Home to more than 3.2 million people, the area’s population exceeds that of many U.S. states. Northern Virginia cities and counties lead much of the country in the number of executive jobs, in high-income households, and in the excellence of its public school system. Northern Virginia is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
In recent decades, Northern Virginia has experienced enormous growth in the technology sector, most especially in the Dulles Technology Corridor. This is the birthplace of the Internet and the launch of many companies, such as the well-known company AOL. The economic boom has attracted many people from all over the United States and throughout the world. The region recovered relatively quickly from the effects of the dot-com bubble because of increased defense spending in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the recent increase of new technology companies in the area. Large corporate employers include Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Computer Science Corporation (CSC), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and Booz Allen Hamilton.
Moreover, its proximity to Washington, D.C. makes Northern Virginia a desirable spot for government and defense contractors. The federal government is a major employer in Northern Virginia, which is home to numerous government agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon (the headquarters of the Department of Defense), Fort Myer, Fort Belvoir, Marine Corps Base Quantico, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the United States Geological Survey. The activity in this area tends to shield Northern Virginia from the effects of the recession.
From Northern Virginia, businesses can access the Greater Washington regional market of more than 6 million people and link directly to national and international markets. Its strategic location on the mid-Atlantic coast puts businesses within 500 miles of nearly half of the nation’s population.