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186 pp.


This is Old Dominion University’s 24th annual State of the Region Report. While it represents the work of many people connected in various ways to the university, the report does not constitute an official viewpoint of Old Dominion, its president, Brian Hemphill, Ph.D., the Board of Visitors, the Strome College of Business or the generous donors who support the activities of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy.

Over the past year, we have experienced rising interest rates, persistent inflation, and the continued impact of geopolitical shocks on our daily lives. We live, for better or worse, in interesting times and our ability to grow as a region will certainly be tested in the coming years. There is good news to report. The region has largely recovered from the pandemic-related shocks of 2020 and, in some sectors, a new expansion is underway. While the pillars of the regional economy are strong, the region remains overly reliant on federal spending. Whether federal spending will continue to increase over the coming decade is an open question.

With this in mind, we dive into the question of whether Hampton Roads can improve its economic performance relative to its peer and aspirant metropolitan regions. We applaud efforts by local and regional organizations to promote economic development, but we also must gauge these efforts against the data. Can we move the needle to diversify our economy, provide improved opportunities to residents, and attract new residents to the area we call home?