Howard County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Maryland. Howard County is frequently cited for its affluence, quality of life, and excellent schools. With an estimated median household income of $108,844 in 2012, Howard County had the third-highest median household income of any U.S. county in 2013. 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 second 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.
Howard County is located in the Piedmont Plateau region of Maryland, with rolling hills making up most of the landscape. It is bounded on the north and northeast by the Patapsco River, on the southwest by the Patuxent River, and on the southeast by a land border with Anne Arundel County. Both the Patapsco and Patuxent run largely through publicly accessible parkland along the county borders. The Patuxent border includes the Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs.