What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Richmond, Virginia?

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Virginia is commonly known as the “birthplace of the nation” and named after England’s Queen Elizabeth I. Richmond, Virginia, is home to about 223,000 people. This city is diverse and rich in culture and history.

Richmond has a fast-growing employment rate, low cost of living, a lively social scene, and is great for history lovers. Richmond is also a diverse city; however, the transportation infrastructure is poor, and the best schools are in expensive areas. The crime rate in Richmond, Virginia, is much higher, and there are two nuclear power plants.

If you want to call Richmond, Virginia home, here are the pros and cons to consider before making the move.

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The Benefits of Living in Richmond, Virginia

Richmond is a great mid-sized city with a diverse cultural scene, rich in history, and a fast-growing employment rate. With a low cost of living, you’ll find what you need in Richmond, Virginia.

1. Richmond, Virginia Has a Fast-Growing Employment Rate

The unemployment rate is 3.4% lower than the national average, and there are several opportunities to find a job. Richmond is home to several Fortune 500 companies, and employers are moving there with an employment level of about 700,000. In 2017, the growth rate was 1.5%, more than double the national average at the time.

Richmond is considered the 15th fastest-growing job market in the United States. The average salary in the city is slightly higher than the national average. Healthcare, education, retail, and accommodations are the top industries.

Top Employment Industries in Richmond by Percentage

Employment IndustryPercentage Employed

2. Richmond, Virginia Has a Lower Cost of Living

In Richmond, the cost of living is much lower than the national average. On an average of 100, Richmond’s cost of living is 95.1

Cost of Living in Richmond, Virginia

Cost of LivingRichmondVirginiaUnited States
Median Home Cost$214,000$258,400$231,200

3. There Is a Lively Social Scene in Richmond, Virginia

A benefit of Richmond is that the social scene is something you would expect to see in a bigger city. There is plenty of live music throughout the week, whether you prefer a large concert or an intimate venue. There are also several festivals throughout the year celebrating music and food.

If you’re a foodie, there are great places to grab a bite when you start living in Richmond. There are hundreds of restaurant options to choose from, blending old-world and modern styles. Many restaurants take an organic approach, sourcing local ingredients to create a farm-to-table feel and support the economy.

4. Richmond, Virginia Is Great for History Buffs

Richmond, Virginia, is rich in American history. You can spend each weekend for the first year visiting a new place and never run out of something to do. For example, you can tour the capitol building designed by Thomas Jefferson and watch re-enactments of the Second Continental Congress.

You can also watch re-enactments of Patrick Henry’s famous speech and follow the Revolutionary Trail. Viewing cannons from the Civil War, visiting Robert E. Lee’s headquarters, and touring Henricus Historical Park are also options. These are just a sampling of what residents can do once they move here.

5. Richmond, Virginia Offers a Place for Everyone

Richmond is a city of polarities. You’ll find welcoming spots wherever you are on the political spectrum. If you lean more liberal, VCU’s campus will welcome you. However, if you lean more conservative, groups along the outskirts of the city will share your ideas.

The diversity is apparent in the city, both racially and ethnically. Furthermore, the city has a successful rehabilitation home for those who are jobless and homeless. The city tries to be helpful in almost all situations, so there’s a plan in place to manage poverty.

Race and Ethnicity Averages in Richmond, Virginia

Race and EthnicityAverage Population Percentage
Black or African American47.5%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.1%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders0.0%
Other Race / Two or More Races3.2%
Hispanic or Latino (Of Any Race)6.7%

Cons of Living in Richmond, Virginia

The benefits are vast in Richmond with fast-growing employment, a diverse cultural scene, rich history, and low living costs. However, Richmond does have some downsides, like poor transportation infrastructure and expensive schools in expensive areas. Other disadvantages, the crime rate is higher than the national average, and the city is home to two nuclear plants.

1. Richmond, Virginia Has Poor Transportation Infrastructure

The transportation infrastructure in Richmond is lacking, to say the least. While there are crosswalks, pedestrians may struggle to navigate the city due to drivers not obeying the laws. Cars are often found in bike lanes, as well.

On occasion, cars and pedestrian controversy leads to road rage incidents, so err on the side of caution. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your head on a swivel.

2. The Best Schools in Richmond, Virginia, Are in the Most Expensive Areas

If you have a family and want to live in Richmond, you may need to live in a more expensive neighborhood. Typically, families that move to these neighborhoods do so on a lease to ensure that their children’s enrollment is possible. Many public schools in the city are rated average or below and underfunded, so the better ones attract much attention.

Many public schools that are considered the best are in neighborhoods that charge the most in rent and have the highest home values. For example, if you choose to go to Mary Mumford, a two-bedroom house will range from $250,000 to $300,000. If you have a larger family, a house with more bedrooms will range from $400,000 to $500,000.

3. The Crime Rate in Richmond, Virginia Is Higher than the National Average

The crime rate in Richmond, Virginia, is very high. On a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being the safest, Richmond ranks 5. Per 1000 residents, the violent crime national rate is 4, Richmond’s rate is 5.34, and Virginia’s rate is 2.

The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Richmond is 1 in 187. In the state of Virginia, the possibility of becoming a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 500.

Richmond vs. the United States Violent Crimes Per 1000

Richmond, VA228,7830.230.371.892.85
United States327,167,4340.050.430.862.47

4. There Are Two Nuclear Power Plants in Richmond, Virginia

There are four nuclear facilities in operation, and you’ll find two of them in Virginia. Many people often list these facilities as disadvantages for living in the state. Because of the nuclear power plants, there is always a threat that something could go wrong.

Therefore, if you live in Richmond, you will want to be aware of your area’s evacuation routes. You should also have an emergency plan in place to manage a potentially harmful situation. Plus, there’s a risk of contamination with these plants, so some people choose to live at least 50 miles away.

Related Questions

What is the weather like in Richmond, Virginia?

If experiencing four seasons is important to you, you won’t be disappointed in Richmond. The weather can fluctuate rather quickly, so some say that you can experience summer and winter on the same day. In the fall, the daytime temperatures range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in the winter ranges from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are usually some snow days. During the spring, it can be between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.Natural disasters in Richmond aren’t a huge concern, but hurricanes, flash flooding, and tornadoes occasionally occur. However, because Richmond is about 115 miles from the ocean, hurricanes usually downgrade before reaching the city. Tornadoes and flash flooding are rare but sometimes come with significant thunderstorms.

What is the education system like in Richmond, Virginia?

In Richmond, the education level of citizens is high relative to the national average. In Richmond, 38.49% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree, whereas the national average is 21.84%.There are two public school districts headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Henrico Public Schools and Richmond City Public Schools. Chesterfield Public Schools district also serves the city.Henrico Public Schools has 51,523 students enrolled in 81 schools in the district. There are 17 students per classroom; the state average is 15. Richmond City Public School system has 24,763 students enrolled in 54 school districts with 16 students per classroom.

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What Did We Learn?

If you’re looking to move to a low-cost area rich in culture as well as diversity, Richmond is for you. The employment opportunities are quickly growing, making it an excellent place for a young adult to put down roots. If you’re a history buff, you’ll find comfort knowing that you will never run out of activities to do.

There are some disadvantages to living in Richmond, like the poor transportation infrastructure and two nuclear power plants. The high crime rate and expensive neighborhoods for public schools are also disadvantages.

Richmond’s pros and cons may not be for everyone, but it can be a family area. Richmond offers big-city experiences in an area that is a fifth of the size of average metro areas. There are many opportunities to start a new life in this city, so take advantage of them while you can.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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