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Dorchester County, Maryland facts for kids

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Dorchester County
Dorchester County Courthouse
Dorchester County Courthouse
Flag of Dorchester County
Flag
Official seal of Dorchester County
Seal
Map of Maryland highlighting Dorchester County
Location within the U.S. state of Maryland
Map of the United States highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Maryland
Founded 1669
Named for Earl of Dorset
Seat Cambridge
Largest city Cambridge
Area
 • Total 983 sq mi (2,550 km2)
 • Land 541 sq mi (1,400 km2)
 • Water 442 sq mi (1,140 km2)  45%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 32,531
 • Density 33.094/sq mi (12.778/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

Dorchester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. At the 2010 census, the population was 32,618. Its county seat is Cambridge. The county was formed in 1669 and named for the Earl of Dorset, a family friend of the Calverts (the founding family of the Maryland colony).

Dorchester County comprises the Cambridge, MD Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Salisbury-Cambridge, MD-DE Combined Statistical Area. It is located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Dorchester County is the largest county by total area on the Eastern Shore. It is bordered by the Choptank River to the north, Talbot County to the northwest, Caroline County to the northeast, Wicomico County to the southeast, Sussex County, Delaware, to the east, and the Chesapeake Bay to the west. Dorchester County uses the slogan, "The Heart of Chesapeake Country", due to its geographical location and the heart-like shape of the county on a map.

History

Many of the residents of Dorchester County make their living as farmers or working on the water. The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries provide harvests of crabs, oysters, and many fish species to both commercial and recreational fisherman. Dorchester County, Maryland was the birthplace of Harriet Tubman, known widely for her work of guiding slaves to freedom.

Dorchester County has been hit by two deadly tornadoes. The first one occurred on June 23, 1944 in Cambridge, where 2 people were killed and 33 were injured. The other was on May 8, 1984 in Hurlock, where one death and 6 injuries were reported. Both storms caused between 500,000 and 5 million dollars in damage.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 983 square miles (2,550 km2), of which 541 square miles (1,400 km2) is land and 442 square miles (1,140 km2) (45%) is water. It is the largest county in Maryland by total area.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 15,875
1800 16,346 3.0%
1810 18,108 10.8%
1820 17,759 −1.9%
1830 18,686 5.2%
1840 18,843 0.8%
1850 18,877 0.2%
1860 20,461 8.4%
1870 19,458 −4.9%
1880 23,110 18.8%
1890 24,843 7.5%
1900 27,962 12.6%
1910 28,669 2.5%
1920 27,895 −2.7%
1930 26,813 −3.9%
1940 28,006 4.4%
1950 27,815 −0.7%
1960 29,666 6.7%
1970 29,405 −0.9%
1980 30,623 4.1%
1990 30,236 −1.3%
2000 30,674 1.4%
2010 32,618 6.3%
2020 32,531 −0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010–2018

Dorchester County is sparsely populated and is the least densely populated county in Maryland. The largest town is Cambridge with a population of 12,326 as of the 2010 census. Much of this county is made up of marshlands, forest, and farmland.

2010 census

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 32,618 people, 13,522 households and 8,894 families residing in the county. The population density was 60.3 inhabitants per square mile (23.3/km2). There were 16,554 housing units at an average density of 30.6 per square mile (11.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 67.6% white, 27.7% black or African American, 0.9% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 1.4% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 17.0% were American, 13.9% were English, 11.4% were German, and 11.1% were Irish.

Of the 13,522 households, 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.2% were non-families, and 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.88. The median age was 43.3 years.

The median household income was $45,151 and the median family income was $56,662. Males had a median income of $40,814 and females $30,184. The per capita income was $25,139. About 9.5% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over. In 2010, the racial makeup of the county was 66.16% Non-Hispanic whites, 27.70% blacks, 0.34% Native Americans, 0.92% Asians, 0.03% Pacific Islanders, 0.09% Non-Hispanics from some other race, 1.64% Non-Hispanics reporting two or more races and 3.64% Hispanic or Latino.

Sister counties

Communities

City

Towns

Census-designated places

Education

Public schools

  • Dorchester County School of Technology
  • Choptank Elementary School
  • Hurlock Elementary School
  • Maple Elementary School
  • Sandy Hill Elementary School
  • South Dorchester K-8
  • Vienna Elementary School
  • Warwick Elementary School
  • Mace's Lane Middle School
  • North Dorchester Middle School
  • Cambridge South Dorchester High School
  • North Dorchester High School

Notable persons

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