When Ellen and her family were being transferred to the DC area, she was confused about where to start her search. She knew that DC was too urban for her needs and that led her to research her options in the neighboring suburban counties of Maryland and Virginia.
Ellen focused her search on three elements: public schools, crime rates, and taxes.
Excellent Public Schools
Fairfax County Schools are highly ranked- according to a Newsweek Report on the top 1500 public high schools across the US. The 2009 report ranked ten of Fairfax’s 25 high schools in the top 10% of the list. Further, according to this report, the median rank of all of Fairfax County’s public high schools is 12%. This means that the majority of Fairfax High Schools are, essentially, excellent.
So, Fairfax County schools are good, but how is the crime rate in Fairfax County?
Low Crime Rate
Fairfax County’s more than 1 million residents enjoy one of the lowest crime rates in the Country. According to the Fairfax County Police, the violent crime rate index for 2008 was as low as .0953%
So we have great schools and a low crime rate. Will researching taxes bring good news too?
The State Income Tax is lower
The income tax rate in Virginia is quite a bit lower than other States in the DC Metro area. While other States in the area might have a lower base rate, when their localities add their own tax into the mix, the result is an overall very high income tax rate.
Virginia, then, at 5.75% has the lowest income tax rate in the Washington area.
But, isn’t it expensive to live in Fairfax County VA?
Plainly speaking – yes, real estate is expensive. However, the relatively high cost of living in Fairfax County is counter-balanced by it having one of the highest median household incomes and one of the lowest (and consistently low) unemployment rates in the nation.
Also, Fairfax County has the highest number of jobs and the largest labor force in the Washington area. This, coupled with a strong transportation network, award-winning parks, and extensive cultural and recreational opportunities make living in Fairfax County worth every penny.
Ellen’s quest for the right county to settle in ended in Fairfax
Once Ellen decided to live in the suburbs of Washington, DC, she looked into the quality of public schools in the area, and she narrowed her choices to two counties. The crime rates among these two counties were both low. Then, she researched the cost of housing in both counties, which was also roughly equivalent.
Lastly, Ellen checked the income tax rates and she realized that living in Fairfax Virginia made a big difference in terms of tax-savings. Ellen’s choice was clear: Fairfax County VA was the right place for her family.
If you are planning to move to the Washington, DC area, Fairfax County is a great choice to live in because of its:
* Highly ranked Fairfax County schools system,
* Low crime rate, and
* Lowest income tax rate in the area