Norfolk is an independent city in Virginia. With a population
of 234,403 as of the 2000 census, it is Virginia's second-largest incorporated
city. Norfolk is located in the Hampton Roads region, 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 metropolitan
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 Seven Cities of 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 234,403 people, 86,210 households,
and 51,898 families residing in Norfolk. There were 94,416 housing units. The
racial makeup of the city was 48.36% White, 44.11% African American, 0.46% Native
American, 2.81% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 2.48%
from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 3.80% of the population.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,815, and
the median income for a family was $36,891. Males had a median income of $25,848
versus $21,907 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,372.
About 15.5% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line,
including 27.9% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.
Norfolk serves as the commercial and cultural center for the somewhat
unique geographical region of Hampton Roads and in its political structure of
independent cities. 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.
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