The town of Bel Air is the county seat of Harford County, Maryland. According to the 2020 United States census, the population of the town was 10,661.
The United States Census Bureau defines an urban area in northeast Maryland in which Bel Air is the principal settlement: the Bel Air–Aberdeen, MD urban area had a population of 214,647 as of the 2020 census, making it the 180th most-populous in the United States.
Bel Air's identity has gone through several incarnations since 1780. Aquilla Scott, who had inherited land known as "Scott's Improvement Enlarged," planned the town on a portion that he called "Scott's Old Fields." Four years later, the town had expanded as local politicians, merchants, and innkeepers purchased lots from Scott, and the county commissioners decided to change its name to the more appealing "Belle Aire." In his deeds, Scott dropped one letter, renaming the town, "Bell Aire." Around 1798, court records dropped two more