Maryland is a state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America. It is comparable in size to the European country of Belgium. According to the most recent information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, as of August 2007, Maryland is now the wealthiest state in the United States, with a median household income of $65,144, ahead of New Jersey which had previously held that title.
It was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution and bears two nicknames, the Old Line State and the Free State. Its history as a border state has led it to exhibit characteristics of both the Northern and Southern regions of the United States. As a general rule, the rural areas of Maryland, such as Western, Southern, and Eastern Maryland, are more Southern in culture, while densely-populated Central Maryland — areas in the Baltimore and the Washington Beltway Regions — exhibit more Northern characteristics.
Maryland is a life sciences hub with over 350 biotechnology firms, making it the third-largest such cluster in the nation. Institutions and agencies located throughout Maryland include University System of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).