Community Leadership

Data Resource for Community Knowledge and Strategic Giving

The Opportunity Index is a free interactive data resource that serves as a critical resource for community knowledge and strategic philanthropic giving that identifies challenges and barriers to economic success for many in our region. Understanding where the greatest needs are in our region is critical to putting donations to work in the right way.

We launched the Opportunity Index in 2017, at which time the data and the accompanying report were prepared by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a nonprofit think-tank that provides credible, independent, and accessible information and analyses of fiscal and economic issues with particular attention to the impacts on low- and moderate-income persons.
Mark Keam“As an immigrant living in Fairfax County, I’m amazed at the rapid pace of demographic changes happening all around us. As a state legislator, the work I do in Richmond must take into consideration these changes so that our policies and regulations accurately reflect the priorities of Northern Virginia. Unfortunately, there are not many sources of information to help me assess these trends, especially relating to the economic disparities among racial or immigrant groups. The Opportunity Index is a comprehensive resource for both policymakers and the community at large to understand the needs of our region so that we can provide public and philanthropic resources efficiently to those who need them the most. I’m grateful that the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia created this valuable and unique tool for us.”
— Mark L. Keam, Virginia House of Delegates, 35th District

Comprised of several key indicators reflecting our region’s economy, community health, civic life, and educational outcomes, the Opportunity Index includes data from 2000 – 2017 and is updated annually to track changes and produce trend lines over time, advancing stakeholders’ understanding of the true needs of our region. The data is demographically, jurisdictionally, ethnically and racially disaggregated to shine a light on the reasons why some areas in Northern Virginia have more opportunity than others.


Key Findings

  • A significant majority of Northern Virginia’s population is over 25 years of age, with 47% between the ages of 25 and 54.
  • One in four residents of Northern Virginia are immigrants. Forty years ago, 90% of residents were U.S. born. Today 72% of residents are U.S. born.
  • Forty-seven percent of children in Northern Virginia live in immigrant households compared to 23% in Virginia and 26% in the U.S.
  • Northern Virginia has a higher share of veterans than the national average. These individuals bring valuable skills and experience to their civilian lives, and may also face challenges related to their service. In Prince William County, 13% of the population are veterans, the highest in the region.
  • From 1999-2017 the percentage of Northern Virginia residents who live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level has increased to 16.5% from 13.6%.

The Opportunity Index is updated annually to provide residents and stakeholders in the region with an easy, accessible way to identify emerging trends and track progress.
Visit the Opportunity Index