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Bethesda is a census designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland. It is named after a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (the original name being Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem). Its population at the 2000 census was 55,277. It is an affluent and well developed small town, placing first in Forbes list of America's most educated small towns and first on CNNMoney.com's list of top-earning American towns.
The National Institutes of Health main campus and the National Naval Medical Center are in Bethesda. A number of other companies have bases in Bethesda, such as American Capital, Cambridge International Group, Iridium Satellite, and many more. The headquarters of defense conglomerate Lockheed Martin, managed health care company Coventry Health Care and hotel and resort chains Marriott International and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. are located in Bethesda, too. The CDP is also home of the Burning Tree Club, the Bethesda Country Club, and the Bethesda Community Baseball Club, which operates the Bethesda Big Train.
The town population predominantly comprises White Americans. A small percentage of the population comprises African Americans and people of Hispanic origin.