How Counties Work

Learn why counties matter and dive deep on how counties serve our residents and communities.

Dive Deep

Dive deep on how counties work with our latest research on the role of America's counties.

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County Governance Project

NACo's County Governance Project provides a comprehensive guide to county government structure, authority, services and finances.


Governing on the Ground

Governing on the Ground is an inside look at the complex challenges faced by officials as they strive to strengthen their communities. The book features 30 short chapters contributed by county leaders.

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The County Landscape

Counties are one of America’s original forms of government, dating back to 1634 when the first county governments (shires) were established in Virginia. The organization and structure of today’s 3,069 county governments are chartered under state constitutions or laws and are tailored to fit the needs and characteristics of the state and local areas.

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Counties Work Game & Curriculum

NACo, together with iCivics, has created an online game and curriculum to educate students grade levels 6-12 about the important role and functions of county government. 


County Explorer Data

Explore your county through over 1000 indicators and nearly 100 datasets.

Explore County Data

More from Counties 101

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Telling the County Story

Highlight the ways counties touch our everyday lives and act as key intergovernmental partners.


County Policy Priorities

Counties play an instrumental role in the overall public administration and governance of federal, state and local policies, programs and services. Through NACo, county advocate for priorities in federal policy making.