These Are The 10 Virginia Cities With The Largest Black Population For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in Virginia have 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 2018:

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

Petersburg took the number one over all spot for the largest Black population in Virginia for 2018. 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 2018

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 2012-2016 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 76.5% to 0.1%.

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 Richlands 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.

1. Petersburg

Petersburg, Virginia

Population: 31,997
% African American: 76.55%
# Of African American Residents: 24,493
Percent Change Since 2010: -4.19%
More on Petersburg: Data | Jobs

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.

2. Emporia

Emporia, Virginia

Source: Public domain

Population: 5,565
% African American: 63.95%
# Of African American Residents: 3,559
Percent Change Since 2010: -2.25%
More on Emporia: Data | Jobs

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.

3. Franklin

Franklin, Virginia

Source: Public domain

Population: 8,413
% African American: 58.6%
# Of African American Residents: 4,930
Percent Change Since 2010: 2.13%
More on Franklin: Data | Jobs

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.

4. Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Virginia

Source: Public domain

Population: 96,071
% African American: 52.22%
# Of African American Residents: 50,170
Percent Change Since 2010: -0.09%
More on Portsmouth: Data | Jobs

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.

5. Hampton

Hampton, Virginia

Source: Public domain

Population: 136,789
% African American: 49.27%
# Of African American Residents: 67,398
Percent Change Since 2010: -0.21%
More on Hampton: Data | Jobs

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

6. Danville

Danville, Virginia

Source: Public domain

Population: 42,360
% African American: 48.83%
# Of African American Residents: 20,683
Percent Change Since 2010: -1.66%
More on Danville: Data | Jobs

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.

7. Richmond

Richmond, Virginia

Population: 216,773
% African American: 48.36%
# Of African American Residents: 104,831
Percent Change Since 2010: 2.09%
More on Richmond: Data | Jobs

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.

8. South Boston

South Boston, Virginia

Population: 8,000
% African American: 46.99%
# Of African American Residents: 3,759
Percent Change Since 2010: -4.01%
More on South Boston: Data | Jobs

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

9. Martinsville

Martinsville, Virginia

Population: 13,551
% African American: 46.45%
# Of African American Residents: 6,295
Percent Change Since 2010: 0.53%
More on Martinsville: Data | Jobs

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.

10. Suffolk

Suffolk, Virginia

Population: 87,061
% African American: 41.37%
# Of African American Residents: 36,016
Percent Change Since 2010: 5.23%
More on Suffolk: Data | Jobs

Suffolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2014 census, the estimated population was 86,806 It is the largest city in Virginia by area as well as the 14th largest in the country.

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. Richlands
  2. Poquoson
  3. Buena Vista

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most African American Cities In Virginia

Rank City Population % African American
1 Petersburg 31,997 76.55%
2 Emporia 5,565 63.95%
3 Franklin 8,413 58.6%
4 Portsmouth 96,071 52.22%
5 Hampton 136,789 49.27%
6 Danville 42,360 48.83%
7 Richmond 216,773 48.36%
8 South Boston 8,000 46.99%
9 Martinsville 13,551 46.45%
10 Suffolk 87,061 41.37%
11 Norfolk 245,724 41.35%
12 Newport News 181,606 39.41%
13 Hopewell 22,332 38.85%
14 Chesapeake 233,194 29.27%
15 Smithfield 8,304 29.06%
16 Lynchburg 78,755 28.23%
17 Roanoke 99,329 28.1%
18 Farmville 8,562 28.09%
19 Fredericksburg 27,853 21.76%
20 Alexandria 151,473 21.07%
21 Ashland 7,406 19.43%
22 Big Stone Gap 5,462 19.17%
23 Culpeper 17,565 18.84%
24 Charlottesville 45,538 18.64%
25 Virginia Beach 449,733 18.55%
26 Williamsburg 14,988 14.74%
27 Covington 5,650 14.55%
28 Manassas 41,149 13.02%
29 Colonial Heights 17,554 12.97%
30 Manassas Park 15,827 12.63%
31 Waynesboro 21,366 11.95%
32 Staunton 24,234 11.06%
33 Wytheville 8,167 10.22%
34 Radford 17,186 9.92%
35 Winchester 27,349 9.51%
36 Warrenton 9,880 9.26%
37 Lexington 7,036 9.0%
38 Herndon 24,415 8.67%
39 Bluefield 5,254 8.51%
40 Marion 5,891 7.81%
41 Front Royal 15,006 7.54%
42 Salem 25,290 7.44%
43 Leesburg 49,401 7.39%
44 Galax 6,858 6.85%
45 Bristol 17,340 6.69%
46 Harrisonburg 51,979 6.39%
47 Pulaski 8,918 6.28%
48 Falls Church 13,597 5.38%
49 Vinton 8,170 5.23%
50 Christiansburg 21,799 5.13%
51 Blacksburg 43,973 4.78%
52 Fairfax 23,620 4.77%
53 Bridgewater 5,906 4.64%
54 Strasburg 6,525 4.41%
55 Purcellville 8,914 3.49%
56 Abingdon 8,117 3.23%
57 Vienna 16,378 3.07%
58 Buena Vista 6,610 1.66%
59 Poquoson 12,068 1.07%
60 Richlands 5,568 0.09%

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