What's it like to live in Richmond, VA?


Ginger Warder

Profile written by local expert:

Ginger Warder

More than 7 million tourists visit the Greater Richmond region each year to explore its rich American history. Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech in Richmond's St. John's Church and, as the former capital of the Confederacy, the metro area was at the epicenter of the Civil War. Modern-day interests can easily be found in the region as well, including world-class museums, a vibrant food scene and a wide array of entertainment options from concerts and theater performances to family-friendly festivals.

The only region in America with whitewater rapids running through its downtown district, Richmond is a major financial center with banks like Capital One Financial and SunTrust Banks calling it home. Richmond is also the seat of Virginia's state government. And, with a wide range of housing options, the Richmond metro area – which includes suburban areas in the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico – appeals to a varied demographic, from young families to retirees.

Downtown Richmond is anchored by Virginia Commonwealth University, which draws a large crowd of younger part-time residents. But this college town (also home to the University of Richmond) has plenty to offer families and older residents, as well. Each of Richmond's neighborhoods exudes a unique personality, from the historic 19th-century homes in Church Hill to rustic farms and family-friendly suburban communities in the outlying counties. 

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Richmond, Virginia is ranked:

#54 in Best Places to Live

#32 in Best Places to Retire

6.6

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    6.0
  • Value
    7.2
  • Job Market
    6.8
  • Quality of Life
    6.1
  • Net Migration
    6.7

Read how we rank places

Richmond, VA Quick Stats

  • 1,258,158

    Metro Population

  • $49,110

    Average Annual Salary

  • 69.6° / 48.1°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 38.4

    Median Age

  • $211,442

    Median Home Price

  • 43.6 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.9%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,004

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 25.0 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Richmond, VA?

Housing costs in Richmond are lower than the national median, though not by much. Meanwhile, residents tend to spend more on everyday expenses, such as groceries, transportation and health care. 

Value Index

Index Score: 7.2 /10

How we calculate this.


Richmond offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year


Richmond
$211,442

USA
$222,408

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Richmond, VA.

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What's the weather like in Richmond, VA?

The temperate climate offers cool fall days with spectacular foliage, pleasant spring weather and generally mild winters, although snow is common. Summer is often hot and humid, but the region's many warm-weather festivals help take residents' minds off the sometimes oppressive heat.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

39.9°F


Winter

57.7°F


Spring

77.4°F


Summer

60.2°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.3 in


Winter

4.0 in


Spring

4.7 in


Summer

4.1 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Richmond, VA?

Richmond residents and students who live in the downtown area have access to GRTC, the region's public bus service, as well as two free shuttle services to popular downtown neighborhoods. Since there is no subway system, most suburban residents drive to and from work and leisure activities. The downtown area offers parking lots and garages, as well as metered street parking.

Richmond offers easy access to Interstates 95 (north/south) and 64 (east/west), and E-ZPass-enabled toll roads including the Downtown Expressway, Powhite Parkway and Pocahontas Parkway, which connect the suburban neighborhoods to the metro area. Broad Street, the main artery that runs through the center of downtown Richmond, is best used for short commutes due to the number of traffic lights and the congestion around Virginia Commonwealth University.

Commuting in Richmond, VA

Means of Transportation
Driving
90%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
2%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
2%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

25.0 minutes

1.1 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Richmond, VA?

Although the median age in Richmond is 38, the region feels much younger, especially from September to May when the streets are filled with college students. More than a third of Richmond residents 25 and older hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and the average salary is roughly on par with the national average. On the other hand, one-fourth of the region's residents live below the poverty level.

Many residents have a formal religious affiliation with one of more than 1,000 houses of worship spanning several denominations.

While urban professionals are attracted to the industrial lofts and historic row houses in the downtown area, as well as the upscale communities on the West End, young families prefer the single-family homes in the suburbs, which also offer several acclaimed 50-plus communities for retirees.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Richmond as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Richmond, VA?

Founded in 1737, Richmond is a region of contrasts. Southern traditions and nearly 80 historic attractions exist side by side with a millennial-driven downtown filled with trendy industrial lofts, cutting-edge art galleries, concert venues and a bevy of restaurants.

The Richmond metro area features more than 100 local parks and plenty of recreational activities, from the Kings Dominion amusement park located nearby to the many opportunities to hike Pocahontas State Park to the chance to catch an NCAA basketball game or a NASCAR auto race. 

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Richmond, VA