These Are The 10 Virginia Cities With The Largest Black Population For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in Virginia have the largest African American population.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our second time ranking the cities in Virginia with the largest African American population.

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The Black community is one of the fastest growing communities in America this decade.

There are now 42 million people who identify as Black or African American living in America, making up 12% of the total population. According to the most recent American Community Survey, the Black population in Virginia is 1,568,053 – at 18.9% of the total population of Virginia.

The percentage growth of Blacks in America is the third largest percentage change for any race according to the Census’s race and ethnicity definition. As most scholars and historians agree, an increase in the diversity in America is a good thing.

We agree.

But how has the increase in the black population impacted Virginia? Which cities and towns in Virginia have seen the greatest increase in its Black population?

We broke down the most recent census data to determine the cities in Virginia with the largest African American population in 2019:

  1. Petersburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Emporia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Franklin (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Portsmouth (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Hampton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Danville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Richmond (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. South Boston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Martinsville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Norfolk (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Petersburg took the number one over all spot for the largest Black population in Virginia for 2019. See if it ranked as one of the most african american cities in America.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.

To see where Virginia ranked as a state on diversity, we have a ranking of the most diverse states in America.

And if you already knew these places were Black, check out the best places to live in Virginia or the most diverse places in Virginia.

How We Determined The Cities In Virginia With The Largest Black Population For 2019

We still believe in the accuracy of data — especially from the census. So that’s where we went to get the breakdown of race across Virginia.

That lead us to the Census’s most recently available data, the 2013-2017 American Community Survey data from the US Census.

Specifically, we looked at table B03002: Hispanic OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE. Here are the category names as defined by the Census:

  • Hispanic or Latino
  • White alone*
  • Black or African American alone*
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone*
  • Asian alone*
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone*
  • Some other race alone*
  • Two or more races*
* Not Hispanic or latino

Our particular column of interest here was the number of people who identified as Black or African American.

We limited our analysis to non-CDPs with a population greater than 5,000 people. That left us with 60 cities.

We then calculated the percent of residents that are Black or African American. The percentages ranked from 75.6% to 1.0%.

Finally, we ranked each city based on the percent of Black population with a higher score being more Black than a lower score. Petersburg took the distinction of being the most Black, while Poquoson was the least African American city.

Read on for more information on how the cities in Virginia ranked by population of African American residents or, for a more general take on diversity in America, head over to our ranking of the most diverse cities in America.

Petersburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 32,037
% African American: 75.61%
# Of African American Residents: 24,223
Percent Change Since 2010: -5.25%
More on Petersburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Petersburg is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,420. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines Petersburg with Dinwiddie County for statistical purposes. It is located on the Appomattox River and 21 miles south of the state capital of Richmond. The city’s unique industrial past and its location as a transportation hub combined to create wealth for Virginia and the region.

Emporia, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,495
% African American: 64.26%
# Of African American Residents: 3,531
Percent Change Since 2010: -3.02%
More on Emporia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Emporia is an independent city located within the confines of Greensville County, Virginia, United States. It and a predecessor town have been the county seat of Greensville County since 1791. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,927, making it the second-least populous city in Virginia. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Emporia with surrounding Greensville county for statistical purposes.

Franklin, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,334
% African American: 58.88%
# Of African American Residents: 4,907
Percent Change Since 2010: 1.66%
More on Franklin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Franklin is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,582. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Franklin with Southampton County for statistical purposes.

Portsmouth, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 95,536
% African American: 52.14%
# Of African American Residents: 49,817
Percent Change Since 2010: -0.79%
More on Portsmouth: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Portsmouth is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 95,535. It is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.

Hampton, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 136,255
% African American: 49.16%
# Of African American Residents: 66,977
Percent Change Since 2010: -0.83%
More on Hampton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hampton is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States of America. As of the 2010 census, the population was 137,436.

