Caught in the Wake: Rising Inequality Lifting Some Virginians, Sinking Others

Looking at trends in the median wage over the past 30 years makes Virginia look like a great place to make a living. But a scan of the entire wage landscape shows big wage gains for top earners, and big losses for workers on the bottom.

Disparate growth in wages has been trending for decades in Virginia, with the top earners getting farther ahead and lower earners falling behind. As a result, Virginia faces record levels of inequality that threaten the state’s economic stability and long-term prosperity because the middle class and low-income households that make up most of the population aren’t earning enough to buy the goods and services the economy is capable of producing.

This report takes a deep dive into the latest Census data to shed light on what’s really happening with workers’ wages in Virginia.