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City of Richmond 2023 Situation Analysis Report


VCE-596-85NP (VCE-1175-85NP)

Authors as Published

Authored by Twandra Lomax-Brown, Unit Coordinator and Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS); Joe Logan – Family Nutrition Programs for Youth (FNP)

Map of the city of the Richmond.
Summary of community issues and Extension office response
Priority Issue Planned Unit Response
Addressing Hunger Issues Addressed through partnerships with food distribution programs
Strengthening Food Systems Master Gardener and VSU assistance with Urban Agriculture
Helping Communities Improve the Quality of Their Lives Financial Education, Renter’s and Homebuyers Education, Programs addressing Health and Wealth, Food and Nutrition Education, Career and Workforce Development
Building Healthy Families Connect families with VCE nutrition and wellness resources, address financial health, work with partners utilizing wrap-around community development resources
Protecting Water Quality n/a
Helping Youth Dev. Leadership, Citizenship & Life Skills Provide Character Education provide life skills through household and financial management and career education
Helping Consumers Make Healthy Food Choices Provide Food, Nutrition, Wellness and Food Safety Education
Ensure safe, high quality foods Food Safety Education, Nutrition and food preparation sessions
Teaching Youth Good Money Habits Utilize Reality Store and Real Money, Real World Curriculums to teach these habits
Teaching People to Protect Themselves (ID, Fraud, Scams) Financial, Credit and ID Theft Education, Train MFEV to assist financial education


The City of Richmond Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) office conducted a comprehensive Situation Analysis in 2023. This process was led by the Richmond City Extension Faculty and Staff. In the absence of an Extension Leadership Council, we formed a support team that assisted with the City Unit Profile, by contributing to the discussion, gauging perspectives on concerns in the city and reviewing the data from our Qualtrics survey.

For funding purposes, the City of Richmond has conducted an assessment which identifies several areas of need. This provided us with a list of priorities determined by the leaders in the city based on the results of their assessment. These areas are education, housing, human services, health, and arts/culture. In meeting with our support team, we found that there are some additional concerns that need to be addressed. Although, these concerns were identified by the city, additional concerns were brought forward by the support team and data from our survey. All of which were reviewed in preparation to complete the situation analysis.

There were several goals of this project, which include the following:

  1. To survey key leaders in the community using Qualtrics to gather information on problems, issues and concerns in the City of Richmond.
  2. To use the results of the surveys and interviews to determine what are the top priority issues.
  3. To determine if these issues are currently being addressed by Richmond City VCE and if the Richmond City VCE is able address the remaining issues by utilization of the services and educational resources provided by the programs offered by our office.

Due to scheduling conflicts, our support team and our unit met in a fashion that was convenient, face-to-face, by phone and individually.

The initial phase of this process involved developing a survey using the Qualtrics system. The survey allowed those participating to identify issues of concern in the City of Richmond. The survey was sent to numerous stakeholders in the city. In the interim, a Unit Profile was developed using data obtained from the US Census Bureau, Richmond Public Schools, Richmond City Health Department, and the Situation Analysis site developed for retrieval of the Richmond City Unit Profile. This site categorized information in a demographic summary, agricultural summary, health summary, education summary, business and employment summary. Thus, the organization process was implemented to analyze data and create the Unit Profile.

The surveys, key informant interviews and unit profile garnered results which reflected the top issues in the City of Richmond. These findings were presented and discussed. The top priority issues were identified, all of which are either currently being addressed or can be addressed using the resources provided by Richmond City VCE. Below is informative data provided by Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Data Commons.

Unit Profile

The City of Richmond is the Capitol of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The City of Richmond, like all Virginia municipalities, is an independent city. The City is surrounded by Henrico County and Chesterfield County, located at the intersection of interstates 95 and 64, surrounded by interstate 295 and route 288 in Central Virginia. The economy of the Richmond is primarily driven by law, finance and government agencies, with several notable legal and banking firms, as well as federal, state and local governmental agencies located in the Downtown region of the city. Richmond is one of twelve cities in the United States to be home to a Federal Reserve Bank. Six of the twenty-three Fortune 500 companies in Virginia have headquarters in Richmond as well as ten Fortune 1000 companies. The Fortune 1000 companies collectively employ approximately 174,000 individuals in the region. Tourism is another essentially important industry in the city and includes many sites within or in close proximity of the city limits. The city is governed by an elected mayor, currently LeVar Stoney, a City Council comprised of nine council persons. The school board has nine board members representing the nine school districts in the city. These governing bodies have identified the following initiatives for the City of Richmond. This Richmond City VCE unit is comprised of a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Twandra Lomax-Brown and a Food Nutrition Program Associate.


The city’s population is estimated to be 229,395 based on the modified US Census 2022 population estimate. This is higher than the 2020 estimate of 226,617. Current numbers make the city the fourth most populous in the state.

