Arlington county is situated on the southwestern side of the Potomac River in the state of Virginia. The county is located opposite to the district of Columbia, in Northern Virginia and was earlier part of the district of Columbia. In the metropolitan area around the national capital Washington D.C, Arlington is one of the populated counties. In January 2012, the population of Arlington was approximately 211,700, and the estimated population in 2018 increased to about 237,521. Since the total area of the land in Arlington is only around twenty-six square miles, geographically, it is the smallest county in the U.S. There are no towns within Arlington. For census purposes, the entire county is considered to be one area.
Due to the proximity of the county to the U.S. capital Washington D.C, there many essential organizations and educational institutions located in Arlington like Pentagon, the National Cemetery, and Reagan National Airport. Some of the vital schools which are located in Arlington are the Scalia law school of George Mason University, undergraduate programs for the School of Conflict Analysis & Resolution, Schar school for Policy & government. Additional campuses of Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia are also situated in this county. The internet company, Amazon Inc, will soon open its second headquarters in the county.
In 1791, an area of ten square miles was surveyed for the capital of the U.S., and Arlington was part of this area. In the period between 1801 and 1847, Arlington was a part of the county of Alexandria, District Columbia. In 1847, Alexandria was returned to Virginia by the Congress after receiving a request from the residents of the area. In 1870, after the civil war ended, Alexandria city was separated from Alexandria county. The government also held elections regularly. Later, in 1920, to avoid confusion between the city and county, which are located close to each other, the county was renamed as Arlington.
Arlington county is named after the home of General Robert Lee, which is located in the county near the National Cemetery in Arlington. Legally there are no towns or cities which are located within the county due to the laws regarding population density. Due to its small size, the county can be considered to be like a city. The Virginia supreme court ruling in 1922 confirmed that Arlington was a continuous and uniform area. It cannot be divided further. No part of the county can be annexed by the neighboring counties and cities.
In the U.S., the government of Arlington County is one of the few unitary governments for urban areas. The government performs functions of both the county and city governments. This form of government is called the County Manager. When the county manager was first implemented in 1932, it was the first county in the U.S. to use this method of governance. Arlington county is primarily developed into commercial and residential areas. There is almost no land which is vacant, and there are no farms in the county. The median income of families in the county is the fifth-highest in the U.S.