Norfolk (/nrfk/ (listen) NOR-fuk) is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2020 census, the population was 238,005, making it the third-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, and the 94th-largest city in the nation. The city was incorporated in 1705 and is one of the oldest cities in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, and is considered to be the historic, urban, financial, and cultural center of the region.
Norfolk is at the core of the metropolitan area, surrounding the Hampton Roads natural harbor at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. It is one of nine cities and seven counties that constitute the Hampton Roads metro 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.
As the city is bordered by multiple bodies of water, Norfolk has many miles of riverfront and bayfront property, including beaches on the Chesapeake Bay. The coastal zones are important for the economy. The largest naval base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, is located in Norfolk along with one of NATO's two Strategic Command headquarters. Additionally Norfolk is an important contributor to the Port of Virginia. It is home to Maersk Line, Limited, which manages the world's largest fleet of US-flag vessels. However, this low-lying coastal infrastructure is also very vulnerable to sea level rise, with water levels expected to rise by more than 5.5 feet by the end of the 21st century.
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