RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Former governor Tim Kaine thinks things have gotten much better in Virginia over the past 50 years. In a recent interview with our affiliate in Portsmouth, Kaine pointed to some pretty specific statistics to get his point across.
"We were near the bottom of the nation 50 years ago in per capita income. We're top 10 now. We were very low in higher-ed attainment rate 50 years ago. We're greater than the national average now," Kaine said.
Has Virginia really gone from near worst to the best when it comes to earnings and education? According to the reporters at Politifact Virginia, that claim is only "half true."
Let's start with per capita income. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2011 Virginia ranked Number 7 in per capita income. 50 years ago? Virginia ranked 34th. That made the Commonwealth 17th worst, perhaps not "near the bottom."
What about education? Kaine is right, Virginia has the sixth highest percentage of residents over the age of 25 with at least a bachelor's degree,
Well only 8.4 percent of Virginians over the age of 25 had college degrees in 1960, but that was still above the national average. And it ranked in the top 20 overall.
According to Jacob Geiger from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the education situation wasn't all that bad.
"He got the part about VA current standing right he just overstated the part about 50 years ago or the way things were 50 years ago so went half true, because right about part of it, wrong about part of it," Geiger said.