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Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area

The Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area is a combined statistical area consisting of the overlapping labor market region of the cities of Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, District of Columbia. The region includes Central Maryland, Northern Virginia, two counties in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, and one county in South Central Pennsylvania. It is the most educated, highest-income, and fourth largest combined statistical area in the United States.[1][2]

Officially, the area is designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area. It is composed primarily of two major metropolitan statistical areas, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD MSA and the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV MSA. In addition, six other smaller urban areas not contiguous to the main urban area but having strong commuting ties with the main area are also included in the metropolitan area.[3] These are: the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSA, the Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA MSA, the Winchester, VA–WV MSA, the California-Lexington Park, MD MSA, the Easton, MD micropolitan statistical area (µSA), and the Cambridge, MD µSA.

Some counties and cities are not officially designated by the OMB as members of this metropolitan area, but still consider themselves members anyway. This is mostly due to their proximity to the area, the size of their commuter population, and by the influence of local broadcasting stations. The population of the entire Baltimore–Washington Metroplex as of the Census Bureau's 2012 Population Estimates is 9,331,587.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] The most populous city is Washington, DC, with a population of 632,323.[11] The most populous county is Fairfax County, Virginia, with a population exceeding 1 million.

Components of the metropolitan area

The counties and independent cities and their groupings that comprise the metropolitan area are listed below with their 2012 population estimates. Central counties/cities (designated as such by OMB) for each MSA are shown in italics.

Regional organizations

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Founded in 1957, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is a regional organization of 21 Washington-area local governments, as well as area members of the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. MWCOG provides a forum for discussion and the development of regional responses to issues regarding the environment, transportation, public safety, homeland security, affordable housing, community planning, and economic development.[12]

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, a component of MWCOG, is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for the metropolitan Washington area.[13]

Baltimore Metropolitan Council

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council is the equivalent organization for the Baltimore portion of the combined Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.[14] The BMC, which was created in 1992 as the successor to the Regional Planning Council and Baltimore Regional Council of Governments, consists of the Baltimore region's elected executives, representing Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.[15]

The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board is the federally recognized Metropolitan Planning Organization for transportation planning in the Baltimore region.[15]

List of principal cities

See List of cities in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area for a full list.[16]

Baltimore area

Washington area[17]


Primary industries


Not limited to its proximity to the National Institutes of Health, Maryland's Washington suburbs are a major center for biotechnology. Prominent local biotechnology companies include MedImmune, United Therapeutics, The Institute for Genomic Research, Human Genome Sciences and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Defense contracting

Many defense contractors are based in the region to be close to the Pentagon in Arlington. Local defense contractors include Lockheed Martin, the largest, as well as Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, BAE Systems Inc., Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Notable company headquarters in the region

Numbers denote Fortune 500 ranking.


Baltimore area:

Washington area:

Washington, D.C.

Northern Virginia


Major airports

Rail transit systems

Major highways


  • Interstate 66
  • Interstate 70
  • Interstate 81
  • Interstate 83
  • Interstate 95
  • Interstate 97
  • Interstate 195
  • Interstate 270
  • Interstate 295
  • Interstate 370
  • Interstate 395 (District of Columbia-Virginia)
  • Interstate 395 (Maryland)
  • Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway)
  • Interstate 595 (Unsigned)
  • Interstate 695 (District of Columbia)
  • Interstate 695 (Baltimore Beltway)
  • Interstate 795
  • Interstate 895

U.S. Routes

  • U.S. Route 1
  • U.S. Route 11
  • U.S. Route 15
  • U.S. Route 29
  • U.S. Route 40
  • U.S. Route 50
  • U.S. Route 301
  • U.S. Route 340

State Routes

  • Maryland Route 2
  • Maryland Route 4
  • Maryland Route 5
  • Maryland Route 26
  • Maryland Route 32
  • Maryland Route 100
  • Maryland Route 200 (InterCounty Connector)
  • Baltimore–Washington Parkway (Maryland Route 295)
  • Maryland Route 355
  • Virginia State Route 7
  • Virginia State Route 9
  • Virginia State Route 28
  • Virginia State Route 267
  • Virginia State Route 286 (Fairfax County Parkway)
  • Virginia State Route 289 (Franconia–Springfield Parkway)
  • West Virginia Route 9

See also


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