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Loudoun County, Virginia facts for kids

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Loudoun County
Loudoun County
Loudoun County Courthouse and Confederate monument at Leesburg, 2010
Loudoun County Courthouse and Confederate monument at Leesburg, 2010
Flag of Loudoun County
Flag
Official seal of Loudoun County
Seal
Motto(s): 
"I Byde My Time"
Map of Virginia highlighting Loudoun County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1757
Named for John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun
Seat Leesburg
Largest town Leesburg
Area
 • Total 522 sq mi (1,350 km2)
 • Land 516 sq mi (1,340 km2)
 • Water 6 sq mi (20 km2)  1.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 420,959
 • Density 806.4/sq mi (311.37/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 10th

Loudoun County is in the northern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. In 2020, the census found a population of 420,959, making it Virginia's third-most populous county. Loudoun County's seat is Leesburg. Loudoun County is part of the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2018, Loudoun County had a median household income of $136,268. Since 2008, the county has been ranked first in the U.S. in median household income among jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more.

History

Loudoun County was established in 1757 from Fairfax County. The county is named for John Campbell, Fourth Earl of Loudoun and Governor General of Virginia from 1756–59. Western settlement began in the 1720s and 1730s with Quakers, Scots-Irish, Germans and others moving south from Pennsylvania and Maryland and by English and African slaves moving upriver from Tidewater.

William and Sarah Nettle House Waterford Loudoun County Virginia
William and Sarah Nettle House, Waterford, Loudoun County

By the time of the American Revolution, it was Virginia's most populous county. It was also rich in agriculture, and the county's contributions of grain to George Washington's Continental Army, earned it the nickname "Breadbasket of the Revolution."

During the War of 1812, important Federal documents and government archives were evacuated from Washington and stored at Leesburg. Local tradition holds that these documents were stored at Rokeby House, making Leesburg briefly the capital of the United States.

U.S. President James Monroe treated Oak Hill Plantation as a primary residence from 1823 until his death on July 4, 1831. The Loudoun County coat of arms and flag, granted by the English College of Arms, memorialize the special relationship between Britain and the United States that developed through his Monroe Doctrine.

Early in the American Civil War, the Battle of Balls Bluff took place near Leesburg on October 21, 1861. Future jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was critically wounded in that battle along the Potomac River. During the Gettysburg Campaign in June 1863, Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart and Union cavalry clashed in the battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. Confederate partisan John S. Mosby based his operations in Loudoun and adjoining Fauquier County (for a more in-depth account of the history of Loudoun County during the Civil War, see Loudoun County in the American Civil War).

In 1962, Washington Dulles International Airport was built in southeastern Loudoun County in Sterling. Since then, Loudoun County has experienced a high-tech boom and rapid growth. Accordingly, many have moved to eastern Loudoun and become residents of planned communities such as Sterling Park, Sugarland Run, Cascades, and Ashburn Farms, making that section a veritable part of the Washington suburbs. Others have moved to the county seat or to the small towns and rural communities of the Loudoun Valley.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Loudoun County has a total area of 521 square miles (1,350 km2), of which 516 square miles (1,340 km2) is land and 6 square miles (16 km2) (1.1%) is water. It is bounded on the north by the Potomac River; across the river are Frederick, Washington and Montgomery counties in Maryland; it is bounded on the south by Prince William and Fauquier counties, on the west by watershed of the Blue Ridge Mountain across which are Jefferson County, West Virginia and Clarke County, and on the east by Fairfax County. The Bull Run Mountains and Catoctin Mountain bisect the county. To the west of the range is the Loudoun Valley. Bisecting the Loudoun Valley from Hillsboro to the Potomac River is Short Hill Mountain.

