Cape Charles’ population has changed dramatically in recent years. Data from the decennial Census, which was last collected in 1999, is usually used to quantify characteristics of a local population. However, many new residents have entered the Town, while other residents have left the area since 1999.
The 2007 Cape Charles Population Study was undertaken by the Planning Commission in order to better understand the Town’s changing population characteristics. Each household within the Town boundaries was asked a series of questions to gather demographic, housing, and economic data. The study was conducted with the intention of including the data in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.
Significant migration has occurred in recent years, but the net result is Cape Charles’ total population of full time residents has decreased since 2000. While many localities experience slight population decrease as a result of gradual out-migration, there have been substantial levels of both in- and out-migration in Cape Charles.
Population Study projections indicate the Town’s full time population is about 972. This is a decrease of about 14 percent since 2000. The population decrease continues a trend which was also observed during the 1990’s when the full time population decreased by 19 percent.
As full time households have left Cape Charles, part time residents have entered the Town. Many part time households live in Town seasonally or on weekends. The population of part time residents is 602. While prior data for part time residents does not exist, the Town has observed a steady increase in the part time population over the past several decades.
The Population Study found a total of 984 housing units in Cape Charles. Between 2000 and 2007, the total number of housing units increased by 33.3 percent. Most of the new housing units are located in the Bay Creek development.
It appears most of the new units are either vacant or occupied on a part time basis. The number of units occupied on a full time basis decreased from 534 to 502 between 2000 and 2007. However, the number of units occupied on a part time basis increased from 82 to 239, and the number of vacant units increased from 122 to 243. These increases in part time units and vacant units were 191.3 percent and 99.0 percent, respectively.
As the Cape Charles’ population continues to change, the Town will experience new demands for facilities and services. A number of changes in the Town's population characteristics are discussed in the Population Study Report. Please contact the Planning Department
if you have any questions concerning the Population Study.