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Bethesda is an urbanized, but unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, near Washington, DC. It takes its name from a church once located there, the Bethesda Presbyterian Church (built 1820), which in turn was named from a passage in the Christian New Testament.
As an unincorporated area, Bethesda has no official boundaries. The United States Census Bureau defines a Census-Designated Place named Bethesda whose center is located at 38°59' North, 77°7' West. The United States Geological Survey has defined Bethesda as an area whose center is at 38°58'50" North, 77°6'2" West, slightly different from the Census Bureau's definition. Other definitions are used by the Bethesda Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service, and other organizations. As of 2000, the Census-defined community had a total population of 55,277.
Important institutions located in Bethesda include the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division . Bethesda is also home to the National Naval Medical Center, commonly referred to as Bethesda Naval Hospital, where many famous Americans such as Joseph McCarthy passed away and the infamous John F. Kennedy autopsy was performed. Adjoining the hosptial to the east is the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).
The headquarters of defense conglomerate Lockheed Martin Corporation and hotel and resort chain Marriott are located in Bethesda. Software company Bethesda Softworks was previously located in Bethesda, but recently moved to Rockville, Maryland. Bethesda is renowned for its extensive collection of resturants - 180 were listed at the end of 2004 - offering cuisine ranging from Afgan to Vietnamese. Bethesda is also home to two vibrant farmers markets, the Montgomery Farm Woman's Cooperative Market and the Bethesda Farmer's Market, as well as numerous cinemas and art galleries.
Bethesda is located at 38°59'5" North, 77°6'47" West (38.984660, -77.113135).
The main commercial corridor is Maryland Route 355, which in its northern reaches connects Bethesda with the communities of North Bethesda and Rockville and is known as Rockville Pike. Rockville Pike becomes Wisconsin Avenue near the NIH and continues beyond Bethesda through Chevy Chase and Friendship Village, Maryland and into Washington, DC.
The area commonly known as "downtown Bethesda" is centered at the intersection of Wisconsin with Maryland Route 187, Old Georgetown Road, and Maryland Route 410, East-West Highway. Much of the dense construction in that area followed the opening of the Bethesda station on the Red Line of the Washington Metro, also located at this intersection and the centerpiece of the Bethesda Metro Center development. The "downtown," which includes the restaurant districts of Bethesda Row and Woodmont Triangle, lies about 0.7 miles south of Bethesda's other Red Line stop, Medical Center, which serves the NIH and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 55,277 people, 23,659 households, and 14,455 families residing in the defined area. The population density is 1,624.2/km² (4,205.8/mi²). There are 24,368 housing units at an average density of 716.0/km² (1,854.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the community is 85.86% White, 2.67% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 7.92% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.23% from other races, and 2.11% from two or more races. 5.43% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 23,659 households out of which 28.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% are married couples living together, 6.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% are non-families. 32.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 2.92.
In the community the population is spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 41 years. For every 100 females there are 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.0 males.
Bethesda is a wealthy and well-educated area. The median income for a household is $99,102, and the median income for a family is $130,160. Males have a median income of $84,797 versus $57,569 for females. The per capita income for the area is $58,479. 3.3% of the population and 1.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.8% of those under the age of 18 and 4.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
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