Recession-proofing Your House

Executive BizOctober 15th, 2008 by Brian Lustig

Since the U.S. entered its current economic and financial malaise, a steady stream of news stories have addressed how citizens could “recession-proof” their job, family budget, mailbox, garage…you get the picture. Well, according to – working with data from, a demographics and data site run by Philadelphia’s Reinvestment Fund – your entire city might be recession-proof and you may not even know it.

By factoring in such inputs as the education level of the city population and share of workers in various employment industries, Arlington, Virginia ranked as the most recession-proof city in the country. As far as why Arlington – and likely a host of other Greater Washington area suburbs – fared well is intuitive: semi-insulated government jobs, lobbying positions and a highly educated workforce. For that matter DC ranked #2 in this report.

Now, being the most recession-proof city in the midst of a recession is kind of like evacuating during a hurricane and coming back to find your house is the only one left standing on the block. I guess its kind of a good thing but at the end of the day the block’s pain is your pain and, in the end, everyone suffers. cited that only 7% of Arlington residents are in the vulnerable financial, real estate, and insurance sector—about half the percentage in financial centers such as Jersey City, N.J., (outside Manhattan) and Charlotte, N.C., home of Wachovia and Bank of America. So the list is relevant when it comes to job stability and the strength of various sectors, but recession knows no geographic boundaries when it comes to plummeting 401ks, falling home prices and the psychology of fear that are permeating the nation.

That said, the survey speaks to the potential resiliency of the Greater Washington area and importance of a highly educated workforce. It speaks to the fact that many growing (or at least not shrinking) sectors such as healthcare flourish in the area. The report is a silver lining during a time when any glimmer of hope is appreciated, but it remains to be seen how the area will fare as this financial crisis plays out.

Click here to read this article by Brian Lustig on Execitve Biz on October 15, 2008.