Fairfax County, Virginia

Fairfax County, Virginia

Infobox U.S. County
county = Fairfax County
state = Virginia

founded year = 1742
founded date =
seat wl = Fairfax
largest city wl =
area_total_sq_mi = 407
area_total_km2 = 1053
area_land_sq_mi = 395
area_land_km2 = 1023
area_water_sq_mi = 12
area_water_km2 = 30
area percentage = 2.85%
census yr = 2005
pop = 1041200
density_sq_mi = 2636
density_km2 = 1018
time zone = Eastern
UTC offset = -5
DST offset = -4
footnotes =
web = www.fairfaxcounty.gov
named for = Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron

Fairfax County is a county in Northern Virginia, in the United States. As of January 2007, the estimated population of the county was 1,077,000, [ [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/adopted/FY2008/FY08_Adopted_Budget_Facts.html Fairfax County Adopted Budget Facts] . Retrieved January 18, 2008] making it by far the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is the most populous jurisdiction in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Fairfax was the first county to reach a six figure median household income and has the second highest median household income of any jurisdiction in the United States after neighboring Loudoun County. [http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/acs-09.pdf Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data From the 2007 American Community Survey] ]


Fairfax County was formed in 1742 from the northern part of Prince William County. It was named for Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1693–1781), proprietor of the Northern Neck.

The oldest settlements in Fairfax County were located along the Potomac River.
George Washington settled in Fairfax County and built his home, Mount Vernon facing the river. Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason is located nearby. Modern Fort Belvoir is partly located on the estate of Belvoir Manor, built along the Potomac by William Fairfax in 1741. Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, the only member of the British nobility ever to reside in the colonies, lived at Belvoir before he moved to the Shenandoah Valley. The Belvoir mansion and several of its outbuildings were destroyed by fire immediately after the Revolutionary War in 1783, and George Washington noted the plantation complex gradually deteriorated into ruins. [ [http://www.belvoir.army.mil/history.asp?id=Antecedents Historic Fort Belvoir ] ]

In 1757, the northwestern two-thirds of Fairfax County became Loudoun County. In 1789, part of Fairfax County was ceded to the federal government to form Alexandria County of the District of Columbia. Alexandria County was returned to Virginia in 1846, reduced in size by the secession of the independent city of Alexandria in 1870, and renamed Arlington County in 1920. The Fairfax County town of Falls Church became an independent city in 1948. The Fairfax County town of Fairfax became an independent city in 1961.

Located near Washington, D.C., Fairfax County was an important region in the Civil War. The Battle of Chantilly or Ox Hill, during the same campaign as the second Battle of Bull Run, was fought within the county; Bull Run straddles the border between Fairfax and Prince William County. For most of the Civil War, Union troops occupied the county, though the population remained sympathetic to the Confederacy.

The growth of the Federal Government in the years during and after World War II spurred rapid growth in the county. As a result, the once rural county began to become increasingly suburban. Other large businesses continued to settle in Fairfax County and the opening of Tysons Corner Center spurred the rise of Tysons Corner itself. The technology boom and a steady government-driven economy also created rapid growth and an increasingly growing and diverse population. The economy has also made Fairfax County one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.


Fairfax County is bounded on the north and southeast by the Potomac River. Across the river to the northeast is Washington, D.C., across the river to the north is Montgomery County, Maryland, and across the river to the southeast are Prince George's County, Maryland and Charles County, Maryland. The county is partially bounded on the north and east by Arlington County and the independent cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. It is bounded on the west by Loudoun County, and on the south by Prince William County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 407 square miles (1,053 km²), of which, 395 square miles (1,023 km²) of it is land and 12 square miles (30 km²) of it (2.85%) is water.

National protected areas

* Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge
* George Washington Memorial Parkway (part)
* Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts


Eleven square miles of the county are known to be underlain with natural asbestos. [Citation
last =
first =
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title =Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Fairfax County
date =
year =
url =http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/asb/
accessdate =2007-07-16
] Much of the asbestos is known to emanate from fibrous tremolite or actinolite. Approximately 20 years ago, when the threat was discovered, the county established laws to monitor air quality at construction sites, control soil taken from affected areas, and require freshly developed sites to lay convert|6|in|mm of clean, stable material over the ground. [Citation
last =Raloff
first =Janet
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title =Dirty Little Secret
newspaper =Science News
pages =
year =2006
date =July 8
url =http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060708/bob9.asp
] For instance, during the construction of Centreville High School a large amount of asbestos-laded soil was removed and then trucked to Vienna for the construction of the I-66/Nutley Street interchange. Fill dirt then had to be trucked in to make the site level. Marine clays can be found in widespread areas of the county east of Interstate 95, mostly in the Lee and Mount Vernon Districts. These clays contribute to soil instability, leading to significant construction challenges for builders. [Citation | url =http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publications/marineclay.htm |title=Overcoming Problems with Marine Clays]

