CENSUS: Cecil County Population Grew 17.6% in Past Decade

February 10, 2011

Cecil County’s population grew by 17.6 percent over the past decade but the increase was slightly less than planners had expected, according to new data from the 2010 Census released Wednesday by federal and state agencies. The minority population also grew, but Cecil County remains an overwhelming white county.

The county population grew to 101,108 in 2010, an increase of 15,157 people from the 85,951 population recorded in the 2000 census. Proportionately, the 17.6 percent growth rate was the sixth-fastest in the state, but another Upper Eastern Shore county, Queen Anne’s, registered a 17.8 percent growth rate and ranked as the fifth-fastest growing county.

State planners had projected Cecil County’s 2010 population at 103,850 and that figure had been used as a guideline for county planning purposes. But the official census count came up with 2,742 fewer residents.

The voluminous charts, maps and data released by the federal Census Bureau, and materials assembled by the Maryland Department of Planning, are part of an ongoing release of a treasure trove of information about the state and local jurisdictions that will be continuing over the next several months. This new material focused on population and racial demographics but subsequent material will cover economic, education and other information.

State planning officials will use the data to develop proposals for re-districting for the state’s eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the governor expected to present his redistricting plan to a special session of the General Assembly this fall. While the congressional redistricting plan will be ready for use in the 2012 congressional elections, state planners said the separate plan for re-districting of state General Assembly seats will ready for the 2014 elections.

A Cecil Times review of multiple databases shows that the county and its towns have grown and minority populations have risen since the last census. Out of a total county population of 101,108, there were 12,760 people identified as members of minority groups. But minorities make up a larger proportion of the county’s population than they did a decade ago. Minorities now constitute 12.6 percent of the Cecil population, in contrast with 7.5 percent of the population in 2000.

(Cecil Times will publish a separate report on population and demographics for the county’s towns.)

Cecil County mirrored statewide trends toward a rising number of Hispanic residents. Statewide, the census showed an increase of 242,716 Hispanic residents while Cecil County registered an increase of 2,101 Hispanics.

The county’s African-American or black population grew by 2,923 people, according to the census.

[UPDATE: Overall, Cecil County’s demographic profile for 2010 included 90,189 whites; 6,284 blacks; 3,407 Hispanics; 2,177 people who identified themselves as multi-racial; and 1,097 Asians.]

Statewide, state planners reported that the growth in the state‚Äôs overall population was entirely ‚Äúdue to the growth in minorities, as there was a decline in the non-Hispanic white population.‚ÄĚ Statewide, the proportion of white residents declined, from 62.1 percent of the population a decade ago to 54.7 percent in 2010. If that trend continues, Maryland will be a majority minority state by the time of the next census in 2020.

Statewide, African-Americans constitute the largest minority group (29 percent), followed by Hispanics (8.2 percent), Asians (5.5 percent), and multi-races (2.2 percent.) But Hispanics registered the largest growth in their share of the state population, rising from 3.8 percent of Marylanders a decade ago to 8.2 percent of the state’s population now.

While Cecil County‚Äôs overall population grew significantly over the past decade, the county‚Äôs growth is dwarfed by rising figures for other counties. Montgomery County registered the largest population gain‚ÄĒ98,436 people‚ÄĒwhile ten other counties added more residents than Cecil.

Harford County’s population grew by 26,236, in contrast with Cecil’s addition of 15,157 people. Harford County has added more residents in part due to the BRAC expansion at Aberdeen Proving Ground, while Cecil County has attracted a smaller share of the people relocating from the Fort Monmouth installation in New Jersey.

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