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Richmond County 2023 Situation Analysis Report


VCE-596-86NP (VCE-1175-86NP)

Authors as Published

Tina Kemp, Unit Administrative Assistant Wendy Herdman, Senior Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development

County seal of Richmond County, Virginia. Circle outlined in yellow with red building, green crops and steam boat in center.
Table 1. Top 10 issues identified in the 2023 Situation Analysis of Richmond County, Virginia.
Issue %
Protecting water quality 94%
Strengthening the local food system 88%
Protecting Air Quality 86%
Helping youth develop leadership, citizenship, and other life skills 86%
Ensure safe, high quality foods 82%
Ensuring safe food handling practice to prevent foodborne illness 80%
Getting more adults involved in mentoring youth 78%
Protecting freshwater resources 76%
Controlling invasive pests 76%
Teaching health relationship skills to teens 74%
Teaching youth good money habits 74%
Protecting the marine environment 74%


Extension educational programming starts with an understanding of community needs. Local programming efforts should address high priority community needs. To help local units determine the priority issues and needs of their communities VCE facilitates a locally driven, in-depth situation analysis every five years.

In 2023, we started with a state level needs assessment survey. This survey will provide data on what Virginians view as high priority needs and issues in their communities. The data will inform program team planning as well as other state level programs. The findings from this effort will be shared with the system and program teams by late March.

In 2023, to collect unit level information, we adopted the state level survey and modified it to collect information regarding the unit where the respondent lived or worked. Our survey was intended to collect information from families who lived and or work in Westmoreland and Richmond Counties. This survey was shared on paper at public events and electronically through social media, email blasts and directed emails.

Other data from the unit profile and from VCE Data Commons will be used to shape future Extension programming.

Unit Profile: Notable Trends

Total Population: 8,902


The demographic makeup of Richmond County is 60.25% White, 27.06% Black, 7.38% Hispanic, 4.85% two or more races, 0.42% American Indian, 0.04% Asian and 0.01% some other race.


Richmond County has fewer school aged children and more people 60 years old and older than the rest of the state.

School age population is 14.52% or 1293 people. School age population in Virginia is 19.03%

Population 60 years old and up is 28.82% or 2566 people. Population 60 years old and up is 23%.

Agriculture and Forestry

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, agriculture is a $16.8 million industry in Richmond County. There are 98 farms in Richmond County. 24% of those farms earn more than $100,000 in sales followed by 40% earning less than $2,500. Top crops by acres planted are soybeans, corn, wheat, forage and barley. Top crops by sales are grains. 45% of the farming population is in the 35-64 age range and 41% are 65 years old and older. 97% of the farming population is White. 14% are Hispanic.

Health Summary

Premature death (years lost before age 75 per 100k) was higher at 9300 for Richmond County when compared to the state at 6700.

People reporting poor or fair health is at 19% which is higher than the state at 12%

Adult obesity is high at 40% in Richmond County when compared to the state rate of 32%.

Richmond County is medically underserved. The ratio of primary care physicians to residents is 9070:1 when it is 1320:1 for the state.

78% of Richmond County residents are high school graduates compared to 91% in the state.

Children living in poverty is at 20% in Richmond County whereas it is 13% for the state.

Business and Employment

2,769 residents are employed.

The top 3 employers in Richmond County are local, state & federal government (36.4%), health care and social assistance (12.4%) and retail trade (10%).

Public Education

There is one school division in Richmond County with 1 preschool, 1 elementary/middle school and 1 high school. Total enrollment in the schools for 2023-2024 is 1374.

Community and Resident Perspectives

Results of data collected in the Richmond County survey sorted by highest level effort indicated. Table 2 lists all issues in the survey in ranked order from highest effort to lowest. There are 12 issues that make the top 10 for Richmond County. These 12 issues are highlighted in gold.

