Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. It is Virginia’s second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach.

Norfolk is located at the core of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, named for the large natural harbor of the same name located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It is one of nine cities and seven counties that constitute the Hampton Roads metro area, officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. The city is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay. It also shares land borders with the independent cities of Chesapeake to its south and Virginia Beach to its east. One of the oldest of the cities in Hampton Roads, Norfolk is considered to be the historic, urban, financial, and cultural center of the region.
The city has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point. Norfolk Naval Base is the world’s largest such base, and the world’s largest military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has its defense headquarters here. The city also has the corporate headquarters of Norfolk Southern Railway, one of North America’s principal Class I railroads, and Maersk Line, Limited, who manages the world’s largest fleet of US-flag vessels. As the city is bordered by multiple bodies of water, Norfolk has many miles of riverfront and bayfront property. It is linked to its neighbors by an extensive network of Interstate highways, bridges, tunnels, and bridge-tunnel complexes.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 96.3 square miles (249.4 km²), of which, 53.7 square miles (139.2 km²) of it is land and 42.6 square miles (110.3 km²) of it (44.22%) is water. Norfolk is located at 37°54′36″N 76°12′25″W.
The city is located at the southeastern corner of Virginia at the junction of the Elizabeth and James rivers, bordering the Chesapeake Bay. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Statistical Area (officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA) is the 34th largest in the United States, with a total population of 1,576,370. The area includes the Virginia cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York, as well as the North Carolina county of Currituck. The city of Norfolk is recognized as the central business district, while the Virginia Beach oceanside resort district and Williamsburg are primarily centers of tourism. Virginia Beach is the most populated city within the MSA though it functions more as a suburb. In addition to extensive riverfront property, Norfolk has miles of bayfront resort property and beaches in the Willoughby Spit and Ocean View communities.


Total Population 248,832
Population Density 4,631 Persons/Sq. Mile
Female Population 125,461
Male Population 123,371
Population Change since 1990 ↑ 4% Increase
Population Change since 2000 ↑ 7% Increase


Nearest 2-Year Public College Tidewater Community College
Distance 3 miles
Nearest 4-Year Public College Old Dominion University
Distance 2 miles

Households & Income

Total Number of Households 80,147
Family Households 48,392
Average Family Size 3.72
Average Household Income $54,180
Median Household Income $40,230
Income Change since 1990 ↑ 70% Increase
Income Change since 2000 ↑ 25% Increase

Crime Rate Compared to the National Average

The National Average is designated 1.0 – A value of 2.0 represents twice as much risk while a value of 0.5 represents half as much risk.

Total Crime Risk 2.42
Crime Risk (County) 2.42
Personal Crime Risk (County) 2.23
Murder Crime Risk (County) 3.67
Rape Crime Risk (County) 2.28
Robbery Crime Risk (County) 3.35
Assault Crime Risk (County) 1.61
Property Crime Risk (County) 2.12
Burglary Crime Risk (County) 1.47
Larceny Crime Risk (County) 2.21
Motor Vehicle Theft Risk (County) 1.78


Norfolk has a humid subtropical climate with moderate changes of seasons. Spring arrives in March with mild days and cool nights, and by late May, the temperature has warmed up considerably to herald warm summer days. Summer temperatures can be unpleasantly hot, often topping 90 °F (32 °C) with high humidity. On average, July is the warmest month of the year, with the maximum average precipitation. Hurricanes and tropical storms usually brush Norfolk and only occasionally make landfalls in the area. Fall is marked by mild to warm days and cooler nights. Winter is usually mild in Norfolk, with the coldest days featuring lows near or slightly above freezing and highs in the upper 40s to mid 50s. On average, the coldest month of the year is January.

Average July High Temperature 86.8 °F
Average January Low Temperature 32.3 °F
Annual Precipitation 45.7 inches
Air Pollution Index 83% of National Average


Sales Tax Rate 6.00%
Nearest Airport Norfolk International
Distance 3 miles
Nearest Major Sports Team Norfolk Tides (aaa)
Distance 3 miles

Norfolk has a variety of historic neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods, such as Berkley, were formerly cities and towns. Others, such as Willoughby Spit and Ocean View, have a long history tied to the Chesapeake Bay. Today neighborhoods such as Downtown and Ghent have transformed with the revitalization that the city has undergone.
Since Norfolk serves as the commercial and cultural center for the unusual geographical region of Hampton Roads (and in its political structure of independent cities), it can be difficult to separate the economic characteristics of Norfolk from that of the region as a whole.
The waterways which almost completely surround the Hampton Roads region play an important part in the local economy. As a strategic location at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, its protected deep-water channels serve as a major trade artery for the import and export of goods from across the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West, and internationally.

In addition to commercial activities, Hampton Roads is a major military center, particularly for the United States Navy, and Norfolk serves as the home for the most important of these regional installations, Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval station. Located on Sewell’s Point Peninsula, in the northwest corner of the city, the installation is the current headquarters of the United States Fleet Forces Command (formerly known as the Atlantic Fleet), as well as being home port for the Second Fleet, which compromises approximately 62,000 active duty personnel, 75 ships, and 132 aircrafts. The base also serves as the headquarters to the Allied Command Transformation (NATO) and the United States Joint Forces Command.
Norfolk is the cultural heart of the Hampton Roads region. In addition to its outstanding museums, Norfolk is the principal home for several major performing arts companies. Norfolk also plays host to numerous yearly festivals and parades, mostly at Town Pointe Park in downtown.

Norfolk celebrates the rich ethnic diversity of its population with sights, sounds, attractions and special events that pay tribute to the city’s long multicultural heritage.

Located in the heart of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, Norfolk, Virginia is one of the largest incorporated cities in the state. With its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic beaches, prime entertainment, and upscale dining and shopping, Norfolk is also one of the most desired places to live along the Eastern Seaboard. Young families, retirees, and graduates moving on to a new life have discovered the city well accommodates their active lifestyles and financial needs.
Living in Norfolk, not a day goes by where there isn’t something to do or enjoy. Home is where the heart is, so why not make the heart of Hampton Roads your home.