Chesapeake is a city in Virginia with a population of about 250,000 people as of 2017 making it the third highest populated city in the state. If categorized by size, Chesapeake is the second largest city in Virginia and 17th in the United States. The city was commissioned in 1963 but its origins can be traced back as far as 1691. Chesapeake has received credit for its diversity and was in fact the 21st best city in the US by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011. Chesapeake also has numerous square miles of protected farmland, forests, and wetlands.
Is Chesapeake, Virginia a good place to live? Living in Chesapeake offers residents a small town suburban feel. The city has close-knit communities where most people know each other. The city has great parks and forests which clean the air and support a lot of wildlife making Chesapeake very habitable. Crime in the city is moderate and there are good schools.
If you are thinking of moving to Virginia, then Chesapeake is a great option. The city has a rich heritage and its wealth is its natural wonders. Chesapeake is a city for those who love the outdoors and it beckons outdoor adventurers from all over the country. Typical of living in Virginia, there are scenic forest trails, beautiful waterways and an incredible array of wildlife that would take a lifetime to discover. Chesapeake is also a family-friendly city with amenities and facilities that present fun activities for the whole family. We will review the characteristics that make Chesapeake a great place to live.
Is Chesapeake a good place to live? Prons & Cons
Moving to Chesapeake reveals one of the most livable cities in the USA. The city is consistently ranked as one of the best cities to live in the nation. However, Chesapeake is similar to other cities in that there are good and bad neighborhoods. No area is exclusively good or bad but they do fall somewhere on the continuum. Therefore, if categorized, good neighborhoods in Chesapeake include Great Bridge East, Pleasant Grove East, Greenbrier, Deep Creek South, Butts Station and Pleasant Grove West. Bad neighborhoods include South Norfolk, Deep Creek West-Dismal Swamp, Crestwood, Deep Creek North, Indian River and Western Branch North.
The crime rate in Chesapeake is moderate. The overall crime rate in Chesapeake is lower than both the Virginia and US average. However, violent crimes and property crimes are both above the state and national average. Only 20% of cities in the US have a higher crime rate than Chesapeake. You have a 1 in 38 chance of being a victim of crime in Chesapeake. Property crimes like vehicle theft, arson, larceny, and burglary take the lion’s share of criminal activities in the city with violent crimes like armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape or murder coming in a close second.
Chesapeake has a tradition of academic excellence. There are outstanding public and private schools in the city. Most schools rank higher than the national average supported by the fact that 74.5% of public high school graduates attend two- or four-year colleges. About 30% of Chesapeake’s population has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Noteworthy learning institutions in the city include Christopher Newport University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Chesapeake Center for Science & Technology, Tidewater Community College, The Grassfield Technology Academy, Old Dominion University, Regent University and Virginia Wesleyan College.
The transport sector has been a major contributor to Chesapeake’s growth since its inception. There are two toll roads in the city: Chesapeake Expressway and the Veterans Bridge. The city is served by several US highways including I-64, I-464, I-664, US 13, US 17, US 58, US 460 and SR 168. There are also over 90 bridges and overpasses in Chesapeake. The Hampton Roads Transit buses are the main public transport system in the city of Chesapeake. The Dismal Swamp Canal runs through Chesapeake and the oldest man-made canal in the United States still in operation. The Intercoastal Waterway also meanders through the city. Five railroads pass through the city carrying freight from the city’s ports. The city has its own Chesapeake Regional Airport but most residents use Norfolk International Airport.
The social life in Chesapeake is mostly dominated by outdoor activities. The city is built for it. You will often find people outside playing sports like football, soccer, baseball, basketball and golf. There are also parks where people have picnics and play. There are also museums and galleries for fine art enthusiasts. There are malls boutiques and gift shops where residents can shop.
Is Chesapeake a good place to work?
The average salary of an individual employee in Chesapeake is $32,000 which is only slightly higher than the national average income per capita. The unemployment rate is 2.5% which is significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of 5%. Prevalent job titles include Operations Manager, Office Manager and Project /manager. Despite such high employment numbers about 7% of the population still live below the poverty line.
The largest industries in Chesapeake include Health Care & Social Assistance, Retail Trade and Educational Services. Public Administration is the highest paying industry in the city. As far as individual organizations are concerned, the largest employers are Chesapeake City Public Schools, City of Chesapeake, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, LTD Hospitality Group, Sentara Healthcare, QVC, HSBC Finance, Cox Communications, Hewlett Packard and Reliance Staffing respectively.
Is Chesapeake, Virginia a good place to buy a house?
The real estate market in Chesapeake is stable and the properties are quite affordable. The average home price in Chesapeake is $260,000 whereas the average rent in the city is $1200 per month. Home ownership in Chesapeake stands at 70% most of the homes being owned via a mortgage.
Regardless of the neighborhood in which you live, home insurance is recommended. Good neighborhoods in Chesapeake include Great Bridge East, Pleasant Grove East, Greenbier, Deep Creek South, Butts Station and Pleasant Grove West. Bad neighborhoods include South Norfolk, Deep Creek West-Dismal Swamp, Crestwood, Deep Creek North, Indian River and Western Branch North.
The average price for a one bedroom apartment in Chesapeake is $187,850. The average price of a two bedroom apartment is $245,000. The average price of a three bedroom apartment is $298,550. The average price of a four-bedroom apartment is $302,540 and the average price of a five-bedroom apartment is $356,750.
The average monthly rent for an apartment with a single bedroom in Chesapeake is $975. The average rent for an apartment with double bedrooms is $1250 per month. The average rent for an apartment with triple bedrooms is $1480 a month. The average monthly rent for a quadruple bedroom apartment is $1925. The average rent for an apartment with quintuple bedrooms is $2460 a month.
Is Chesapeake, Virginia a good place to retire?
Chesapeake is a good retirement location for several reasons. The city’s safety index allows retirees to feel safe walking alone during the day and during the night except for some woefully insecure areas. The other reason to retire in Chesapeake is because of the great outdoor space. A retiree will enjoy Chesapeake especially if they were involved in office work till retirement. The great outdoor spaces offer peace and tranquility to retirees. Another reason is because of the affordable cost of living which should help retirees use their retirement funds sparingly.
Unless looking for a specialized assisted living facility, the above monthly rent figures and property prices should be a sufficient guide when looking for retirement properties.
Is Chesapeake, Virginia a good place to visit?
There is plenty to see and do in Chesapeake which makes it a worthy tourist destination. Notable landmarks and attractions in the city include Dismal Swamp State Park, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Northwest River Park, Chesapeake City Park, Oak Grove Lake Park, Chesapeake Arboretum, South Norfolk Jordan Bridge, Great Bridge Lock Park, Deep Creek Park, Paradise Creek Nature Park, Chesapeake Planetarium, Railroad Museum of Virginia and Fun Forest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of living in Chesapeake, Virginia?
The cost of living in Chesapeake is 17% higher than the national average. Chesapeake, VA goods and services cost 11% higher than the average in Virginia and are 10% higher than compared to the nationwide average. Major expenses in households include housing, health and transportation.
Is Chesapeake a good place to invest in property?
Yes, Chesapeake is a good place in which to invest in property. The rental rates are good and the prices low so investors can earn a good return whether they are investing for the yearly income or for capital gains. The city is also attracting new industries with higher pay so prospects in the future are promising.
Is Chesapeake a good place to raise a family?
Yes, you can easily raise a family in Chesapeake. For starters, there is more open space for your children to run around in than most cities in the country. The schools you will take your children to regularly perform better than average and the city is moderately secure. The environment in Chesapeake is just family-friendly and raising your kids here will offer them great opportunities for all-round growth.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.