Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Interactive map of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Montgomery County is the third-most populous county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the 73rd-most populous in the United States. As of 2019, the census-estimated population of the county was 830,915, representing a 3.9% increase from the 799,884 residents enumerated in the 2010 census. Montgomery County is located adjacent to and northwest of Philadelphia. The county seat and largest city is Norristown. Montgomery County is geographically diverse, ranging from farms and open land in the extreme north of the county to densely populated suburban neighborhoods in the southern and central portions of the county.

Montgomery County is included in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD metropolitan statistical area, sometimes expansively known as the Delaware Valley. The county marks part of the Delaware Valley's northern border with the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Montgomery County was the 51st-wealthiest county in the country by median household income. In 2008, the county was named the 9th Best Place to Raise a Family by Forbes.

The county was created on September 10, 1784, out of land originally part of Philadelphia County. The first courthouse was housed in the Barley Sheaf Inn. It is believed to have been named either for Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War general killed in 1775 while attempting to capture Quebec City, or for the Welsh county of Montgomeryshire (which was named after one of William the Conqueror's main counselors, Roger de Montgomerie), as it was part of the Welsh Tract, an area of Pennsylvania settled by Quakers from Wales. Early histories of the county indicate the origin of the county's name as uncertain.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 487 square miles (1,260 km2), of which 483 square miles (1,250 km2) are land and 4.2 square miles (11 km2) (0.9%) are covered by water.

Major roads and highways

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
179022,918
180024,1505.4%
181029,70323.0%
182035,79320.5%
183039,40610.1%
184047,24119.9%
185058,29123.4%
186070,50020.9%
187081,61215.8%
188096,49418.2%
1890123,29027.8%
1900138,99512.7%
1910169,59022.0%
1920199,31017.5%
1930265,80433.4%
1940289,2478.8%
1950353,06822.1%
1960516,68246.3%
1970623,79920.7%
1980643,6213.2%
1990678,1115.4%
2000750,09710.6%
2010799,8846.6%
2019 (est.)830,9153.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

As of the 2010 census, the county was 79.0% White non-Hispanic, 8.7% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American or Alaskan Native, 6.4% Asian (2.1% Indian, 1.7% Korean, 1.2% Chinese, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.3% Filipino, 0.1% Japanese, 0.6% other Asian), and 0.0% native Hawaiian; 1.9% were two or more races, and 1.6% were some other race. About 4.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

As of the census of 2000, 750,097 people, 286,098 households, and 197,693 families resided in the county. The population density was 1,553 people per square mile (599/km2). The 297,434 housing units averaged 238 units/km2 (616 units/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 86.46% White, 7.46% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 4.02% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. About 2.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race, 17.5% were of German, 16.7% Irish, 14.3% Italian, 6.5% English, and 5.0% Polish ancestry according to 2000 United States Census. Around 90.5% spoke English, 2.0% Spanish, 1.1% Korean, and 1.0% Italian as their first language. Historically, much of western Montgomery County is part of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, with a great many descendants of German-speaking settlers from the 18th century.

Montgomery County is home to large and growing African American, Korean American, Puerto-Rican American, Mexican American, and Indian American populations. The county has the second-largest foreign-born population in the region, after Philadelphia County.

Of the 286,098 households, 32.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.20% were married couples living together, 8.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.90% were not families. About 25.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the county, the age distribution was 24.10% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $60,829, and for a family was $72,183 (these figures had risen to $73,701 and $89,219, respectively, as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $48,698 versus $35,089 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,898. About 2.80% of families and 4.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.60% of those under age 18 and 5.10% of those age 65 or over.

The largest townships/boroughs in Montgomery County include:"

Politics

Presidential election results
Presidential election results
YearRepublicanDemocraticThird parties
202036.4% 185,46062.6% 319,5111.0% 5,186
201637.1% 162,73158.4% 256,0824.5% 19,839
201242.2% 174,38156.5% 233,3561.2% 5,132
200839.2% 165,55259.9% 253,3930.9% 3,796
200444.0% 175,74155.6% 222,0480.5% 1,802
200043.8% 145,62353.5% 177,9902.7% 8,809
199641.2% 121,04748.9% 143,66410.0% 29,250
199239.5% 125,70442.9% 136,57217.7% 56,300
198860.2% 170,29438.8% 109,8341.0% 2,742
198464.2% 181,42635.3% 99,7410.5% 1,499
198057.8% 156,99631.0% 84,28911.1% 30,268
197656.9% 155,48041.2% 112,6441.9% 5,045
197264.3% 173,66234.1% 91,9591.6% 4,397
196854.3% 141,62139.3% 102,4646.4% 16,647
196443.0% 102,71456.7% 135,6570.3% 704
196060.7% 142,79639.2% 92,2120.1% 318
195669.2% 133,27030.7% 59,0950.1% 218
195266.6% 115,89933.2% 57,7010.2% 373
194866.5% 85,57632.0% 41,1121.5% 1,938
194461.7% 78,26037.7% 47,8150.6% 752
194059.5% 73,25040.1% 49,4090.4% 432
193652.5% 66,44245.7% 57,8701.7% 2,194
193264.0% 64,61932.7% 32,9713.3% 3,371
192876.4% 76,68022.9% 23,0260.7% 702
192475.5% 45,40718.4% 11,0946.1% 3,653
192069.7% 31,96326.7% 12,2393.6% 1,653
191658.3% 20,43138.9% 13,6582.8% 983
191226.7% 8,97835.4% 11,89437.9% 12,760
190859.8% 19,08837.3% 11,8992.9% 922
190462.6% 18,83334.6% 10,4202.8% 843
190059.1% 17,05138.9% 11,2082.1% 590
189661.3% 17,32935.3% 9,9853.5% 980
189249.1% 13,59149.2% 13,6111.7% 480
188850.9% 13,44547.6% 12,5821.5% 390
188450.5% 11,61748.2% 11,0881.2% 281
188049.7% 11,02649.7% 11,0250.5% 112

As of August 17, 2020, there are 579,298 registered voters in Montgomery County.

