BERLIN – A report released last week by a national research company presented a snapshot of the town of Berlin, its people, their quality of life and even their collective political tendencies and compared the town to similarly sized municipalities in Maryland and across the country.
According to the town profile prepared by CityTownInfo.com, the independent research company that prepared and published the report on Berlin, the town is much like so many other small towns in Maryland and across the country, but there are certain study areas where Berlin departs from its peers. The study is used as a research tool for people or families looking to relocate.
It explores certain quality of life issues like housing, schools, income levels, transportation, crime levels and others. It also breaks down the town’s population by age, median income, marital status, average size of families and affordability. There is also a section devoted just to the weather.
According to the report, 42 percent of the adult population in Berlin is married and the average family size in the town is 3.1. Women make up the largest segment of the adult population at 55 percent, while men account for 45 percent of the population.
According to the report, people in Berlin are less likely to be married than people in towns with similar population. Consequently, the town’s average household size is lower than other towns in its peer group and the proportion of adult residents that are married is much lower than similarly sized towns explored in the study.
The report suggests racial diversity is a strong suit for Berlin compared to towns in its peer group. Thirty-six percent of the town’s population is non-white, with African-Americans making up the second largest group at 32 percent. Hispanics were the only other significant ethnic group represented at 3.4 percent.
The median age in Berlin is currently 38.3, which is about the same as other towns compared in the study. The number of residents in the 18-65 range is 74 percent. Twenty-six percent of the population is under age 18 and 20 percent is over 65.
In terms of median income, Berlin, at $36,653, falls somewhere in the middle compared to other towns. By comparison, Fruitland’s median income is $36,181 while Salisbury’s is $35,527. Ocean City’s median household income is $44,614. Unfortunately, the percentage of families living in poverty in Berlin is comparatively high at 14 percent.
Roughly half of Berlin’s residents own or are buying the housing they live in. According to the study, 48 percent of the housing in Berlin is owner-occupied, which compares favorably to other similarly sized small towns. Unfortunately, Berlin compares unfavorably to others towns in terms of affordability of rent and affordability of property taxes.
According to the study, the percentage of college-educated adults in Berlin’s population is better than the state and national averages for small towns, but the median income is about the same, reflecting a willingness for Berlin residents to trade better quality of life for higher paying jobs elsewhere. For example, when compared to other small towns around the state and the country, Berlin scores much better in terms of short commute times, walking or biking to work, working at home and the availability of public transportation.
The report also explores Berlin’s collective political tendencies and found the local population is largely Republican. For example, Berlin residents donated $16,500 to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election compared to just $750 to John Kerry. Overall, Berlin residents contributed $21,125 to Republican candidates in the last election cycle compared to just $9,200 to Democratic candidates.