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.

Harrisonburg is neither predominantly blue-collar nor white-collar, instead having a mixed workforce of both blue-collar and white-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%).

Because Harrisonburg has a very large number of students who are 18 years or older and in college, it is thought of as a college town. This has a major influence on local Harrisonburg lifestyle, entertainment, and culture in general. Life in Harrisonburg is very much tied to the academic calendar: when students return from the summer break in the fall, one will notice them out and about, buying groceries, out with friends, and generally getting re-acquainted with each other. In Harrisonburg people study hard and play hard, and there is ample opportunity to do both.

Compared to the rest of the country, citizens of Harrisonburg spend much less time in their cars: on average, their commute to work is only 16.40 minutes. This also means that noise and pollution levels in the city are less than they would otherwise be.

The education level of Harrisonburg citizens is very high relative to the national average among all cities (21.84%): 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.

Foreign born people are also an important part of Harrisonburg's cultural character, accounting for 16.65% of the city’s population.

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