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Living Here, Working There - Now More Prevalent Than Ever in the Region

Hampton Roads is becoming an even more co-dependent economic region, with more than 65% of all workers commuting outside of their city or county each day to reach their place of employment.

So says a study conducted by economists Dr. James Koch and Dr. Vinod Agarwal of Old Dominion University on behalf of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (The Alliance). Previous reports in 2005 and 2009 estimated 60% and 61% of residents, respectively, living in one community and working in another.

The study, entitled “Our Jobs Also are Your Jobs: Economic Interdependence in Hampton Roads,” reveals the true extent of regional interdependence and the financial benefits of strategic partnership. For example, Norfolk remains a major employment hub with more workers in that city commuting in from Virginia Beach than actually residing in Norfolk. Additionally, based on the distribution of Hampton Roads announcements in the last five years, 41% of Newport News’ 292 new jobs came from a large project locating in Hampton. Further, nearly half of new jobs added since 2010 and held by Suffolk residents are located in Isle of Wight County.

“Economically speaking, we would be wise to treat Hampton Roads as one, large, interdependent economic unit,” writes Koch, who notes that “the economic benefits of any project of economic consequence inevitably spill across city and county lines.” He notes, “we shoot ourselves in the foot if we succumb to parochial urges.”

The study shows that the Alliance, a public private partnership of 11 localities and over 70 leading regional companies, was actively involved in recruiting 26 new firms to the area over the past five years. Adding together capital investments, salaries for one time only and permanent jobs plus spinoff from those dollars being spent in the area, creates a cumulative economic impact of more than $518-million. This represents a $32 return for every $1 invested in the Alliance by its partner localities.

“This report reaffirms that the people of Hampton Roads are not provincial in their living and working patterns and that all localities benefit financially regardless of where new jobs land within our region,” says Kevin Sweeney, Interim President and CEO of the Alliance. “We need to embrace the fact that we are one community and continue marketing ourselves to the world just that way.”

To view a fact sheet for the study, please click here

To view the full report, please click here.

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