Nine of the ten largest cities in Virginia are situated on the Eastern Seaboard or on the Fall Line. Virginia Beach, which fronts both Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean in the southeast corner of the state, is one of the most popular resort destinations on the East Coast, as well as Virginia’s largest city. Its population in 2006 was 435,619. Norfolk, once the state’s largest city but now in second position, has 229,112 inhabitants; nearby Portsmouth has 101,377 residents. Norfolk and Portsmouth are important trading centers. Their economy is based on maritime activities, notably foreign commerce. The Naval Base at Norfolk and the Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth employ thousands of civilians and military personnel. Neighboring Chesapeake, with a population of 220,560, is also part of this growing metropolitan area.
Richmond, with a population of 192,913, is situated on the Fall Line. It is the state capital and a center of cigarette manufacturing, banking and insurance, and of both retail and wholesale trade. There are also manufacturers of chemicals, paper, and clothing in the city. Alexandria, with 136,974 inhabitants, is part of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Newport News, with a population of 178,281 in 2006, and neighboring Hampton, with 145,017 inhabitants, are on the northern shore of Hampton Roads.
They also serve as the hub of a large metropolitan area based on maritime activities. In Newport News is a shipyard that builds naval ships, including aircraft carriers, and ocean liners. Hampton is important for its aviation activities such as Langley Air Force Base and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration facility.
Roanoke, with 91,552 inhabitants, is the only large city in western Virginia. Its economy rests on the manufacture and repair of rail equipment, the production of clothing, textiles, and furniture, and services such as health care and banking. Lynchburg, with a population of 67,720, is a former tobacco-marketing center for the central Piedmont, but it is now more important as the site of light industries, including food processing and electronics. Some urbanized Virginia counties also have large populations, notably Fairfax (1998 estimate, 929,239), Prince William (259,827), Henrico (246,052), Chesterfield (245,915), and Arlington (177,275). "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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