Danville, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 41,911
% African American: 48.7%
# Of African American Residents: 20,412
Percent Change Since 2010: -2.95%
More on Danville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Danville is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 43,055. It is bounded by Pittsylvania County, Virginia and Caswell County, North Carolina. It hosts the Danville Braves baseball club of the Appalachian League.

Richmond, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 220,892
% African American: 47.93%
# Of African American Residents: 105,878
Percent Change Since 2010: 3.11%
More on Richmond: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond Region. It was incorporated in 1742, and has been an independent city since 1871.

South Boston, VA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 7,887
% African American: 47.48%
# Of African American Residents: 3,745
Percent Change Since 2010: -4.37%
More on South Boston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

South Boston, formerly Boyd’s Ferry, is a town in Halifax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 8,142 at the 2010 census.

Martinsville, VA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,256
% African American: 46.76%
# Of African American Residents: 6,198
Percent Change Since 2010: -1.02%
More on Martinsville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Martinsville is an independent city near the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,821. It is the county seat of Henry County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Martinsville with Henry County for statistical purposes.

Norfolk, VA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 245,752
% African American: 41.25%
# Of African American Residents: 101,370
Percent Change Since 2010: -2.73%
More on Norfolk: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Norfolk is an independent city located in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2015, the population was estimated to be 247,189 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach.

There You Have It – Black Populations Across Virginia

If you’re looking for a breakdown of African American populations across Virginia according to the most recent data, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the least African American places in Virginia:

  1. Poquoson
  2. Strasburg
  3. Richlands

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most African American Cities In Virginia

Rank City % African American Population
1 Petersburg 75.61% 32,037
2 Emporia 64.26% 5,495
3 Franklin 58.88% 8,334
4 Portsmouth 52.14% 95,536
5 Hampton 49.16% 136,255
6 Danville 48.7% 41,911
7 Richmond 47.93% 220,892
8 South Boston 47.48% 7,887
9 Martinsville 46.76% 13,256
10 Norfolk 41.25% 245,752
11 Suffolk 41.23% 88,057
12 Hopewell 39.99% 22,353
13 Newport News 39.76% 180,775
14 Chesapeake 29.21% 235,410
15 Lynchburg 28.33% 79,237
16 Roanoke 27.98% 99,572
17 Smithfield 27.12% 8,262
18 Farmville 24.12% 8,452
19 Ashland 22.57% 7,554
20 Alexandria 21.69% 154,710
21 Fredericksburg 21.27% 28,135
22 Big Stone Gap 19.2% 5,395
23 Charlottesville 18.72% 46,487
24 Virginia Beach 18.44% 450,057
25 Culpeper 18.19% 17,882
26 Williamsburg 14.52% 14,817
27 Colonial Heights 13.15% 17,582
28 Covington 12.97% 5,675
29 Manassas Park 12.81% 16,117
30 Manassas 12.8% 41,379
31 Waynesboro 12.24% 21,620
32 Staunton 11.05% 24,273
33 Warrenton 10.15% 9,854
34 Winchester 9.73% 27,516
35 Wytheville 9.41% 8,041
36 Radford 9.32% 17,380
37 Marion 9.25% 5,814
38 Lexington 8.73% 7,113
39 Herndon 8.12% 24,545
40 Bristol 7.72% 17,077
41 Front Royal 7.44% 15,027
42 Leesburg 7.26% 51,015
43 Galax 7.22% 6,788
44 Salem 7.21% 25,521
45 Bluefield 7.06% 5,058
46 Harrisonburg 6.37% 53,064
47 Christiansburg 6.02% 21,892
48 Vinton 5.89% 8,069
49 Purcellville 5.57% 9,217
50 Pulaski 5.36% 8,860
51 Fairfax 4.86% 23,580
52 Blacksburg 4.68% 44,079
53 Falls Church 4.51% 13,843
54 Bridgewater 3.74% 5,930
55 Abingdon 3.47% 8,044
56 Vienna 2.82% 16,474
57 Buena Vista 2.54% 6,495
58 Richlands 2.27% 5,513
59 Strasburg 1.2% 6,570
60 Poquoson 1.03% 12,022

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