Arlington County is the top “wealth center” in the nation, according to a study by BizJournals, which ranked large U.S. municipalities in six categories ranging from income to home value. Arlington emerged as the top wealth center among all municipalities, with City of Alexandria coming in fourth.
The study cited Arlington’s highly educated population, with one-third of Arlington adults holding graduate degrees, and its access to high paying jobs in the region, in law, government and research. The study of municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 was released August 18. [Things they’re talking about don’t change that quickly!]
These factors are also highlighted in the current “Think Arlington” campaign conducted by Arlington Economic Development (AED), which is promoting brainpower as Arlington’s “alternative energy.” The campaign profiles members of Arlington’s “creative class” – highly educated professionals who help drive Arlington’s economic success.
“The notion of Arlington as a wealth center – a place which benefits from a highly educated, well-paid population – was at the origins of our Think Arlington campaign,” stated AED Director Terry Holtzheimer. “We wanted to highlight the people, companies and amenities that make Arlington such a sought-after place to live and work.”
Arlington’s housing market and unemployment rates also remain stable, despite a sagging economy, and downturns in real estate markets regionally and across the county. Arlington’s residential real estate market has remained firm, with sales prices holding steady as of July 2008, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., the area’s multiple-listing service.
Arlington also continues to hold the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia, coming in at 2.6% as of July 2008, compared to a national unemployment rate of 5.7%, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
In addition to a highly educated population, high incomes and home values, Arlington is the epicenter of scientific research for the defense and homeland security industries, holding the highest concentration of scientific research agencies, anchored by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and several top university-related research institutes in the country. Their location within Arlington’s transit-oriented, compact, urban environment has helped to create many of the high-paying employment opportunities noted by the BizJournals study.
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