Baltimore County, Maryland

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Coordinates: 39°24′N 76°36′W / 39.4, -76.6

Baltimore County, Maryland
Seal of Baltimore County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Baltimore County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of USA MD
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1659
Seat Towson
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

682 sq mi (1,766 km²)
599 sq mi (1,551 km²)
83 sq mi (215 km²), 12.23%
 - (2005)
 - Density

1,261/sq mi (487/km²)

Baltimore County is a county located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Maryland. In 2004, its population was estimated to be 763,181.[1]. It is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Towson. The name of the county was derived from the barony of the Proprietor of the Maryland colony, Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, in County Longford, Ireland. Baltimore County does not actually include the city of Baltimore, which left the county to become an independent city in 1851.

The northern regions of Baltimore County are primarily rural, featuring a "Piedmont Plateau" landscape of rolling hills and deciduous forests. The southern and south-central regions of the county are primarily suburban in character.

History Edit

The origin of Baltimore County is not known, the earliest known record of the county politically is January 12, 1659, when a writ was issued to its sheriff. Previously, Baltimore County was more known as a geographical entity than a political one, with its territorial limits consisting of the present day Baltimore City, Cecil and Harford Counties, as well as parts of Carroll, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard and Kent Counties.

In 1674, a portion of Baltimore County, as well as a portion of Kent County, was split off to form Cecil County. In 1748, a portion of Baltimore County, as well as a portion of Prince George's County, was split off to form Frederick County. In 1773, Harford County was split off from Baltimore County. In 1837, a part of Baltimore County was combined with a part of Frederick County to form Carroll County. As mentioned above, in 1851 the city of Baltimore was detached from Baltimore County.

Law and governmentEdit

Baltimore County has had a charter government since 1956. The government consists of a County Executive and a seven-member County Council. The County Executive and Councilmen are elected in years of gubernatorial elections, and the County Executive may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

State's attorneyEdit

The Baltimore County State's Attorney is responsible for prosecuting the felony, misdemeanor and juvenile cases occurring in the county. The current State's Attorney is Scott Shellenberger (Democrat). His predecessor was Sandra A. O'Connor, who served eight terms before retiring in 2006.

Police departmentEdit

The Baltimore County Police Department is responsible for policing the county. The current head of the department is Chief James W. Johnson.

County executivesEdit

The County Executive oversees the executive branch of the County government that consists of a number of offices and departments. The executive branch is charged with implementing County law and overseeing the operation of the County government.

County councilEdit

The County Council, as the legislative branch, adopts ordinances and resolutions, and has all of the County's legislative powers.

The County Council elections of 2006 returned the following members:

District Name Party
  District 1 Samuel Moxley Democrat
  District 2 Kevin B. Kamenetz Democrat
  District 3 T. Bryan McIntire Republican
  District 4 Kenneth M. Oliver Democrat
  District 5 Vincent J. Gardina Democrat
  District 6 Joseph Bartenfelder Democrat
  District 7 John A. Olszewski, Sr. Democrat

Transportation Edit


Several major interstate highways run through the county, including I-95, I-83, I-195, I-795 and I-70; the latter has its eastern terminus in the county. The majority of the McKeldin Beltway, I-695, is contained within the county as well.


The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates two rail systems -- one light rail and one rapid transit -- in the Baltimore area; both systems have stations in Baltimore County. The heavy-rail Metro Subway runs northwest of the city to Owings Mills; the Light Rail system runs north of the city to Hunt Valley and south of the city through Baltimore Highlands. The MTA also operates its bus service into the county, providing links to communities within the county and surrounding areas.


Both CSX Transportation and Amtrak mainlines run through the county. Former rail lines, now abandoned, were the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad and the Northern Central Railway (part of the old Pennsylvania Railroad).


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 682 square miles (1,766 km²), of which, 599 square miles (1,550 km²) of it is land and 83 square miles (216 km²) of it (12.23%) is water.

The highest elevation is approximately 960 feet (292.6 m) above sea level, along the Pennsylvania state line near Steltz. The lowest elevation is sea level along the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay.

Adjacent countiesEdit

National protected areaEdit

State protected areaEdit


Baltimore County has a varied climate. The southern reaches of the county, mainly in the communities of Dundalk, Essex, Edgemere, and Catonsville lie in the Humid subtropical climate zone. This area has hot humid summers and mild winters. As one travels north and west, the climate begins to transition from subtropical to a Humid continental climate, and winter temperatures are colder. Annual snowfall ranges from 10-15 inches in the coastal areas of the county to over 30 inches farther inland. Annual rainfall totals hover around 40-45 inches per year throughout the county.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 754,292 people, 299,877 households, and 198,518 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,260 people per square mile (487/km²). There were 313,734 housing units at an average density of 524 per square mile (202/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74.39% White, 20.10% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 3.17% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.62% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 1.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.4% were of German, 10.8% Irish, 7.3% English, 7.0% Italian, 6.1% United States or American and 5.4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. There is also a large Jewish population that migrated from Park Heights into the communities of Pikesville, Owings Mills and Reisterstown, referred to by Jewish residents as "100,000 Jews in three zip codes".

There were 299,877 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.40% were married couples living together, 12.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.80% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.60% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 29.80% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,667, and the median income for a family was $59,998. Males had a median income of $41,048 versus $31,426 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,167. About 4.50% of families and 6.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.20% of those under age 18 and 6.50% of those age 65 or over.

Baltimore County's Population History from the U.S. Census Bureau Edit

The following is a population history for Baltimore County[2]. The ranking compares the population of Baltimore County to those of the other 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

  • 1900........90,755......2nd (after Balt. City)
  • 1910.......122,349......2nd
  • 1920........74,817......2nd (Baltimore City annexed 46.5 square miles from the county in 1917)
  • 1930.......124,565......2nd
  • 1940.......155,825......2nd
  • 1950.......270,273......2nd
  • 1960.......492,428......2nd
  • 1970.......621,077......3rd (after Prince George's)
  • 1980.......655,615......2nd (Prince George's fewer)
  • 1990.......692,134......4th (Montgomery 2nd, Prince George's 3rd)
  • 2000.......754,292......3rd (Balt. City drops to 4th)
  • 2004.......763,181......3rd[3]

Of note:

  • Until 1950, only Baltimore City and County crossed the 100,000 population threshold.

Unincorporated communities (Census-Designated Places) Edit

Baltimore County has no incorporated municipalities located entirely within its boundaries, although a small portion of the Town of Hampstead does extend into the county.[2] The county contains many unincorporated communities which are listed in many collections of towns. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define these communities according to their own criteria. Unincorporated areas have no local government or defined boundaries, other than the following census-designated places recognized by the Census Bureau:

Other communities (non-Census-Designated Places)Edit

Although not formally Census-Designated Places, these other communities are known locally and, in many cases, have their own post offices and are shown on roadmaps:

Education Edit

Colleges and universities Edit

The University System of Maryland maintains two universities in Baltimore County:

There are also two private colleges in Baltimore County:

Other schools having a campus in Baltimore County:

Public schools Edit

All public schools in Baltimore County are operated by Baltimore County Public Schools, with the exception of the Imagine Me Charter School which opened August 2008.

Private schoolsEdit

Baltimore County has a number of highly regarded private schools at the K-12 grade levels. Among them are:

Notable persons Edit


External linksEdit

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Baltimore County, Maryland. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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