Washington County, Nebraska

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For counties with a similar name, see Washington County (disambiguation).
Washington County, Nebraska
Washington County, Nebraska courthouse from W.JPG
Washington County Courthouse in Blair
Washington County, Nebraska
Map of Nebraska highlighting Washington County
Location in the state of Nebraska
Map of the United States highlighting Nebraska
Nebraska's location in the U.S.
Founded 1855
Named for George Washington
Seat Blair
Largest city Blair
 • Total 393 sq mi (1,018 km2)
 • Land 390 sq mi (1,010 km2)
 • Water 3.2 sq mi (8 km2), 0.8%
 • (2010) 20,234
 • Density 52/sq mi (20/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.co.washington.ne.us

Washington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Nebraska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,234.[1] Its county seat is Blair.[2]

Washington County is included in the Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metropolitan Statistical Area.[3]

In the Nebraska license plate system, Washington County is represented by the prefix 29 (it had the twenty-ninth largest number of vehicles registered in the county when the license plate system was established in 1922).


Washington County is located in eastern Nebraska on the Missouri River. It was explored as early as 1739 by Pierre Antoine and Paul Mallet,[4] who were on a trapping expedition to Canada. In 1804, Lewis and Clark reported the establishment of the new United States government to a council of Indian chiefs near the present site of Fort Calhoun. As a result of this Council, Fort Atkinson was established in 1819 and served as a key midwestern outpost until its abandonment in 1827.

The first permanent settlement in Washington County was made in 1854. In that same year, the county was organized as one of the eight original counties proclaimed by acting Governor Thomas B. Cuming;[5] it was later reorganized in 1855.[6][7][8] The county seat has been located in three different towns: Fort Calhoun, DeSoto, and finally at Blair, its present site since 1869.[9]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 393 square miles (1,020 km2), of which 390 square miles (1,000 km2) is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) (0.8%) is water.[10] It is the fifth-smallest county in Nebraska by area.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,249
1870 4,452 256.4%
1880 8,631 93.9%
1890 11,869 37.5%
1900 13,086 10.3%
1910 12,738 −2.7%
1920 12,180 −4.4%
1930 12,095 −0.7%
1940 11,578 −4.3%
1950 11,511 −0.6%
1960 12,103 5.1%
1970 13,310 10.0%
1980 15,508 16.5%
1990 16,607 7.1%
2000 18,780 13.1%
2010 20,234 7.7%
Est. 2013 20,223 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 18,780 people, 6,940 households, and 5,149 families residing in the county. The population density was 48 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 7,408 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.12% White, 0.34% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 1.08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 37.1% were of German, 11.9% Danish, 9.0% Irish, 7.8% American and 7.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 6,940 households out of which 36.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.00% were married couples living together, 7.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 21.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.10% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 24.10% from 45 to 64, and 12.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,500, and the median income for a family was $56,429. Males had a median income of $36,901 versus $25,893 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,055. About 4.10% of families and 6.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.00% of those under age 18 and 7.50% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways[edit]


Washington County is home to the Blair Municipal Airport and several small privately owned grass airstrips, such as the Orum Aerodrome. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station, North America's smallest commercial nuclear reactor by rated capacity, is located south of Blair. An associated system of warning sirens are located in the southeastern part of the county for emergency notification in the event of a problem at the station.[16] An Atlas missile launch site (Site B), formerly associated with Offutt Air Force Base and deactivated in the 1960s, is situated to the east of Arlington.[17][18]


The Washington County Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement services throughout the county, including Arlington and Fort Calhoun. Blair retains its own police department. The Nebraska State Patrol also has a presence in the county, primarily along the state highways.[citation needed]




Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ United States Office of Management and Budget. "Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses" (PDF). pp. 5, 36. Archived from the original on 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
  4. ^ The Nebraska Blue Book and Historical Register. Legislative Reference Bureau. 1920. p. 13. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Harrison (1880). Johnson's History of Nebraska. H. Gibson. p. 42. 
  6. ^ Fitzpatrick, Lilian Linder (1925). Nebraska Place-Names. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Studies in Language, Literature, and Criticism. p. 142. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ Andreas, A. T. (1882). "Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska". The Kansas Collection. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Washington County". Nebraska Association of County Officials. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ Buss, William Henry; Osterman, Thomas T. (1921). History of Dodge and Washington Counties, Nebraska, and Their People. American Historical Society. p. 323. 
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ http://www.region5-6.org/new/newsletter_08.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.cpeo.org/lists/military/2008/msg00508.html
  18. ^ http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com/549thSMS_SiteB.htm

Coordinates: 41°32′N 96°13′W / 41.53°N 96.22°W / 41.53; -96.22