Table 2. Results of the 2023 Situation Analysis of Richmond County, Virginia sorted from highest level of effort to lowest.
Issue High effort Very high effort %
Protecting water quality 18 30 94.1%
Strengthening the local food system 22 23 88.2%
Protecting air quality 15 29 86.3%
Helping youth develop leadership, citizenship, and other life skills 18 26 86.3%
Ensure safe, high quality foods 21 21 82.4%
Ensuring safe food handling practice to prevent foodborne illness 21 20 80.4%
Getting more adults involved in mentoring youth 25 15 78.4%
Protecting freshwater resources (lakes, rivers, springs, wetlands) 16 23 76.5%
Controlling invasive pests (plants, animals, insects) 17 22 76.5%
Teaching health relationship skills to teens 19 19 74.5%
Teaching youth good money habits 17 21 74.5%
Protecting the marine environment 18 20 74.5%
Preserving farm and forest land 13 24 72.5%
Addressing hunger issues 19 18 72.5%
Protecting the coastal environment 15 22 72.5%
Reducing misuses and overuse of pesticides and fertilizers 12 25 72.5%
Promoting agricultural, natural resources, and environmental literacy 15 21 70.6%
Helping communities be better prepared for and respond to natural disasters 21 14 68.6%
Conservation and utilization of forest resources 19 16 68.6%
Managing natural habitats and ecosystems 12 23 68.6%
Addressing poverty 19 16 68.6%
Providing physical fitness education 22 12 66.7%
Helping communities improve their quality of life 20 14 66.7%
Building capacity for farm to school programming 15 19 66.7%
Assisting farmers and forest landowners in production and profitability 19 14 64.7%
Preventing suicide 16 17 64.7%
Strengthening workforce readiness 17 16 64.7%
Preventing youth violence 12 21 64.7%
Preventing chronic disease 17 15 62.7%
Addressing adult and youth mental health 13 19 62.7%
Promoting economic development 13 18 60.8%
Assisting forest landowners with sustainable management practices 17 14 60.8%
Helping consumers make healthy food choices 15 16 60.8%
Building health families 18 13 60.8%
Teaching people to manage their money 16 15 60.8%
Promoting scientific literacy among youth 13 18 60.8%
Addressing before and after school challenges 17 14 60.8%
Preserving foods for home use (canning, dehydrating, fermenting, freezing) 15 15 58.8%
Composting, reducing, and recycling consumer goods 17 13 58.8%
Strengthening parenting skills 12 17 56.9%
Reducing obesity 13 15 54.9%
Assisting local government and businesses with land use decisions 16 12 54.9%
Supporting businesses which engage in agritourism 14 14 54.9%
Facilitating civic engagement 15 11 51.0%
Strengthening couple and/or marital relationships 13 13 51.0%
Teaching people to protect themselves from identity theft, frauds, and scams 6 20 51.0%
Promoting alternative agriculture 16 10 51.0%
Helping Virginians' become more energy efficient in their homes, farm, and businesses 14 11 49.0%
Promoting small business entrepreneurs 11 14 49.0%
Addressing prescription drug abuse 8 16 47.1%
Strengthening dependent care 12 12 47.1%
Building the capacity of community nonprofits 14 9 45.1%
Helping households reduce water use 15 7 43.1%
Addressing alcohol abuse 8 11 37.3%

Of these top identified issues, 6 of them were also identified in the state top 10 results and are listed below.

  • Protecting water quality
  • Strengthening the local food system
  • Protecting air quality
  • Ensure safe, high quality foods
  • Ensuring safe food handling practice to prevent foodborne illness
  • Protecting freshwater resources

Community Issues

The priority issues selected were identified by the respondents in the survey but limited by the staff serving Richmond County: Helping youth develop leadership, citizenship and other life skills. This was the #4 issue identified in Table 2.

Future Programming to Address Community Issues

ISSUE: Developing Youth Leadership, Citizenship and Life Skills

4-H youth development programming will focus on building leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H will partner with the school division to offer school enrichment programs that are correlated with SOL’s. School administrators and teachers can request programs to reach goals and build particular skill sets. Nutrition and physical activity programs for youth in schools are also available from our Family Nutrition Program staff. To build these programs, we will make sure that school divisions are aware of the programming that can be offered.

Environmental education and stewardship programs will be offered in school and through local day camps. This aligns with at least 3 of the top 10 issues identified that are not focused directly on youth. Local partners in these efforts can include Northern Neck Master Naturalists, Friends of the Rappahannock, Menokin, Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association and others.

Leadership building programs will be offered through Teen Leadership and possibly through 4-H clubs programming. Practicing and building leadership skills can happen locally and at higher levels and in partnership with other organizations. New opportunities will be examined and shared.

To measure impact in any of these program areas, evaluations can be conducted that measure knowledge gained, skills improved and behavior changes adopted.

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Publication Date

April 1, 2024