Thrive Montgomery addresses the role of planning in encouraging healthy lifestyles; supporting arts and culture; and building a sense of community, but its overarching goals relate to economic performance, racial equity, and environmental sustainability. You can read about Thrive Montgomery, the first complete overhaul of our community’s comprehensive plan since 1964, here. Also on The Third Place blog, Planning Chair Casey Anderson gives an excellent summary of where we are right now in Montgomery County.
Here are a few tidbits from his recent blogpost:
Our quality of life depends on attracting and retaining employers and, in turn, the employees they need. Montgomery is in the 99th percentile of counties in household income and educational attainment but our economic performance has been slipping since the Great Recession of 2008. The number of jobs in the county grew by 5% from 2004 to 2019 while 20 similarly sized counties across the country grew employment by an average of 21%. Montgomery County experienced the slowest rate of business formation in the DC region from 2010 to 2019.
Household income growth in the county lagged the national average (14% vs. 25%) and was the slowest in the region during this period. Montgomery County added jobs, albeit slowly, but growth came largely in lower wage sectors of the economy.
Today communities with high concentrations of racial and ethnic minorities also show lagging median household incomes. And even as the county becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, our neighborhoods are still largely separated along income and racial lines.
Unless we attract more young adults this aging of our workforce will put more pressure on the tax base as the proportion of retirees relative to residents in their peak earning years grows. This increase in the so-called elder-adult dependency ratio means that our economic performance will have to improve just to maintain current levels of tax revenue and the services it funds.
Read the entire blog post on The Third Place