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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Washington County

Communities and Development

Washington County Seat: Blair

Total County Population (2020): 20,865

  • Cities (pop. & class): Blair (7,790 • 2nd Class), Fort Calhoun (1,108 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Arlington (1,300), Herman (247), Kennard (381), Washington (129)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 9,910 (48%)

Land Development (2022) (% of total land in county):

  • Agriculture: 77%
    • By method: Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (61%); Pasture (pure grassland) (10%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (7%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 35%, Soybeans 33%, Livestock (grassland) 11%, Alfalfa 3% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (3%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 23%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

1555 Colfax St
Blair NE 68008
M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Steve Dethlefs

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Northeast

District President: Monica Rotherham, Madison County Clerk of the District Court

District Vice President: Lisa Lunz, Dixon County Supervisor

District Secretary: Sandy Zoubek, Stanton County Treasurer

District Treasurer: Krista Nix, Knox County Deputy Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Bill Tielke, Holt County Supervisor


Population: 20,865
Land area (sq. mi.): 389.96
Population per square mile: 53.5

Race and Age


White: 92.8%
African American: 0.3%
American Indian: 0.1%
Asian: 0.5%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 3.1%


0-17: 23.9%
18-64: 57.6%
65+: 18.5%


Personal income per capita: $65,143
% of Population in Poverty: 5.3%
# of Housing Units: 8,557
Owner-occupied rate: 80.2%
Median home price: $130,520


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 19.4%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library Commission, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Census Bureau

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

Countywide child care capacity: 31 providers; 1,210 children

Find child care: For a list of child care providers in your zip code, visit Nebraska DHHS or the Nebraska Resource and Referral System.

High school graduate or higher: 95.5%

School Districts: Arlington Public Schools, Bennington Public Schools, Blair Community Schools, Fort Calhoun Community Schools, Logan View Public Schools, Tekamah-Herman Community Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 32.1%

Community College Service Area: Metropolitan Community College

Washington County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $1,338,036,000

Cattle Producers: 159

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $57/acre

Crop Producers: 86

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $228/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $279/acre

Dairy Producers: 1

Grain Purchasers: Cargill

Local Grain Market: Click for today's grain prices in Washington County

Electricity Providers: Burt County PPD, Omaha PPD

Rail-served Communities: Arlington, Blair, Kennard

Well Locations (Irrigation/Livestock), Soils, Groundwater & Surface Water

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 176

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 91

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on Big Papillion Creek near Blair

Streamflow data on Big Papillion Creek near Kennard

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary EducationNebraska Department of TransportationNebraska Office of the CIO, Nebraska Power Review Board, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau

2022 Levies and Valuation

County levy rate: $0.3348 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $12,715,766

Total local government property taxes levied: $66,564,467

Total countywide taxable valuation: $3,798,116,591

Click here for all levy rates in Washington County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to the levy limits listed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3442 and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3443.

Statutes and regulations

Nebraska Revised Statutes (Chapter 77)

Nebraska Administrative Code (Title 350)

Local tax reductions, exemptions, and credits

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-902(5)(a) (Deed "stamp tax" exemption): "The [stamp tax] shall not apply to: ... (5)(a) Deeds between spouses, between ex-spouses for the purpose of conveying any rights to property acquired or held during the marriage, or between parent and child, without actual consideration therefor."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-201(2) (Valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land): "Agricultural land and horticultural land as defined in section 77-1359 shall constitute a separate and distinct class of property for purposes of property taxation, shall be subject to taxation, unless expressly exempt from taxation, and shall be valued at seventy-five percent of its actual value, except that for school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds that are approved by a vote of the people on or after January 1, 2022, such land shall be valued at fifty percent of its actual value."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-6703(1) (Tax credit for school district taxes paid): "(1) For taxable years beginning or deemed to begin on or after January 1, 2020, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, there shall be allowed to each eligible taxpayer a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 or against the franchise tax imposed by sections 77-3801 to 77-3807. The credit shall be equal to the credit percentage for the taxable year, as set by the department under subsection (2) of this section, multiplied by the amount of school district taxes paid by the eligible taxpayer during such taxable year."

Sources: Nebraska Department of Revenue

State Senator: Ben Hansen (District 16)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • Rules

Map and statistics for Legislative District 16

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Washington County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 15

Year Authorized: 1854

Year Organized: 1855

Etymology: George Washington (1st U.S. president)

Like many of those counties bordering the Missouri River, Washington County's history dates back to the early 19th century. On Aug. 3, 1804, Merriwether Lewis and William Clark held council with six Indian chiefs on the western banks of the Missouri River. The site became known as "Council Bluffs." At the suggestion of Lewis and Clark, this same site later became Fort Atkinson in 1819.

Fort Atkinson, the first Union military post in Nebraska, was intended to bring peace with the Indians and discourage British encroachment on fur trading with Canada. It was once the largest military post of its day, as troops stationed there numbered over 1,100. The fort served the Midwest until 1827, when it was abandoned. Eventually the community of Fort Calhoun was established on the site.

Washington County's first boundaries were established by the Territorial Legislature on Feb. 22, 1855, the anniversary of President George Washington's birth. Thus, the county was named in his honor. Fort Calhoun was selected as the county seat. When the boundaries were redefined three years later, the county seat was moved to DeSoto. In 1869, by a popular vote, Blair was selected as the county seat. The present courthouse was completed 20 years later at a cost of about $50,000. Several additions have been made to the courthouse over the years.

Washington County was originally slated to be the home of Nebraska's State Capitol. In 1855 the town of Fontanelle, located in the western section of the county and named after Omaha Indian Chief Logan Fontanelle, was platted expressly for this purpose. It also was the first home of Nebraska University. Plans for both eventually stalled and both facilities ended up being built in Lincoln.

Just as it does today, farming played a key role in the early years. The Mormons farmed in the south part of the area in 1847 and 1848 to supply food for their brethren who were traveling to Utah. It was reported that soldiers stationed at Fort Atkinson once grew 20,000 bushel of corn.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 29

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 1,419

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 106

Number of County-Owned Dams: 9

Election Data

General Election Turnout (2022): 59.23%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 15,159

Number of Precincts (2020): 15

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 13

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 30.00 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: Tri-County

Natural Resource District: Papio-Missouri River NRD

State Lands (acres): Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (154.36)

Federal Lands (acres): Boyer Chute NWF (3,996.01), Desoto NWF (7,143.52), Sandy Point Bend (252)

Sources: Nebraska Department of Transportation, Nebraska Emergency Management AgencyNebraska Game & Parks CommissionNebraska LegislatureNebraska Office of the CIONebraska Secretary of StateU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (eCFR)