Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

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Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Flag of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Flag
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded September 10, 1784
Seat Norristown
Largest Township Lower Merion (population)
Area
 • Total 487 sq mi (1,261 km2)
 • Land 483 sq mi (1,251 km2)
 • Water 4 sq mi (10 km2), 0.89%
Population
 • (2010) 799,874
 • Density 1,653/sq mi (638.4/km²)
Congressional districts 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.montcopa.org

Montgomery County, locally also referred to as Montco, is a county located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 799,874,[1] making it the third most populous county in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia and Allegheny counties. The county seat is Norristown.[2] Montgomery County is very diverse, ranging from farms and open land in Upper Hanover to densely populated rowhouse streets in Cheltenham.

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.

Montgomery County is a suburban county northwest of Philadelphia. It is part of the Delaware Valley 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.[3]

Geography[edit]

Montgomery County Courthouse

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 487 square miles (1,262 km²), of which 483 square miles (1,251 km²) is land and 4 square miles (11 km²) (0.89%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 22,918
1800 24,150 5.4%
1810 29,703 23.0%
1820 35,793 20.5%
1830 39,406 10.1%
1840 47,241 19.9%
1850 58,291 23.4%
1860 70,500 20.9%
1870 81,612 15.8%
1880 96,494 18.2%
1890 123,290 27.8%
1900 138,995 12.7%
1910 169,590 22.0%
1920 199,310 17.5%
1930 265,804 33.4%
1940 289,247 8.8%
1950 353,068 22.1%
1960 516,682 46.3%
1970 623,799 20.7%
1980 643,621 3.2%
1990 678,111 5.4%
2000 750,097 10.6%
2010 799,874 6.6%
Est. 2012 808,460 1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2012 Estimate[1]

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), 0.0% Native Hawaiian, 1.9% were two or more races, and 1.6% were some other race. 4.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 750,097 people, 286,098 households, and 197,693 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,553 people per square mile (599/km²). There were 297,434 housing units at an average density of 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. 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 Census 2000. 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.[7]

There were 286,098 households out of which 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 non-families. 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 spread out with 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 the median income for a family was $72,183 (these figures had risen to $73,701 and $89,219 respectively as of a 2007 estimate).[8] 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 following is a table of the largest townships/boroughs in Montgomery County.

Township/Borough Population (2010 US Census) Density mi2
Lower Merion Township 57,825 2,526.1
Abington Township 55,310 3,630.3
Cheltenham Township 36,793 4,083.1
Municipality of Norristown 34,324 9,806.9
Upper Merion Township 28,395 1,593.3
Horsham Township 26,147 1,398.6
Upper Dublin Township 25,569 1,960.7
Lower Providence Township 25,436 1,458.8
Montgomery Township 24,790 2,067.1
Upper Moreland Township 24,015 3,202

Economy[edit]

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

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.[9]

Major employers include:[10]

Transportation[edit]

Major roads and highways[edit]

Politics[edit]

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2012 42.3% 169,903 56.6% 227,561
2008 39.2% 165,552 60.0% 253,393
2004 44.0% 174,741 55.6% 222,048
2000 43.8% 145,623 53.5% 177,990
1996 41.2% 121,047 48.9% 143,664
1992 39.5% 125,704 42.9% 136,572
1988 60.2% 170,294 38.8% 109,834
1984 64.2% 181,426 35.3% 99,741
1980 57.8% 156,996 31.0% 84,289
1976 56.9% 155,480 41.2% 112,644
1972 64.3% 173,662 34.1% 91,959
1968 54.3% 141,621 39.3% 102,464
1964 43.0% 102,714 56.7% 135,657
1960 60.7% 142,796 39.2% 92,212

As of January 2010, there are 577,378 registered voters in Montgomery County.[11]

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. This is mainly because the brand of Repubilcanism practiced in the county has traditionally been a moderate one. As the national party veered rightward, the county's voters became more willing to support Democrats at the national level. After voting for the Republican Presidential nominee in all but one election from 1952 to 1988, the Democratic Presidential nominee has carried Montgomery for the past six consecutive elections, with the margins progressively increasing between 1992 and 2008, however decreasing 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 US 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, however 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:

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.

There are also two Jury Commissioners 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 Allyson Schwartz.

Legislators[edit]

State representatives[edit]

State senators[edit]

U.S. representatives[edit]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

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.[12]

Municipalities[edit]

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

Under Pennsylvania law, there are five types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, Home Rule Municipalities (which can include communities that bear the name "Borough" or "Township") and, in at most two cases, towns. The following boroughs, townships, and Home Rule Municipalities are located in Montgomery County:

Home rule municipalities[edit]

Boroughs[edit]

Townships[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

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.

Other Communities[edit]

Education[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Map of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Public school districts[edit]

Private secondary schools[edit]

Night schools/adult education[edit]

Notable civic institutions[edit]

  • The Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association (RMCA) is a 501(c)1 organization. Founded in 1948, RMCA is the oldest incorporated civic association in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is based in wards 1, 2, 3 and 7 in Abington Township. Many of Montgomery County's notable politicians reside in Rydal-Meadowbrook, including Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Josh Shapiro, former Congressman Joe Hoeffel and current District Attorney Risa Vetri-Ferman. Dean of Philadelphia broadcast journalists Larry Kane is served by RMCA. Federal Judges Jan Ely DuBois and Lowell A. Reed, Jr. also live in Rydal-Meadowbrook. Judge Reed is also a past president of RMCA.[14]
  • The Old York Road Historical Society was founded in 1936 and its collections are particularly strong in covering the history of the communities in Eastern Montgomery County, and as such, the Society serves as the major historical repository for the townships of Abington, Cheltenham, Lower Moreland and Upper Moreland and the boroughs of Bryn Athyn, Hatboro, Jenkintown and Rockledge.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ forbes.com
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Montgomery County, Pennsylvania - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder
  9. ^ "Montgomery County," Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association
  10. ^ Top 50 Employers by County - Montgomery
  11. ^ Running for Office
  12. ^ "Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Law Deemed 'Suspect' By County Official". The Huffington Post. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Meetings & Notices
  14. ^ "The Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr," Inns of Court

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°13′N 75°22′W / 40.21°N 75.37°W / 40.21; -75.37