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10th Annual Digital Counties Survey - 2012 Results

Overcoming the Odds: Survey Finds U.S. Counties Leading the Way with Technology Despite Fewer Resources

Charles County, Maryland; Sussex County, New Jersey; Dutchess County, New York; and Fairfax County, Virginia are all first place winners in the 2012 Digital Counties Survey which recognizes leading examples of counties using information and communications technology.  
Conducted by the Center for Digital Government and the Digital Communities program — divisions of parent company e.Republic — in partnership with the National Association of Counties, the survey evaluates entrants on their ability to demonstrate successful outcomes through the strategic use of technology.

Ten winners were named in each of four population-based categories. The winning counties carried out strategies with measurable benefits that aligned with county priorities. Successful programs also showed progress over the previous year, utilized innovative solutions, and revealed a commitment to collaboration within and outside of their organization. The self-reported survey is judged by a panel of experts.

“This year, counties are focused on saving money where they can by simplifying their information technology infrastructure and sharing systems with other governments,” Center for Digital Government Executive Director Todd Sander said. “Many of them have found ways to provide better information security, transparency and citizen engagement with innovative uses of social media and advanced decision support tools.”

"Counties across the country are aligning technology initiatives with executive strategic priorities to provide vital cost savings and administrative efficiencies," said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake.  "The Digital Counties Survey identifies best practices and innovative uses of technology crucial with today's constrained budgets to maintaining and even improving service levels."

This year’s survey was underwritten by CDWG; Symantec; Quest Software; Cisco; and Motorola.

Congratulations 2012 Digital Counties Survey Winners!

500,000 or more population:

1. Fairfax County, Va.
2. Oakland County, Mich.
3. Palm Beach County, Fla.
4. San Diego County, Calif.
5. Bexar County, Texas
5. King County, Wash.
6. Montgomery County, Md.
7. Orange County, Fla.
8. Fulton County, Ga.
8. Sacramento County, Calif.
9. Baltimore County, Md.
9. Tulsa County, Okla.
10. Hennepin County, Minn.
10. Wake County, N.C.

250,000-499,000 population

1. Dutchess County, N.Y.
2. Washoe County, Nev.
3. Dakota County, Minn.
4. Douglas County, Colo.
5. Chesterfield County, Va.
6. Clackamas County, Ore.
7. Loudoun County, Va.
8. Hamilton County, Ind.
9. Washtenaw County, Mich.
10. Anoka County, Minn.
10. Ottawa County, Mich.

150,000-249,999 population:

1. Sussex County, N.J.
2. Cumberland County, Pa.
3. St. Tammany Parish, La.
4. Gaston County, N.C.
5. Lackawanna County, Pa.
6. Catawba County, N.C.
7. Doña Ana County, N.M.
8. Cabarrus County, N.C.
9. Boone County, Mo.
10. Davidson County, N.C.
10. Onslow County, N.C.

Less than 150,000 population:

1. Charles County, Md.
2. Nevada County, Calif.
3. Roanoke County, Va.
4. Allegan County, Mich.
5. Napa County, Calif.
6. Albemarle County, Va.
7. Polk County, Wis.
8. Franklin County, Va.
9. Moore County, N.C.
10. Gloucester County, Va.

Selected Survey Findings:

Measures to Deal with Economic Downturn

88% of counties are pursuing federal stimulus, grants and fees to lessen dependence on the county general fund (virtually same as last year)

78% are consolidating data centers, servers, applications and staff (seven percent increase over last year)

78% are pursuing joint service delivery (eight percent increase in the past year)

73% plan reductions in staffing and operating hours – (virtually same as last year)

35% may have cuts in public service delivery – (five percent fewer planning cuts than last year)

63% are planning agency consolidation, mergers and/or elimination  (eight percent increase)

Trending Question – How ready is the county to deal with the following IT challenges?

Data safety as well as usability
84% - Ready now/ measures in place; 14% - Ready in two years

Consolidating services across agencies
78% - Ready now/ measures in place; 14% - Ready in two years

Integrating mobile computing with smart phones and tablets
69% - Ready now/ measures in place; 5% - Ready in two years

Telework and issues such as code changes
53% - Ready now/ measures in place; 21% - Ready in two years


The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.  The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments. Created in 1935, NACo continues to ensure that the nation’s 3,068 counties are heard and understood in the White House and Congress.

For more information contact: Janet Grenslitt 916-932-1363