ONE COUNTY THRIVES. THE NEXT ONE OVER STRUGGLES. ECONOMISTS TAKE NOTE.
The gap between places doing well and those that aren’t is widening, and that’s a challenge for people trying to shape national policy.
Neil Irwin | June 29, 2018
Loudoun County, Va., and Jefferson County, W.Va., share bucolic countryside and a 14-mile border. But there are two big differences between them that capture something fundamental about our age.
Economically, Loudoun County is humming from the technology boom in Washington’s suburbs, with the number of businesses rising 49 percent from 2005 to 2015. But on the other side of that border, Jefferson County doesn’t have the same economic dynamism: The number of businesses in the county fell 11 percent in the same period, according to census data.
The two counties have diverged politically, too. Back in 2004, both favored George W. Bush for president by a similar, moderate margin. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Loudoun by 17 percentage points; Jefferson favored Donald J. Trump by 15 points.