Silver Spring is a census-designated place (CDP) in southeastern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, near Washington, D.C. Although officially unincorporated, in practice it is an edge city which had a population of 81,816 residents as of 2018. This makes it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown, and the second most populous in Montgomery County after Germantown.
The downtown, located next to the northern tip of Washington, D.C., is the oldest and most urbanized part of the community. Since beginning a significant renaissance in 2004, many new mixed-use developments combining retail, residential, and office space have been built. Downtown is in turn surrounded by several inner suburban residential neighborhoods located inside the Capital Beltway.
Silver Spring takes its name from a mica-flecked spring discovered there in 1840 by Francis Preston Blair, who subsequently bought much of the surrounding land. Acorn Park, south of downtown, is believed to be the site of the original spring.
As an unincorporated CDP, Silver Spring's boundaries are not consistently defined. As of the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau gives Silver Spring a total area of 7.92 square miles (20.5 km2), which is all land; however, the CDP contains some creeks and small ponds. This definition is a 15% reduction from the 9.4 square miles (24 km2) used in previous years.
The official Silver Spring CDP contains the following neighborhoods: Downtown Silver Spring, East Silver Spring, Woodside, Woodside Park, Lyttonsville, North Hills Sligo Park, Long Branch, Indian Spring, Goodacre Knolls, Franklin Knolls, Montgomery Knolls, Clifton Park Village, New Hampshire Estates, and Oakview.
Other organizations, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Postal Service, Silver Spring Urban Planning District, and Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, each use their own slightly different definitions.