The 2022 Needs Assessment - Economic Factors report on economic conditions in Fairfax County has been released, providing county officials and others with the latest data and analysis to respond quickly to emerging community needs.
The 2022 Needs Assessment - Economic Factors report provides a high-level overview of economic conditions that affect the lives of Fairfax County residents, and the compounding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information highlights comparisons with the Commonwealth or the nation, where possible, as well as disparities by race, ethnicity, sex and location.
The assessment also seeks to connect issues traditionally viewed in the context of Health and Human Services and other county service areas and priorities. These connections underscore how all parts of county government are intertwined in producing positive outcomes for residents and communities.
The Needs Assessment, provided in web-based story map format, captures the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and conditions such as high inflation. For example, one year after the onset of the pandemic, there were 3.1% or 20,024 fewer persons employed in the county. Many small businesses grappled with labor shortages in the wake of the pandemic, including in Fairfax County.
The assessment also captures disparities in areas like median household income, with White households earning 63 percent more than Hispanic and Latino households ($140,817 versus $86,409 annually). The report notes seven census tracts within the county in which the median household income was below $55,500.
Significant inflationary increases on the costs of goods and services (i.e., food, healthcare and housing) present challenges, according to the report:
- Costs for transportation, food, healthcare, housing and tuition/child care all saw steep increases between 2021 and 2022.
- Lower income households are spending more, particularly in the areas of health care and housing.
- Food insecurity affects some areas of the county more than others and specific census tracts with greater need are identified in the report.
Additionally, the assessment indicates that lack of English language proficiency limits workforce competitiveness in county residents of working age.
The assessment connects the dots between the challenges and needs it identifies and existing and proposed strategies to address them. It also ties directly to the Countywide Strategic Plan.
Strategy examples include a proposed roadmap to assist the county’s most economically disadvantaged residents in building workforce competencies and linking them to opportunities. Successful implementation of this strategy would foster the reduction of income disparities while also addressing the labor needs of the county’s small business community.
More to Come
The Needs Assessment is conducted every three years and includes information on economics, housing and transportation. The report’s sections on housing and transportation will be released in the future. Subsequent publications and their supporting data will align with the Countywide Strategic Plan Outcome Areas. Learn more at Needs Assessment | Data Analytics (fairfaxcounty.gov).