Potomac, Maryland

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Potomac, Maryland
Census-designated place
Location of Potomac, Maryland
Location of Potomac, Maryland
Coordinates: 39°1′N 77°13′W / 39.017°N 77.217°W / 39.017; -77.217Coordinates: 39°1′N 77°13′W / 39.017°N 77.217°W / 39.017; -77.217
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County Montgomery
 • Total 26.6 sq mi (68.8 km2)
 • Land 25.2 sq mi (65.2 km2)
 • Water 1.4 sq mi (3.6 km2)
Elevation 361 ft (110 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 44,965
 • Density 1,784.33/sq mi (653.56/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 20854, 20859
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-63300
GNIS feature ID 0591056

Potomac is a census-designated place (CDP) in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, named for the nearby Potomac River. In 2013, CNNMoney.com listed Potomac as the most affluent town in all the United States based on median household income.[1] Potomac is also the seventh most top-educated American small town according to Forbes.[2] Bloomberg Businessweek labeled Potomac as the twenty-ninth richest zip code in the United States in 2011, stating that it had the largest population of any U.S. town with a median income of more than $240,000.[3] In 2012, The Higley Elite 100 published a list of highest-income neighborhoods by mean household income, which included four neighborhoods in Potomac; one of these neighborhoods, "Carderock-The Palisades" was ranked the highest-income neighborhood in the country, followed by "Beverly Hills-North of Sunset" in Beverly Hills, CA, and "Swinks Mill-Dominion Reserve" of Mclean,VA.[4] More recently, two Potomac neighborhoods were ranked among the ten wealthiest neighborhoods in the country by CNBC in 2014.[5] Many Potomac residents work in nearby Washington, D.C.


The land that is now Potomac Village was first settled by Edward Offutt in 1714 after he was granted a 600-acre (2.4 km2) land grant "Clewerwell" by Lord Baltimore. His grant of land was by the Tehogee Indian Trail, an Indian trade route built by the Canaze Indian nation in 1716. Throughout the 18th century, what became known as Offutts Crossroads was a small, rural community which served planters and travelers. In the 19th century, a few small dwellings had been built along with a tavern established in 1820.[6] By the time of the Civil War, the community contained two general stores, a blacksmith shop, and a post office which served a community of 100.

Offutts Crossroads was renamed Potomac in 1881 by John McDonald. An Irishman and veteran of the Civil War, McDonald settled in Potomac around that time. He petitioned for the name change since postal officials were asking for brief names and there were already several other communities in the area with the name "crossroads".[7]

By the turn of the 20th century, Potomac experienced a period of growth. Thomas Perry, an operator of a nearby general store, built a house on the corner of Falls and River Roads in 1902. More residential structures were built on the northern section of Falls Road throughout the 1920s and 1930s. During the 1950s, Potomac was one of many communities in Montgomery County to experience suburbanization. Potomac quickly transformed from a rural farming community to a suburban community from the mid to late 20th century.

Numerous original buildings within Potomac Village have been demolished for the construction of strip malls and modern office buildings. However, in the surrounding area, many of the old farmhouses remain, though some are confined within suburban developments. The Perry Store has been restored and still stands as part of a bank, although the building was moved 21 feet in 1986 to allow for a project to widen the intersection of Falls and River Roads.


Potomac's geographical focal point is Potomac Village, a small cluster of upscale shops and businesses at the intersection of Maryland State Highway 189 (Falls Road, which connects the Great Falls of the Potomac River in the south to Rockville in the north) and Maryland State Highway 190 (River Road, which runs from western Montgomery County into Washington, D.C.).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 26.6 square miles (69 km2). 25.2 square miles (65 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) of it (5.20%) is water. It includes the ZIP Code 20854 for properties and 20859 for US Post Office Boxes.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Potomac has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[8]


As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 46,255 people, 15,655 households, and 13,024 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,835.5 per square mile (709.4/km²). There were 15,960 housing units at an average density of 633.9 per square mile (244.7/km²). As of 2010, the racial makeup of the CDP was 75.8% White, 4.6% African American, 0.1% Native American, 15.9% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.[10]

Of the 15,655 households in 2000, 38.4% included children under the age of 18, 74.8% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder and 16.8% were non-families. 14.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% were persons living alone who were 65 or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the CDP, the age distribution was 25.3% under the age of 18 (2010),[10] 4.6% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 34.0% from 45 to 64 and 13.8% who were 65 or older. The median age was 44. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females 18 or older there were 87.3 males.

Between 2007 and 2011, the median income for a household in the CDP was $172,394.[10] In 2000, Males had a median income of $100,000+ versus $78,442 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $64,875. About 2.5% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under the age of 18 and 3.6% of those 65 and older.

Population history[edit]

  • 1980: 40,402
  • 1990: 45,634
  • 2000: 46,255
  • 2010: 44,965


Montgomery County Public Schools operates the public schools in the area.

Private schools:

Religious schools:


Pop Culture[edit]

  • The Real Housewives of Potomac[14]
    • On January 17, 2016, Bravo's Real Housewives of Potomac premiered. The show chronicles the lives of two Potomac, MD, housewives, and four women from neighboring towns. Bravo previously aired The Real Housewives of D.C. in 2010, but the show was never renewed for a second season.[15] Many residents of the town dispute its portrayal in the show, arguing that while the town is quite affluent, the it is relatively down-to-earth and its residents are professionals and families who eschew the ostentatious culture that is often associated with other wealthy towns.[16]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "CNN/Money: Where the money makers live". 
  2. ^ Jacqueline Detwiler (5 January 2009). "In Depth: America's Most Educated Small Towns". Forbes. 
  3. ^ Joel Stonington, Venessa Wong. "America’s Richest Zip Codes 2011". Businessweek.com. 
  4. ^ PhD, Stephen R. Higley,. "The Higley Elite 100: Variance & Stability in the American Community Survey 2008-2012 | The Higley 1000". higley1000.com. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  5. ^ "Surprise! These are the richest US neighborhoods". CNBC. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  6. ^ Montgomery County equity records, Judgment 1823-1826/67
  7. ^ Montgomery County Post Office records
  8. ^ "Potomac, Maryland Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ a b c "Potomac CDP QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". United States Census. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP (INDEX): Potomac CDP, MD" (1) (Archive). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on June 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP (INDEX): Potomac CDP, MD" (0) (Archive). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on June 19, 2015.
  13. ^ "Home." Norwood School. Retrieved on June 19, 2015. "8821 River Road :: Bethesda, MD 20817"
  14. ^ "The Real Housewives of Potomac". Bravo TV Official Site. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  15. ^ "The Real Housewives of DC". Bravo TV Official Site. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  16. ^ "The real Potomac is nothing like ‘Real Housewives’ — except for the money". Retrieved 2016-02-02.