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Howard County, Maryland
Flag of Howard County, Maryland
Seal of Howard County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Howard County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1838
Named for John Eager Howard
Seat Ellicott City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

253.55 sq mi (657 km²)
252.04 sq mi (653 km²)
1.51 sq mi (4 km²), 0.60%
 - (2010)
 - Density

1,139/sq mi (439.6/km²)
Congressional districts 3, 7
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Howard County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It is considered part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.

Howard County is frequently cited for its affluence, quality of life, and excellent schools. For 2011, it was ranked the fifth wealthiest county by median household income in the United States by the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of the most affluent communities in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, such as Clarksville, Glenelg, Glenwood and West Friendship, are located along the Route 32 corridor in Howard County. The main population center of Columbia/Ellicott City was named 2nd among Money magazine's 2010 survey of "America's Best Places to Live."[1] Howard County's schools frequently rank first in Maryland as measured by standardized test scores and graduation rates.[2]

In 2010, its population was 287,085. Its county seat is Ellicott City. The center of population of Maryland is located on the county line between Howard County and Anne Arundel County, in the unincorporated town of Jessup.[3]

Due to the proximity of Howard County's population centers to Baltimore, the county has traditionally been considered a part of the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Recent development in the south of the county has led to some realignment towards the Washington, D.C. media and employment markets. The county is also home to Columbia, a major planned community of 100,000 founded by developer James Rouse in 1967.

History and politics[edit | edit source]

In 1800, the mean center of U.S. population as calculated by the US Census Bureau was found in what is now Howard County.[4]

To honor John Eager Howard, an officer in the American Revolutionary War and later the fifth Governor of Maryland,[5], the area was designated the Howard District when Anne Arundel County was divided in 1839. The Howard District had the same status as a county except that it was not separately represented in the Maryland General Assembly. In 1851, the district became Howard County.

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

Current and past County Executives:

Name Affiliation Term
  Omar J. Jones Democrat 1969–1973
  Edward L. Cochran Democrat 1974–1978
  J. Hugh Nichols Democrat 1978–1986
  William E. Eakle Democrat 1986 - 1986
  Elizabeth Bobo Democrat 1986–1990
  Charles I. Ecker Republican 1990–1998
  James N. Robey Democrat 1998–2006
  Kenneth Ulman Democrat 2006 –

The current members of the County Council are:

Position Name Affiliation District
  Member Courtney Watson Democrat 1
  Chair Calvin Ball Democrat 2
  Vice-Chair Jen Terrasa Democrat 3
  Member Mary Kay Sigaty Democrat 4
  Member Gregory Fox Republican 5

Fire and Rescue[edit | edit source]

The county is serviced by the Department of Howard County Fire and Rescue

Law enforcement[edit | edit source]

The county is serviced by the Howard County Police Department, the Howard County Sheriff's Office, and the Maryland State Police.

Health care[edit | edit source]

Howard County General Hospital, located in Columbia, is the county's main hospital.

Howard County is the location of Healthy Howard, a program aimed at providing low-cost health care to some of its residents.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Howard County is located in the Maryland Piedmont region, with rolling hills making up most of the landscape. Its largest community is Columbia, which is not an incorporated city under Maryland law; in fact, Howard County has no incorporated municipalities. The northern portion of Howard County is part of the outskirts of Baltimore, while the southern is more oriented toward Washington, D.C.

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 253.55 square miles (656.7 km2), of which 252.04 square miles (652.8 km2) (or 99.40%) is land and 1.51 square miles (3.9 km2) (or 0.60%) is water.[7]

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Climate[edit | edit source]

Howard County lies in the transition between the Humid subtropical climate zone and the Humid continental climate zone. The easternmost tip of the county has a true subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and cool, rainy winters. As one travels west in the county away from the Baltimore area, the winter temperatures get lower and snow is more common. Annual rainfall is about 45 inches (1,100 mm) throughout the county.[8] Over a 50 year period from 1950 to 2010, there were 394 National Climatic Data Center reportable events causing 617 injuries, and 99 fatalities. There were 9 reported tornadoes, reaching a maximum of F2 with no recorded fatalities.[9]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 13,338
1870 14,150 6.1%
1880 16,140 14.1%
1890 16,269 0.8%
1900 16,715 2.7%
1910 16,106 −3.6%
1920 15,826 −1.7%
1930 16,169 2.2%
1940 17,175 6.2%
1950 23,119 34.6%
1960 36,152 56.4%
1970 61,911 71.3%
1980 118,572 91.5%
1990 187,328 58.0%
2000 247,842 32.3%
2010 287,085 15.8%

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 247,842 people, 90,043 households, and 65,821 families residing in the county. The population density was 983 people per square mile (380/km²). There were 92,818 housing units at an average density of 368 per square mile (142/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74.33% White, 14.42% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 7.68% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.11% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. 3.02% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.1% were of German, 11.0% Irish, 9.3% English, 6.6% Italian and 5.7% American ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 90,043 households out of which 40.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.90% were non-families. 20.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.10% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 34.40% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 7.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $74,167, and the median income for a family was $85,422 (these figures had risen to $97,837 and $110,907 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[11]). Males had a median income of $57,959 versus $40,412 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,402. About 2.50% of families and 3.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.80% of those under age 18 and 6.90% of those age 65 or over.

