The official OMB-designated Washington–Baltimore–Northern Virginia, DC–MD–VA–WV combined statistical area, based on the 2000 Census.

A general map of the counties that are a part of the area, based on the 1990 Census.


Urban development of the region between 1792 and 1992

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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




Baltimore area[edit | edit source]

Washington area[17][edit | edit source]

Economy[edit | edit source]

Primary industries[edit | edit source]

Biotechnology[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Numbers denote Fortune 500 ranking.

Maryland[edit | edit source]

Baltimore area:

Washington area:

Washington, D.C.[edit | edit source]

Northern Virginia[edit | edit source]

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Baltimore–Washington International

Reagan National Airport

Dulles International


Major airports[edit | edit source]

Rail transit systems[edit | edit source]

Major highways[edit | edit source]


U.S. Routes

State Routes

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

Template:Northeast Megalopolis

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