Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage (29.2%) of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate degrees.
The county seat and largest municipality is Rockville. As of 2010 the population was 971,777. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, the most populous of which are Silver Spring, Germantown and Bethesda, though the incorporated cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg are also large population centers. It is a part of both the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
In 2008, Montgomery County was the second richest county in terms of per capita income in the state of Maryland and 13th richest in the United States, with a median household income of $92,213.
Montgomery County is an important business and research center. It is the epicenter for biotechnology in the Mid-Atlantic region. Montgomery County is the third largest biotechnology cluster in the USA, holding the principal cluster and companies of large corporate size in the state.
Biomedical research is carried out by institutions including Johns Hopkins University's Montgomery County Campus (JHU MCC), and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Federal government agencies engaged in related work include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
Many large firms are based in the county, including Discovery Communications, Coventry Health Care, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Host Hotels & Resorts, Travel Channel, Ritz-Carlton, Robert Louis Johnson Companies (RLJ Cos), Choice Hotels, MedImmune, TV One, BAE Systems Inc, Hughes Network Systems and GEICO.
Other U.S. federal government agencies based in the county include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE),the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
Downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring are the largest urban business hubs in the county; combined, they rival many major city cores.
Montgomery County has the eighth highest median household income in the United States, and the second highest in the state after Howard County according to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The median household income in 2007 was $89,284 and the median family income was $106,093. Males had a median income of $66,415 versus $52,134 for females. The per capita income for the county was $43,073. About 3.3% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
Since the 1970s, the county has had in place a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) zoning plan that requires developers to include affordable housing in any new residential developments that they construct in the county. The goal is to create socioeconomically mixed neighborhoods and schools so the rich and poor are not isolated in separate parts of the county. Developers who provide for more than the minimum amount of MPDUs are rewarded with permission to increase the density of their developments, which allows them to build more housing and generate more revenue. Montgomery County was one of the first counties in the U.S. to adopt such a plan, but many other areas have since followed suit.
See the past, the present, and the future of Montgomery County farming at the Agricultural History Farm Park! Situated along Rock Creek in Derwood, Maryland, the Agricultural History Farm Park is a 455-acre complex with an historic farm site and a modern farming activity center. The Park offers visitors a unique perspective on the County's rich farming heritage.
The historic area takes visitors back to a typical early 20th century Montgomery County farm. This area includes the original farmhouse, bank barn and several outbuildings. Today's Montgomery County farming is supported by several federal, state and county agencies with offices in the Activity Center. These agencies assist the County's extensive farming community to increase agricultural production and conserve farmland for future generations.