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Bristol is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835. It is bounded by Washington County, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, and Sullivan County, Tennessee.
It is the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, Virginia with Washington County for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the “Tri-Cities” region.
Originally named Goodson, it was renamed Bristol (after Bristol, England) in 1890.
The Grove, Solar Hill Historic District, and Walnut Grove are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,367 people, 7,678 households, and 4,798 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,346.4 people per square mile (519.8/km²). There were 8,469 housing units at an average density of 656.6 per square mile (253.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.54% White, 5.57% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,678 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.78.
In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,389, and the median income for a family was $34,266. Males had a median income of $28,420 versus $20,967 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,311. About 13.2% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.
Despite its relatively small size, Bristol, Virginia boasts one of the most advanced broadband networks in the country. Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) started planning a fiber optic deployment in the city in the late 1990s. By the year 2001, BVU had been granted approval by the City Council of Bristol for a full deployment of a Fiber to the premises (FTTP or FTTU, fiber to the user) project. This project was to offer competition to local incumbents and provide broadband Internet, cable TV, and telephone service to the residents of Bristol. This deployment was one of the first of its kind in the United States and was widely watched by the telecommunications industry. A system known as Passive optical network (PON) was successfully deployed to over 6000 customers in a matter of 2 years.
Today, Bristol Virginia is still one of only a few FTTP deployments in the country with a significant number of customers online. Bristol’s twin, Bristol, Tennessee, is also deploying an FTTP system similar to its neighbor across the state line.
In 2007 and 2008, Bristol was named one of the Best 100 Communities for Music Education.
Bristol was recognized as the “Birthplace of Country Music,” according to a resolution passed by the US Congress in 1998; residents of the city had contributed to early country music recordings and influence.