Profile of women in Montgomery County by the numbers

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By Bhavna Sivasubramanian

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Research and Strategic Projects Division at Montgomery Planning developed a profile presenting key demographic, economic, and employment characteristics of the female population in Montgomery County. Gender disparity is a national and global topic of study, and this research aims to highlight such differences in the county. Considering the unique characteristics and challenges faced by females in the county helps planners, local government decision-makers, and the public develop equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities for all. All data for this research come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates. Data are from respondents who answered “Female” to ACS’s question “What is your sex?”

In 2022, women … Continue reading

Repositioning Montgomery County for Prosperity, Part 3: Abundant Housing for Inclusive Growth

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The previous two blogs in this series summarized the Navigating Income Shifts in Montgomery County: Towards Shared Prosperity research brief that describes how disproportionate changes along the income distribution underlie Montgomery County’s stagnating incomes. The low-income population has been increasing rapidly, while the middle-income segment is shrinking, and the high-income population, though growing in absolute terms, has not increased as a share of the population.

This final blog in the series discusses why this trend is a problem and what Montgomery County can do about it. As a reminder, the expansion of the low-income population, by itself, is not a problem. Rather, it should be seen as a success and a validation of Montgomery County’s welcoming and diverse values, … Continue reading

Repositioning Montgomery County for Prosperity, Part 2: Montgomery County’s Income Shifts in Regional and National Contexts

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The previous blog in this series described how income-based population dynamics are shifting within Montgomery County. This blog compares these dynamics with those in Montgomery County’s regional neighbors and other large counties across the nation.

Income Change in the Washington, DC Region

The previous blog noted that Montgomery County’s low- and middle-income populations both shifted by five percentage points, in opposite directions, from 2005 to 2022. The low-income share of Montgomery County’s population rose from 25% to 30%, while the middle-income share fell from 23% to 18%.

This shift may not seem significant, but it stands out in the region. Compared with the United States as a whole and the 10 largest jurisdictions near Montgomery County, these compositional changes … Continue reading

Repositioning Montgomery County for Prosperity, Part 1: Montgomery County’s Income Shifts

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Montgomery County is a great place to live, work, and visit, but it faces economic challenges. One of the most serious problems is that residents’ incomes are stagnating, which is a sign that overall prosperity and quality of life might be stagnating also. The county’s median household income has not kept up with inflation since 2005.1 The third quarter 2023 Montgomery County Economic Indicators Briefing 2 noted that Montgomery County had the slowest growth rate in per capita personal income from 2004 to 2021 among 30 similarly sized counties, barely keeping up with inflation.3

But these top-line statistics don’t explain the full story. While multiple factors could underlie this stagnancy, one trend we can examine is how Montgomery County’s … Continue reading

The Community Equity Index: A new approach to measuring equity in Montgomery County

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Montgomery County is a great place to live, work, learn, visit, and grow—but residents have different experiences depending on where they live and their socioeconomic background. One of the most important parts of our work planning for the future of every county community is understanding how socioeconomic conditions differ from neighborhood to neighborhood.

What is the Community Equity Index?

The Community Equity Index (CEI) – a new Montgomery Planning tool – is a composite measure of five indicators (defined below) of how the county’s socioeconomic diversity is distributed, or which neighborhoods have concentrated advantage or disadvantage and which neighborhoods are representative of the county’s diversity. The CEI allows Montgomery Planning, our partner agencies, and the public to better … Continue reading

Steady growth projected for Montgomery County over the next 30 years

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By James Lee and Benjamin Kraft

Latest data reflect county’s status as a populous, maturing suburb

Montgomery Planning’s Research and Strategic Projects (RSP) Division is responsible for developing Montgomery County’s long-range forecasts for employment, population, and households as part of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s (MWCOG) Cooperative Forecast Program. The Round 10 forecast was recently completed, and new numbers show over the next 30 years the county is projected to experience growth in population, households, and jobs. The growth rate, however, is estimated to be at a slower pace than previous forecasts, reflecting the county’s status as a populous, maturing suburb. The forecast estimates the county will add 143,000 jobs (up from 493,600 in 2020 to 636,500 in … Continue reading

New online storymap illustrates the changes in Montgomery County’s racial composition over four decades

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By Archie Chen and Carrie McCarthy

Montgomery County, MD, is known for the diversity of its population, with places like Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Germantown regularly showing up on lists of the most diverse cities in the United States. The county is ranked 23rd in the percentage of people of color and 9th in the percentage of foreign-born population of the 49 counties in the United States with populations exceeding 1 million.

Montgomery Planning completed an Esri ArcGIS storymap on racial and ethnic changes in the county since 1990 using the race and Hispanic origin classifications defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The first series of maps looks at changes for individual races and Hispanic ethnicity. The second … Continue reading

Despite the Headlines, Renters Never Left Dense Downtowns During Pandemic

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Written by Todd Fawley-King, Lisa Govoni

During debates and testimony about the proposed Attainable Housing Strategy, multiple participants have wondered about the housing landscape following the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to allow for more housing in established single-family zones. Will people want to live in denser housing? Will we be able to satisfy our housing needs with the empty units sitting in our downtowns? Certainly the headlines from newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post gave that impression: “America’s biggest cities were already losing their allure;” “The Pandemic is making people reconsider city living.” These newspapers even verged on fearmongering: “Which cities are renters fleeing, and where are they going?;” “They can’t leave the Bay … Continue reading

The Future for Montgomery County’s Industrial Lands

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This blog was originally posted on August 4, 2021 and has been updated to add in research and information from the Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation and Research and Strategic Projects offices about the equity issues involved in examining Montgomery County’s industrial land uses.


The COVID-19 pandemic’s increase of e-commerce and package fulfillment, falling industrial vacancy rates, and the surge in development of industrial space regionally and nationwide have communities rethinking the amount of industrial land they need. Industrial clusters are often targeted for redevelopment when they are near transit facilities because they are less valuable per acre than higher density and/or higher rent, office, retail, and multifamily properties. Additionally, jurisdictions that are in the core of metropolitan areas … Continue reading

Analyzing the future of mixed-use development in Montgomery County

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A conversation with Research Planner Nicholas Holdzkom on the Montgomery County Mixed-use Development Study

By Nicholas Holdzkom and Karen Blyton

You may have noticed new apartment buildings in your area that are being built on top of grocery stores, restaurants, or other retailers.  Montgomery County has allowed mixed-use development in buildings around activity centers for many years with the goal of creating interactive streets, providing meaningful public spaces, and creating communities where people can live, work, shop, and play within a given neighborhood.  Numerous studies show that mixed-use districts generate higher real estate value, reduced vehicle miles traveled, and higher transit ridership. These mixed-use properties, which are common in downtown Silver Spring and Bethesda, have accounted for nearly 50 … Continue reading