Tag Archives: Manassas

Local lingo: Northern Virginia vs. Virginia

29 Sep

A friend of mine, born and raised in Northern Virginia, went to a convention during college where attendees from other states asked why she didn’t have a southern accent. She explained that no, as she said, she was from Northern Virginia, near DC—they didn’t get it. But for anyone in the DC area, the distinction is clear: Northern Virginia and Virginia are in many ways two separate states. Virginia is firmly in the south, rural in many areas and many residents, yes, have accents. Northern Virginia’s identity comes much more from being in the DC metro area. It was, in fact, Northern Virginia, that narrowly won President Obama the state in the 2008 election. Another friend of mine says one of the reasons she prefers living in Virginia as opposed to DC is the fact that her vote counts much more (DC is about 90% democratic).

Northern Virginia is the most populous region of Virginia. It is also the most diverse and has the highest income. In recent years, Fairfax County and Loudon (LOUD-un) county have been among the top—and often at the top—of the highest-income counties in the U.S. There’s no clear cut line as to where Northern Virginia ends and Virginia begins, but those most strongly associated with NoVa include Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Loudon and Prince William.