Montgomery County, locally also referred to as Montco, is a county located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 799,874, making it the third-most populous county in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties. The county seat is Norristown. Montgomery County is very diverse, ranging from farms and open land in Upper Hanover to densely populated rowhouse streets in Cheltenham.
Montgomery County is included in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is a suburban county northwest of Philadelphia, and marks the region's northern border, with the Lehigh Valley region of the state to the north. In 2010, it was the 51st wealthiest county in the country (measured by median household income). In 2008, it 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, Canada, 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.
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 487 square miles (1,260Â km2), of which 483 square miles (1,250Â km2) is land and 4.2 square miles (11Â km2) (0.9%) is covered by water.
- Lehigh County (north)
- Bucks County (northeast)
- Philadelphia County (southeast)
- Delaware County (southwest)
- Chester County (west)
- Berks County (northwest)
National protected area
- Valley Forge National Historical Park (part)
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/kmÂ²). The 297,434 housing units averaged 238 units/kmÂ² (616 units/sqÂ 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.
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 population was distributed as 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:"
As of January 2010, there are 577,378 registered voters in Montgomery County.
- Democratic: 262,204 (45.41%)
- Republican: 231,531 (40.10%)
- Other parties: 83,643 (14.49%)
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 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, County residents have voted for the Democratic Presidential nominee for the past six consecutive elections, with the margins progressively increasing between 1992 and 2008. However, the Democratic victory margin decreased in 2012.
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 more of a tossup.
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, but Republicans hold many local offices in the county.
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.
The current commissioners are:
- Josh Shapiro - Chair - (D)
- Valerie Arkoosh - (D)
- Bruce Castor - (R)
The county row officers are:
- Clerk of Courts - Ann Thornburg Weiss (D)
- Controller - Stewart J. Greenleaf, Jr. (R)
- Coroner - Walter Hofman (D)
- District Attorney - Risa Vetri Ferman (R)
- Prothonotary - Mark Levy (D)
- Recorder of Deeds - Nancy Becker (R)
- Register of Wills - D. Bruce Hanes (D)
- Sheriff - Russell J. Bono (R)
- Treasurer - Jason Salus (D)
The new officials took office in January 2012, except Sheriff Bono, who was appointed in March 2014.
The two Jury Commissioners are elected countywide, one from each party:
- Joanne Cisco Olszewski (D)
- Merry Woods (R)
They took office in January 2014.
Montgomery County contains parts of five Congressional Districts: the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 13th. The Montgomery-based 13th district, which also includes most of Northeast Philadelphia, is represented by Democrat Brendan Boyle.
- Robert Godshall, Republican, 53rd district
- Kate Harper, Republican, 61st district
- Matthew Bradford, Democrat, 70th district
- Tom Quigley, Republican, 146th district
- Marcy Toepel, Republican, 147th district
- Mary Jo Daley, Democrat, 148th district
- Tim Briggs, Democrat, 149th district
- Mike Vereb, Republican, 150th district
- Todd Stephens, Republican, 151st district
- Tom Murt, Republican, 152nd district
- Madeleine Dean, Democrat, 153rd district
- Lawrence Curry, Democrat, 154th district
- Warren Kampf, Republican, 157th district
- Kevin J. Boyle, Democrat, 172nd district
- Pamela DeLissio, Democrat, 194th district
- LeAnna Washington, Democrat, 4th district
- Vincent Hughes, Democrat, 7th district
- Chuck McIlhinney, Republican, 10th district
- Stewart Greenleaf, Republican, 12th district
- Daylin Leach, Democrat, 17th district
- Andy Dinniman, Democrat, 19th district
- Bob Mensch, Republican, 24th district
- John Rafferty, Jr., Republican, 44th district
- Chaka Fattah, Democrat, 2nd district
- Ryan Costello, Republican, 6th district
- Pat Meehan, Republican, 7th district
- Mike Fitzpatrick, Republican, 8th district
- Brendan Boyle, Democrat, 13th district
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, although Hanes has asked that the case be heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court instead.
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.
Major employers include:
Colleges and universities
Public school districts
Private secondary schools
Night schools/adult education
- Cheltenham Township Adult School
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
- Bryn Athyn (official name remains "Borough of Bryn Athyn")
- Cheltenham Township
- Horsham Township
- Norristown (county seat)
- Plymouth Township
- Whitemarsh Township
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.
- The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP), a nonprofit organization founded by Glenn Doman, was established in Wyndmoor in 1955. The IAHP is an educational organization that teaches parents about child brain development, and is a treatment center for brain-injured children.
- The Old York Road Symphony, based in Abington, is one of the oldest all-volunteer orchestras in the country, founded in 1932.
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
- Official website
- Valley Forge & Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau