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[]

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.[]

  • Black Entertainment Television
  • Blackboard Inc.
  • Bureau of National Affairs
  • Carlyle Group
  • Danaher Corporation 239
  • Fannie Mae 53
  • National Geographic Society
  • Pepco Holdings 279
  • The Washington Post Company
  • XM Satellite Radio

Northern Virginia[]

  • AES Corporation (Arlington) 158
  • Airbus North America (Herndon)
  • BearingPoint (McLean)
  • Booz Allen Hamilton (McLean) 438
  • CACI (Arlington)
  • Capital One (McLean) 145
  • Computer Sciences Corporation (Falls Church) 153
  • DynCorp International (Falls Church)
  • Freddie Mac (McLean) 220
  • FNH USA (Fredericksburg)
  • Gannett Company (McLean) 371
  • General Dynamics (Falls Church) 83
  • Hilton Hotels Corporation (McLean)
  • Kellogg Brown and Root Services (Arlington)
  • Mars, Incorporated (McLean)
  • MicroStrategy (Tysons Corner)
  • Navy Federal Credit Union (Vienna)
  • NII Holdings (Reston)
  • Northrop Grumman (Falls Church) 72
  • NVR Incorporated (Reston) 464
  • Orbital Sciences (Dulles)
  • Rolls-Royce North America (Reston)
  • Science Applications International Corporation (McLean) 266
  • Space Adventures (Vienna)
  • SLM Corporation (Reston) "Sallie Mae" 331
  • Verizon Business (Ashburn)
  • Volkswagen Group of America (Herndon)
  • XO Communications (Herndon)


Baltimore–Washington International

Reagan National Airport

Dulles International


Major airports[]

  • Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (Anne Arundel County, Maryland – closest to Baltimore and busiest in region)[18]
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Arlington County, Virginia – closest to Washington)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (Chantilly, Virginia)

Rail transit systems[]

  • Amtrak
  • Washington Metro
  • MARC Train
  • Baltimore Light Rail
  • Metro Subway
  • Virginia Railway Express

Major highways[]


  • I-66.svg Interstate 66
  • I-70.svg Interstate 70
  • I-81.svg Interstate 81
  • I-83.svg Interstate 83
  • I-95.svg Interstate 95
  • I-97.svg Interstate 97
  • Interstate 101 Future
  • I-195.svg Interstate 195
  • I-270.svg Interstate 270
  • I-295.svg Interstate 295
  • I-370.svg Interstate 370
  • I-395.svg Interstate 395 (District of Columbia-Virginia)
  • I-395.svg Interstate 395 (Maryland)
  • I-495.svg Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway)
  • I-595.svg Interstate 595 (Unsigned)
  • Interstate 670 in Maryland
  • I-695.svg Interstate 695 (District of Columbia)
  • I-695.svg Interstate 695 (Baltimore Beltway)
  • I-795.svg Interstate 795
  • I-895.svg Interstate 895
  • Interstate 995 Future

U.S. Routes

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

State Routes

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

See also[]


Template:Northeast Megalopolis

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