Howard County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It is considered part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
Howard County is frequently cited for its affluence, quality of life, and excellent schools. For 2011, it was ranked the third wealthiest county by median household income in the United States by the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of the most affluent communities in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, such as Clarksville, Dayton, Glenelg, Glenwood and West Friendship, are located along the Route 32 corridor in Howard County. The main population center of Columbia/Ellicott City was named 2nd among Money magazine's 2010 survey of "America's Best Places to Live." Howard County's schools frequently rank first in Maryland as measured by standardized test scores and graduation rates.