Harrisonburg, VA
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Living in Harrisonburg


Harrisonburg is a medium-sized city located in the state of Virginia. With a population of 52,538 people and 17 constituent neighborhoods, Harrisonburg is the 18th largest community in Virginia.

Unlike some cities where white-collar or blue-collar occupations dominate the local economy, Harrisonburg is neither predominantly one nor the other. Instead, it has a mixed workforce of both white- and blue-collar jobs. Overall, Harrisonburg is a city of service providers, professionals, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Harrisonburg who work in food service (14.21%), sales jobs (11.81%), and teaching (10.45%).

Harrisonburg is also a major college town with a large number of people who are 18 years or older and attending college. As is often the case in college towns, the many students that live in Harrisonburg have a strong influence on the local culture and entertainment scene, which may seem dormant by comparison in the summer months when much of the student population is away. In the fall, the return of students has a reinvigorating effect on the community. Because colleges are lasting institutions, they have a stabilizing effect on the economy by providing direct local benefits such as jobs for faculty and staff and spending by students. Harrisonburg’s economy is one such example of this.

Residents of the city have the good fortune of having one of the shortest daily commutes compared to the rest of the country. On average, they spend only 16.40 minutes getting to work every day.

The population of Harrisonburg is very well educated relative to most cities and towns in the nation, where the average community has 21.84% of its adult population holding a 4-year degree or higher: 35.76% of adults in Harrisonburg have a bachelor's degree or even advanced degree.

The per capita income in Harrisonburg in 2010 was $18,324, which is low income relative to Virginia, and lower middle income relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $73,296 for a family of four. However, Harrisonburg contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. Harrisonburg also has one of the higher rates of people living in poverty in the nation, with 32.49% of its population below the federal poverty line.

Harrisonburg is a very ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Harrisonburg home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Harrisonburg residents report their race to be White, followed by Black or African-American. Harrisonburg also has a sizeable Hispanic population (people of Hispanic origin can be of any race). People of Hispanic or Latino origin account for 17.73% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Harrisonburg include Irish, English, Italian, and Polish.

In addition, Harrisonburg has a lot of people living here who were born outside of the US (16.65%).

The most common language spoken in Harrisonburg is English. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish and Chinese.