Street addresses

Block numbers in the unincorporated areas of Loudoun County, with the exception of older Sterling Park and the community of CountrySide, are assigned in the following manner: on north-south streets, block numbers increase from north to south and range from 10000 to 27000; on east-west streets, block numbers increase from west to east and range from 30000 to 48000.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 18,962
1800 20,523 8.2%
1810 21,338 4.0%
1820 22,702 6.4%
1830 21,939 −3.4%
1840 20,431 −6.9%
1850 22,079 8.1%
1860 21,774 −1.4%
1870 20,929 −3.9%
1880 23,634 12.9%
1890 23,274 −1.5%
1900 21,948 −5.7%
1910 21,167 −3.6%
1920 20,577 −2.8%
1930 19,852 −3.5%
1940 20,291 2.2%
1950 21,147 4.2%
1960 24,549 16.1%
1970 37,150 51.3%
1980 57,427 54.6%
1990 86,129 50.0%
2000 169,599 96.9%
2010 312,311 84.1%
2020 420,959 34.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010 2020

From 1890 to 1940, the county had a decline in population as people moved to cities for more opportunities. The decline was likely highest among African Americans, who had worked in an agricultural economy that was becoming increasingly mechanized. During the first half of the 20th century, African Americans moved out of rural areas to cities in the Great Migration. As of the early 21st century, African Americans now have a much smaller population compared to their historical population in Loudoun County, however, they still make up a significant minority.

2020 census

Loudoun County, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 194,845 216,865 62.39% 51.52%
Black or African American alone (NH) 21,934 29,725 7.02% 7.06%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 520 536 0.17% 0.13%
Asian alone (NH) 45,795 89,372 14.66% 21.23%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 143 227 0.05% 0.05%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 808 2,425 0.26% 0.58%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 9,690 22,065 3.10% 5.24%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 38,576 59,744 12.35% 14.19%
Total 312,311 420,959 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 312,311 people, 104,583 households, and 80,494 families residing in the county. The population density was 606 people per square mile (234/km2). There were 109,442 housing units at an average density of 212 per square mile (82/km2). The racial makeup of the county was:

According to the 2010 census, 10.5% of residents reported being of German ancestry, while 9.1% reported Irish, 7.7% English, 5.4% Italian and 5.2% American ancestry.

The most spoken languages other than English in Loudoun County as of 2018 were Spanish, spoken by 10.8% of the population, and Telugu, spoken by 2.8% of the population. Almost 25% of Loudoun County residents were born outside of the United States, with the largest groups being from India, El Salvador, and Korea.

As of 2000 there were 59,900 households, out of which 43.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.30% were married couples living together, 7.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.80% were non-families. 18.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 29.80% under the age of 18, 5.70% from 18 to 24, 38.90% from 25 to 44, 20.00% from 45 to 64, and 5.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.50 males.

In 2011, Census survey data concluded that Loudoun County had the highest median income in the country at $119,134.

From 1980 to 2014, deaths from cancer in Loudoun County decreased by 46 percent, the largest such decrease of any county in the United States.

From 2017 to 2018, Loudoun County saw an increase of 18.5% of households experiencing homelessness, a 21% increase for single adults, and a 36% increase for families. Homelessness for veterans in the county decreased by 16% from 2017 to 2018.

Transportation

Airports

Loudoun County has two airports: the Washington Dulles International and Leesburg Executive.

Bus

Loudoun County operates its own bus public transit system, known as Loudoun County Commuter Bus.

Rail

The Silver Line of the Washington Metro, will extend into Loudoun County. The on-going extension will include stations at the Dulles International Airport, and two stations in Ashburn, Virginia.

Major highways

2019-09-03 13 11 06 View north along U.S. Route 15 and east along Virginia State Route 7 (Leesburg Bypass) from the overpass for Sycolin Road Southeast in Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia
View north along US 15 and east along SR 7 on the Leesburg Bypass
  • US 15.svg U.S. Route 15
  • US 50.svg U.S. Route 50
  • US 340.svg U.S. Route 340
  • Virginia 7.svg State Route 7
  • Virginia 9.svg State Route 9
  • Virginia 28.svg State Route 28
  • Virginia 267.svg State Route 267 (Dulles Greenway)
  • Circle sign 606.svg Circle sign 607.svg Circle sign 772.svg Circle sign 1950.svg Loudoun County Parkway

Communities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Economy

Traditionally a rural county, Loudoun's population has grown dramatically since the 1980s. Having undergone heavy suburbanization since 1990, Loudoun has a full-fledged service economy. It is home to world headquarters for several Internet-related and high tech companies, including Verizon Business, Telos Corporation, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Paxfire. Like Fairfax County's Dulles Corridor, Loudoun County has economically benefited from the existence of Washington Dulles International Airport, the majority of which is in the county along its border with Fairfax.

