A Profile of Virginia

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Excerpted from the 2012 Virginia Report, this profile provides a brief introduction to Virginia's people, its economy, and its government.


Profile at a Glance

Commonwealth of Virginia in watercolorVirginia is one of the best places in the United States to live, work, and raise a family. With the 10th largest economy, the Commonwealth enjoys the seventh highest level of per capita personal income in the nation. Virginians are on average better educated and more productive than residents in most other states, and the Commonwealth has been successful in attracting and developing a high-quality workforce. While Virginia is becoming more urbanized and reliant on professional and technical jobs, historically important sectors – agriculture, forestry, maritime, manufacturing, and mining – continue to make important contributions in several of Virginia's regional economies. Some highlights include:

Virginia's People: Virginia's population, like the nation's, is growing and changing. It reached nearly 8.1 million in 2011, maintaining the Commonwealth's position as the 12th most populous state in the country. The average age of the population continues to increase and by 2030, nearly one in every five Virginians is projected to be 65 years or older. In addition, Virginia is becoming more diverse, with racial and ethnic minorities now representing more than 35 percent of the population (2011). Population growth continued to be concentrated in larger metropolitan areas.

Virginia's Economy: Virginia's economy has consistently outperformed the nation as a whole. Overall progress has been stable but far from uniform across its diverse regions. In addition, Virginia, like the nation, has seen dramatic economic shifts in recent years, with large declines in construction and manufacturing jobs -- mostly offset in statewide totals by gains in professional, scientific, technical, and federal and state government jobs.

Virginia's Government: Virginia's state government operates on a 2-year biennium budget, which totals $86.5 billion for 2012-2014. This amount includes $85.3 billion for operating expenses and $1.2 billion in capital outlay. Looking at total operating funds from all sources, the majority of the money goes to education (37.3%), health and human resources (30.1%), and transportation (11.5%).

Download the profile (pdf, 13 mb)