Harford County, Maryland facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Harford County, Maryland
Seal of Harford County, Maryland
Map
Map of Maryland highlighting Harford County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the USA highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded December 17, 1773
Seat Bel Air
Largest City Aberdeen
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

527 sq mi (1,365 km²)
437 sq mi (1,132 km²)
90 sq mi (233 km²), 17%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

250,290
475/sq mi (183/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.harfordcountymd.gov
Named for: Henry Harford
County flag Flag of Harford County, Maryland

Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 244,826. Its county seat is Bel Air.

Harford County is included in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area.

History

Harford County was formed in 1773 from the eastern part of Baltimore County. It contains Tudor Hall, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Harford County also hosted the signers of the Bush Declaration, a precursor document to the American Revolution.

The county was named for Henry Harford (ca. 1759–1834), the illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. Henry Harford was born to Calvert's mistress, Hester Whelan, whose residence still stands as part of a private residence on Jarretsville Pike, in Phoenix, Maryland. Harford served as the last Proprietary Governor of Maryland but, because of his illegitimacy, did not inherit his father's title.

Havre de Grace, an incorporated city in Harford County, was once under consideration to be the capital of the United States rather than Washington, D.C.. It was favored for its strategic location at the top of the Chesapeake Bay; this location would facilitate trade while being secure in time of war. Today, the waterways around Havre de Grace have become adversely affected by silt runoff, which is one of the primary environmental issues of Harford County.

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Environmental history

Harford County has environmental issues in three major areas: land use, water pollution/urban runoff, and soil contamination/groundwater contamination.

The county's past, present, and future population booms and land development activities have created conflicts between farmers and developers/homeowners wishing to create subdivisions. The county was one of the first in the country to implement a development envelope plan, in which new development is channeled into specific areas of the county.

Because the county sits at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay along the Susquehanna River, it plays a key role in controlling sediment and fertilizer runoff into the bay as well as fostering submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) regrowth. The county has had to balance the needs of land owners to practice agriculture and/or pave land (creating impervious surfaces) with effects of runoff into the bay.

Harford County has been burdened by soil contamination and groundwater contamination since the creation of the Aberdeen Proving Ground. The military installation performs research for the U.S. Army and has released various chemical agents into soil and groundwater, including mustard gas and perchlorate. The bordering towns of Aberdeen, Edgewood and Joppatowne have been affected by this contamination. Aberdeen Proving Ground contains three Superfund priority sites as of 2006. Groundwater contamination by MTBE, a mandatory gasoline additive, has also affected Fallston.

Harford County also faces controversy from residents living near Scarboro Landfill and Harford Waste Disposal Center, the only municipal landfill. The landfill, approved to triple in size in 2007, is the subject of complaints by neighbors of operating violations, such as large areas of open trash and blown litter, leachate breaks which contaminate area residential wells and flow into Deer Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River, and increased health problems.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 527 square miles (1,360 km2), of which 437 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 90 square miles (230 km2) (17%) is water.

Harford County straddles the border between the rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau and the flatlands of the Atlantic Coastal Plain along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The county's development is a mix of rural and suburban, with denser development in the larger towns of Aberdeen and Bel Air and along Route 40 and other major arteries leading out of Baltimore. The highest elevations are in the north and northwest of the county, reaching 805 ft. near the Pennsylvania border in the county's northwestern corner. The lowest elevation is sea level along the Chesapeake Bay.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Susquehanna River National Wildlife Refuge

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 14,976
1800 17,626 17.7%
1810 21,258 20.6%
1820 15,924 −25.1%
1830 16,319 2.5%
1840 17,120 4.9%
1850 19,356 13.1%
1860 23,415 21.0%
1870 22,605 −3.5%
1880 28,042 24.1%
1890 28,993 3.4%
1900 28,269 −2.5%
1910 27,965 −1.1%
1920 29,291 4.7%
1930 31,603 7.9%
1940 35,060 10.9%
1950 51,782 47.7%
1960 76,722 48.2%
1970 115,378 50.4%
1980 145,930 26.5%
1990 182,132 24.8%
2000 218,590 20.0%
2010 244,826 12.0%
Est. 2015 250,290 2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 218,590 people, 79,667 households, and 60,387 families residing in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (192/km²). There were 83,146 housing units at an average density of 189 per square mile (73/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.77% White, 9.27% African-American, 0.23% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.69% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 1.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.5% were of German, 13.1% Irish, 9.8% Italian, 9.2% English, 8.1% "American" and 6.0% Polish ancestry.

By 2006 the population of Harford County had risen 10.4% to 241,402.

The 2005 report on race and ethnicity indicated the county's population was 82.8% non-Hispanic whites. The proportion of African-Americans in the county had risen to 11.5%. Hispanics were now 2.4% of the total population.

In 2000 there were 79,667 households out of which 38.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 19.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the age distribution of the population shows 27.90% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $57,234, and the median income for a family was $63,868. Males had a median income of $43,612 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,232. About 3.60% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 6.70% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 244,826 people, 90,218 households, and 66,335 families residing in the county. The population density was 560.1 inhabitants per square mile (216.3/km2). There were 95,554 housing units at an average density of 218.6 per square mile (84.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.2% white, 12.7% black or African American, 2.4% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 0.9% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 28.1% were German, 19.8% were Irish, 12.2% were English, 9.9% were Italian, 6.8% were Polish, and 6.2% were American.

Of the 90,218 households, 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.5% were non-families, and 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.13. The median age was 39.4 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $77,010 and the median income for a family was $88,370. Males had a median income of $59,734 versus $44,706 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,559. About 4.0% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.

Art and culture

The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, formerly the Harford Community Orchestra, is an orchestra that is based in Harford County. The group is made up of about 80 musicians from many professions.

The Havre De Grace Decoy Museum is a museum dedicated to working and decorative decoys used on the Chesapeake Bay.

Harford Community College hosts many cultural spots. The Student Center hosts the Chesapeake Gallery, a collection of artwork from established artists, as well as students and faculty, and the Chesapeake Theater, a theater venue used by the Phoenix Festival Theater Company, a student run theater group.

Harford Community College also has the Joppa Hall, which houses the Blackbox Theatre, an additional theater venue used by the Harford Dance Theater Company and the HCC Actors Guild. The Joppa Hall also houses the Joppa Recital Halls, a venue for musical performances.

Also at HCC is the Hays-Heighe House, a museum dedicated to the history of Harford County.

The Historical Society of Harford County, one of the oldest county historical societies in Maryland, was established in 1885 to preserve, promote, and interpret the history of the county and its people. Today, it is headquartered on Main Street in downtown Bel Air in the historic 1937 Old Bel Air Post Office Building, where it maintains an archive, exhibit space, and research library.

Transportation

Major highways

Mass transportation

Buses are run by the county-owned Harford Transit. The state-operated MARC Penn Line serves Edgewood and Aberdeen.

Airport

The Harford County Airport is a small airport in Churchville. Its available for recreational pilots & flight training, as well as sight seeing, balloon rides, hang gliding and sky diving.

Communities

Cities

Town

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Miscellaneous

The Conowingo Dam is on the eastern border of Harford County; the dam operations and offices are on the Harford County side of the river.

Many scenes from the films Tuck Everlasting and From Within, and the U.S. TV series House of Cards were filmed in various places around Harford County.

In 2011 the Office of National Drug Control Policy deemed Harford County a designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Images for kids


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