Population history[edit | edit source]

The following is a population history for Howard County from the U.S. Census Bureau.[12] The ranking compares the population of Howard County to those of the other 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.[13][14]

  • 1870.......14,150......19th
  • 1900.......16,715......22nd (Calvert and Caroline fewer)
  • 1910.......16,106......23rd (Calvert fewer)
  • 1920.......15,826......22nd (Calvert and Kent fewer)
  • 1930.......16,169......19th (Calvert, Charles, Kent, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's fewer)
  • 1940.......17,175......20th (Calvert, Kent, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's fewer)
  • 1950.......23,119......18th (Calvert, Caroline, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot fewer)
  • 1960.......36,152......14th (Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Worcester fewer)
  • 1970.......61,911......11th (Howard passing Cecil, St. Mary's, Wicomico in population)
  • 1980......118,572......7th (after only Anne Arundel, Baltimore County and City, Harford, Montgomery, Prince George's)
  • 1990......187,328......6th (passing Harford)
  • 2000......247,842......6th
  • 2004......266,738......6th
  • 2008......274,995

Education and public library[edit | edit source]

The Howard County Public School System manages 71 schools and serves approximately 49,000 students. The graduation rate from this school district is an above-average 92%, and the county's schools are ranked among the best in the state. Student test scores consistently top the list for all Maryland school districts. Public school construction has kept pace with the county’s growth in recent years in an effort to safeguard against crowded classrooms. Howard High School is currently the largest school in the county with over 1,600 students.

Since 2005, Howard County Library has consistently been ranked among the top 5 libraries in its size category by HAPLR (Hennen's American Public Library Ratings). (Under the library's sponsorship, a campaign called "Choose Civility" started in Howard County in 2006. According to its website, "Choose Civility is an ongoing community-wide initiative, led by Howard County Library, to position Howard County as a model of civility. The project intends to enhance respect, empathy, consideration and tolerance in Howard County." The campaign's distinctive green bumper stickers are often seen in Howard County and neighboring areas.)

Government and infrastructure[edit | edit source]

State representation[edit | edit source]

A portion of the Maryland House of Correction, operated by the Maryland Department of Corrections, was located in Howard County.[15]

Economy[edit | edit source]

Top employers[edit | edit source]

According to Howard County's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Howard County Public School System 7,850
2 Applied Physics Laboratory 4,400
3 County of Howard 2,869
4 Verizon Wireless 2,028
5 Giant 1,953
6 Howard County General Hospital 1,720
7 Columbia Association 1,600
8 SAIC 1,058
9 Wells Fargo 842
10 MICROS Systems 815

Other companies based in Howard County include Arbitron.

Culture and attractions[edit | edit source]

Unincorporated census-designated places[edit | edit source]

Howard County has no incorporated municipalities.

Unincorporated areas are considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:

Other entities, such as the United States Postal Service, use a different selection of local place names. In all these cases, since the places are unincorporated, the boundaries are determined by the classifying authority. Unincorporated places not listed as Census-Designated Places but known in the area include:

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Airports[edit | edit source]

Howard County does not have any public or commercial airport facilities. There are two privately owned airstrips, Glenair in Glenwood, Maryland, and Haysfield Airport in Ellicott City, Maryland.[17]

Public Transportation[edit | edit source]

Bus routes that operate in Howard County are managed by multiple services, including Howard Transit, Connect a Ride, The Maryland Transit Administration, Commuter Solutions of Howard County, and Neighbor Ride.[18]

Notable Residents and Natives[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "CNN Money Magazine: 2010 Best Places To Live". Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  2. ^ "APL Environment". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  3. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2000". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  4. ^ "Mean Center of Population of the United States". Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Howard County History". Howard Life. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  7. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  8. ^ "CLARKSVILLE 3 NNE, HOWARD COUNTY, MARYLAND USA". Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "NOAA National Climatic Weather Center Search". Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ "Howard County, Maryland - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  12. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "GR2009052900126.gif." The Washington Post. Retrieved on October 7, 2010.
  16. ^ County of Howard CAFR
  17. ^ "NASR Airports". 
  18. ^ "Transit Services". Retrieved 6 October 2010. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 39°15′N 76°56′W / 39.25, -76.93

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