34%102,1478.01%41.67
71Sterling CDP20,9030.53%75.60-0.79%51,2933.15%41.56
72Burke Centre CDP13,6561.59%69.00-1.43%68,9123.84%41.54
73Tuckahoe CDP36,3740.97%62.10-2.97%51,2728.04%41.29
74Virginia Beach346,5961.45%60.30-2.27%44,0435.37%40.82
75Sugarland Run CDP9,2099.85%71.50-4.54%52,0133.29%40.28
76Poquoson9,6531.91%61.00-2.09%57,2183.59%39.92
77Mechanicsville CDP28,0634.76%66.70-2.49%48,7982.11%39.91
78Portsmouth75,615-0.58%54.40-2.86%38,6217.49%39.70
79Norfolk196,9291.16%52.10-1.70%36,0673.01%39.68
80Blacksburg town39,0520.07%46.602.19%37,113-6.07%39.55
81Chesapeake172,9222.43%61.60-2.69%46,5264.26%39.53
82Lake Ridge CDP30,8211.42%70.40-2.09%62,1593.47%39.39
83Newington Forest CDP9,955-0.82%72.30-1.23%68,5682.82%38.98
84Herndon town18,078-0.50%76.70-0.78%56,0291.15%38.74
85Chester CDP15,9844.26%60.20-6.23%46,0419.71%37.58
86Burke CDP32,3680.01%67.30-2.75%73,6144.36%37.40
87Salem20,7011.19%55.20-4.17%43,0386.80%37.25
88Rose Hill CDP15,244-1.65%66.20-2.22%68,0034.20%37.15
89Hampton109,903-0.73%55.10-3.50%40,3766.58%37.06
90Manassas28,4595.60%67.90-3.82%46,1651.80%36.96
91Gloucester Point CDP8,366-0.42%59.80-3.55%38,9005.82%36.46
92Williamsburg12,9596.52%43.70-6.82%41,5427.84%36.19
93Cave Spring CDP21,3373.54%64.40-4.73%47,1564.80%35.88
94Culpeper town12,1782.92%64.10-3.90%41,5922.97%35.65
95Wolf Trap CDP12,6712.60%61.70-3.59%122,5861.91%35.08
96Madison Heights CDP8,8400.25%58.20-2.68%36,5481.59%35.06
97Cascades CDP8,8350.37%71.60-3.76%88,6632.66%33.49
98Hopewell17,254-0.95%47.10-6.36%35,69410.34%33.41
99Radford14,5210.28%45.50-2.99%35,2350.29%33.03
100Glen Allen CDP11,951-0.66%68.70-4.18%48,7074.14%33.01
101East Highland Park CDP11,292-1.02%60.00-5.51%39,0877.19%32.39
102Brandermill CDP10,0212.38%64.80-5.68%55,3233.89%31.63
103Danville35,076-1.46%47.90-4.39%32,4973.94%31.62
104Wakefield CDP9,5576.33%60.90-8.14%92,0515.65%30.57
105Laurel CDP13,4763.47%63.90-6.44%39,1563.41%30.18
106Martinsville11,3590.11%45.10-8.70%34,27011.99%30.09
107Manchester CDP9,0591.23%64.00-5.74%40,6901.88%28.51
108Timberlake CDP10,968-1.91%59.90-4.47%37,7741.12%28.27
109Bristol14,4661.00%48.00-6.07%30,7722.02%27.63
110Meadowbrook CDP14,684-1.17%59.50-6.74%40,4542.48%24.55
111Winchester21,0520.51%60.40-6.65%38,882-0.75%23.05
112Front Royal town11,8342.61%59.70-6.43%39,184-3.16%23.02
113Petersburg26,2470.25%45.30-8.85%31,1872.22%20.22
114Bailey’s Crossroads CDP18,3557.79%64.80-7.16%42,856-12.65%16.27

Methodology

The overall score for each city was derived from these measures:
1. Population growth from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the working-age population (16+) comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
2. Employment growth from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the percent of employed residents comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
3. Income growth from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the median earnings for workers comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
We evaluated 114 cities, towns and communities in Virginia with populations of 10,000 or more.
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