Maryland

Cities

Maryland

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It shares borders with Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. Baltimore is the largest city in the state, and the capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English Queen Henrietta Maria, then known in England as Mary.

Geography

Maryland has an area of 12,406.68 square miles (32,133.2 km2) and is comparable in overall area with Belgium [11,787 square miles (30,530 km2)]. It is the 42nd largest and 9th smallest state and is closest in size to the state of Hawaii [10,930.98 square miles (28,311.1 km2)], the next smallest state. The next larger state, its neighbor West Virginia, is almost twice the size of Maryland [24,229.76 square miles (62,754.8 km2)].

Maryland is bounded on its north by Pennsylvania, on its north and east by Delaware, on its east by the Atlantic Ocean, and on its south and west, across the Potomac River, by West Virginia and Virginia. The mid-portion of this latter border is interrupted by the District of Columbia, which sits on land that was originally part of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and including the town of Georgetown, Maryland. This land was ceded to the United States Federal Government in 1790 to form the District of Columbia. (The Commonwealth of Virginia gave land south of the Potomac, including the town of Alexandria, Virginia; however, Virginia retroceded its portion in 1846). The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state and the counties east of the bay are known collectively as the Eastern Shore.

Geology

Earthquakes in Maryland are infrequent and small due to the state's distance from seismic/earthquake zones. The M5.8 Virginia earthquake in 2011 was felt moderately throughout Maryland. Buildings in the state are not well-designed for earthquakes and can suffer damage easily. Maryland has no natural lakes, mostly due to the lack of glacial history in the area. All lakes in the state today were constructed, mostly via dams. Buckel's Bog is believed by geologists to have been a remnant of a former natural lake. Maryland has shale formations containing natural gas, where fracking is theoretically possible.

Environment

Maryland joined with neighboring states during the end of the 20th century to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The bay's aquatic life and seafood industry have been threatened by development and by fertilizer and livestock waste entering the bay. In 2007, Forbes.com rated Maryland as the fifth "Greenest" state in the country, behind three of the Pacific States and Vermont. Maryland ranks 40th in total energy consumption nationwide, and it managed less toxic waste per capita than all but six states in 2005. In April 2007, Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a regional initiative, formed by all the Northeastern states, Washington, D.C., and three Canadian provinces, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In March 2017, Maryland became the first state with proven gas reserves to ban fracking by passing a law against it. Vermont has such a law, but no shale gas, and New York has such a ban, though it was made by executive order.

Climate

Maryland has a wide array of climates, due to local variances in elevation, proximity to water, and protection from colder weather due to downslope winds. The eastern half of Maryland — which includes the cities of Ocean City, Salisbury, Annapolis, and the southern and eastern suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore — lies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, with flat topography and sandy or muddy soil. This region has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and a short, mild-to-cool winter; it falls under USDA Hardiness zone 8a.

The Piedmont region — which includes northern and western greater Baltimore, Westminster, Gaithersburg, Frederick, and Hagerstown — has average seasonal snowfall totals generally exceeding 20 inches (51 cm), and, as part of USDA Hardiness zones 7b and 7a, temperatures below 10 °F (−12 °C) are less rare. From the Cumberland Valley on westward, the climate begins to transition to a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa).

Demographics

In the 2020 United States census, the United States Census Bureau found that population of Maryland was 6,185,278 people, a 7.1% increase from the 2010 United States census. The United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Maryland was 6,045,680 on July 1, 2019, a 4.71% increase from the 2010 United States census and an increase of 2,962, from the prior year. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 269,166 (464,251 births minus 275,093 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 116,713 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 129,730 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 13,017 people. The center of population of Maryland is located on the county line between Anne Arundel County and Howard County, in the unincorporated community of Jessup.

Maryland’s history as a border state has led it to exhibit characteristics of both the Northern and the Southern regions of the United States. Generally, rural Western Maryland between the West Virginian Panhandle and Pennsylvania has an Appalachian culture; the Southern and Eastern Shore regions of Maryland embody a Southern culture, while densely populated Central Maryland — radiating outward from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — has more in common with that of the Northeast. The U.S. Census Bureau designates Maryland as one of the South Atlantic States, but it is commonly associated with the Mid-Atlantic States and Northeastern United States by other federal agencies, the media, and some residents.

