Bethesda is an unincorporated, census-designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located just northwest of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C.
It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda. In Aramaic, ܒܝܬ ܚܣܕܐ beth ḥesda means "House of Mercy" and in Hebrew, בית חסד "beit ḥesed" means "House of Kindness". The National Institutes of Health main campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are in Bethesda, as are a number of corporate and government headquarters. In 2014, it placed first on both Forbes' list of America's most educated small towns and Time's list of top earning towns. As an unincorporated community, Bethesda has no official boundaries. The United States Census Bureau defines a census-designated place named Bethesda whose center is located at 38°59′N 77°7′W.
The United States Geological Survey has defined Bethesda as an area whose center is at 38°58′50″N 77°6′2″W, slightly different from the Census Bureau's definition. Other definitions are used by the Bethesda Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service (which defines Bethesda to comprise the zip codes 20810, 20811, 20813, 20814, 20815, 20816, and 20817), and other organizations. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, the community had a total population of 63,374. Most of Bethesda's residents are in Maryland Legislative District 16.
Washington Metro's Red Line services two primary locations in Bethesda: the downtown area at the Bethesda, and the area near the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Medical Center at the Medical Center Washington Metro stations. The Maryland Transit Administration's Purple Line, a light-rail rail currently under construction, will provide a direct connection from Bethesda to Silver Spring, the University of Maryland, College Park, and New Carrollton. The Purple Line will allow riders from Bethesda to move between the Red, Green, and Orange lines of the Washington Metro transportation system, as well as to MARC and Amtrak trains, without needing to ride into central Washington, D.C.
Local buses include:
- WMATA's Metrobus
- The Montgomery County Ride On bus system also has several routes through Bethesda.
- Bethesda Circulator, a free loop bus that operates Monday-Saturday and covers most of downtown Bethesda.
Long-distance buses include Vamoose Bus and Tripper Bus, both of which provide service from downtown Bethesda to the proximity of Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
- Tripper Bus, a privately owned company, provides service from Bethesda at the southwest corner of Elm Street and Wisconsin Ave to New York City between 8th and 9th Ave near Penn Station, in close to proximity to Port Authority Bus Terminal.
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How did Maryland earn the grade of D+? We examined the state taxes based on how age friendly they are. Maryland has a state sales tax of 6.00%. Of particular interest is that Maryland does not have taxes on social security. There are estate taxes. There are taxes imposed on inheritance. Maryland has an effective property tax rate of 1.10%. Weighing these taxes and other taxes most likely to impact the aging population is how Maryland earned its state tax grade of D+.
Learn more about taxes in Maryland