Economic geographer Richard Florida has published a new book, “The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited,” and now that he’s blogging for The Atlantic, he’s publishing a lot of his data on his blog. Good news for fans of his creative-class analysis.
I was pleased to see that the Old Dominion ranks fifth in the country as measured by the creative-class share of the workforce. The creative class, by Florida’s definition, includes professionals in the fields of science and technology, design and architecture, arts, entertainment and media, and healthcare, law, management and education. Comprising one third of the national workforce, the creative class contributes disproportionately to innovation and economic growth.
Virginia, where 36.4% of the workforce falls into the creative category, owes its high ranking to inclusion in the Washington metropolitan statistical area. Washington, D.C., where the creative professions account for 57.8% of the workforce, took the top spot on the list. In Maryland, ranking third nationally, the share is 38%. Also in the Top 10 were Massachusetts (39% share), Connecticut (37%), Colorado (35.9%), New Hampshire (34.8%), New York (34.7%), Washington (34.7%) and Minnesota(34.6%).
Florida’s ranking of the top creative “counties” in the country is dominated by Northern Virginia jurisdictions. (Florida includes small independent cities such as Fairfax and Falls Church as counties.)
But the story is not all Northern Virginia. Albemarle County ranks 15th in the country. That distinction can’t be attributed solely to the University of Virginia. You don’t see any other college towns on the list, do you? (It would be interesting to know how Albemarle would have ranked if its numbers had been combined with the independent city of Charlottesville, making it truly comparable to counties outside Virginia.)
And then there’s York County in Hampton Roads. York County? Who would have figured it as one of the nation’s creative-class hotbeds?
All things considered, not a bad showing.