Language

Spanish (including Spanish Creole) is the second most spoken language in Maryland, after English. The third and fourth most spoken languages are French (including Patois and Cajun) and Chinese. Other commonly spoken languages include various African languages, Korean, German, Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese, Italian, various Asian languages, Persian, Hindi, and other Indic languages, Greek, and Arabic.

Cities and Metro Areas

Maryland population distribution map. Maryland’s population is concentrated mostly in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas.

Most of the population of Maryland lives in the central region of the state, in the Baltimore metropolitan area and Washington metropolitan area, both of which are part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. The majority of Maryland’s population is concentrated in the cities and suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C., as well as in and around Maryland’s most populous city, Baltimore. Historically, these and many other Maryland cities developed along the Fall Line, the line along which rivers, brooks, and streams are interrupted by rapids and waterfalls. Maryland’s capital city, Annapolis, is one exception to this pattern since it lies along the banks of the Severn River, close to where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Eastern Shore is less populous and more rural, as are the counties of western Maryland. The two westernmost counties of Maryland, Allegany and Garrett, are mountainous and sparsely populated, resembling West Virginia and Appalachia more than they do the rest of the state. Both eastern and western Maryland are, however, dotted with cities of regional importance, such as Ocean City, Princess Anne, and Salisbury on the Eastern Shore and Cumberland, Frostburg, and Hancock in Western Maryland. Southern Maryland is still somewhat rural, but suburbanization from Washington, D.C., has encroached significantly since the 1960s; important local population centers include Lexington Park, Prince Frederick, California, and Waldorf.

Religion

Maryland has been historically prominent to American Catholic tradition because the English colony of Maryland was intended by George Calvert as a haven for English Catholics. Baltimore was the seat of the first Catholic bishop in the U.S. (1789), and Emmitsburg was the home and burial place of the first American-born citizen to be canonized, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Georgetown University, the first Catholic University, was founded in 1789 in what was then part of Maryland. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Baltimore was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the United States, and the Archbishop of Baltimore is, albeit without formal primacy, the United States’ quasi-primate, and often a cardinal. Among the immigrants of the 19th and 20th centuries from eastern and southern Europe were many Catholics.

According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Maryland’s population identifies themselves as Christian. Nearly 52% of the adult population are Protestants. Following Protestantism, Catholicism is the second largest religious affiliation, comprising 15% percent of the population. Amish/Mennonite communities are found in St. Mary’s, Garrett, and Cecil counties. Judaism is the largest non-Christian religion in Maryland, with 241,000 adherents, or four percent of the total population. Jews are numerous throughout Montgomery County and in Pikesville and Owings Mills northwest of Baltimore. An estimated 81,500 Jewish Americans live in Montgomery County, constituting approximately 10% of the total population. The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters and Ahmadiyya Muslims’ national headquarters are located in Silver Spring, just outside the District of Columbia.

Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maryland’s gross state product in 2016 was $382.4 billion. However, Maryland has been using Genuine Progress Indicator, an indicator of well-being, to guide the state’s development, rather than relying only on growth indicators like GDP. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland households are currently the wealthiest in the country, with a 2013 median household income of $72,483 which puts it ahead of New Jersey and Connecticut, which are second and third respectively. Two of Maryland’s counties, Howard and Montgomery, are the second and eleventh wealthiest counties in the nation respectively. Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in 2013, with a ratio of 7.7 percent. Also, the state’s poverty rate of 7.8 percent is the lowest in the country. per capita personal income in 2006 was $43,500, fifth in the nation. As of February 2018, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.2 percent.

Maryland’s economy benefits from the state’s proximity to the federal government in Washington, D.C., with an emphasis on technical and administrative tasks for the defense/aerospace industry and bio-research laboratories, as well as staffing of satellite government headquarters in the suburban or exurban Baltimore/Washington area. Ft. Meade serves as the headquarters of the Defense Information Systems Agency, United States Cyber Command, and the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. In addition, a number of educational and medical research institutions are located in the state. In fact, the various components of The Johns Hopkins University and its medical research facilities are now the largest single employer in the Baltimore area. Altogether, white collar technical and administrative workers comprise 25 percent of Maryland’s labor force, attributable in part to nearby Maryland being a part of the Washington Metro Area where the federal government office employment is relatively high.

Baltimore Port

One major service activity is transportation, centered on the Port of Baltimore and its related rail and trucking access. The port ranked 17th in the U.S. by tonnage in 2008. Although the port handles a wide variety of products, the most typical imports are raw materials and bulk commodities, such as iron ore, petroleum, sugar, and fertilizers, often distributed to the relatively close manufacturing centers of the inland Midwest via good overland transportation. The port also receives several brands of imported motor vehicles and is the number one auto port in the U.S.

Baltimore City is among the top 15 largest ports in the nation, and was one of six major U.S. ports that were part of the February 2006 controversy over the Dubai Ports World deal. The state as a whole is heavily industrialized, with a booming economy and influential technology centers. Its computer industries are some of the most sophisticated in the United States, and the federal government has invested heavily in the area. Maryland is home to several large military bases and scores of high-level government jobs.

Agriculture and Fishing

Maryland has a large food-production sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing, centered in the Chesapeake Bay, but also including activity off the short Atlantic seacoast. The largest catches by species are the blue crab, oysters, striped bass, and menhaden. The Bay also has overwintering waterfowl in its wildlife refuges. The waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen.

Maryland has large areas of fertile agricultural land in its coastal and Piedmont zones, though this land use is being encroached upon by urbanization. Agriculture is oriented to dairy farming (especially in foothill and piedmont areas) for nearby large city milksheads, plus specialty perishable horticulture crops, such as cucumbers, watermelons, sweet corn, tomatoes, muskmelons, squash, and peas (Source:USDA Crop Profiles). The southern counties of the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay are warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop zone, which has existed since early Colonial times, but declined greatly after a state government buy-out in the 1990s. There is also a large automated chicken-farming sector in the state's southeastern part; Salisbury is home to Perdue Farms. Maryland's food-processing plants are the most significant type of manufacturing by value in the state.

Tourism

The beach resort town of Ocean City along the Atlantic Ocean is a popular tourist destination in Maryland. Tourism is popular in Maryland. Many tourists visit Baltimore, the beaches of the Eastern Shore, and the nature of western Maryland. Attractions in Baltimore include the Harborplace, the Baltimore Aquarium, Fort McHenry, as well as the Camden Yards baseball stadium. Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast has been a popular beach destination in summer, particularly since the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was built in 1952 connecting the Eastern Shore to the more populated Maryland cities.

The state capital of Annapolis offers sites such as the state capitol building, the historic district, and the waterfront. Maryland also has several sites of interest to military history, given Maryland's role in the American Civil War and in the War of 1812. Other attractions include the historic and picturesque towns along the Chesapeake Bay, such as Saint Mary's, Maryland's first colonial settlement and original capital.

Transportation

The Maryland Department of Transportation oversees most transportation in the state through its various administration-level agencies. The independent Maryland Transportation Authority maintains and operates the state’s eight toll facilities.

Roads

Maryland's Interstate highways include 110 miles (180 km) of Interstate 95 (I-95), which enters the northeast portion of the state, travels through Baltimore, and becomes part of the eastern section of the Capital Beltway to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I-68 travels 81 miles (130 km), connecting the western portions of the state to I-70 at the small town of Hancock. I-70 enters from Pennsylvania north of Hancock and continues east for 93 miles (150 km) to Baltimore, connecting Hagerstown and Frederick along the way. I-83 has 34 miles (55 km) in Maryland and connects Baltimore to southern central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg and York, Pennsylvania). Maryland also has an 11-mile (18 km) portion of I-81 that travels through the state near Hagerstown. I-97, fully contained within Anne Arundel County and the shortest (17.6 miles (28.3 km)) one- or two-digit interstate highway in the contiguous US, connects the Baltimore area to the Annapolis area.

Airports

Maryland's largest airport is Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, more commonly referred to as BWI. The airport is named for the Baltimore-born Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice. The only other airports with commercial service are at Hagerstown and Salisbury.

The Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. are also served by the other two airports in the region, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport, both in Northern Virginia. The College Park Airport is the nation's oldest, founded in 1909, and is still used. Wilbur Wright trained military aviators at this location.

Rail

Amtrak trains, including the high-speed Acela Express serve Baltimore's Penn Station, BWI Airport, New Carrollton, and Aberdeen along the Washington, D.C. to Boston Northeast Corridor. In addition, train service is provided to Rockville and Cumberland by Amtrak's Washington, D.C., to Chicago Capitol Limited.

Ellicott City Station, on the original B&O Railroad line, is the oldest remaining passenger station in the United States. The rail line is still used by CSX Transportation for freight trains, and the station is now a museum. The WMATA's Metrorail rapid transit and Metrobus local bus systems (the 2nd and 6th busiest in the nation of their respective modes) provide service in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and connect them to Washington, D.C., with the express Metrobus Route B30 serving BWI Airport. The Maryland Transit Administration (often abbreviated as "MTA Maryland"), a state agency part of the Maryland Department of Transportation also provides transit services within the state.

Headquartered in Baltimore, MTA's transit services are largely focused on central Maryland, as well as some portions of the Eastern Shore and Southern MD. Baltimore's Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink systems serve its densely populated inner-city and the surrounding suburbs. The MTA also serves the city and its suburbs with its local bus service (the 9th largest system in the nation). The MTA's Commuter Bus system provides express coach service on longer routes connecting Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to parts of Central and Southern MD as well as the Eastern Shore. The commuter rail service, known as MARC, operates three lines which all terminate at Washington Union Station and provide service to Baltimore's Penn and Camden stations, Perryville, Frederick, and Martinsburg, WV. In addition, many suburban counties operate local bus systems which connect to and complement the larger MTA and WMATA/Metro services.

Education

Primary and Secondary Education

Education Week ranked Maryland #1 in its nationwide 2009–2013 Quality Counts reports. The College Board's 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation also ranked Maryland first. Primary and secondary education in Maryland is overseen by the Maryland State Department of Education, which is headquartered in Baltimore. The highest educational official in the state is the State Superintendent of Schools, who is appointed by the State Board of Education to a four-year term of office. The Maryland General Assembly has given the Superintendent and State Board autonomy to make educationally related decisions, limiting its influence on the day-to-day functions of public education. Each county and county-equivalent in Maryland has a local Board of Education charged with running the public schools in that particular jurisdiction.

The budget for education was $5.5 billion in 2009, representing about 40 percent of the state's general fund. Data from the 2017 census shows that, among large school districts, four Maryland districts are in the top six for per-pupil annual spending, exceeded only by the Boston and New York City districts. Maryland has a broad range of private primary and secondary schools. Many of these are affiliated with various religious sects, including parochial schools of the Catholic Church, Quaker schools, Seventh-day Adventist schools, and Jewish schools. In 2003, Maryland law was changed to allow for the creation of publicly funded charter schools, although the charter schools must be approved by their local Board of Education and are not exempt from state laws on education, including collective bargaining laws.

Colleges and Universities

Baltimore is home to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Maryland Institute College of Art. The majority of public universities in the state (Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Frostburg State University, Salisbury University and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore) are affiliated with the University System of Maryland. Two state-funded institutions, Morgan State University and St. Mary's College of Maryland, as well as two federally funded institutions, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the United States Naval Academy, are not affiliated with the University System of Maryland. The University of Maryland Global Campus is the largest public university in Maryland and one of the largest distance-learning institutions in the world.

St. John's College in Annapolis and Washington College in Chestertown, both private institutions, are the oldest colleges in the state and among the oldest in the country. Other private institutions include Mount St. Mary's University, McDaniel College (formerly known as Western Maryland College), Hood College, Stevenson University (formerly known as Villa Julie College), Loyola University Maryland, and Goucher College, among others.

Public Libraries

Maryland's 24 public library systems deliver public education for everyone in the state of Maryland through a curriculum that comprises three pillars: Self-Directed Education (books and materials in all formats, e-resources), Research Assistance & Instruction (individualized research assistance, classes for students of all ages), and Instructive & Enlightening Experiences (e.g., Summer Reading Clubs, author events).

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