Home to more than 126,000 residents, Washington County is the state of Tennessee’s oldest incorporated area and is a thriving retail, healthcare, cultural and education center in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Home to Northeast Tennessee’s urban center, Johnson City is consistently voted one of the nation’s most popular metro areas for raising a family, retiring, its low cost of living, healthcare and its business-friendly climate. A pioneering spirit envelops the area, and it’s rich history of settlers and legends such as Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett is evident as one hikes the hills and valleys in the steps of the pioneers who settled America’s first frontier and founded the state’s first town, Jonesborough.
Washington County is the fastest-growing county east of Knoxville, and is home to East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and Milligan College. ETSU’s academic health science center has helped the area develop world-class healthcare services for people of all ages and the area is known for its strong cultural identity and arts and entertainment.
Cost of living
A low cost of living and high quality of life are what make Washington County a truly special place to live and work. The Council for Community and Economic Research rated the Johnson City area as one of the top ten most affordable cities in the United States. According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (2012), Johnson City also ranked fifth least expensive metro area to live. A healthy and growing industrial, educational, healthcare and service industry help Washington County control its growth and offer a standard of living not easily found elsewhere in the country.
According to a cost of living comparative study done by the Washington County Economic Development Council, the cost of living index in Johnson City is 86.7% of the national average, “proving that a dollar goes further here.” Niche Ranking 2015 ranked Johnson City #4 Best Town in Tennessee, based on overall livability and quality of life.
Washington County and the metro Johnson City area boast a diverse job base that offers employment opportunities from professional to manufacturing positions. There are many networking and educational opportunities held throughout the year to help support small and large businesses alike. More than 50% of the U.S. population is within one day’s driving distance from the city, making Washington County the perfect location to manufacture and service a large portion of the country and most of its inhabitants.
Both the Johnson City and Washington County School Systems equip students with the skills they need to progress academically and professionally. In addition, Johnson City is home to East Tennessee State University and is within a one-hour drive of 18 higher education institutions. Northeast State Community College’s downtown location offers degree and continuing education programs, and several leading private and religious schools are located here such as St. Mary’s School, Providence Academy, Tri-Cities Christian, and Ashley Academy for gifted learning.
Johnson City and Washington County serve as the region’s hub for medical services, be they primary or tertiary. Washington County is home to Johnson City Medical Center, part of Mountain States Health Alliance, a Level 1 trauma center, the Niswonger Children’s Hospital and St. Jude’s Tri-Cities Affiliate Clinic, the James A. Quillen VA Medical Center, mental health facilities, and East Tennessee State University colleges of medicine, pharmacy, public health, and nursing.
There is always something fun to do in Washington County! Whether you want to spend the day in downtown Johnson City or Jonesborough, shopping local businesses or venturing outdoors, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy all that Washington County has to offer. Our region offers some of the best hiking, cycling, fishing, hunting and adventuring available in the country, and our beautiful mountain ranges, valleys and cities offer something for everyone.
Visitors to the area can enjoy quaint bed and breakfasts, or they can choose from more than 20 hotels and motels. The City’s $15 million Memorial Park Community Center offers a variety of activities for both body and mind. The 67,000 square-foot facility features a pool, splash pool, teaching pool, fitness classes, tennis facilities and several outdoor activities.
Washington County features four distinct seasons. Spring is a colorful showcase of flowers, greening grass and trees. Summers are warm and sunny with average temperatures of 76 degrees – perfect for enjoying a multitude of outdoor recreational activities. The region has a beautiful display of vibrantly colored leaves in the fall and winters are mild with an occasional snowfall.