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U.S. Census: F.C. Fastest Growing Locale In N. Virginia

IT’S EASY TO UNDERSTAND how Falls Church had a nearly 20 percent jump in population when walking around the City, especially in its more congested spots, like Park Avenue. (Photo: News-Press)

The population of the City of Falls Church grew by almost 20 percent in the last decade, official data released by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed last week. As of April 1, 2020, the population of the Little City was 14,658, up by 19.4 percent from 12,332 a decade earlier.

This makes Falls Church the fastest growing jurisdiction in the Northern Virginia region by a considerable margin over its immediate neighbors, Fairfax County and Arlington. Further west, Loudoun County has experienced one of the highest growth rates, nationally, at 32.4 percent, but in much more of a suburban, not urban, context.

In the inner urban area that is the core of the Northern Virginia region, the City of Falls Church reigns supreme for growth. And there is no end in sight as the biggest boost to its housing stock has yet to be built.

For those examining the benefits of investing in this area, this is important news. Not just the growth to date, but the growth ready to happen means that Falls Church City is being perceived as tomorrow’s hottest spot in the broader Washington, D.C. region. It is able to support commerce with a burgeoning, well-heeled population that is welcoming the wide diversity of populations with the skill sets and tastes to undergird a wide range of options for growth.

Unlike Loudoun County, Falls Church represents this in the midst of a fully urban, not suburban, environment with all that means. Education, both K-12 for City residents and secondary for tomorrow’s tech-savvy emerging leaders, is an existing reality with much more to come from Virginia Tech. In health care, the giant medical campuses now exploding around Falls Church will also enhance the region’s talent pool of smart citizens, and could even garner some attention from practitioners worldwide.

The Little City is in the midst of all this, and not just as an urban oasis. Its biggest project yet by far, the combined achievements of three contiguous properties adjacent to the West Falls Church Metrorail station, now awaits.

As far as prospects for continued high rates of growth, Falls Church has become the apple of the eye for regional developers interested in offering a range of mixed use options, all centered on major multi-family projects, such as those already approved to go in at the West End Gateway project, the downtown One City Center project, the Founder’s Row 1 and 2, and the Whole Foods-anchored Broad and Washington project.

There are a couple thousand more people ready to fill those places with more on the drawing boards. These are the people who will help fill F.C.’s restaurants, shop at her grocers and retailers and contribute to its offering of world class education for its young.    

An initial review of the Census data released last week also shows that the Little City’s average value of an owner-occupied housing unit now stands at $789,300. The City population remains 71.7 percent White alone (not Hispanic or Latino), followed by 10.7 percent Hispanic or Latino, 9.9 percent Asian, 4.9 percent Black or African-American and 3.7 percent two or more races.    

Those under age 18 constitute 30.02 percent of the population, and those over 65 are 12.9 percent. Female persons constitute 51.4 percent. Foreign-born persons are 19.2 percent of the population, and there are 908 veterans. There are 5,493 households, with 80.5 percent living in the same residence as a year ago. Among persons aged 5 and up, the percentage of households speaking a language other than English is 19.3 percent.    

Of the population that’s 25 and up, 98.2 percent have a high school or higher degree, and 77.8 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Just over 74 percent of the population is in the civilian labor force. Only 3.0 percent of the population under age 65 have no health insurance.   Median household income is $127,610, and average per capita income is $72,325. Persons in poverty are 3.2 percent. There are 2,129 business firms in the City, 763 being women-owned and 503 being minority-owned.