Virginia Overview

By | October 1, 2021

Virginia receives its name from Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as “the virgin queen.” The state is known by the nickname of “Old Dominion” (Old Dominion) and sometimes by the one of “Mother of Presidents”, for being the birthplace of eight American presidents.

It borders: to the North and Northwest with the state of West Virginia, to the Northeast with the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia, to the East with the Atlantic Ocean, to the South with the State of North Carolina, and to the Southwest with the states from Tennessee and Kentucky.


According to an estimate by the United States Census Bureau, in 2006 Virginia had a population of 7,642,884 residents, which represents an increase of 78,557 residents, a one percent increase over the previous year, and an increase of 563,854 residents, an eight percent increase since 2000. This includes an increase in net migration of 276,292 people in the state. Immigration from outside the United States produced a net increase of 151,748 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 124,544 people. The population center (the geographic point closest to all the residents of the state) of Virginia is located in Goochland County.


English was approved as the official language of the state by statute in 1981 and 1996, and by law in 2006, although official language status is not mandated by the Virginia Constitution. English is the only language spoken by 6,201,784 Virginians (86.9%), and spoken very well by an additional 536,508 (7.5%), making a total of 94.3% of the commonwealth be English speakers. Spanish has the majority of speakers of other languages, with 412,416 people (5.8%). 240,332 residents (3.4%) speak Asian and Pacific Island languages, including Vietnamese and Filipino. See topschoolsintheusa for best high schools in Virginia.

Ethnic origin

The five largest groups in Virginia by ancestry are: Africans (19.6%), Germans (11.7%), Unspecified Americans (11.4%), English (11.1%), and Irish-Scots and Irish (9.8%). Most African Americans in Virginia are descendants of enslaved Africans who worked on tobacco, cotton, and hemp plantations. These men and women were brought in from West Central Africa, primarily from Angola and the Igbo areas of the Niger Delta region, now Nigeria. The so-called Great Migration of the 20th century (the movement of approximately seven million African Americans from the United States from the South to the North, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970) of black population from the rural South to the industrial North, reduced the African American population of Virginia; however, in the last forty years there has been a reverse migration of the African American population that returned to Virginia and the rest of the South.

The western mountains have many settlements founded by Scottish-Irish immigrants before the Revolution. There are also considerable numbers of people of German descent in the northwestern mountains and in the Shenandoah Valley. People of Anglo-Saxon heritage settled throughout the state during the colonial period, and others of British and Irish heritage migrated there for decades in search of employment.

Due to the more recent immigration of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there is a rapid increase in the Hispanic (particularly Central American) and Asian population. In 2007, 6.6% of Virginia residents were Hispanic, 5.5% Asian, and 1.8% American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander. The state’s Hispanic population tripled between 1990 and 2006, of which two-thirds live in Northern Virginia. In contrast to Hispanics nationwide, Virginia settlers have higher median household incomes and higher educational attainment than those in the United States overall.

Northern Virginia has the largest Vietnamese population on the East Coast, with just over 99,000 Vietnamese residents, whose main wave of immigration occurred after the Vietnam War. Due to its relationship with the Navy, Hampton Roads has a sizeable Filipino population, estimated at about 45,000 people. Virginia also remains home to eight federally recognized Amerindian tribes, with another six state-recognized tribes.



The historical culture of Virginia was popularized and spread across the United States and the South thanks to Washington, Jefferson, and Lee. Its houses represent it as the birthplace of the United States and the South. Modern Virginia culture is a subculture of the American South, although it also shows elements of the North. Based on geography and language, the Smithsonian Institution divides Virginia into new cultural regions. Although the Piedmont dialect is one of the most famous with its strong influence on South American English, it also features other accents, including the Tidewater dialect and the anachronistic Elizabethan of Tangier Island, as well as a more homogenized American English in urban areas with a lot of influences.


In addition to typical Southern cuisine, Virginia maintains its own unique traditions. Wine is produced in many parts of the state. Smithfield ham, sometimes called Virginia ham, is a type of cured and usually very salty ham that is protected by state law and can only be produced in the city of Smithfield. The furniture and architecture are typical of American colonial architecture. Thomas Jefferson and many of the early leaders of the state favored the neoclassical style, being used in important state buildings. Pennsylvania German and its style can also be found in parts of the state.


There are twenty-one television stations in Virginia, representing each of the major American networks. About 352 radio stations broadcast in Virginia. Local broadcaster Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation, a nonprofit corporation that owns public TV and radio stations, has offices throughout the state.

Major newspapers in the state include the Norfolk-based Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, The Roanoke Times, and the Newport News-based Daily Press. The Times-Dispatch has a daily circulation of 186,441 copies, while the Roanoke Times has 97,557 daily subscribers. Several Washington DC newspapers are based in Northern Virginia, such as The Washington Examiner and The Politico. In addition to traditional forms of media, Virginia is home to telecommunications companies such as Sprint Nextel and XO Communications. The so-called Dulles Tech Corridor contains the lines through which more than half of all the world’s Internet traffic circulates.


Abolition of the death penalty

On March 24, 2021, Virginia became the first state in the southern United States to abolish the death penalty after Governor Ralph Northam signed a law making this territory the 23rd in the country to ban the practice..Virginia has carried out more executions than any of the other 50 states in the United States, with about 1,400 on death row, since its founding as a colony in the early 1600s.

Virginia Overview