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Median Household Income Overall

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Median Household Income Overall

Key Facts Median Household Income Overall

Northern Virginia is known for having communities with some of the highest median incomes in the United States, including the county with the highest in the nation.  High median household incomes coincide with the large, thriving business community of the Northern Virginia region. While the median household income is high, it must be recognized that there are segments of the community in need of assistance that live in this prosperous region of the country and that high housing costs offset the high income when it comes to standards of living and well-being.

About the Data and Proper Data Interpretation

Median household income data is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau 2000 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). ​ It is important to note that any data sourced from the ACS is based on a small sample of the population of a place. Areas with smaller populations, such as the cities of Northern Virginia, may have a larger margin of error in the data due to the survey sample size being small.  This is less of an issue the larger the population.  The margin of error is shown in the popup that is displayed when hovering over a bar in the bar charts.  If there is a large increase or decrease in the estimate from one time period to the next, and the margin of error is large and overlaps other periods, then the large change between time periods is likely due to statistical sampling error and is not considered statistically significant.  In addition to the margin of error, the accuracy of the American Community Survey data for an area can be gaged by evaluating the trend.  If the data has a clear trend then the data from one period to the next can be deemed reliable.

Median Household Income - Current 
Five-Year Estimates

All jurisdictions in the United States are included in the five-year American Community Survey estimates. The Median household income of all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia is shown in this graph.  The median household income of every Northern Virginia jurisdiction is higher than the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States.  Out of all 3,144 jurisdictions in the USA, three of the five highest ranked for median household income are located in Northern Virginia, and those include Loudoun County (1st), Falls Church City (2nd), Fairfax County (4th), and Arlington County (10th).  Northern Virginia's median household income, at an estimated $140,511 (in 2022 dollars), is higher than 10th ranked Arlington, making Northern Virginia one of the most affluent region's of the USA.

Median Household Income - Current
One-Year Estimates

Those jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more are included in the one-year American Community Survey estimates. The median household income of jurisdictions in Northern Virginia with a population of 65,000 or more is shown in this graph. The five largest jurisdictions of Northern Virginia all have incomes higher than the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States. Out of the 837 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, three of the top fifteen highest income jurisdictions are located in Northern Virginia, and those include Loudoun County (1st), Fairfax County (4th), and Arlington County (13th).  The median household income of Northern Virginia's five largest jurisdiction together is estimated to be $140,511 (in 2022 dollars), making Northern Virginia one of the most affluent areas of the USA.

Median Household Income - Historic Compared to Current
Five-Year Estimates

The Northern Virginia region's median household income had been rising since 1999 until it stagnated in the 2018-2022 period. The greatest upward transformations in median household income, to levels well beyond inflation, have occurred in the Counties of Arlington and Loudoun.

Median Household Income - Historic Compared to Current
One-Year Estimates

The median household income trend, for the regions large jurisdictions (population of 65,000 or more), are shown in the following graph.

 

Key Facts:

 

  • There were dips in median household income in the early 2010s for some jurisdictions.  The effects of the recession from 2007 to 2009 were still causing economic hardships and in 2013 there was federal sequestration when the federal government made large budget cuts.  The Northern Virginia region is heavily dependent on the federal government for its economy, so job layoffs during sequestration impacted household incomes.

  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically from 2012 to 2019 the trend in the Northern Virginia median household income was upward after accounting for inflation.  The COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, setting off a wave of demographic changes in the region and around the nation.  Notably, NVRC research has shown that workers retired early but generally remained in the region, immigration slowed, and many young moderate to high-income office workers migrated out of the region to work remotely to places that have a more affordable cost of living.  The impact of these shifts is evidenced by Northern Virginia's median household income having a downward trend from 2019 to 2022 after accounting for inflation.  Policy makers have given much attention to finding solutions and implementing programs for low-income, but the pandemic has manifested the need for middle-income housing and middle-income programs that will allow current and potential new households to afford to comfortably live and raise families in the region.  

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