The Opportunity Atlas shows that where low-income families live can shape their children's futures. Credit: Credit: The Opportunity Atlas

The number of jobs in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and surrounding counties has increased 11 percent from 2007 to 2017, according to a report released Wednesday by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. Most of the total jobs in the area – 76 percent – are in Charlottesville and Albemarle.

Not all of these jobs pay enough to cover the cost of living.

Food, shelter, utilities, and clothing cost $30,603 per year for Charlottesville and Albemarle, according to the area’s third Orange Dot report.

The report released by the Chamber and Piedmont Virginia Community College on Wednesday found that 25 percent of Charlottesville families and 14 percent of Albemarle families make less than $35,000 per year.

The Orange Dot report presents one solution for family self-sufficiency: Network2Work, a PVCC program which uses existing social networks to connect struggling families to employers offering higher wages and opportunities for career growth.

A second solution might lie in neighborhood planning. Harvard University researchers Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren just released The Opportunity Atlas, which shows that where low-income families live can shape their children’s futures. Explore the interactive website to see which neighborhoods in Charlottesville and Albemarle give children the best chance to climb out of poverty.

Other articles on Opportunity Atlas data from around the country:


Emily Hays grew up in Charlottesville and graduated from Yale in 2016. She covered growth, development, and affordable living. Before writing for Charlottesville Tomorrow, she produced a podcast on education and caste in Maharashtra, India.