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New Census figures shows a declining median household income in Virginia

Some new numbers from the Census Bureau are ringing alarm bells in Virginia.

Virginia has been kicked out of the top 10 list for states with the highest median household income. The latest numbers from the Census Bureau show a two-percent dip, dropping Virginia down to 12th place.

Laura Goren at the Commonwealth Institute says it's the first time in 20 years that Virginia has not been in the top 10.

"I think policymakers in Virginia have the opportunity to reinvest in the building blocks of a strong economy, and we know what they are," Goren says. "That’s great schools, a functioning transportation system and a healthy workforce."

Hamilton Lombard at UVA's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service says part of what's going on here is that more people are leaving Virginia than arriving.

"Back in 2010, Northern Virginia had half of the 10 wealthiest counties in the country, it still has three," says Lombard. "So, a lot of the young people who would have stayed would have seen their incomes go up would have helped maintain Virginia's ranking. Instead, they all left, and they went to places like Raleigh or Charlotte."

Last year, Virginia's median household income was $88,000. The latest numbers from this year show it's slipped to $86,000.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.