Four times more Rapp residents commute elsewhere to work than earn living in county

600 residents of outside counties employed in Rapp County

Approximately 2,025 Rappahannock residents regularly commute to other surrounding counties for employment compared to only 531 Rappahannock residents who are fortunate enough to make a living inside the county.

At the same time, 599 residents of other nearby Virginia counties commute into Rappahannock County for their jobs.

The eye-opening employment and commuting figures are based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest 2015 LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) dataset1, and are presented in a just-released March 2018 report by the Demographics Research Group of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

Titled “Virginia Locality-to-Locality Commuting Data,” the 141-page document provides the top 10 localities where residents commute to — or workers commute from — for each county in Virginia, including Rappahannock.

Of Rappahannock County’s 2,025 “out-commuters”, 337 travel to Fauquier County for employment; 206 to Culpeper County; 181 to Prince William County; 167 to Fairfax County; 150 to Warren County; 83 to Loudoun County; 75 to Henrico County; 46 to Albemarle County; 44 to Frederick County; and finally 39 county residents commute to the city of Richmond. A considerable number of 697 Rappahannock residents work in other localities.

Fifty-eight percent of Rappahannock County’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is in the civilian labor force. Otherwise of its 7288 residents (2017 estimates put the county’s 2017 population at 85 fewer residents than the 7373 counted in the 2010 Census) 26.1 percent are 65 years of age or older, while 17.7 percent are 18 or under.

Of the 599 “in-commuters” to Rappahannock County, 120 arrive from Culpeper County; 102 from Warren County; 83 from Fauquier County; 39 from Page County; 26 from Prince William County; 24 from Madison County; 20 from Loudoun County; 19 from Frederick County; 14 from Fairfax County; and 11 from Spotsylvania County. Another 141 in-commuters reside elsewhere.

Certainly not an employment hub by any stretch of the imagination, where in Rappahannock County do “in-commuters” find jobs?

According to the latest September 2017 Virginia Employment Commission Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, these are the 25 largest employers in Rappahannock County:

1) Rappahannock County Schools; 2) The Inn At Little Washington; 3) Level 3 Communications LLC (Century Link); 4) County of Rappahannock; 5) Sperryville Corner Store; 6) Wakefield Country Day School; 7) Griffin Tavern; 8) Rappahannock Cellars; 9) Williams Tree Service; 10) Early’s Carpet; 11) Augusta Lumber LLC; 12) Headmaster’s Pub; 13) VDOT; 14) The Child Care Learning Center; 15) Kinetic Electrical Service Inc; 16) Tulas Off Main; 17) The Settle Company; 18) VA Cable LLC; 19) The Farm At Sunnyside; 20) Albemarle Montessori Children’s Community; 21) Farmer’s Co-operative, Inc.; 22) Narmada Winery; 23) Rose Hill Veterinary Practice; 24) Mountainside Physical Therapy Inc; 25) Antimicrobial Therapy Inc.

UVA’s demographics center stresses that the new commuter analysis has some limitations. For example, “self employed” and “informally employed” individuals — which Rappahannock County certainly has its share of — are excluded from the data, so it is likely that more Rappahannock residents are working inside the county.

At the same time, U.S. military and federal employees who work at U.S. intelligence or national security agencies are excluded in the data, which could mean additional Rappahannock County residents are commuting to those agencies.

The center also points out that a place of employment could be counted administratively, and thus be different from the physical location where an employee reports for work.

Still, the UVA center says the new LODES data provides “rich information” about commuting numbers for Rappahannock County and the rest of Virginia.

About John McCaslin 400 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at