Baltimore's Key Industries

Baltimore's key industries include some of the nation's top colleges and universities, hospitals, sports, and professional and financial services.

Home to approximately 2.7 million people, the Greater Baltimore region is the 20th largest metro area in the United States and the key economic center in Maryland. Baltimore-based businesses, universities and organizations are at the forefront of numerous growth industries, making it a popular meeting and convention destination with extensive resources and built-in audiences. 

The region’s top five private sector employers (and number of local employees) are:

  • Johns Hopkins University (31,360)
  • Johns Hopkins Health System (18,853)
  • University of Maryland Health System (14,600)
  • MedStar Health (12,439)
  • Northrop Grumman (9,197)

Source:  Baltimore Business Journal Book of Lists, 2013


Some of the world’s most respected medical institutions are found here. Our medical schools, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, are leaders in healthcare education, and our research facilities pave the way for a healthier future. 

More than 189,000 healthcare professionals are employed in the region and cover all medical specialties and research programs. In fact, Baltimore ranks 3rd nationally in the concentration of U.S. health-care service employees.

More than $3 billion has been invested in recent hospital expansions in the region, including Johns Hopkins Medical Campus; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Mercy Hospital; Baltimore/Washington Medical Center; Upper Chesapeake Medical Center; and St. Agnes.

Across the nation, Baltimore is known for some pretty impressive numbers:

#1 Research and development funding, Johns Hopkins University (1) 

#1 Hospital in the U.S, Johns Hopkins Medicine (2)

#2 Active physicians per 100,000 residents, with more than 24,000 doctors statewide (3) 

#3 Best U.S. medical school, Johns Hopkins Medicine (2)

#4 Best cancer hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine (2)

Sources: (1) National Research Corporation; (2) U.S. News and World Report; (3) American Medical Association and U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, data for 2009; ranking excludes Washington, D.C.

Downtown Area Medical Services & Hospitals

Concentra Medical Center with Urgent Care
(Downtown Baltimore Location)

Johns Hopkins Medicine
410-955-5000 (General), 410-502-4000 (Patient Information)

Mercy Medical Center
410-332-9000 (General), 410-332-9555 (Patient Information)

University of Maryland Medical Center
410-328-8667 (General), 410-328-6971 (Patient Information)


Home to hundreds of bioscience companies, research-intense federal institutes and centers, and universities, Greater Baltimore is one of the world’s hubs for medical research and discovery. In fact, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University have been attracting billions of dollars in annual research funding, and the Baltimore/Washington region ranks 6th in biotech venture capital funding since 2008.

The Baltimore/Washington region also ranks 2nd nationally in concentration of biohealth professionals, with 85 percent of the companies and activities within Maryland. Overall, the Northeast Corridor leads the nation in employment in this sector.

The University of Maryland BioPark has spent nearly a decade developing a community of science on Baltimore’s Westside. The billion-dollar project covers 10 acres (12 acres at full build out) and 1.8 million square feet of office and laboratory space. Just minutes from the Baltimore Convention Center and the Inner Harbor, the BioPark provides additional meeting space and facilities for convention and meeting groups. Meanwhile, East Baltimore has welcomed the opening of a new biotech area known as the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins. This billion-dollar project features 1.1 million square feet of office and lab space spanning 31 acres. The $86 million [email protected] Research & Technology Park in nearby Baltimore County includes 350,000 square feet of space on a 71-acre campus (North and South campuses combined). 

More than 2,500 biological and science degrees are awarded annually in the region.

Higher Education

More than 340,000 students attend Maryland’s 59 accredited two- and four-year colleges and universities. Baltimore, which was named one of Kiplinger’s “10 Greatest Cities for College Grads” in 2011, serves more than 135,000 of these students. 

Regional institutions have attracted plenty of national attention:

#1 Liberal Arts College - Public, U.S. Naval Academy

#1 Up-and-Coming School, University of Maryland Baltimore County 

#3 Best Medical School, Johns Hopkins

#5 Regional Universities (North), Loyola University Maryland

Source: U.S. News and World Report

Baltimore ranks 4th nationally among metro areas in the percentage of residents with advanced degrees and 8th in the percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees.

More than 54,000 people are employed in the region’s educational services sector, among the highest of any major U.S. metro area. The concentration of academics within the greater Baltimore region provides local support and potential audiences for meeting planners in any field or endeavor. Furthermore, Baltimore colleges and universities feature top-notch athletic programs and have venues that are well suited for large-scale amateur athletic events.

Colleges and Universities

The following colleges and universities are located in the Greater Baltimore region: Baltimore City Community College/BCCC; Coppin State University; Goucher College; Johns Hopkins University; Loyola University Maryland; Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA); Morgan State University; Notre Dame of Maryland University; The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University; Sojourner-Douglass College; Stevenson University; Stratford University (formerly Baltimore International College); Towson University; University of Baltimore; and University of Maryland Baltimore County.