Loudoun County retains a strong rural economy. The equine industry has an estimated revenue of $78 million. It is home to the Morven Park International Equestrian Center which hosts national horse trials. In addition, a growing wine industry has produced several internationally recognized wines. Loudoun County now has 40 wineries and over 25 active farms. Loudoun has rich soil and was in the mid-19th century a top wheat-producing county in the fourth largest wheat-producing state.

MCI, Inc. (formerly WorldCom), a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, is headquartered in Ashburn, Loudoun County. It announced it would move its headquarters to Ashburn in 2003. AOL had its headquarters at 22000 AOL Way in Dulles in unincorporated Loudoun County. In 2007 AOL announced it would move its headquarters from Loudoun County to New York City; it would continue to operate its Virginia offices. Orbital Sciences Corporation has its headquarters in Dulles.

Loudoun County houses over 60 massive data centers, with many housing the cloud operations of Amazon Web Services (AWS). These data centers are estimated to carry 70 percent of global web traffic.

Before its dissolution, Independence Air (originally Atlantic Coast Airlines) was headquartered in Dulles. At one time Atlantic Coast Airlines had its headquarters in Sterling. Before its dissolution, MAXjet Airways was headquartered on the grounds of Washington-Dulles International Airport.

Top employers

According to the county's comprehensive annual financial reports, the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of employees (2020) # of employees (2011)
1 Loudoun County Public Schools 11,995 10,098
2 County of Loudoun 4,125 3,303
3 Verizon Business (formerly MCI Worldcom) 2,500-5,000 1,000-5,000
4 United Airlines 1,000-5,000 1,000-5,000
5 U.S. Department of Homeland Security 1,000–5,000 1,000–5,000
6 Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital ATK) 1,000–5,000 1,000–5,000
7 Raytheon Technologies 1,000–5,000 1,000–5,000
8 Inova Health System (Loudoun Hospital Center) 1,000–5,000 1,000–5,000
9 Amazon 1,000–2,500
10 Swissport USA, Inc. 1,000–2,500
America Online 1,000–5,000
United States Postal Service 1,000–5,000
M.C. Dean, Inc. 1,000–5,000 1,000–5,000

Education

The county is served by Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). LCPS serves over 70,000 students from Kindergarten through 12th grade and is Virginia's fifth largest school system. Loudoun County schools recently ranked 11th in the United States in terms of educational achievement versus funds spent. Loudoun County also sends students to its Loudoun Academy of Science, formerly housed within Dominion High School now within the Academies of Loudoun, and is eligible to send students to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a STEM magnet school in Alexandria, Virginia.

Loudoun County is home to ten private schools: Loudoun Country Day School, a Pre-K–8 independent school in Leesburg; Notre Dame Academy, an independent non-denominational day high school in Middleburg; the Foxcroft School, a boarding school for girls located in Middleburg; Dominion Academy, a Non-denominational Christian school, K–8 in Leesburg; Loudoun Classical School, a Protestant classical 7th-12th grade school in Purcellville; Leesburg Christian School, a K–12 school in Leesburg; St. Theresa School, a K–8 Roman Catholic school in Ashburn; Village Montessori School at Bluemont, an accredited Pre-K through Elementary Montessori school in Bluemont; Christian Faith & Fellowship School, a PreK–12 non-denominational Christian school and Loudoun County's only private school accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International; and Loudoun School for Advanced Studies (formerly the Ideal Schools High School,) an independent non-denominational school in Ashburn.

