Maryland remains predominantly white and middle-aged, but it is growing older and getting paunchy in once-slim geographic areas.
Highly detailed statistics regarding population, housing and “relationship data” that the Census Bureau is releasing today confirm what Charles Christian calls “a continued but slower decentralization from the state’s older cities … with new, farther-out suburbs continuing to increase in population and the newer suburbs getting whiter.”
Mr. Christian, a professor of social and population geography at the University of Maryland, has been studying the data flowing from the Census Bureau, seeking to spot emerging trends. He says:
“What is clear up to this point is that the tremendous efforts of the state’s cities to reclaim prime spaces, clean up and dress up and so keep or regain population have not translated into real population changes. And in the inner suburbs where African-Americans are moving in, whites are moving out.”
Data from the 2000 census show that 64 percent of Maryland’s 5,296,486 residents are white. The state is 27.9 percent black, 4 percent Asian and 4.3 percent Hispanic or Latino. Hispanics or Latinos can be of any race.
The data being released today show in what “tracts” and “blocks” members of the various racial and ethnic groups reside. Although “tracts” can vary in size, they are made up roughly of 4,000 people. A “block” is equivalent to a city block.
The new data verify that the state’s black population is concentrated in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. Indeed, just 292 — about one in four — of the state’s 1,218 census tracts are majority black.
There are two tracts — both inside the Beltway in Prince George’s County, right on the Montgomery County line — that are majority Hispanic. In another 103 tracts, no race or ethnicity makes up a majority.
There is no majority-Asian tract in the state, although the area south of Rockville along Rockville Pike comes close with 48.2 percent of residents identifying themselves as Asian.
Lovelorn men might take heart from the new statistics: Women make up slightly more than half of the state’s residents, at 51.7 percent. They make up a majority of the population in almost five out of every six tracts.
The area with the highest concentration of women —almost two-thirds of residents — includes Leisure World in Montgomery County.
The area with the most young adults 18 to 24 years old is, not surprisingly, the area encompassing Frostburg State University, west of Cumberland.
Significantly, the new data reveal that 35- to 49-year-olds constitute the single largest group of Marylanders. That was true in 1990, too. But now there are 1,315,546 in that agglomeration — 245,306 more than a decade ago. That’s a 16.8 percent gain.
Likewise, there has been an increase in the number of 5- to 17-year-olds. Those youths now number 1,002,779, a 24.7 percent rise. And there has been a jump in the number of people aged 50 and up. As a group, those in late middle age and older numbered 1,143,516 in 1990. They now number 1,425,325, a gain of 24.6 percent. The group of ages 50 to 64 grew 31.9 percent in those 10 years.
Marylanders have a median age of 36, meaning half the population is younger and half is older than that.
A close look at median ages reveals that Maryland women, whose median age is 37 years, are older than men, whose median age is 34.9.
Hispanics, who have a median age of 27.2 years, are younger than whites (38.5), blacks (32.2) and Asians (33.7).
The state now harbors 1,980,859 households, and in six counties close to the District of Columbia, a large number of the householders own their own homes.
The homeownership rate in Calvert County, for instance, is 78.62 percent, up from 76.06 a decade ago.
In Anne Arundel, the rate is 72.17, in Charles, 74.19, in Frederick, 72.80, in Montgomery, 66.65, and in Prince George’s it is 58.59.