The metropolitan area of Hampton Roads was originally referred to as the Norfolk-Portsmouth Metropolitan Statistical Area in 1950. Per this definition, the area comprised of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and South Norfolk independent cities as well as Norfolk and Princess Anne counties. Virginia Beach then separated itself from Princess Anne County in 1952. In 1963, Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County merged once again, with the entire area changing its name to the city of Virginia Beach. The city obtained the MSA status in the same year but Norfolk relinquished its metropolitan status. The county of Norfolk and the city of South Norfolk merged, forming Chesapeake City.
The City of Chesapeake obtained its MSA status in 1970 and Virginia Beach became a major city. The county of Currituck in North Carolina obtained its MSA status in 1973. The Newport News-Hampton Metropolitan Area (consisting of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Williamsburg cities and Gloucester, James City, York counties) was merged with the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Portsmouth MSA, forming the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News MSA. Surry, Mathews, and Isle of Wight counties joined the MSA in 1993. Virginia Beach was designated the MSA’s primary city in 2010 despite having surpassed Norfolk as the largest city in 1990.
The Census of 2010 resulted in the removal of Surry County and the inclusion of Gates County in North Carolina. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA—NC Combined Statistical Area, on the other hand, adds three more counties in the Elizabeth City, North Carolina namely Pasquotank County, Perquimans County, and Camden County. It also adds the Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina with one county, Dare County. The total population number of this Combination Statistical Area was 1,779,243 according to a census. With a growth of 1.74%, the total population number in this area is expected to rise to 1,810,266 in 2013.