Major thanks to Censored by Bvbl for writing the lead to this thread:
A regional report commissioned by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald Connolly shows Northern Virginia to be a different place than it was thirty years ago. Amid large population growth, the outer Southern rim of Northern Virginia has seen a demographic change as a more ethnically and racially diversified population has sought affordable housing in the outer suburbs.
The study, which offers a preview of the 2010 census reports:
“Of the 270,000 people who moved to Northern Virginia between 2000 and 2007, 75 percent settled in Loudoun County, Prince William County, Manassas or Manassas Park.
In Prince William, the growth was driven almost entirely by minorities, who accounted for 94 percent of the population increase.
In contrast, the inner suburbs of Arlington County and Alexandria, once considered gateway communities for immigrants, have lost minority residents since 2000, becoming more white and more affluent. “
Since the data was compiled in 2007, it may not reflect any demographic changes which may have resulted from PWC’s and the City of Manassas’s efforts to target illegal immigration or from the recent foreclosure crisis or economic downturn.
It’s not so expensive in the outer suburbs, which drew thousands of immigrant and minority families because of lower housing costs and rapid job growth.
“Because we’re far less urbanized, it’s an easy assumption to make that we’re a predominantly white community,” said Prince William Supervisor Martin E. Nohe (R-Coles), who attended Billingsley’s presentation at a recent meeting of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. “But my hope is that people will recognize that our community has changed, and I think the change we’re experiencing is a positive one.”
Nohe said it would be a mistake to supplant one false impression of Prince William with another: that the county’s population growth is driven entirely by low-income families. “We’re also seeing large numbers of affluent and middle-class families of color moving to Prince William,” Nohe said, “and that violates the paradigm of who would have come to Prince William in the 1960s and ’70s.”
He continued: “What we’re experiencing now isn’t white flight. We’re seeing middle-income and upper-income families choosing to leave inner jurisdictions because they see something here in Prince William that isn’t available to them inside the Beltway in terms of quality of life.”
No members of minority groups serve on the heavily Republican Prince William Board of County Supervisors or on the city councils of Manassas and Manassas Park, but Nohe predicted that, too, will soon change. “As newcomers to our county get more established, you’ll see more minority participation in politics,” he said, noting that the county has a black sheriff and black School Board members.
For more on the demographic change: