Maryland ( /ˈmɛrələnd/ (help·info)) is a state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia to the south and west, Pennsylvania to the north, and Delaware to the east. It is comparable in size to the European country of Belgium. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland has the highest median household income of any state, having surpassed New Jersey in 2006; Maryland's median household income was $68,080 in 2007. For 2009, Maryland ranked first—for the third year in a row—as the U.S. state with the highest median income for 2008, with a median income of $70,545. It was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution and bears two nicknames, the Old Line State and the Free State.
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 the University System of Maryland, The Johns Hopkins University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Celera Genomics, Human Genome Sciences (HGS), the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MedImmune (recently purchased by AstraZeneca), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
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