Government and politics


1900 = 18580
1910 = 20536
1920 = 21943
1930 = 25264
1940 = 40929
1950 = 98557
1960 = 275002
1970 = 455021
1980 = 595754
1990 = 818584
2000 = 969749
2006 (est.) = 1010443
As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 969,749 people, 350,714 households, and 250,409 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,455 people per square mile (948/km²). There were 359,411 housing units at an average density of 910 per square mile (351/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.91% White, 8.83% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 13.00% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.54% from other races, and 3.65% from two or more races. 11.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Like many of the most affluent areas of the United States in the 21st century, Fairfax County is home to people from diverse backgrounds, including significant numbers of people of Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese and Jewish ancestry. The county's sizable Hispanic population is primarily of Salvadoran, Peruvian and Bolivian origin.

In 2000 there are 350,714 households, of which 36.30% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.40% were married couples living together, 8.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 21.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 33.90% from 25 to 44, 25.30% from 45 to 64, and 7.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $81,050, and the median income for a family was $92,146. Males had a median income of $60,503 versus $41,802 for females. The per capita income for the county was $36,888. About 3.00% of families and 4.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.20% of those under age 18 and 4.00% of those age 65 or over.

Judged by household median income, Fairfax County is among the highest-income counties in the country and was first on that list for many years. However, in the 2000 census it was overtaken by Douglas County, Colorado. According to US Census Bureau estimates for 2005, it had the second-highest median household income behind neighboring Loudoun County, Va., at $94,610. In 2007 Fairfax County reclaimed its position as the richest county in America, in addition to becoming the first jurisdiction in American history to have a median household income in excess of $100,000, as stated by the U.S. Census Bureau's latest report. [http://www.examiner.com/a-905204~Fairfax_County_s_median_income_breaks_six_figure_mark__tops_nation.html] In 2008, Loudoun County reclaimed its first position, with Fairfax County a close second (however, the U.S. Census Bureau notes that the difference is statistically insignificant).In 2008, Loudoun County reclaimed its first position, with Fairfax County a close second.]


The county is served by the Fairfax County Public Schools system, to which the county government allocates 52.2% of its fiscal budget. [ [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/advertised/FY2007/FY07_advertised_citizens_guide.pdf FY 2007 Advertised Budget Plan] ] Including state and federal government contributions, along with citizen and corporate contributions, this brings the 2008 fiscal budget for the school system to $2.2 billion. [ [http://www.fcps.edu/fs/budget/ Budget Services - Fairfax County Public Schools] ] The school system has estimated that, based on the 2008 fiscal year budget, the county will be spending $13,407 on each student. [ [http://www.fcps.edu/statis.htm FCPS statistics] ]

The Fairfax County Public School system contains the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a Virginia Governor's School. TJHSST consistently ranks at or near the top of all United States high schools due to the extraordinary number of National Merit Semi-Finalists and Finalists, the high average SAT scores of its students, and the number of students who annually perform nationally recognized research in the sciences and engineering.

George Mason University is located just outside Fairfax City, near the geographic center of Fairfax County. Northern Virginia Community College serves Fairfax County with campuses in Annandale and Springfield and a center in Reston which is a satellite branch of the Loudoun campus.


thumb|right|"Time" magazine columnist Justin Fox in 2007 called Fairfax County "one of the great economic success stories of our time." A U.S. Department of Labor study published in 2007 described Fairfax County as the second "economic pillar" of the Washington-area economy along with the District of Columbia.Fairfax County is, along with Washington, a core employment jurisdiction of the Washington Metropolitan Area. The economy of Fairfax County is a robust service economy. Many residents work for the government or for contractors of the Federal Government. Defense contractors in particular are prominent. The government is the largest employer with Fort Belvoir in southern Fairfax being the county's single largest employer.

The top five largest private employers are the Inova Health System, Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) and Freddie Mac.Fact|date=October 2008 Fairfax County also is home to several large companies such as CSC (formerly Computer Sciences Corporation), Gannett, Capital One, General Dynamics, and NVR. The county has seven Fortune 500 company headquarters, more than the rest of Northern Virginia or the neighboring state of Maryland, and nearly as many as the state capital Richmond. Volkswagen of America and CSC both announced in 2007 that they would relocate their corporate headquarters to Fairfax County from Auburn Hills, Michigan and El Segundo, California, respectively.