Almost half of Richmond’s population is black at 45.2%. Just over 44.8% are white, according to the last US census. Approximately, 2.1% percent of the population is Asian which has decreased since 2018, while the Hispanic population is increased to 7.3%.

The city’s total population of over 229,395 is spread across 62.5 square miles, putting the population density at over 3,700 residents per square mile. The city’s total metro area population is over 1.26 million. Breaking down the population by age shows that almost 22% of the population is under the age of 18. The largest age group is 25 to 44, which makes up almost 32% of the total population. Over 13% are at least 65 years old. Richmond is very diverse when it comes to population and is the location of many historic churches. The city also has religious institutions for Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and other groups.


Poverty has decreased from 21% to 19.8% at the time of our last Situation Analysis. Which indicates that 19.8% of Richmond’s population lives below the federal poverty line. Income averages are as follows: $32,826 Average Earnings, $35,666 Average Male, $30,913 Average Female. The median household income is $42,356. As of 2016, 24.8% of Richmond residents live below the federal poverty line, the second-highest among the 30 largest cities and counties in Virginia.


Workers in the Richmond, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $28.88 in May 2022, 3 percent below the nationwide average of $29.76, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 17 of the 22 major occupational groups, including life, physical, and social science; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and construction and extraction. When compared to the nationwide distribution, Richmond area employment was more highly concentrated in 11 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations, community and social service, and computer and mathematical. Nine groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, healthcare support, and management.

Name Average Male Female
Overall $32,826 $35,666 $30,913
Less Than High School $19,552 $22,304 $14,137
High School Grad $23,506 $26,038 $21,206
Some College $27,288 $30,406 $25,808
Bachelor’s Degree $43,255 $48,047 $40,652
Graduate Degree $56,829 $68,414 $52,509


The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 95.06%. The highest rate of bachelor’s degrees is among white people with a rate of 65.06%.

Name Average Male Female
White 67,900 64,546 42,422
Hispanic 7,700 3,928 936
Multiple Races 3,518 3,057 930
Asian 2,450 2,145 1,594
Other Race 1,180 838 314
Native American 529 385 70
Pacific Islander 30 12 12
Less Than 9th Grade - 8,561 5.67%
9th to 12th Grade - 14,793 9.79%
High School Graduate - 34,719 22.99%
Some College - 28,347 18.77%
Associates Degree - 8,033 5.32%
Bachelors Degree - 33,703 22.32%
Graduate Degree - 22,874 15.15%


As of 2022, Richmond had the second-highest rate of eviction filings and judgments of any American city with a population of 100,000 or more (in states where complete data was available). Some Richmond neighborhoods, such as the Creighton Court public-housing complex, are particularly well known for concentrations of poverty.

Richmond Household Types
Type Owner Renter
Married 72.8% 27.2%
All 41.7% 58.3%
Male 32.8% 67.2%
Non-Family 32.6% 67.4%
Female 29.2% 70.8%

Rate of Home Ownership 41.7%


Richmond's economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government, with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as notable legal and banking firms, located in the downtown area. The city is home to both the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, one of 13 U.S. Court of Appeals and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Dominion Energy, WestRock and Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the City with others in the metropolitan area.

Urban Agriculture

The City of Richmond has been a prominent focus point within the Commonwealth for Urban Agriculture due to the rise of food insecure households and being identified as a food desert by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 33% or approximately 30,878 citizens of the City of Richmond live in ‘critical food access areas” with over 40% of the community frequenting fast-food establishments. Urban Agriculture has been a “hot topic” for several years. In the past we have partnered with community groups such as Shalom Farms, FeedMore and area churches. These entities, along with Virginia State University assist Virginia Cooperative Extension in addressing the needs for food insecurity among the public. As a result of this collaborative partnership, 2.6% of Richmond’s population has engaged in backyard poultry farming. A vast majority of the community has engaged in an urban agriculture awareness educational program that heightened their knowledge of sustainable agriculture and best management practices.

Youth Development

Results and statistics for this section was compiled from the US Census of 2020 and the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data ( Data indicates areas of primary concern for the youth of the City of Richmond. Based on these numbers, research based educational programs are generated to address these areas of concerns.

A majority of the youth in the City of Richmond qualifying for free lunch and being isolated within a food desert, learning how to select and prepare healthier meals that are age appropriate is important as well. Career readiness is an ongoing concern, as many youth are not fortunate enough to complete high school due to lifestyle demands that are placed among them. According to the statistical data approximately 24,763 youth were enrolled in Richmond Public Schools and 65.6% of those youth were economically disadvantaged this need.

Virginia Department of Education has 1855 local schools, 155 educational centers, and 94 regional educational centers across the state for a total of approximately 2104 educational youth centers within the Commonwealth. The City of Richmond is home to 25 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, 7 high schools and 18 specialty schools for a total of 57 out of the 2104. The partnership between Richmond Public Schools, Virginia Cooperative Extension and other City organizations that provide youth development, continue to make an impact across the educational outlets within the City of Richmond.

