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Washington County has a humid continental climate (KöppenDfb), with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. Precipitation is highest in the summer months, with an annual average of 38.87 in (987 mm). Snow usually falls between November and April, with an average of 37.8 in (96 cm).
Climate data for Washington, Pennsylvania (3mi NE) (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1975–present)
As of the census of 2000, there were 202,897 people, 81,130 households, and 56,060 families residing in the county. The population density was 237 people per square mile (91/km2). There were 87,267 housing units at an average density of 102 per square mile (39/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.27% White, 3.26% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.3% were of German, 17.2% Italian, 10.6% Irish, 8.6% English, 7.9% Polish and 6.2% American ancestry.
There were 81,130 households, out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.20% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.90% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.20% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 17.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 92.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.00 males.
As of 1800, this county was largely settled by people of Scot-Irish heritage because "prime lands" were already taken by the Germans and the Quakers.
Government and politics
The Washington County Courthouse during the winter
The County of Washington is governed by a three-member publicly elected commission. The three commissioners serve in both executive and legislative capacities. By state law, the commission must have a minority party guaranteeing a political split on the commission. Each term is for four years.
The three current commissioners for Washington County are Lawrence Maggi (Democrat), Diana Irey (Republican), and Nick Sherman (Republican).
The Washington County Court of Common Pleas, the Twenty-Seventh Judicial District of Pennsylvania, is the state trial court, sitting in and for Washington County. It serves as the court of original jurisdiction for the region. There are five judges, which the county's citizens elect to ten year terms, under the laws of the Commonwealth. The President Judge is Katherine B. Emery; she is the most senior member of the bench. Judges of the court are:
Katherine B. Emery, P.J.
John F. DiSalle, J.
Gary Gilman, J.
Valarie Costanzo, J.
Michael J. Lucas, J.
Additionally, magisterial district judges (MDJs) serve throughout the county to hear traffic citations, issue warrants, and decide minor civil matters.
The Democratic Party has been historically dominant in county-level politics and national politics, only voting Republican for president in Richard Nixon's 1972 landslide victory over George McGovern between 1928 & 2008.
However, like much of Appalachian coal country, Washington has trended strongly Republican in recent years. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won 53% of the vote and Republican George W. Bush won 44%. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry received 50.14% of the vote and Bush received 49.57% a difference of 552 votes. In 2008, Republican John McCain won 51% to Democrat Barack Obama's 46% and each of the three state row office winners carried Washington County.
As of November 7, 2017, there were 139,790 registered voters in the county. Registered Democrats have a plurality of 67,424 registered voters, compared to 56,274 registered Republicans, 752 registered Libertarians, 123 registered Greens, and 15,217 voters registered to other parties or none.
Pony League baseball was founded in Washington County in 1951 for 13 and 14 year old boys and its headquarters are located here. As of 2016, more than a half-million youth in the U.S. and 40 other nations participate. The televised Pony League World Series held annually in August at Washington's Lew Hays Pony Field attracts teenage teams from around the world.
The Whiskey Rebellion culminated in Washington. The home of David Bradford, one of the rebellion leaders, is located in Washington and is a national landmark. Just a couple blocks away is the F. Julius LeMoyne House, which serves as the headquarters of the Washington County Historical Society.
Map of Washington County, Pennsylvania with municipal labels showing cities and boroughs (red), townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Washington County:
David Bradford, born in Maryland 1760 and resided in Washington, early deputy attorney-general for Washington County, became a leader in the Whiskey Rebellion challenging the nascent United States federal government
Alexander G. Clark (1826-1891), born in Washington County, "The Colored Orator of the West", Minister to Liberia 1890-1891