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Washington metropolitan area

Washington metropolitan area
(Washington – Arlington – Alexandria)
Metropolitan statistical area
Washington, D.C. in September 2003
Washington, D.C. in September 2003
Country  United States of America
U.S. state/federal district District of Columbia
West Virginia
Principal municipalities Washington, Arlington, Alexandria
 • Metro 14,412 km2 (5,564.6 sq mi)
Elevation 0–716 m (0–2,350 ft)
Population (2014)[1]
 • Metropolitan statistical area 6,033,737 (7th)
 • Density 418.7/km2 (1,084/sq mi)
 • Urban 4,586,770 (8th)
 • CSA 9,331,587 (4th)
  MSA = 2014, CSA = 2012, Urban & Densities = 2010
Time zone ET (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EST (UTC-4)

The Washington metropolitan area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia, along with a small portion of West Virginia.

The Washington metropolitan area is the most educated and, by some measures, the most affluent metropolitan area in the United States.[2] As of the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the population of the Washington metropolitan area was estimated to be 6,033,737, making it the largest metropolitan area in the Census' Southeast region and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the country.[3]


  • Etymology 1
  • Composition 2
    • Political subdivisions 2.1
      • District of Columbia 2.1.1
      • Maryland 2.1.2
        • Partly associated counties
      • Virginia 2.1.3
      • West Virginia 2.1.4
  • Regional organizations 3
    • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments 3.1
  • Principal cities 4
  • Demographics 5
    • Politics 5.1
    • Racial composition 5.2
    • Social indicators 5.3
  • Economy 6
    • Primary industries 6.1
    • Largest companies 6.2
    • History 6.3
  • Transportation 7
    • Major airports 7.1
    • Rail transit systems 7.2
    • Bus transit systems 7.3
    • Bicycle sharing systems 7.4
  • Culture 8
    • Sports teams 8.1
    • Media 8.2
  • Area codes 9
  • Sister cities 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the area as the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV metropolitan statistical area, a metropolitan statistical area used for statistical purposes by the United States Census Bureau and other agencies. The area includes as its principal cities Washington as well as the Virginia county of Arlington and city of Alexandria. The Office of Management and Budget also includes the metropolitan statistical area as part of the larger Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area, which has a population of 9,331,587 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.[4]

The area is also sometimes referred to as the National Capital Region, particularly by federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security.[5] Another term used to describe the region is the D.C. Area. The area is referred to by a few as the DMV, a shorthand for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.[6] The area in the region that is surrounded by Interstate 495 is also referred to as being "inside the Beltway". The city of Washington, which is at the center of the area, is referred to as "the District" because it is the federal District of Columbia, and is not part of any state. The Virginian portion of the region is known as Northern Virginia.


Satellite photo of the Washington metropolitan area
Map highlighting the counties and developed areas of the region
Map highlighting labor patterns of regional counties

The U.S. Census Bureau divides the Washington statistical metropolitan area into two metropolitan divisions:[7]

  • Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Division, comprising the majority of the metropolitan area
  • Silver Spring–Frederick–Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division, consisting of Montgomery and Frederick counties

Note that metropolitan area and metropolitan statistical area should not be confused with Metropolitan Division.

Political subdivisions

The area includes the following counties, districts, and independent cities:[7]

District of Columbia


The following counties are categorized as part of the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV metropolitan statistical area:

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