In terms of post-secondary education, Loudoun County is home to a variety of colleges and universities, including: Patrick Henry College; a branch of Northern Virginia Community College in Sterling; George Washington University (satellite campus); George Mason University (satellite campus); Marymount University (satellite campus); Shenandoah University (satellite campus); and Strayer University (satellite campus). Loudoun is also home to a satellite campus of the Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Notable people

James Monroe constructed and resided at Oak Hill near Aldie after his presidency. American Civil War Brigadier General Robert H. Chilton (Chief of Staff under Robert E. Lee) was a native of Loudoun County. World War II general George C. Marshall resided at Dodona Manor in Leesburg. Essayist and journalist Russell Baker grew up in Morrisonville, Virginia and his book Growing Up highlights his childhood in rural Virginia. Entertainer Arthur Godfrey lived near historic Waterford, Virginia. Loudoun County is also the birthplace of Julia Neale Jackson, mother of Stonewall Jackson, and Susan Catherine Koerner Wright, mother of the Wright Brothers.

  • Madeleine Albright (1937–2022) – U.S. Secretary of State in Clinton Administration
  • William H. Ash (1859–1908) – Former slave who was one of the first African-American politician to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates
  • Russell Baker (1925–2019) – Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Growing Up (1983, Autobiography)
  • Geraldine Brooks (1955–) – Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  • John Champe – Revolutionary War soldier and double agent.
  • Roger Preston Chew, (1843-1921) Horse artillery commander in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, prominent West Virginia businessman, railroad executive and West Virginia legislator
  • John L. Dagg (1794–1884) – Baptist theologian, pastor, educator, and president of Mercer University, GA (1844–54)
  • Westmoreland Davis (1859–1942) – Governor of Virginia
  • Richard Henry Dulany (1820–1906) – Colonel of the 7th Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War
  • Michael Farris (born 1951) – Founder of Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College in Purcellville; unsuccessful Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1993
  • Joe Gibbs (1940–) – Lived just west of Leesburg while coaching the Washington Redskins
  • Arthur Godfrey (1903–1983) – Popular national radio and television personality
  • Darrell Green (1960–) – Former Washington Redskin and inductee to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Pamela Harriman (1920–1997) – Daughter-in-law of Sir Winston Churchill and U.S. Ambassador to France
  • Gina Haspel (1956-) - Director of the CIA, first female ever appointed to the position
  • Annia Hatch (1978-) - Cuban American 2x Olympic silver medalist in gymnastics, currently lives in Ashburn
  • Fred Hetzel (1942–) – Former professional basketball player
  • Barbara Holland (1933–2010) – author
  • Tony Horwitz (1958–2019) – Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  • John Janney (1798–1872) – Member of the Virginia General Assembly and officer of the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861
  • Sheila Johnson (1949–) – Entertainment and sports entrepreneur and philanthropist.
  • Wilton Lackaye (1862-1932) – American stage and film actor, the original Broadway stage Svengali, 1895
  • Lyndon LaRouche (1921–2019) – Controversial American politician, activist, and founder of the LaRouche movement
  • Marc Leepson (1945-) - Journalist, historian, author
  • Sandra Lerner (c. 1953–) – Entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • Mark Levin (1957–) – Author and conservative talk radio host
  • George Marshall (1880–1959) – General of the Army (5-star), U.S. Secretary of State and author of the "Marshall Plan"
  • Stevens T. Mason (1811–1843) – First governor of Michigan (Democrat, 1837–40)
  • Andrew McCabe (1968-) - Former Deputy Director of the FBI
  • Charles F. Mercer (1788–1858) – Founded village of Aldie; U.S. Congressman from Virginia
  • Billy Mitchell (1879–1936) – Controversial Army officer and military aviation pioneer
  • James Monroe (1758–1831) – 5th President of the United States
  • Oliver North (1943–) – Former USMC Officer and figure in the Iran–Contra scandal; commentator and host on the Fox network
  • Patton Oswalt (1969–) – American stand-up comedian, writer and actor
  • Vinton Liddell Pickens (1900–1993) – artist, chair of the first Loudoun County planning commission in 1941
  • Wilson Pickett (1941–2006) – R&B and soul singer and songwriter
  • Rachel Renee Russell (1959–) – #1 New York Times best-selling author of the children's book series, Dork Diaries
  • Henry S. Taylor (1942–) – Pulitzer Prize–winning poet
  • Joshua White (1812–1890) – businessman and Illinois state legislator
  • Lucien Whiting Powell (1846–1930) – Renowned landscape artist
  • William Wilson (1794–1857) – Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court
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