Located a short drive from our nation’s capital, Baltimore is home to more than a dozen federal agencies and is second only to Washington, D.C., in federal government civilian employment concentration. The region is home to several major agencies, including National Security, U.S. Cyber Command, Social Security and Medicare. Federal government offices account for more than 73,000 non-military employees in Greater Baltimore, 70,000 of which work for the five largest federal operations. BRAC led to the addition of 4,300 Defense Information Systems Agency employees at Fort Meade, Maryland, in 2011.

With Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, in the Greater Baltimore area, state government employs more than 64,000 in the region, making it No. 1 amongst the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S. in state government employment concentration. 

The number of government agencies in the region leads to a high concentration of governmental contracting firms, including IT and defense. The Baltimore-Washington Corridor ranks No. 1 in the country in IT employment concentration, and Baltimore ranks 6th in the professional, scientific and technical employment concentration. Maryland ranks 2nd in the Technology and Science Work Force Index, as well as in Tech and Science Workforce by Milken and No. 3 in the State New Economy Index by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. 

Information Technology 

The number of government agencies in the region leads to a high concentration of governmental contracting firms, including information technology (IT) and defense. The Baltimore-Washington Corridor is the strongest IT market in the U.S., ranking higher in IT employment concentration than areas such as the Silicon Valley and Boston. The large percentage of IT employment in the region is due in part to premier programs at many Maryland and Greater Baltimore colleges and universities. Eight Greater Baltimore colleges and universities are recognized as NSA Information Assurance Centers of Excellence, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County has the second highest percentage of graduates in the STEM fields of all state universities. Greater Baltimore specifically features very high concentrations in industries like data processing and technical consulting. In 2012, Forbes named Baltimore one of the nation’s top five best cities for tech jobs, with a nearly 40 percent growth in employment in the industry since 2001.

Defense Contracting 

Due to Greater Baltimore’s proximity to Washington and the Federal Government, defense contractors consider Baltimore an ideal place for business. Research and development at local universities and some of the world’s largest defense contractors support and drive the region’s IT industry. Maryland’s aerospace and defense industry includes 12 major military installations, 16 of the country’s largest top 25 aerospace companies and 70 of the top 100 defense contractors. These employers are leaders in the advancement of space exploration, satellite technology and research, design and installation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) and robotics. Leading research and development facilities in the region, including Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, also create an unparalleled environment for the study of defense-related activities, including biodefense, ordnance and weapons testing and cyber security.

Cyber Security 

Baltimore-Washington is home to more than 200,000 cyber security professionals, with more than 75,000 in Greater Baltimore/Central Maryland, and the industry is rapidly growing. As of January 2013, approximately 20,000 open cyber security jobs were available in more than 1,800 cyber security companies in Maryland, and just more than 13,000 of those open positions were in the Baltimore region, including the city. Important agencies and local offices of leading national cyber security companies are located in Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties, including the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command (both house at Fort Meade), Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton and Raytheon. In October 2013, the third annual CyberMaryland Conference was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s cyber security graduate program, just a few years old, continues to educate the industry’s up-and-coming leaders. The National Cyber Security Hall of Fame, with offices on UMBC’s campus, was also created in 2012 and is supported by companies and organizations committed to recognizing the individuals that played a key role in the creation of the cyber security industry, according to its mission statement.  

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

The Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (PST) industry in Greater Baltimore ranks among the top five major U.S. markets for PST employment growth in the past year. According to Maryland Workforce Exchange VOS Online Jobs data, the PST industry was responsible for the highest number of job openings in the state as of January 1, 2014. In fact, in the past 10 years, new and expanding PST firms in the region have added 23,200 employees. Specifically, Greater Baltimore’s employment concentrations are among the highest in the U.S. in PST subsectors including architecture and engineering, computer systems design and scientific research and development.

Financial Services

With a focus on investment banking and wealth management, the Greater Baltimore region continues to maintain its lofty position within the financial services sector, with more than 74,300 employed in a wide range of companies and positions. There are more than 10,000 financial managers, advisors and specialists in the region, an increase of 1,600 financial service jobs in Greater Baltimore in the past year. The region continues to expand employment in portfolio management and insurance and employee benefit funds.


Baltimore is a major-league town, home to baseball’s Orioles, the NFL Ravens and indoor soccer’s Baltimore Blast. A stadium complex housing Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium is easily accessible from I-95 and I-395 and is a quick walk from the Baltimore Convention Center and the Inner Harbor. M&T Bank Stadium is also used for events such as collegiate lacrosse championships, the Army-Navy football game and international soccer matches. It can seat 71,008 fans and has 119 suites. Oriole Park seats 45,971, and fittingly is located just two blocks from the birthplace of Babe Ruth. The city will host the Colonial Athletic Association’s Men’s Basketball Championship from 2014 through 2016, as well as the first-ever Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) biennial global golf match, the International Crown tournament, on July 21-27, 2014. 

Unless otherwise noted, the information on Greater Baltimore’s economy and industry sectors is provided by the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. For more information, visit