Historically, Montgomery County was a stronghold for the Republican Party. The county was the only one carried by Barbara Hafer in the 1990 gubernatorial election over the incumbent governor, Bob Casey. However, the Democratic Party has made substantial gains in the county over the last quarter-century and gained the registration edge early in 2008.

As in most of Philadelphia's suburbs, the brand of Republicanism practiced in Montgomery County for much of the 20th century was a moderate one. As the national parties have polarized, the county's voters have increasingly supported Democrats at the national level. After voting for the Republican presidential nominee in all but one election from 1952 to 1988, Lyndon Johnson's landslide in 1964, Montgomery County residents have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee for the past seven consecutive elections, with the margins progressively increasing between 1992 and 2008 to 21.8%. The Democratic victory margin decreased in 2012 back to 14.3%, but rebounded in 2016 to 21.3%.

Most county-level offices were held by Republicans until after the 2007 election, when Democrats picked up control of five row offices. Democrats have also won several elections in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in recent years, including two GOP-leaning State House districts in 2004, the 148th with Mike Gerber and the 153rd with Josh Shapiro. Today, although the county is very Democratic at the national level, at the state and local level, it is not specifically partisan.

In the 2004 United States Senate election, Republican Arlen Specter won the county over Montco resident Joe Hoeffel, but Democrat Bob Casey, Jr. out-polled Rick Santorum in the 2006 Senate election. In 2006, Democrat Rick Taylor unseated incumbent Republican Eugene McGill in the 151st (although Taylor lost in 2010 to Republican Todd Stephens) and, in 2008, Democrat Matthew Bradford unseated incumbent Republican Jay Moyer in the 70th. Six of the county's 12 state house seats and four of the county's eight senate seats are now held by Democrats. All four statewide Democratic candidates carried Montgomery in 2008, with Barack Obama receiving 60% of the county's vote. Barack Obama won Montgomery County in 2008 and 2012.

Despite Donald Trump's victory in the state of Pennsylvania in the 2016 election, Montgomery County was one of the few counties in Pennsylvania which swung in the Democratic presidential candidates' direction with Hillary Clinton winning Montgomery County with 58.87% of the vote, an improvement from Barack Obama's 56.6% vote share in 2012. In the 2016 U.S. Senate elections as well as the Pennsylvania Attorney General elections, Montgomery County voted for Katie McGinty and Josh Shapiro, both Democrats. In 2020, Joe Biden received over 60% of the vote in Montgomery County, the first Democrat to do so in the county's history. Such a lopsided result in Montgomery County was one of several key factors that helped Biden flip Pennsylvania back to the Democratic column.

Government

Montgomery County is governed by a three-person county commission. The current composition is two Democrats and one Republican. By law, the county commission must have one member of a minority party represented.

County commissioners

County row offices

As of the November 2019 election:

Same-sex marriage

On July 24, 2013, Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, a Democrat, announced he would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, flouting Pennsylvania law banning such unions. Hanes called the commonwealth's ban "arbitrary and suspect", saying he believes it violates the Pennsylvania Constitution and the United States Constitution. The Republican administration of Governor Tom Corbett filed suit in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in an attempt to block Hanes from licensing same-sex marriage. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini ordered Hanes in September 2013 to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses. After Federal Judge John Jones threw out Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage in May 2014, calling it unconstitutional, offices in other counties were able to issue these licenses, while Hanes had to wait for the ruling against him to be removed.

United States Senate

United States House of Representatives

The 2018 congressional map ordered by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania places the majority of Montgomery County within the new 4th congressional district.

State Senate

State House of Representatives

Economy

Montgomery County ranges from the densely populated rowhouse streets of Cheltenham Township to the forests and open land around the Perkiomen Creek in the northern part of the county.

Montgomery County is a suburb of Philadelphia and consequently, many of its residents work in the city. However, Montco is also a major employment center with large business parks in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Fort Washington, Horsham, and King of Prussia which attract thousands of workers from all over the region. The strong job base and taxes generated by those jobs have resulted in Montgomery County receiving the highest credit rating of 'AAA' from Standard & Poor's, one of fewer than 30 counties in the United States with such a rating. In 2012, Moody's downgraded the general obligation rating to Aa1, and in 2018 the rating was revised back to Aaa.

Major employers include:

Education

Colleges and universities

Public school districts

Map of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Private secondary schools

Night schools/adult education

Communities

Map of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Under Pennsylvania law, five types of incorporated municipalities are listed: cities, boroughs, townships, home rule municipalities (which can include communities that bear the name "Borough" or "Township") and, in at most two cases, towns. These boroughs, townships, and home rule municipalities are located in Montgomery County:

Home rule municipalities

Boroughs

Townships

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here, as well.

Even though the historic village of Valley Forge, as well as the park, are partially located within Montgomery County, the modern village is in Chester County, PA

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Montgomery County.

county seat

Culture

Climate

The county has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) except in some lowland areas very close to Philadelphia where it is humid subtropical (Cfa). The hardiness zones are 6b and 7a.

See also

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.