Washington Metropolitan Area
The Washington metropolitan area is centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The metropolitan area includes the following principal areas:
- Washington, D.C.
- Arlington, Virginia
- Alexandria, Virginia
- Bethesda, Maryland
- Frederick, Maryland
- Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Reston, Virginia
- Rockville, Maryland
- Silver Spring, Maryland
The area has ranked as the highest-educated metropolitan area in the nation for four decades. Forbes magazine stated in its 2008 "America's Best- And Worst-Educated Cities" report: "The D.C. area is less than half the size of L.A., but both cities have around 100,000 Ph.D.'s."
The Washington, D.C. metro area has held the top spot in the American College of Sports Medicine's annual American Fitness Index ranking of the United States' 50 most populous metropolitan areas for two years running. The report cites, among other things, the high average fitness level and healthy eating habits of residents, the widespread availability of health care and facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and parks, low rates of obesity and tobacco use relative to the national average, and the high median household income as contributors to the city's community health.
The various agencies of the Federal Government employ over 140,000 professionals in the Washington D.C. area. A sizable number in the Washington D.C. area work for defense and civilian contracting companies that conduct business directly with the Federal Government.
The Washington, D.C. area has the largest science and engineering work force of any metropolitan area in the nation in 2006 according to the Greater Washington Initiative. The Washington, D.C. area was ranked as the second best High-Tech Center in a statistical analysis of the top 100 Metropolitan areas in the United States by American City Business Journals in May 2009. The Washington D.C. area is home to hundreds of major research universities, think tanks, and non-profit organizations. Additionally, Washington, D.C. is a top tourism destination as flocks of Americans and foreigners from around the world visit the museums and monuments of the Capital city year round with the peak season being during the Spring and Summer months of April through August. Moreover, the Washington D.C. area attracts tens of major conferences and conventions each year which also contribute greatly to the region's economy
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