Montgomery County, locally also referred to as Montco, is the third-most populous county in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the 71st most populous in the United States. As of 2017, the census-estimated population of the county was 826,075, representing a 3.3% increase from the 799,884 residents enumerated in the 2010 census. Montgomery County is located adjacent to and northwest of Philadelphia. The county seat is Norristown. Montgomery County is geographically diverse, ranging from farms and open land in the extreme north of the county to densely populated suburban neighborhoods in the southern and central portions of the county.
Montgomery County is included in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area, known as the Delaware Valley. The county marks part of the Delaware Valley's northern border with the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Montgomery County was the 51st wealthiest county in the country by median household income. In 2008, the county 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, 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.
GeographyAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 487 square miles (1,260 km²), of which 483 square miles (1,250 km²) is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km²) (0.9%) is covered by water. It has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) and is in hardiness zones 6b and 7a.
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/km²). The 297,434 housing units averaged 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. 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.
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