May 11, 2021

One RegionSustaining Economic Mobility across Northern Virginia’s neighborhoods

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia's Insight Region® presents the second brief report in a series focused on inclusive prosperity in Northern Virginia.

"Spreading the Wealth" examines historic economic mobility for children raised in lower-income households across our region thirty years ago and the opportunity factors that seem to have a causal effect on children's ability to achieve economic success as adults. It finds that Northern Virginia enjoyed the "highest rate of economic mobility in the country; 19 percent of the region's children who grew up in lower-income homes in the 1980's and 1990's were earning in the top quintile for household income as adults, the highest rate of economic mobility across the 50 most populous metro areas."

However, not all communities and neighborhoods in Northern Virginia have equal access to the conditions within the neighborhood— “opportunity factors”—that help produce economic mobility. Among the 113,000 children who were living at or near poverty in Northern Virginia in 2015-19, nearly half lived in a neighborhood with “low” levels of college education, and over a third lived in neighborhoods with low levels of nuclear families, early achievement, social capital, and residential inclusion.

The brief identifies where opportunity lives in Northern Virginia and suggests solutions for targeted investments to ensure that ALL residents enjoy the "Northern Virginia Prosperity Bump."

Explore economic mobility and the “opportunity factors” in your community!

These interactive maps allow users to view rates of historic economic mobility (source: and current opportunity for pre-identified locations (including all Northern Virginia jurisdictions, communities, and zip codes) using the buttons at the bottom left of the map or create their own maps by selecting specific census tracts. Users can also zoom in and out using the scroll wheel on their mouse, or by selecting the + and – signs on the map key. Users interested in a specific opportunity factor can select these data from the buttons at bottom right.