Living in Howard County

Looking to move to Howard County, MD? Below is everything you need to know about Howard County.

Howard County is a county in Maryland, named after Colonel John Eager Howard, one of the officers in the Continental Army’s “Maryland Line” in the American Revolutionary War. In Maryland, this is the smallest county by total area and second-smallest county by land area.


More than 3,200 people are employed by the County Government outside of the school system, with 482 public works, 672 police officers, and 472 fire and rescue employees. In the private sector, the top employers in the county include:

  • Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Lorien Health Systems
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Howard County General Hospital
  • Leidos
  • Howard Community College
  • Giant Food
  • Wells Fargo
  • The Columbia Association
  • Oracle Corporation subsidiary MICROS Systems

Cost Of Living

The cost of living in Howard County is 44.4% higher than the average in the country. For instance, groceries are 11% more expensive, health 1%, housing 135%, utilities 3%, and transportation 2%.


Howard County has more than 288,676 people, up by 16% from its 2000 figures. The majority of the residents are caucasian, occupying 62%, while the African American population is 18% and Asian Americans make up 14%.


This is another county with a chaotic traffic situation. The average commute time is 31 minutes, more than the national average of 25 minutes. There are two primary Interstate highways in the county, one of which is Interstate 95, which runs north-south to North Laurel and enters the county in Elkridge. The other highway is Interstate 70, running east-west across the county’s northern portion. Other major routes are Maryland Route 100, which provides quick access to BWI Airport from Columbia and Ellicott City; U.S. Route 29, running into Montgomery County from its northern terminus at MD 99 in Ellicott City; and Maryland Route 32, linking the northwest suburbs of Glenelg, West Friendship, and Clarksville with Fort Meade and Columbia.

Residents in need of public transportation can make use of bus routes which are operated and managed by the Maryland Transit Administration and the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland.

Real Estate

The median cost of homes in Howard County is $399,000, one of the highest in the entire country. Apartment rates are between $977 and $2,000 per month, ranging from a studio apartment to a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-bedroom apartment respectively.


The public schools in Howard County spend more per student per year than most other counties. About $16,925 is spent per student per year, while the national average is $12,435. About 71 schools are managed by the Howard County Public School System, serving approximately 49,000 students. The rate of graduation from this school district is above the national average at 92%, while the schools in the county are ranked among the best in the state.

Find your next apartment in MD with Apartment Showcase.