Shifting Demographics: Chinese Residents Choose to Call Northern Virginia Home
Northern Virginia is caught in the midst of a revolution – not one of shifting governments, but of shifting demographics. Once upon a time, the area was primarily home to Caucasians and African Americans. That’s shifting today. Residents of Asian descent now make up a significant portion of the population, and they’re finding a welcoming community to call home. As of 2010, Asians made up 13.6% of the area’s population, compared to just 3.2% in the 1980s.
A Look at the Situation
In a story from the Washington Post in 2011, you can glean hints of just how long the shift has been on going. In mid-May of 2011, reporters Carol Morello and Dan Keating highlighted the fact that the Washington D.C. area’s Asian population had grown by 60% since 2000. They also highlighted an interesting breakdown in Asian populations throughout the greater area. While Indians might be the most populous segment in Fairfax and Loudon counties, and Koreans called Centreville home more often than other areas, Chinese residents most frequently move to D.C. and Montgomery County. Specifically, the cities of Rockville and Potomac now boast a high concentration of Chinese residents.
If you want some interesting statistics concerning the Asian population in the area, consider the following:
- Only Boston has more Chinese residents than northern Virginia on the East Coast.
- Only New York has more Japanese residents.
- Only New Orleans has more residents of Vietnamese descent.
- Fairfax County – 17.5% Asian
- Fairfax (City) – 15% Asian
- Loudoun – 14.7% Asian
- Arlington – 9.6% Asian
- Falls Church – 9.4% Asian
The Shifting Employment Options
What’s behind the influx? Actually, there are numerous reasons, but one of the prime causes is the shift in employment options. As northern Virginia becomes home to more and more information-technology jobs, highly educated Chinese residents find it more appealing. This is particularly true near the high-tech corridor close to Dulles International Airport.
Another reason for the surge in Chinese (and others of Asian descent) moving to northern Virginia is the relative affordability of housing. While not “cheap”, you’ll find properties of all types available for prices not found in areas with comparable proximity to government seats, employment, shopping and dining options.
Culturally Relevant Shopping
A decade ago, you would have been hard pressed to find an Asian grocery store in most towns in northern Virginia. Today, that’s not the case. You’ll find mom and pop stores, but also chains like Great Wall. There are numerous others either already entrenched in the area, or making plans to start their presence. This includes everything from grocers to clothing to nightlife and restaurant options. You’ll even find that theaters throughout the area have begun showing Asia-specific films. Bollywood is one example, but Chinese exports are close behind.
It’s more than just a trend – northern Virginia is in the midst of a cultural shift, and Chinese residents are making up more and more of the population.
Contact Gene Mock, Associate Broker, Premier Team, Keller Williams Realty 703-342-8100 for more information about Northern Virginia real estate