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Arlington Listed High on “Creative Class” List

by Katie Pyzyk July 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm 3,949 77 Comments

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) Arlington is near the top of a list highlighted in “The Atlantic” that features America’s top counties for the “creative class.”

The list is an excerpt from a recently released book, written on the belief that the role of creativity is on the rise in American society. It asserts that the creative class consists of around 40 million workers, or more than one-third of the total workforce. Examples of fields with high numbers of creative class professionals include management, education, science, architecture and media.

The list charts the concentration of the creative class by county (although several independent Virginia cities also made the list). Arlington County came in at number two, second only to Los Alamos County, New Mexico. A number of D.C.-area locales also made the list, including:

3. Falls Church, VA
4. District of Columbia
6. Alexandria, VA
8. Fairfax County, VA
9. Howard County, MD
10. Loudoun County, VA
11. Montgomery County, MD
12. Fairfax City, VA
15. Albemarle County, VA

The region also fared well on the list of states with high numbers of the creative class. The District came in first, Maryland is third and Virginia came in fifth.

  • WeiQiang

    Is this rating a proxy for vibrancy?

    • Mary-Austin

      Oh yea…I have a feeling they’re gonna be touting this one for a looong time.

    • KalashniKEV

      There is no substitute for VIBRANCY… but DIVERSITY comes close.

      VIBRANT DIVERSITY is the goal here.
      (use your imagination to conjure up what that means)

    • yes again

      I’m not feeling a whole lot of either vibrancy or creativity in Arlington. In fact, this has to be the most non-creative, least vibrant place I have ever lived.

      FWIW the whole “creative class” argument has been under attack and really does not look to be valid upon closer inspection.


      • moof

        Yeah, but that article is using Berlin as a counterexample. It says 40% of their artists are unemployed, but aren’t “artists” kind of chronically un- or under-employed in most places? It also says that 30% of social scientists are unemployed there, but how did social scientists get into the creative class??? They arent creating anything. Similiarly, the Atlantic is including “healthcare, law, management and education” in the creative class. What??? No, none of these people are “creating” anything. Ok, “healthcare” professionals at NIH in Bethesda are an exception. I see that LA and NYC are not in the top 20 for this, so I seriously have to wonder about the Atlantic’s methodology here.

  • novasteve

    You’d think being #2 they would take some of that creativity and actually come up with a new bar that isn’t exactly like every other bar here, called Tavern, extensive beer list, serves wraps, exotic salads, etc…

    • WeiQiang

      Well, there’s Jay’s. How about a Steve’s? What would you serve?

      • novasteve

        Only until it gets knocked down.

    • SARLingtonian

      What’s wrong with taverns with beer, wraps, and salads? But if those things don’t appeal, why not try the myriad of ethnic foods available in Arlington county? Or old-school joints like Bob & Edith’s or Weenie Beenie?

      • novasteve

        Do you ever watch that show Something Diners and Dives with that guy with the fake blond hair? I wish we had places that served food like that while service booze.

        • callie

          It’s called “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, hosted by Guy Ferri, on the Food Channel.

          • Earth Mover

            And they have featured the Metro 29 Diner on Lee Highway.

          • drax

            And La Caraquena in Falls Church.

          • Douglas Parker

            Guy and Diners, D and D just put together a bit at Tortuga’s Lie in Nags Head, NC while I was there last week!

        • Monopoly Man

          La Caraquena (in falls Church) was on that show

          Awesome food and strong drinks. (but its small, get there early on the weekend!)

      • thisisatest

        you shouldnt use the word myriad if you cant use it correctly.

  • musician

    What, MANAGEMENT is a creative class? And professional musicians/artists etc. are not?


    • Mc


    • drax

      Yes, the arts are included.

    • Mr. Brown

      Musicians and artists rarely have enough numbers to impact an economy, and when they do, they make so little that they still have no impact on the economy. I’m a manager, and I create jobs, thus the word “creative.”

