Women in Montgomery County

Montgomery County, Maryland is home to 1,058,810 residents according to the latest estimates from the US Census Bureau (July 1, 2017), making it the largest jurisdiction in the State of Maryland. The county counts  547,028 women among its population, accounting for 51.7 percent of all county residents and for 17.5 percent of all women in the State of Maryland. Unless otherwise noted, the statistics in this section originate from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey. 

Age Groups

Women have a median age of 40.6 years, 2.9 years older than men. This is primarily due to longer life expectancy, with women making up 65 percent of county residents over the age of 84. Women also slightly outnumber men in the working adult age range of 18-64, representing 51.4 percent of the total population in this cohort. Girls (under 18) account for 22.1 percent of females; 16.4 percent of county women are 65 years old or older; and the remaining 61.5 percent of county women are between the age of 18 and 64.
The 60-74 age range saw the largest increase among county women, nearly double the growth than the second fastest growing age group of 15-29.
Compared to the DC metro region and the nation, the county is home to a relatively small share of women between the age of 15-29 (in part due to the limited number of universities). Compared to the nation, the county has a higher share of women in the 60+ age ranges.


Montgomery County is a majority-minority community, with 56 percent of women identifying as an ethnic minority in 2016, up from 45 percent in 2006. Hispanic and Black/African American women are virtually tied as the largest ethnic group, accounting for more than 100,000 women and girls each. 
As the charts below show, Montgomery County is home to over a third of the State's Hispanic women and more than 4 in 10 of the State's Asian women. The percent of women who identify as White non-Hispanic has dropped by 11 percentage points, from 55 percent to 44 percent since 2006, with Hispanic women growing at the fastest rate (+5 percentage points). 
The racial and ethnic makeup of county women and girls differs dramatically by age. For instance, White Non-Hispanic residents make up 34 percent of girls under the age of 18 compared to 61 percent of women aged 65 and over.
Compared to the nation, Montgomery County has a much higher share of Black/African American and Asian residents and a much lower share of White non-Hispanic residents. The chart below compares the county's ethnic make-up (both male and female) to the DC metro region, the State of Maryland, and the country as a whole.


Immigrants account for 33 percent of women and girls in Montgomery County (up 4 percentage points since 2006) and for 40 percent of adult women. The county's immigrant share of the population is more than double the rate observed for the State of Maryland. 55 percent of women immigrants are naturalized US citizens (up 8 percentage points from 2006). Montgomery County accounts for 37 percent of the State's immigrants and 38 percent of the State's immigrant women. Asia is the largest source of immigrant women, followed by Latin America. These statistics largely align with the statistics for male immigrants. Across genders, the largest countries of origin for county immigrants are -- in order -- El Salvador, China, India, Ethiopia, and Korea. 
In line with the general population's high levels of education attainment, over 48 percent of county immigrants aged 25 and older hold a college degree (in comparison, 67 percent of US-born residents hold a college degree). Immigrant families live in slightly larger families (3.6 members vs. 3.2 for US-born residents) and households (3.3 members vs. 2.5 for US-born residents).
Among full-time workers, immigrant women have a median income of $46,000 vs. $54,000 for immigrant men and $71,000 for US-born women. Immigrant women without US citizenship earn only $34,000. (Note that these figures have a margin of error of as much as $4,000). 
Census data from 2016 shows that 37 percent of immigrant residents (equal to 14 percent of the total population) have limited English proficiency. Overall, 41 percent of Count residents speak a language other than English at home -- up 5 percentage points since 2006. The most spoken language after English is Spanish, spoken at home by 17 percent of county residents (and by roughly half of all residents with limited English proficiency). A distant second is Chinese, followed by French, Amharic and other Afro-Asiatic languages, Korean, Vietnamese, Western African languages, Persian, Russian, and Hindi. The county is home to 24,400 households, equal to 6.5 percent of the total, that are language-isolated, meaning that no one in the household over the age of 13 speaks English very well.

Household Composition and Marital Status

51 percent of county women over the age of 15 are married, while 30 percent have never been married (compared to 34 percent for men). 12 percent of county women are divorced. These statistics are largely consistent with national statistics.
Marital Status for Women
% of Women Married by Ethnicity
Marital Status by Age
The chart below tracks the marital status of women as they age, from 15 to 100. Among women aged 65 and over, 29 percent are widowed (compared to 8 percent among men).
Single Parent Families

Single parent households have become slightly more common over the past 10 years, with 25 percent of children living with a single parent in 2016 -- up 4 percentage points since 2006. The share of children living with a single mother has stayed mostly the same at 17 percent, with almost all of the growth occurring among children living with single fathers which today stands at 8 percent of all children. In total, 61,200 children in the county live in a single-parent household (up from 48,400 in 2006), including 42,400 who live with a single mother (up from 38,000 in 2006). 

Among families with own children under 18, Black or African American families are most likely to be headed by a single mother (36 percent) -- three times the rate observed among White residents. Single motherhood among Black or African American families, however, has notably decreased over the past decade, dropping 6 percentage points between 2007 and 2017, while the rate for other races has remained largely within the margin of error. 
Even accounting for population growth, the decreasing rate among Black or African American single mothers has resulted in a decline in their absolute numbers from 8,900 in 2007 to 7,800 in 2017.  Due to macro demographic changes over this time period, the number of White single mothers with own children under 18 has also dropped (by 600), while the number of Hispanic single mothers has increased from 3,900 to 6,000.
Same-Sex Households
While data on gay and lesbian households is often incomplete, the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law used Census Bureau data to estimate that there are 2,184 same-sex couples in Montgomery County, of which 1,161 (53 percent) are lesbian couples. In the State of Maryland, only Baltimore City has more lesbian coupes (as well as more gay and lesbian couples).
The share of gay and lesbian households in Montgomery County represents a slightly higher share of all households (6.1 per 1,000) than the State of Maryland (5.8) and the nation (5.6), but a smaller share than Baltimore City (10.7) and Prince George's (6.3) in Maryland -- and below Washington, DC (18.1). 73 percent of the county's gay and lesbian households are White, 11 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are African American or Black, and 5 percent are Asian. 20 percent of the county's gay and lesbian households are raising children, compared to 22 percent in Baltimore City, 28 percent in Prince George's, and 9 percent in Washington, DC.  Overall, the State of Maryland ranks 19th for the share of gay and lesbian households and 14th for the share of lesbian households.
The Williams Institute used a different dataset based on Gallup Survey data -- available only at the State level -- to estimate that 3.7 percent of the State of Maryland's population is LGBT, 26 percent of whom are raising children. The State ranks 29th on the share of the population that is LGBT; Washington, DC ranks first at 10.8 percent.