MoCo’s Population Rivaled LA and Houston in the 1950s

by Amy Lusignan

During the post-war boom in the 1950s, Montgomery County’s population more than doubled in size and rivaled the population booms of  Los Angeles and Houston. The number of residents in the County had shot up from 164,401 to 340,928, increasing by 107%.

The thriving job market in MoCo helped facilitate its growing population. In the 1960s, multiple federal government agencies in Montgomery County, such as Walter Reed Hospital Annex and the National Institute of Health, continually employed professional workers. Other private businesses like IBM Federal Systems, Inc. and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory were also offering work.

Montgomery County became a job center itself, rather than just being a satellite city to Washington D.C. By the 60s, 53% of residences worked outside of the County while the other 47% worked within MoCo.

In 2016, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that out of employed County residences, 60% worked within the County while  40% worked outside the county.

Photo : 1958 Annual Report Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission


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Brian H November 9, 2020 - 11:26 pm

I still argue that that if you combine all Bethesda, Silver Spring and Rockville zips you have a metro that is more economically and culturally important than Baltimore. The Houston and LA comparisons are interesting as well because it is more sprawling suburb like those cities than more classic US cities like NYC, Chicago or SF.

George November 10, 2020 - 12:28 pm

Its hard to compare Baltimore to DC and its suburbs. They are post-industrial core cities; Baltimore is an old rust-belt port city. Its close proximity to DC is unique, but it has a different social-cultural nature.


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