Portsmouth is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan areas of the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. Portsmouth is located at 36°49′52″N 76°20′44″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.6 square miles (121 km2), of which, 33.2 square miles (86 km2) of it is land and 13.5 square miles (35 km2) of it (28.87%) is water.

The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, often called the Norfolk Navy Yard, is a historic and active U.S. Navy facility which is actually located in Portsmouth, despite its name. The shipyard builds, remodels, and repairs the Navy’s ships of all types.

Directly opposite Norfolk, the city of Portsmouth also has miles of waterfront land on the Elizabeth River as part of the harbor of Hampton Roads. There is a ferry boat that takes riders back and forth across the water between Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth.

It became an independent city from Norfolk County in 1858. One of the older cities of Hampton Roads, in the early 21st century, Portsmouth was undergoing moderate urban renewal in the downtown area. However, population had been declining and there was no room for expansion, as it is surrounded by water and other cities of South Hampton Roads.

The city has a radically limited tax base. A large portion of the city is controlled by the U.S. Navy; when Navy facilities are combined with schools, churches, and other tax-exempt entities, over half of Portsmouth’s assessed valuation is off the tax rolls. The APM “MAERSK” marine terminal for container ships opened in 2007 in the West Norfolk section. Virginia has funded millions of dollars in railroad and transportation improvements to serve it.

The Olde Towne section features one of the largest collections of historically significant homes between Alexandria, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina. Also located in Olde Towne is Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), which was built by slaves and free men and is the second-oldest building in Portsmouth and the city’s oldest black church.
The city contains a number of historic buildings including the Pass House which was built in 1841 by Judge James Murdaugh and occupied by Union troops from 1862 to 1865. Federal forces required Portsmouth residents to obtain a written pass to travel across the Elizabeth River and beyond. These passes were issued from the English basement and thus the name “Pass House” was derived.


Total Population 102,400
Population Density 3,088 Persons/Sq. Mile
Female Population 53,721
Male Population 48,678
Population Change since 1990 ↓ 1% Decrease
Population Change since 2000 ↑ 3% Increase


Nearest 2-Year Public College Tidewater Community College
Distance 3 miles
Nearest 4-Year Public College Norfolk State University
Distance 4 miles

Households & Income

Total Number of Households 39,539
Family Households 24,178
Average Family Size 3.33
Average Household Income $53,486
Median Household Income $42,844
Income Change since 1990 ↑ 73% Increase
Income Change since 2000 ↑ 26% Increase

Crime Rates 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 2.16
Crime Risk (County) 2.16
Personal Crime Risk (County) 2.02
Murder Crime Risk (County) 3.25
Rape Crime Risk (County) 1.84
Robbery Crime Risk (County) 3.32
Assault Crime Risk (County) 1.46
Property Crime Risk (County) 1.86
Burglary Crime Risk (County) 1.50
Larceny Crime Risk (County) 1.60
Motor Vehicle Theft Risk (County) 1.68


Portsmouth’s mild humid subtropical climate means outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round. The weather in Portsmouth is temperate and seasonal. Summers are hot and humid with warm evenings. Additionally, the geographic location of the city, with respect to the principal storm tracks, is especially favorable, as it is south of the average path of storms originating in the higher latitudes, and north of the usual tracks of hurricanes and other major tropical storms. Snow falls rarely, averaging 3 inches (76 mm) per season.

Average July High Temperature 87.9 °F
Average January Low Temperature 33.8 °F
Annual Precipitation 43.5 inches
Air Pollution Index 83% of National Average


Sales Tax Rate 6.00%
Nearest Airport Norfolk Ns (chambers Field)
Distance 8 miles
Nearest Major Sports Team Norfolk Tides (aaa)
Distance 4 miles

There are three public high schools in Portsmouth, Virginia, located at three corners of the city. In the northwest section of the city, off Cedar Lane, is Churchland High School. In the downtown section of the city, off High Street, is I.C. Norcom High School. In the southwest section of Portsmouth, on Elmhurst Avenue, is Woodrow Wilson High School.
Portsmouth, Virginia is set on the waterfront of the Elizabeth River, just a short ferry ride from Norfolk, Virginia and a quick 20 minute drive to Virginia Beach. Located directly in the middle of the Hampton Roads, the town is home to the famous Norfolk Naval Shipyard, a site where historic and active Navy ships from all over the country are built, restored and remodeled.

Currently, Portsmouth’s motto is working hard towards making the town the “21st Century City of Choice,” making the town the perfect place for living, working, playing and visiting, for both residents and visitors.
The town of Portsmouth holds strong to values such as: a progressive city government, receptive and amicable city employees, advantageous and safe neighborhoods, the perfect balance of quality and speed of living and a strong focus on the future. These principles result in Portsmouth being a wonderful town to purchase real estate. The selection of housing opportunities is versatile. From newly constructed townhomes and condos to family homes surrounded by lush green pastures, to cottage-like homes with views of the Elizabeth River, the town has a numerous residential real estate options. In addition, the industrial sector Portsmouth is moving at a quick upwards pace. There are many options for industrial and investment real estate.

With neighborhoods filled with unique shopping and dining, community events and entertainment and a variety of museums, the culture and charm of Portsmouth, Virginia make it a wonderful place to purchase real estate.