Washington, D.C. is not only the nation's capital but also the hub for a sprawling metropolitan area, typically called the Washington metro. This region includes the District of Columbia and counties in three states: Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. As the nation’s sixth-largest metro, the area has a total population of approximately 6.1 million people and continues to grow at a rapid pace due to the area's educational and employment opportunities. Counties in the metro include Calvert, Frederick, and Prince George's County in Maryland; Jefferson County in West Virginia; and Arlington, Fairfax, Culpeper, and many other counties in Virginia. In total, the Washington metro is comprised of nearly two dozen counties. Due to the high cost of living in D.C., many individuals around the region commute to work. This leads to many people who cross state lines for work or travel from adjacent counties to seek work. With that in mind, a narrow screening process for employees doesn't make sense in such a large region; a candidate with a clean record in Maryland may not be able to say the same about their records in Virginia or D.C. Casting a wider net for criminal records may be the right move for your business. If you plan to conduct thorough background checks on applicants for positions within your business, it is critical to understand restrictions on accessing records in the Washington metro.