Due to increased land and construction costs in the last twenty years, architectural styles in Maryland have shifted to more open and functional home designs with, on average, smaller total square footage. Most modern homes are built in the Colonial style, typically with two stories and multiple bedrooms. The single-level ranch or rambler home has historically been a very popular design. Though there are very few new ranch homes in construction, many older models remain on the market.
Though one of the smallest states, Maryland is also one of the most densely populated. Its largest city by far is Baltimore with a population of over half a million residents. Columbia and Germantown are its next two largest cities. Baltimore has a historically rich cityscape; one in three buildings in the city are listed on the National Register. Columbia is a planned community and is located in the second wealthiest county in the United States. It has been listed multiple times as one of CNN Money's "Best Places to Live in America." Recreation is an important tenet of life in Columbia, which is supported by many publicly maintained swimming pools, skating rinks, various sports facilities and athletic clubs. Germantown, which is located approximately 30 miles away from Washington, D.C., has an active arts and tourism scene. Popular places to visit include the Waters House History Center and the BlackRock Center for the Arts.
Maryland is one of the wealthiest and most highly educated states in the nation. Its unemployment rate consistently runs below the U.S. average. Nearly 40 percent of jobs held are white collar. Due to its shared border with Washington, D.C., Maryland is also home to several federal agencies such as the Census Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency. A quarter of working adults are employed within the government. Due to the high number of graduate and undergraduate schools, nearly a quarter of the jobs in Baltimore are related to science, technology, engineering and math, and in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the city was ranked first for "Entrepreneurship and Innovation" by the U.S. Department of Commerce.