Census data shows Nelson’s population is aging and growing behind the region
Virginia consulting firm The Berkley Group released a summary of 2020 census data last week, and much of the information about Nelson’s population and housing stock might not surprise many county residents. .
Berkley Group staff presented the data to supervisors and planning commissioners in a second joint workshop; The county’s demographic information will appear in the second chapter of the new comprehensive plan, which the Berkley Group is tasked with helping to create.
Census data reflects a population increase of 2.3% over the past two decades, from a county population of 14,445 in 2000 to 14,775 in 2020. Since 2000 is small compared to neighboring counties . Only Amherst’s population decreased by 1.9%. The population of Appomattox increased by 15%, Buckingham by 7.1%, Rockbridge by 8.1%, Augusta by 15.3% and Albemarle by 29.5%.
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A population density map of Nelson County shows the population concentrated in the northern part of the county and southern US 29.
Population density has been measured at 68 people per acre in the Wintergreen area, 50 people per acre in the Afton and Nellysford area, 40 people per acre in the Faber area of Lovingston and about 23 people per acre in the western and southern parts of the county.
Census data shows that the median age range of Nelson County residents has increased by about 10 years in two decades, from 40 to 44 in 2000 to 50 to 54 in 2020.
The median age of area residents from Gladstone to Arrington through Schuyler is 38.6, which Berkley Group Senior Planner Catherine Redfearn says matches the median age of 38.4 in Virginia.
The Faber area in Lovingston has a median age of 47.3 years; in the US 29, the median age is approximately 54 and the median age exclusively in the Wintergreen area of Nellysford is 59.9.
“It’s the most developable and affordable lot,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jesse Rutherford said of the southeastern part of the county, which has the lowest median age.
Census data reported 10,219 housing units in the county in 2020. Of these units, 88% are single-family or mobile homes, 842 are short-term rentals, and only 196 were built during or after 2014. according to the Berkley Group.
Berkley Group planner Christopher Musso explained that the U.S. Census does not explicitly list short-term rentals, but rather groups them with “seasonal, recreational, and occasional use” homes under the category of unoccupied dwellings. On a map of the county he provided, unoccupied housing is heavily concentrated in the Wintergreen and Nellysford area, with 34% of housing in that area classified as occupied.
The western end of the county is said to be 75% occupied, the northern part of the county around Wintergreen and Nellysford is 88% occupied. Towards the southeast of the United States 29, occupied housing decreases from 84% to 82%.
The education, health care and community services industry employs by far the most people in the county, with just over 2,000 people. This is followed by the construction and arts, entertainment, leisure and catering sectors, both of which employ around 700 people. Wintergreen Pacific LLC is the top employer, followed by Nelson County Public Schools.
Nelson sees 4,755 commuters commuting to work out of the county each day and 2,086 commuting into the county for work.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining are said to employ around 300 people in the county, and a recent five-year period saw more than 10,000 acres of farmland lost – from 79,981 acres of land farmland in the county in 2012 – to 67,841 acres of farmland in 2017.
The Berkley Group’s presentation at the joint meeting and a draft of the first chapter of the overall plan – explaining the legal background of the plan, describing its function, and summarizing the results of the community input process – are available on the full review of the plan County. website, nelson2042.com, under “document library”.
An online survey is available on this page, and will be available throughout the full plan process, for residents to anonymously comment on draft chapters and submit general feedback to Berkley Group staff. The next joint working session is scheduled for January 18 and “natural and historical resources” and “community equipment and infrastructure” are on the agenda.