With a median household income of $110,292, Fairfax County, Virginia in the Washington, DC metropolitan area is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, but not all residents share in this economic prosperity. As its population has grown and diversified over the past 25 years, inequities in income and opportunity by race and geography have also increased. Given that communities of color are expected to increase from 45 to 72 percent of the population by 2040, taking concrete steps to create pathways for the communities being left behind to connect to education and good jobs is critical for the county’s economic future.
In 2015, PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) partnered with Fairfax County leaders to produce an Equitable Growth Profile of Fairfax County (and Summary) analyzing demographic change, the state of equity, and the potential economic benefits of equity to the county along with policy solutions. This profile informed the “One Fairfax” resolution adopted by the county and school board to ensure decisions regarding education, land use, zoning and public-private partnerships advance equity and opportunity.
Building on this work, PolicyLink recently advised Fairfax leaders on equity criteria for developers as they embark on a major, multi-departmental redevelopment of the Mount Vernon High School. The RFP for this project can be found here.