Arlington County tops a digital counties list

hands of a black man on a laptop
Arlington County, Virginia has ranked No. 1 in its category on the Center for Digital Government’s 2020 awards for Top Digital Counties. Other D.C.-area counties enjoyed high rankings. (Getty Images/Sam Mellish)

For the fourth time in the past five years, Virginia’s Arlington County ranked No. 1 in its category on the Center for Digital Government’s 2020 awards for Top Digital Counties.

It ranked No. 2 in 2019 among counties with populations of 150,000 to 249,900.

The rankings are based on how well counties are using websites and technology to engage with county residents.

The nonprofit Center for Digital Government names Arlington’s digital equity program a national model, providing digital connections for the most disadvantaged populations. It also gets high marks for education, training and programs that enable residents to take full advantage of available resources, such as libraries and other county facilities that offer outdoor, drive-up digital connections.

Fairfax County tied the County of San Bernardino, California, at No. 10 on this year’s Top Digital Counties in the category of a population of 1 million or more.

Maryland’s Prince George’s County ranked No. 2 among counties with a population of 500,000 to 999,999, behind only Ventura County, California. Baltimore County ranked No. 6 on that list.

Virginia’s Chesterfield County ranked first among counties with a population of 250,000 to 499,999, and Loudoun County came in eighth.

Four more Virginia counties came in among the top 10 for populations under 150,000: Albemarle (No. 2), Montgomery (No. 4), York (No. 7) and Franklin (No. 9).

The report also ranks the top technologies and initiatives that have increased focus for counties this year, including cybersecurity (No. 1 for the seventh year in a row), budget and cost control, citizen engagement, disaster recovery and business intelligence.

It notes 78% of U.S. counties have seen an increase in need for cybersecurity staff this year.

This year’s report also outlined the most pressing digital challenges for county governments because of COVID-19:

  • 80% cite access to internet technology hardware and equipment for remote work;
  • 69% cite an impact on revenues;
  • 65% cite remote workforce management;
  • 54% cite cultural changes.

A full 80% of counties felt their most pressing policy needs in responding to COVID-19 have been the telecommuting and work-from-home policies.

This is the 18th year for the annual Digital Counties Survey.

See the full list of Top Digital Counties as selected by the Center for Digital Government.

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