Summary Background



The Northern Neck is a destination for second-home owners and tourists, hosts an active aquaculture industry, features a diverse economy that includes small manufacturers and successful timber companies, and has become increasingly attractive to professionals, who are able to work remotely, and value the quality of life offered in the Northern Neck with little traffic congestion, clean air and water, and low population density.

With all these positive quality of life fundamentals making the Northern Neck attractive to travelers and businesses alike, the following areas of concern need to be addressed to maintain and grow the regional economy:

      • populations are projected to grow only slightly in Westmoreland County and Richmond County
      • median incomes are lower than state and national figures
      • poverty levels have increased
      • limited water, commercial sites, infrastructure, and skilled labor have set constraints on the region’s economy

Read on to discover some of the data relevant to these areas of concern.  Additional Information on Demographic and Economic Data for all four counties can be found on the Employment by Occupations and  Demographic / Socioeconomic pages.


Since the 2010 census, population has declined in Lancaster, Northumberland, and Richmond Counties and grown by almost 6% in Westmoreland County. The Northern Neck’s median age is 53, and Lancaster and Northumberland Counties have seen their median ages rise to nearly 60 years old.


Median household income is behind the state level in all four counties, but in Northumberland the median income approaches the national level. 


The proportion of the population employed is below 50% for the region, significantly below the state and national rates. Low employment rates correlate to higher population age in Lancaster and Northumberland County, and are attributed to the incarcerated population in Richmond County at the Haynesville Correctional Facility that houses approximately 1,141 inmates. 

Lancaster County, VA

Richmond County, VA

Northumberland County, VA

Westmoreland County, VA


The poverty rates are in double digits for every county, ranging from 12.8% of the population in Northumberland County to 17.8% in Richmond County, averaging 15% for the region. Again, the high rate of poverty in Richmond County correlates to the low workforce participation rate, and high percentage of the population incarcerated (13%).