From the latest demographic study (cited by the Times article) coming out of The Weldon Cooper Center For Public Service:
Metro Areas Gain, Rural Counties Lose Population
Final 2006 and Provisional 2007 Population Estimates for Virginia
Virginia’s population reached 7.7 million on July 1, 2007, increasing by more than 633,000 new residents since the 2000 Census. The Commonwealth has the 12th largest population in the nation. While Virginia’s population continues to increase annually, the growth rate has declined in recent years.
The pattern of population change in Virginia is dramatically uneven throughout the state. A relatively small number of very fast growing localities in and around Virginia’s three major metropolitan areas fuel the Commonwealth’s population increases.
Since 2000, 31 counties and cities lost population, primarily older central cities (Richmond, Petersburg, Portsmouth, and Roanoke) and rural localities in Southside and Southwest Virginia. (link)
Here, courtesy of the Weldon Cooper Center, is a chart of the fastest growing - and fastest shrinking - regions in the state:
As that saying goes: Will the last person leaving the area please turn the lights out?
Map and chart courtesy of The Univeraity of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center For Public Service.