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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Regional Studies Institute’s Annual State of the Region Report Set for Release Oct. 7

James V. Koch, Old Dominion University Board of Visitors Professor of Economics and President Emeritus, and Gary A. Wagner, Professor of Economics, will present findings from the 15th annual State of the Region report at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 7. Approximately 800 regional leaders are expected to attend the breakfast program, which is sponsored each year by Lead Hampton Roads.

Presentations will also be given Oct. 8 to Virginia Beach Vision at the Town Center City Club and Oct. 9 at another Lead Hampton Roads-sponsored breakfast at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

The events run from 7:45-9:30 a.m. Tickets are $45, and $35 for Lead Hampton Roads members. Sponsorships are available.

For the Oct. 7 event at the Marriott, Click here to register. For the Oct. 8 event at the Town Center City Club, contact Martha McClees at Martha@virginiabeachvision.com for more information. For the Oct. 9 event at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, Click here to register.

This year's State of the Region report, published by ODU's Regional Studies Institute, examines a wide array of Hampton Roads issues, ranging from economic challenges to the probable effects of vehicle tolls on area residents.

The report also discusses the merits of providing economic development incentives to businesses, "gardening" existing firms and creating "innovation districts." In a related chapter, it questions the practice of offering large financial subsidies for arenas, stadiums, convention centers and hotels. Further, the report assesses how regional migration affects economic vitality.

In addition, the 149-page report takes an in-depth look at homeless children in Hampton Roads and considers how area "megachurches" are redefining organized religion in the region.

Koch serves as editor of the State of the Region report, which received financial support from Old Dominion and a number of local organizations and individuals. He notes that the report does not constitute an official viewpoint of the university.

"The State of the Region reports maintain the goal of stimulating thought and discussion that ultimately will make Hampton Roads an even better place to live," he said. "We are proud of our region's many successes, but realize it is possible to improve our performance. In order to do so, we must have accurate information about 'where we are' and a sound understanding of the policy options available to us."

The 2014 report is divided into seven parts. Among its findings are:

  • Rebounding, Albeit Slowly: In a nutshell, our regional economy continues to recover, but still has not regained the jobs lost in the 2008 recession.
  • Mixed Signals: Migration Data and Regional Economic Vitality: Between 2010 and 2013, our region experienced net out-migration, after taking account of births and deaths. We are, however, attracting many new immigrants from abroad.
  • Megachurches in Hampton Roads: There are 14 "megachurches" in Hampton Roads and each enjoys an average attendance in excess of 2,000 weekly. They are redefining organized religion in our region.
  • Homeless Children in Hampton Roads: Estimating the Costs to Society: More than 22 percent of homeless people are children under age 18. We focus on the work of the organization ForKids Inc. as a way to estimate these costs and benefits of homelessness to society.
  • The Impact of Vehicle Tolls on Hampton Roads: Job Mobility, Residential Living Choices and Regional Cohesion: This was one of the hottest topics in Hampton Roads this past year and we analyze the probable effects of those tolls on our region.
  • Economic Development Incentives: Competing Against Ourselves? Is the time-honored strategy of providing financial incentives to attract new firms the most productive way for our region to proceed, or instead should we be looking at alternatives such as "gardening" existing firms and creating "innovation districts"?
  • The Answer Is Always "Yes": In a related chapter, we point out that our cities persistently ignore available evidence and choose to provide large financial subsidies for arenas, stadiums, convention centers and hotels.

All 15 of the State of the Region reports may be found at www.odu.edu/forecasting and www.jamesvkoch.com. Single paper copies may be purchased for $25. For more information contact Koch at 683-3458 or jkoch@odu.edu.

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