Education

What is it that sets Northern Virginia apart from other places, that gives Northern Virginia its competitive edge, that makes it such a unique, dynamic and interesting place?

 

It’s unparalleled human capital, the people who live here, work here, and come here from all corners of the globe.

 

Proximity to the nation’s capital has transformed Northern Virginia and the entire Washington metropolitan area into one of America’s — and the world’s — most dynamic, fastest growing, economically advanced, highly-educated, prosperous, and culturally-diverse regions on the planet.  The region has some of the top, most renowned public school systems in the nation. The quality of education in the region's public school systems draws numerous amounts of families to the region.

 

The demographic, social, and economic profile of this region shows it.

Educational Attainment

Northern Virginia localities are home to some of the most highly educated residents in the nation.  This high education level of the region's citizens creates a strong, flourishing business community.

 

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees

 

2013 to 2017 Five-Year Estimates

All jurisdictions in the United States are included in the five-year American Community Survey estimates. The percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees, for all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia, are displayed in this graph.  Out of all 3,141 jurisdictions in the USA, six of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees are located in Northern Virginia.  Those include the City of Falls Church  (1st), Arlington (2nd), the City of Alexandria (4th), Fairfax (7th), Loudoun (10th), and the City of Fairfax (17th).

2018 One-Year Estimates

Those jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more are included in the one-year American Community Survey estimates. For those jurisdictions in Northern Virginia with a population of 65,000, the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees is displayed in this graph.  Out of the 838 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, four of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees are located in Northern Virginia.  Those include Arlington (1st), the City of Alexandria (2nd), and Loudoun and Fairfax (tied for 7th).  

Graduate or Profressional Degrees

2013 to 2017 Five-Year Estimates

All jurisdictions in the United States are included in the five-year American Community Survey estimates. The percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or professional degrees, for all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia, are displayed in this graph.  Out of all 3,141 jurisdictions in the USA, five of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or higher degrees are located in Northern Virginia.  Those include the City of Falls Church  (1st), Arlington (3rd), the City of Alexandria (5th), Fairfax (10th), and the City of Fairfax (14th).

2018 One-Year Estimates

Those jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more are included in the one-year American Community Survey estimates. For those jurisdictions in Northern Virginia with a population of 65,000, the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees is displayed in this graph.  Out of the 838 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, four of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or professional degrees are located in Northern Virginia.  Those include Arlington (1st), the City of Alexandria (4th), Fairfax (6th), and Loudoun (18th).  

Student Enrollment in the Region's Secondary Education Public Schools

With the explosive growth in total population in the region has come substantial student enrollment growth in the region's public elementary, middle, and high schools.  In fall 2004, there were 315,898 public school students in the region.  By fall 2018 student enrollment had increased to 418,414.  With growth comes challenges in maintaining the high quality of education and school facilities in the region.  To maintain the high quality of education, planning and acquiring land or buildings for school sites to accommodate future growth is vitally important, but increasingly challenging in this region with quickly diminishing land supply. 

Northern Virginia has a transient population.  A multitude of variables alter enrollment levels, including new development, transfers to and from private schools, in and out migration rates, and changing size and composition of families in existing housing stock.  The region saw a significantly lower amount of growth in students between fall 2017 and fall 2018.  Loudoun  and Prince William both had growth, but significantly less than their recent past.  Falls Church City and Manassas City saw small amounts of decline, whereas  Fairfax County had a sizable decline that caused the absolute growth of the region to be small.  Fairfax experienced its first decline in growth in over a decade.  According to the Fairfax County Public Schools, Membership Analysis and Trends Report, published in December 2018,  the primary reason for Fairfax's decline was that out migration of students was greater than in migration of students.  Fairfax had not experienced a negative student migration since at least 2010.  The Hispanic and Native American race/ethnic groups are the only groups in Fairfax that had a greater out migration than in-migration, with pretty much all of the negative migration being attributed to Hispanics.  This out-migration of Hispanics may possibly be correlated with the decline in non-citizen foreign born populations that the region and nation experienced between 2017 and 2018.  See the "people" dashboard for more information.

Students enrolled in the region's public schools comprised 15.6% of the region's population in 2004. This share of the region’s population has steadily declined each year since.  By 2018 it was 12.3%, which is a sign of changing demographics in the region.

3040 Williams Drive

Suite 200

Fairfax, Virginia 22031

703-642-0700

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© 2019 Northern Virginia Regional Commission