Community and Resident Perspectives

The results of the solicited data reflected that 87.5% of those that participated in the survey indicated that hunger issues need to be addressed. The other top three results identify Strengthening local food systems, helping communities improve their quality of life, building healthy families all reflected 81.3%. Lastly, protecting water quality at 75.0% in the top five results. In the lower five at 75% were, helping develop leadership, citizenship and other life skills, helping consumers make healthy food choices, ensure safe, high quality foods. Rounding out the top ten was Teaching youth good money habits 68.8%, teaching people to protect themselves from ID theft, fraud, and scams 68.8%.

Community Issues

The process of identifying priority issues began with the selection of residents, stakeholders and partners who work diligently with underserved the communities in the City. A Qualtrics survey was developed based on topics essential to the populations across Richmond City. In October 2023 the surveys were distributed electronically to organizations that provide services to the community to be disseminated to residents, employees and those that can assess the needs of those that are underserved. The surveys were to be completed by November 2023. There were 16 responses out of approximately 125 surveys that had been sent to the aforementioned entities.

The top 10 Concerns: %
Addressing Hunger Issues 87.5%
Strengthening the Local Food System 81.3%
Helping Communities Improve Their Qualities of Life 81.3%
Building Healthy Families 81.3%
Protecting Water Quality 75.0%
Helping Youth Dev. Leadership, Citizenship & Life Skills 75.0%
Helping Consumers Make Healthy Food Choices 75.0%
Ensure safe, high quality foods 75.0%
Teaching Youth Good Money Habits 68.8%
Teaching People to Protect Themselves (ID,Fraud,Scams) 68.8%

Future Programming to Address Community Issues

The Richmond City office is comprised of a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent and a Food Nutrition Program Associate. Our capacity will allow us to address a number of the identified issues. However, due to limited staff, we are unable to address all of the concerns.

Although the survey resulted in the identification of the above issues, the City of Richmond has identified the following priority concerns.

Housing, Health or Human Services
Children, Youth, and Education
Arts and Culture

Upon review of the results of the Qualtrics survey and the priority concerns of the City of Richmond, it was decided that we select areas that could be addressed in conjunction with the City’s identified priorities.

Housing and Health (RVA City) – Helping Communities Improve Their Quality of Life, Building Healthy Families, Helping Consumers Make Healthy Food Choices, Teaching People to Protect Themselves (ID, Fraud, Scams) (Qualtrics Survey). These issues can be addressed by many VCE resources, which include financial education, food preparation, nutrition education and wellness programs facilitated by FCS and FNP.

Using programs such as Steps to Wealth and Health, Making Your Money Go Further, Taking Charge if Your ID is stolen, ID Recovery Plan, Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate and resources found in the Master Financial Education Volunteers training curriculum and other financial education tools, the FCS Agent will provide sessions focusing on Financial Education and Literacy to assist in improving the quality of life in our communities. The FCS Agent will also individually or in partnership with housing organizations to provide information for spending plans, homebuyers education, housekeeping, credit repair and maintenance.

To address Healthy Families, Making Healthy Food Choices and Building Healthy Families, the FCS Agent will provide sessions to families, Seniors and individuals to cover topics such as, safe food handling, food preparation, food preservation, portion control, reading labels, using herbs and spices vs. salt, fat and sugar to season foods. Senior agencies are ideal partners to assist in delivering this information.

Children, Youth and Education (RVA City) – Helping Youth Develop Leadership, Citizenship and Life Skills, Teaching Youth Good Money Habits, Building Healthy Families, Helping Consumers Make Healthy Food Choices (Qualtrics Survey). These issues can be addressed by the 4-H program, as well as education, financial literacy and education, nutrition, food safety and wellness programs provided by VCE FCS and FNP.

The 4-H camp training experience will provide youth interested in becoming teen leaders, establish citizenship and character skills. Richmond City VCE will also provide simulations such as Reality Store and Real Money, Real World to provide essential skills for a career and managing a household budget to address “teaching youth good money habits”.

Through educational curriculums, City youth will be taught about nutrition factors, food safety, kitchen safety, food preparation, reading labels, movement and exercise and making healthier choices. As well as encouraging family members to make better choices. These experiences will take place during in-school and after school programs. Below is a testimonial from Richmond City Public Schools supporting the efforts of the Richmond City VCE Office as partners in providing educational resources to their students. As partners, we can address the needs of our youth as indicated in the results of our Qualtrics survey.

In conclusion, the aforementioned issues are those that can be easily addressed through programs and curriculums offered by VCE. Partnerships with organizations that have expertise and access to resources beyond our reach, will enhance our abilities and be essential to helping us meet the needs of our communities and lead to Healthy Families and Communities.


US Census City/Town Population estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program 2020-2022

Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data 2022

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Publication Date

March 29, 2024