This story was updated on Feb. 6, 2020.
As we enter a new decade, how has Fairfax County changed? The county’s most recent demographic report offers an answer: we’re older, richer and more ethnically diverse.
Released this past December, the report highlights the most recent data that’s available prior to the 2020 Census that will offer a more in-depth look at demographic changes. The report, which is published by the county’s Economic, Demographic and Statistical Research unit, assists county leaders to design and deliver services based on population changes and trends
Population Growth Is Slowing
The county’s estimated population is 1,167,000, and we grew by 1.2% by the beginning of last year, adding about 14,100 residents.
This makes Fairfax County more populous than eight states and the District of Columbia: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming and D.C.
While our population continues to increase, it’s at a slower rate than before, mirroring national trends as there are fewer births and more deaths nationwide. Since the 2010 Census, Fairfax County’s population grew at 6.4% compared to Virginia’s 8% growth rate.
1 in 7 Residents Is Age 65 or Older
As of 2019, an estimated 13.4% of Fairfax County residents were 65 or older, and by 2035, this number is projected to grow to 17.7%.
This means that about one in seven county residents was 65 or older —and this ratio will increase to one in five by 2035. While the county’s aging population is increasing, it’s doing so at slightly slower pace than the state and nation.
By 2030, the U.S. will face a demographic tipping point when all baby boomers will be 65, and one in five residents will be at retirement age, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
We’re a More Diverse Community
The number of white residents is decreasing while the county’s Hispanic and Asian populations are growing.
Last year, the county’s population was 61.1% white—and this is an 8.8% percentage point decline compared to the 2000 Census.
The number of Hispanic residents climbed 16.4% last year, and as the county’s largest ethnic group, Asians make up 19.3% of residents. African American represent 9.7% of the population.
We Rank Among the Top 10 Richest Counties in the U.S.
Fairfax County ranks as the seventh richest county in the nation based on median household income. The median household income for county residents was $122,277—almost two times the national figure.
Median income for county residents increased by 18.6% since the 2010 Census.
Fairfax County also has a higher percentage of households that make $200,000 or more. Statewide this figure is 10.7% while it’s more than double that in the county at 25.2%.
Among counties with more than 50,000 residents, Fairfax County is one of five nationwide with the highest household incomes for people 65 or older. We join Arlington, Loudoun, Montgomery and Howard counties in this distinction.
However, the county’s poverty rate is also lower than both the state and national figures. Our poverty rate is 6.2%. Virginia’s rate is 10.7%, while the national figure is 11.8%.
An estimated 7.8% of children under 18 live below the poverty level and 5.6% percent of people 65 or older.
Answer the 2020 Census
Demographic data collected by the upcoming Census on April 1 is critical for determining how much money Fairfax County gets from the federal government. This includes funds for roads, schools and more.
Our region loses $1,200 a year in federal assistance for every Northern Virginia resident who is not counted in the 2020 Census.