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How Counties Work

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County Governance Project

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.

Explore County Data

NACo's County Explorer online interactive tool aggregates more than 800 data points on counties, parishes and boroughs, helping you tell the county story, support projects and grant proposals, and build credibility with key stakeholders.

Tools to Tell the County Story

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Achievement Awards

The Achievement Awards is a non-competitive awards program recognizing innovative county government programs. Award-winning programs are featured in NACo content and celebrated at NACo's Annual Conference.


I Love My County Because Art Contest

The art contest is designed to bolster civic education and educate communities on the role of county government.

ICivics Game

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. 

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National County Government Month

Held each April, NCGM is an annual celebration of county government. NACo equips counties with template materials, social media graphics, and more resources to kick off the month of recognition.