Census Finds Worcester Population Spiked 11%

BERLIN — The long-awaited 2010 U.S. Census figures for Maryland were released with week, reflecting a population growth in Worcester slightly higher than the state rate.

The U.S. Census Department on Wednesday released the first set of raw numbers for population totals in Maryland after the completion of the latest national Census last year including a county-by-county breakdown. Statewide, the population grew by 9 percent since the last Census taken in 2000 and now totals nearly 5.8 million residents.

Worcester County’s population grew by nearly 11 percent during the last decade. According to the figures, Worcester’s population now totals 51,454, up 4,900 from the 46,543 total reported following the 2000 census. The population growth did not change the county’s overall ranking among jurisdictions in Maryland, which remained 17th despite the increase.

Overall, the lower Eastern Shore continued to be one of the fastest growing regions in the state percentage wise. The four counties of the Lower Shore, including Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset and Dorchester, saw its collective population grow by over 12 percent in the last decade from 186,608 to 209,275. Interestingly, Wicomico saw the greatest growth during the period, adding over 14,000 new residents in the last decade, or an increase of nearly 17 percent.

Every jurisdiction in Maryland, with the exception of Baltimore City, saw its population increase during the last decade. Oddly, St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland saw the greatest increase in terms of percentage (22 percent), while Montgomery County saw the largest increase in terms of residents (98,436).

The roughly 11 percent increase in population in Worcester, and the overall 12 percent increase on the Lower Shore, is good news for the region, according to Senator Jim Mathias (D-38).

“It’s too early to tell just what the figures mean, but the good news is, people keeping coming toward us and not moving away from us,” he said. “That just shows we continue to be a desirable, attractive and sustainable place to live.”

Among other things, the latest Census numbers will be used to determine population change trends and ultimately how legislative and congressional districts are drawn in Maryland.

Delegate Mike McDermott said there will likely be a special session on redistricting in the General Assembly as soon as this fall.

“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “There is going to be a special session in the fall just to explore the redistricting and reapportionment issue and there might be some changes to how our Lower Shore districts are drawn.”