Arlington County, Virginia, stands out as one of the United States’ wealthiest counties, boasting a median household income of $122,604 in 2020. However, it’s vital to recognize that not all Arlington neighborhoods share this affluence, as some grapple with poverty rates, reduced incomes, and more pronounced economic difficulties.
In this article, we will delve into the five neighborhoods in Arlington County facing the most substantial economic challenges, based on American Community Survey (ACS) data spanning from 2017 to 2021.
Nauck, also known as Green Valley, resides in the southern region of Arlington County, with a historical connection to its Black community. With around 6,000 residents, Nauck faces a poverty rate of 16.8%, which is double the county’s average of 8.4%.
The median household income here stands at $69,250, constituting approximately 56% of the county median. Nauck also grapples with a lower homeownership rate (34.9%) and a more significant rent burden (35.8%) compared to the county’s overall figures (42.3% and 28.9%, respectively).
Despite these challenges, Nauck boasts a rich history dating back to the late 19th century when freed slaves founded the neighborhood. It proudly features historic landmarks like the Macedonia Baptist Church, the Nauck Community Center, and the Green Valley Pharmacy. Nauck also celebrates its heritage and diversity through annual community events and jazz festivals.
Buckingham is a densely populated neighborhood nestled in Arlington County’s central heart. It is home to approximately 17,000 residents and grapples with a poverty rate of 14.6%, surpassing the county’s average of 8.4%.
The median household income in Buckingham stands at $66,667, which represents approximately 54% of the county median. Additionally, Buckingham struggles with lower homeownership rates (18.9%) and a higher rent burden (36.1%) than the county norms (42.3% and 28.9%, respectively).
This vibrant and diverse neighborhood welcomes immigrants from various regions such as Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Buckingham offers a diverse range of housing options, including historic garden apartments, townhouses, and high-rise buildings. The neighborhood also features several amenities, including parks, schools, libraries, and shopping centers.
3. Columbia Heights
Columbia Heights, nestled in the eastern part of Arlington County, accommodates around 8,000 residents. It contends with a poverty rate of 12%, which is higher than the county’s 8.4% average.
The median household income in Columbia Heights stands at $75,833, representing about 62% of the county median. Additionally, Columbia Heights experiences lower homeownership rates (32%) and a higher rent burden (34%) compared to countywide averages (42.3% and 28.9%, respectively).
This neighborhood embodies diversity and dynamism, housing residents from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. Housing options span from single-family homes to apartment complexes, catering to diverse needs. Columbia Heights also offers attractions like the Arlington Arts Center, the Walter Reed Community Center, and the Columbia Pike Branch Library.
4. Radnor-Ft Myer Heights
Situated in the northern region of Arlington County, Radnor-Ft Myer Heights houses approximately 14,000 residents. The neighborhood faces an 11% poverty rate, exceeding the county’s average of 8.4%.
The median household income in Radnor-Ft Myer Heights is $80,833, constituting roughly 66% of the county median. Additionally, this neighborhood features lower homeownership rates (24%) and a higher rent burden (33%) compared to the countywide standards (42.3% and 28.9%, respectively).
Radnor-Ft Myer Heights is characterized by its urban and lively atmosphere, attracting young professionals and students. It features a high concentration of high-rise buildings, hotels, offices, and restaurants. Additionally, this neighborhood boasts landmarks like the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon, and the Fort Myer Military Base.
5. Douglas Park
Douglas Park, nestled in the southern part of Arlington County, accommodates roughly 15,000 residents and grapples with a 10% poverty rate, surpassing the county’s 8.4% average.
The median household income in Douglas Park stands at $85,417, representing approximately 70% of the county median. Furthermore, Douglas Park faces lower homeownership rates (37.9%) and a higher rent burden (32.3%) compared to countywide figures (42.3% and 28.9%, respectively).
This diverse and welcoming neighborhood is predominantly home to families and children, offering a mix of housing styles, including bungalows, Cape Cods, and townhouses. Douglas Park also features green spaces such as Douglas Park, Glencarlyn Park, and the Long Branch Nature Center.
While Arlington County, Virginia, boasts overall prosperity, certain neighborhoods within it contend with pronounced economic challenges. The five neighborhoods facing the greatest economic difficulties are Nauck, Buckingham, Columbia Heights, Radnor-Ft Myer Heights, and Douglas Park.
These areas grapple with higher poverty rates, reduced incomes, and housing-related issues compared to countywide averages. However, each of these neighborhoods also possesses its own unique strengths, including rich history, cultural diversity, and various amenities.
By acknowledging the distinctive needs and opportunities of these neighborhoods, we can work collaboratively to enhance the quality of life for all residents of Arlington County.