The economy of the county is supported by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which provides a wide array of services and information designed to promote Fairfax County as a leading business and technology center. The FCEDA also runs a capital attraction program to link entrepreneurs and start-up firms with venture capitalists and angel investors. Another program assists small, minority- and woman-owned businesses. The FCEDA has marketing offices in San Francisco, Bangalore, Frankfurt, London, Seoul and Tel Aviv. [ [http://www.FairfaxCountyEDA.org Fairfax County Economic Development Authority :: Fairfax County, Virginia - The Best Place to Do Business ] ]


The average weekly wage in Fairfax County during the first quarter of 2005 was $1,181. [http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2006/12/art1full.pdf Industry dynamics in the Washington, DC, area: has a second job core emerged?] ] By comparison, the average weekly wage was $1,286 for Arlington, $1,277 for Washington, D.C., and $775 for the United States as a whole—52% above the national average. The types of jobs available in the area make it very attractive to highly-educated workers.

In early 2005, Fairfax County had 553,107 total jobs, up from 372,792 in 1990. In the area, this is second to Washington's 658,505 jobs in 2005 (down from 668,532 in 1990).

As of the 2002 Economic Census, Fairfax County has the largest professional, scientific, & technical service sector in the Washington, D.C. area in terms of the number of business establishments; total sales, shipments, and receipts; payrolls; and number of employees, [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFEconFacts?_event=&geo_id=05000US51059&_geoContext=01000US%7C04000US51%7C05000US51059&_street=&_county=Fairfax+County&_cityTown=Fairfax+County|Fairfax County, Virginia – Economic Fact Sheet – American FactFinder] ] exceeding the next largest, Washington, D.C., by roughly a quarter overall, and doubling neighboring Montgomery County.

Tysons Corner

Tysons Corner is Virginia's largest office market and one of the leading business centers in the nation with convert|25700000|sqft|m2 of office space. [ [http://www.fairfaxcountyeda.org/re_tysons.htm Doing Business in Fairfax County Commercial Real Estate] ] Tysons Corner is currently the country's 12th largest business district, and is expected to grow substantially in the years to come. [ [http://www.tysonstunnel.com/tt_who_letter.htm Tysons Tunnel ] ] The county's total office space inventory totaled convert|105200000|sqft|m2 at year-end 2006, which is about the size of Lower Manhattan. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/custom/2005/11/10/CU2005111001553.html D.C. Area Real Estate (washingtonpost.com) ] ] [ [http://www.tenantwise.com/reports/032002wtc.asp TenantWise : Manhattan Market Overview : March 2002 ] ] Every weekday, Tysons Corner has over 100,000 workers from around the region and 50,000 shoppers from the region and throughout the state. [ [http://www.virginiabusiness.com/magazine/yr2003/jul03/fairfax.shtml Virginia Business Online: Virginia’s 800-pound gorilla ] ] Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria are located here.

Arts and culture

The annual "Celebrate Fairfax!" festival is held in June at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax City.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts features a performing arts center situated outside the town of Vienna.



Several major highways run through Fairfax County, including the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495), Interstate 66, Interstate 95, and Interstate 395. The American Legion Bridge connects Fairfax to Montgomery County, Maryland. The George Washington Memorial Parkway, Dulles Toll Road, and Fairfax County Parkway are also major arteries. Other notable roads include Braddock Road, Old Keene Mill Road, Little River Turnpike, State Routes 7, 28, and 123, and US Routes 1, 29, and 50.

The county is in the Washington D.C. metro area, the nation's third most congested area. [cite web
url = http://www.vaperforms.virginia.gov/s-Transportation.php
title = Measuring Virginia's Traffic Congestion, Infrastructure and Land Use - Virginia Performs
accessdate = 2007-09-03
publisher = Council on Virginia's Future

Northern Virginia, includingFairfax County, is the third worstcongested traffic area in thenation, in terms of percentage ofcongested roadways and timespent in traffic. Of the lane milesin the region, 44 percent arerated “F” or worst for congestion.Northern Virginia residents spendan average of 46 hours a yearstuck in traffic.
last = Schrank
first = David
author-link =
last2 = Lomax
first2 = Tim
author2-link =
title = The 2002 Urban Mobility Report
publisher = Texas Transportation Institute
year = June 2002
] [cite web
url = http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/swmp/forms/fnlch2proj1_3.pdf
title = Solid Waste Management Plan for Fairfax County, Chapter 2
accessdate = 2007-09-03
year = 2004
month = June
format = PDF
quote = (cites the Urban Mobility Report for 2002)

Major highways

* (Dulles Toll Road)
* (Fairfax and Franconia-Springfield Parkways)
*George Washington Memorial Parkway


Washington Dulles International Airport lies partly within Fairfax County and provides most air service to the county. Fairfax is also served by two other airports in the Washington area, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Manassas Regional Airport, in neighboring Prince William County, is also used for regional cargo and private jet service.

