Virginia is home to four of the ten richest counties in America -- all in Northern Virginia. Virginia is also home to some of the most economically distressed counties in America -- all in Southwest Virginia.
And of all fifty states, Virginia has the largest gap between the minimum wage and the bare minimum needed to support a family of four.
That's according to the Commission Examining Racial Inequity in Virginia Law, set up during Ralph Northam's administration back in 2019. The commission released three reports covering the consequences of structural racism in Virginia. Later in the show, we sit down with the Vice-Chair of the commission, Andrew Block. He'll share what they found and what progress has been made since.
But first we talk with sociologist Lawrence Eppard. He co-authored the 2021 study, “Social and Economic Costs of Inequality in the State of Virginia.” Turns out there are big disparities in social mobility across Virginia. Which is to say... in some counties, it’s a lot harder for people born in low-income families to escape poverty. Eppard breaks down what inequality of place looks like... and its consequences.
Eppard also hosts the podcast Utterly Moderate, the official podcast of the Connors Forum for a Healthy Democracy. Listen here!
The Commission Examining Racial Inequity in Virginia Law released three reports from 2019-2022. Check them out below:
Identifying and Addressing the Vestiges of Inequity and Inequality in Virginia's Laws
Identifying Virginia's Racially Discriminatory Laws and Inequitable Economic Policies