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Covington, Virginia
Main Street in Covington, Virginia
Main Street in Covington, Virginia
Official seal of Covington, Virginia
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Coordinates: 37°47′10″N 79°59′20″W / 37.78611°N 79.98889°W / 37.78611; -79.98889Coordinates: 37°47′10″N 79°59′20″W / 37.78611°N 79.98889°W / 37.78611; -79.98889
Country United States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
 • Total 5.67 sq mi (14.69 km2)
 • Land 5.47 sq mi (14.16 km2)
 • Water 0.20 sq mi (0.52 km2)
1,250 ft (381 m)
 • Total 5,961
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,012.62/sq mi (391.00/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-19728
GNIS feature ID 1498470

Covington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,961, making it the third-least populous city in Virginia. It is surrounded by Alleghany County, of which it is also the county seat. Located at the confluence of Jackson River and Dunlap Creek, Covington is one of three cities (with Roanoke and Salem) in the Roanoke Regional Partnership. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Covington with Alleghany county for statistical purposes.

Economy and transportation

Covington's economy is dominated by Westrock, which has been operating in the city since 1890. The facility employs about 1300 workers, mostly from Covington and Alleghany County. Its production includes bleached paper and paperboard for packaging, and is the second largest on the East Coast.

The area is serviced by Interstate 64 (east-west) and Route 220 (north-south) offering rail, truck and interstate access to the area. Also, rail passenger service is provided at the Amtrak station in Clifton Forge, VA 12 miles away.

Both Alleghany County, VA and Covington City are known for the low cost of their housing markets and close proximity to The Homestead in Bath County (VA), Lexington (VA), The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs (WV), Lewisburg (WV), and Roanoke (VA), each of which is within about a 45-minute drive in their respective direction. Covington has a team in the Valley Baseball League called the Lumberjacks.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.8 km2), of which 5.5 square miles (14.2 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) (3.6%) is water. The city lies along both sides of the Jackson River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 436
1890 704 61.5%
1900 2,950 319.0%
1910 4,234 43.5%
1920 5,623 32.8%
1930 6,538 16.3%
1940 6,300 −3.6%
1950 5,860 −7.0%
1960 11,062 88.8%
1970 10,060 −9.1%
1980 9,063 −9.9%
1990 6,991 −22.9%
2000 6,303 −9.8%
2010 5,961 −5.4%
2019 (est.) 5,538 −7.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

The population of Covington has gradually declined since reaching its peak of 11,062 in 1960. The population decline has mainly resulted from losses of manufacturing jobs in the area. One major loss of manufacturing jobs occurred after a fire at the Hercules plant in June 1980, causing $23 million in damage and worker layoffs.

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,303 people, 2,835 households, and 1,740 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,111.3 people per square mile (429.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.1% White, 13.1% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 0.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,195 housing units at an average density of 563.3 per square mile (217.6/km2). There were 2,835 households, out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. Of all households 34.0% were made up of individuals, and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.5% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,325, and the median income for a family was $36,640. Males had a median income of $30,755 versus $20,316 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,758. About 10.7% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Covington has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.



Covington has one 8–12 high school (Covington High School), one 4–7 middle school called (Jeter-Watson), one pre-kindergarten through third grade elementary school (Edgemont Primary), one State Governors School (Jackson River Governor's School), one technical center for high-school students (Jackson River Technical Center), and one community college (Dabney S. Lancaster).


Covington has a team in the Valley Baseball League called the Lumberjacks.



The area is serviced by Interstate 64 (east-west) and Route 220 (north-south) offering rail, truck and interstate access to the area. Rail passenger service is provided at the Amtrak station in Clifton Forge, VA 12 miles away.

Fire protection

Fire protection is provided by the Covington Fire Department, which was chartered on March 4, 1902. The Covington Rescue Squad provides emergency medical services to the city of Covington. Both the fire department and rescue squad are volunteer organizations. The rescue squad was organized in 1933 and is the third oldest volunteer rescue squad in Virginia.

Notable people

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