Public transportation

Fairfax County contracts its bus service called the Fairfax Connector to Veolia Transportation. It is also served by WMATA's metrobus service. Fairfax County is served by the Washington Metro trains. The Orange, Blue, Yellow and the planned Silver lines all serve Fairfax County. In addition, VRE (Virginia Railway Express) provides commuter rail service with stations in Lorton and Franconia-Springfield.

Biking and walking

The county maintains many miles of bike trails running through parks, adjacent to roads and through towns such as Vienna and Herndon. The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail runs through Fairfax County, offering one of the region's best, and safest, routes for recreational walking and biking.

However, compared to other regions of the Washington area, Fairfax County has a dearth of designated bike lanes for cyclists wishing to commute in the region. In fact, there is no known map of the county that directs cyclists to the best roads to traverse. [ [http://www.fabb-bikes.org/goals.html Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) ] ] A recent VDOT report includes the lack of bike lanes or parallel residential streets to major thoroughfares as a major reason for low numbers of bicycle commuters in northern Virginia. [ [http://www.fhiplan.com/novabike/ Northern Virginia Bike Study ] ]

The [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/cct/cctfaq.htm Fairfax Cross County Trail] runs from Great Falls National Park in the northern end of the county to Occoquan Regional Park in the southern end. Consisting of mostly dirt paths and short asphalt sections, the trail is used mostly by recreational mountain bikers, hikers, and horse riders.



In addition to the Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

Fairfax County contains over 390 parks on more than 23,000 acres. [ [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/outdoor.htm FCPA - Park Facilities ] ]


The [http://www.restonzoo.com/ Reston Zoo] is near Reston, Virginia, in Fairfax County.

Towns, independent cities, and other localities

Three incorporated towns, Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna, are located within Fairfax County.

The independent cities of Falls Church and Fairfax were formed out of areas formerly under the jurisdiction of Fairfax County, but are politically separate, despite the status of the City of Fairfax as county seat. Fairfax County contains an exclave located in the central business district of the City of Fairfax, in which many county facilities (including the courthouses and jail) are located.

Other communities within Fairfax County are unincorporated areas; Virginia law prohibits the creation of any new municipalities within any county with a population density of over 1,000 per square mile (which currently only affects Fairfax and Arlington Counties in Northern Virginia, and recently Henrico County outside Richmond). As of the 2000 census the thirteen largest communities of Fairfax County are all unincorporated CDPs, the largest of which are Burke, Reston, and Annandale, each with a population exceeding 50,000. (The largest incorporated place in the county is the town of Herndon, its fourteenth-largest community.)

Unincorporated Census Designated Places

The following localities within Fairfax County are identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as (unincorporated) Census-Designated Places:

See also

* Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
* Fairfax County Police Department
* Fairfax County Sheriff's Office



* cite web
url = http://sbe.virginiainteractive.org/
title = "November 7th 2006 - General Election: Official Results"
work = VirginiaInteractive.org
publisher = Commonwealth of Virginia Government
accessdate = 2007-05-22

* cite web
url = http://irr.gmu.edu/factbooks/0506/FFactbook0506_Enrollment.pdf
title = "Enrollment"
format = PDF
work = 2005-06 Factbook
publisher = George Mason University Institutional Research & Reporting
pages = p. 62
accessdate = 2007-05-22

External links

* [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ Fairfax County Government Website]
* [http://www.fxva.com/fxva/index.html Fairfax County Visitors Center]
* [http://www.fccc.org/main.html Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.fairfaxinfo.com Fairfax Crime] - a crime map of most of Northern Virginia
* [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/asb/ Natural Asbestos in Fairfax County] - the county's site which contains health information, maps, and construction requirements related to dust control
* [http://www.celebratefairfax.org/index.asp Celebrate Fairfax]
* [http://icare.fairfaxcounty.gov/ Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration] - Property lookup database
* [http://www.fairfaxcountyeda.org/ Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
* [http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/ Fairfax County Public Library System]
* [http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/index.shtml Fairfax County Public Schools]

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