Until the development of iron and coal workings, Cowdenbeath comprised a collection of farms. From the late 19th century onwards, coal mining and associated industries were crucial to the town and the surrounding villages of Crossgates and Hill of Beath.
Today, Cowdenbeath contains a better mixture of supermarket, department stores and small local shops than many larger towns can boast. Good road and rail links and a new ferry terminal mean travel is quick and simple. Attractive housing, quality amenities and good infrastructure make Cowdenbeath a popular town among homebuyers.