The Definition of Hampton Roads

The name Hampton Roads refers to an area in Virginia, US, which encompasses a body of water as well as the metropolitan areas surrounding it located in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina. Areas within this region cover places such as Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA—NC metropolitan areas, extending to also include a Combined Statistical Area that contains Elizabeth City, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, and Kill Devil Hills. The diversity and stability of the economy in the region is supported by its beaches, an extensive waterfront property, coal piers, shipyards, an ice-free harbor, and the presence of military base.

The Hampton Roads body of water is recorded as being one of the largest natural harbors in the world. The body of water occupies an area that includes the James River, Nansemond River, and Elizabeth River. Smaller rivers also exist within the area, all of which empty into the nearby Chesapeake Bay, which in turn leads to the Atlantic Ocean.

The land area of the region consists of some cities, counties, and towns, all of which situated on the Virginia Peninsula in South Hampton Roads. Areas that are further away from the harbor may or may not count as part of the Hampton Roads, depending on the definition used.

As an example from for economic purposes, the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) of Hampton Roads is defined by only to counties situated at northeastern North Carolina and two counties situated at the Middle Peninsula of Virginia. The area of Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA—NC MSA consists of more than 1.7 million people.

This makes the area the 37th largest in the US in terms of population number. The CSA (combined statistical area) of Hampton Roads consists of four more counties in North Carolina. With this, the entire area has a total of more than 1.8 million people, pushing it to become the 32nd largest CSA in the country in terms of population number.