  • sunflower

    sure glad to see some results for our support of the arts

    • RWarren

      Yeah, a second place in a popularity contest from a magazine. Go tell all your friends who live in places that didn’t make the list.

  • nom de guerre

    “second only to Los Alamos County, New Mexico”, birthplace of the atomic bomb. Now that’s what I call creative and VIBRANT.

    • even


    • novasteve

      Perhaps if we have some criticality accidents here in Arlington we could become more vibrant?

      • real person who can think

        “criticality accidents”?

        please explain, son.

  • Elmer

    Great. More stoking of the egos of the entitled, self-absorbed class in Arlington

    • novasteve

      What, and I take it you don’t wear flip flops while driving your 1 series BMW?

  • Marie Antoinette

    Makes me want to go out, buy a Prius and ply it with 1,000 Obama-Biden stickers…STAT!

    • novasteve

      I can’t wait until they come out with a Hybrid 1 series BMW! I need to show off while being environmentally friendly in a car I had to lease.

    • Robespierre

      Will that big white wig fit in a Prius?

      • Danton

        Sure will after if comes out of the basket at the foot of the guillotine.

        • Tabby_TwoTone


    • Elmer

      I laugh when I see Obama stickers on a Prius. The Prius is made in Japan.
      There is no Prius factory in the US.

      • novasteve

        Don’t see why a car needs to be made in america to have an Obama sticker on it. I think they’re funny because it’s so stereotypical. I think i’ve seen one Prius with a Mccain sticker on it. But it’s almost like priuses come standard with an Obama sticker. Even american cars are barely technically made here. The parts are from other countries, a lot of assembly is done in Ontario…

        • Monopoly Man

          My dad went to West Point and is a retired one star General and he is about as right wing as you can get.

          He drives a Prius.

        • Replytothat

          I’m not liberal and I’d drive a Prius. I’m all for cutting oil consumption and alternative energy.
          I had high hopes for alternative energy when the Dems controlled Congress/WH. I was majorly disappointed at their lack of efforts in this arena — but naive of me to have any expectations considering that (basically) all of Washington receives oil lobbying funds.

          Obama threw a little money at nulcear and then failed solar companies but a lot more could have been done. If we stopped sending money out of the country for oil we could eradicate our debt in no time.
          It’s such a shame.

          • Elmer

            … and sending money out of the country to buy foreign made automobiles, like the Prius.
            Yes, its such a shame.

          • Smellmer

            It’s weird that so-called conservatives have decided that the Prius is the car they love to hate. Like so much in their world, just doesn’t make much sense.

          • WeiQiang

            … especially when the “free market” is deciding which car it wants to buy.

          • Elmer

            Smeller, If you were thinking, you would realize that the Chevy Volt from Government Motors is the car the libs/progressives should be buying BUT it doesn’t have the cache of the Prius so the elites send their money overseas for the Prius and tell they are saving the planet.

      • Greg

        Hahaha. I want to party with you.

      • that’s what she said

        But those Priuses help cut the annual trade deficit from oil imports.

        • Elmer

          So tell that to the unemployed U.S. auto worker. You bought that made in Japan Prius instead of a made in USA vehicle to diminsh oil imports.

          • Git!

            Go shoot a wabbit, Elmer.

          • Elmer

            I did. I shot the Prius.

          • bobm

            Big deal. I shot the sheriff.

      • drax

        So no foreign cars should have any presidential bumper stickers, Elmer? Yeah, that makes sense.

        • Elmer

          No but it does make sense that someone who begins by sending $25,000.00 out of the country to buy a foreign made car should not be bragging that they helping to reduce our trade deficit by buying a few dollars less gas.
          The math does not add up-unless you use that creative Arlington math.

  • PLinARL

    Lawyers must be considered to be a “creative profession” in the D.C. area. (And I can say this, because I am one). 🙂

  • Sam

    Having recently moved to Arlington, I’m amazed at the negativity and snarkiness of so many people here about the county and our quality of life – or at least the negativity and snarkiness of many arlnow readers. The reason your county is routinely ranked as one of the best places to live in the nation is because – it is one of the best places to live in the nation. There are folks all over the US who would be thrilled to have what we have here. Appreciate it, and enjoy it!!

