Baltimore ( BAWL-tim-or, locally: ) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the 30th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 593,490 in 2019 and also the largest independent city in the country. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1851. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.802 million, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2018 population of 9,797,063.
The city's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States. In addition, Baltimore was a major manufacturing center. After a decline in major manufacturing, heavy industry, and restructuring of the rail industry, Baltimore has shifted to a service-oriented economy. Johns Hopkins Hospital (founded 1889) and Johns Hopkins University (founded 1876) are the city's top two employers.
With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed a "city of neighborhoods." Famous residents have included writers Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ogden Nash, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, Upton Sinclair, Tom Clancy, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and H. L. Mencken; musicians James "Eubie" Blake, Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Tori Amos, Frank Zappa, Tupac Shakur, Dan Deacon, Robbie Basho, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Cass Elliot, and Ric Ocasek; actors and filmmakers John Waters, Barry Levinson, Divine, David Hasselhoff, Don Messick, John Kassir, Jada Pinkett Smith, Edith Massey and Mo'Nique; artist Jeff Koons; baseball player Babe Ruth; swimmer Michael Phelps; radio host Ira Glass; television host Mike Rowe; Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi; and United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Baltimore after the bombardment of Fort McHenry. His poem was set to music and popularized as a song; in 1931 it was designated as the American national anthem.
Baltimore has more public statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the country, and is home to some of the earliest National Register Historic Districts in the nation, including Fell's Point, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon. These were added to the National Register between 1969 and 1971, soon after historic preservation legislation was passed.