Baltimore County is situated in the geographic center of the State and surrounds the City of Baltimore almost completely. Its location is in a metropolitan area with a population in excess of 2.7 million. The City of Baltimore and Baltimore County are entirely separate political units.
During the last two decades, the basic demography of the County has changed from predominantly rural to a suburban and rural mix. Within its 612 square miles (plus an additional 28 square miles of water) are situated at least 29 identifiable unincorporated communities which, as of 2010, ranged in population from approximately 4,300 to 63,000. The County's seat of government is located in Towson. Today, the County maintains the third highest population and the largest land area of any political subdivision in the State of Maryland.
Much of Baltimore County straddles the border between the Piedmont plateau and, in the southern regions of the county, the Atlantic coastal plain. Northern Baltimore County is primarily rural, with a landscape of rolling hills and deciduous forests characteristic of the Southeastern mixed forests.
There are five Rural Legacy Areas in Baltimore County: Baltimore County Coastal; Gunpowder River; Long Green Valley; Manor (also in Harford County) and Piney Run. Descriptions and maps of these areas are available online.
Land Area--612 square miles
Water Area--28 square miles
Chesapeake Bay Coastline--173 miles
Elevation--Sea level to 966 feet feet; primarily ranges from 200-700 feet