    • not your bro

      It’s just the commenters on this website. Most of us are happy here.

    • novasteve

      And if I bet they did studies on the mental well being, etc of the people in the county, it would probably be rock bottom given how narcissitic, status oriented, the people are here are. While it might be a safe place, etc, the people are miserable.

      • Lloyd

        I bet you wouldn’t come over here to Fairlington and say something like that.

      • Arlingtonian

        That’s so sad. I think it’s a great place to live, here by choice for 19 years. Might just be you.

      • Sam

        I don’t know novasteve, I’m pretty darn happy and so are most of the people I’ve met since moving to Arlington (except for some folks on this blog). Try looking on the brighter side of life and you might find that things aren’t so bad.

      • drax

        Freudian projection, steve. YOU are probably miserable.

      • dk (not DK)

        You know Steve, maybe you need some new friends.

        I hear all the time about the narcissism and status-orientation of people in this area, and perhaps that’s true, but I rarely see it myself. That’s because I surround myself with people who care about other things. Our friends are mostly teachers and rank and file government employees/mid-level bureaucrats. We really like our neighbors, and frequently chat with them, share a beer or garden produce, etc., but I have no idea what most of them do for a living because we talk about other things. I haven’t asked them and they haven’t offered. If you don’t like the people you hang out with, why don’t you find other friends?

        • Tabby_TwoTone

          Big presumption evident…

    • Elmer

      Let me guess-your household has a good six figure salary.

    • Ed

      Sam, you’ve discovered the secret of the arlnow comments section.

    • Cyrus

      Sam, don’t take the comments on this board as representative of Arlington County. Most of us are happy to live here while many of these commenters are just unhappy contrarians.

    • Buckwheat

      I’m happy here! Just killing time having fun! Trying not to be too offensive!

    • Clarendon

      Sam, ask these negative people to name a specific place that they think is a better place to live and ask them why. You rarely get an answer.

    • dk (not DK)

      Welcome to Arlington, Sam! Believe it or not, some of us like living here, too.

    • ya don’t take it to heart – you’re on an internet that allows anonymous commentors – expect the worst.

  • Ralph

    What happened to this article?

    Arlington Gets Praise In First Year Of ’100 Homes’ Campaign
    by Aaron Kraut

    Earlier this month, the 2012 National Conference on Ending Homelessness recognized Arlington County as one of 15 communities nationwide that are “on track” to end homelessness among the medically vulnerable within four years.

    The claim is based on a benchmark set by the National Alliance to End Homelessness — cities or counties that moved 2.5 percent of their chronically ill homeless population into permanent housing each month made the list.

    Arlington’s “100 Homes” campaign, a partnership with the nonprofit A-SPAN, put about 30 homeless people with life-threatening medical issues into permanent, federally-funded supported housing since starting up last October.

    • Lloyd

      It is awaiting moderation.

    • KalashniKEV

      Ha… I could end homelessness in Arlington in 3 days…

      • drax

        This is why you are not in charge.

  • Kiffee

    Boo-yah! 🙂

  • This idea was tired when Florida first trotted it out in the late 90’s or whatever it was – unfortunately the sun belt did not hold up quite as well as he predicted back then. Also if you take out lawyers and contractors I wonder where the DC/MD/VA area would rank.

    • Sam

      What does that mean, Mitch? Re: taking out lawyers and contractors? If you take actors out of the mix in Los Angeles how would they rank in the film business? Or if you take bankers out of the mix in New York, how would that city rank in the finance business?

  • Id

    Arlington moving up to be the No. 1 city to film a porno in.

    • not drax

      I’d like to see the data that supports this!

  • Hokie

    FWIW- Florida (the author) was actually a resident of Arlington for some time. When I was in my master’s program at GMU (05-07)- I had him as a professor.

  • Justin

    Another bullsh*t list that means nothing.


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