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Charles County, Maryland

Charles County is a county in the east central portion of the U.S. State of Maryland.

As of 2000, the population is 120,546. Its county seat is La Plata. The county was named for Charles Calvert (1637-1715), third Lord Baltimore. Calvert lived in Maryland from 1661 to 1684, when he returned to England.

This county is a part of the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law/Government
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Cities and towns


Charles County was created in 1658 by an Order in Council. It should be noted that from 1650 to 1653 there was an earlier Charles County, sometimes referred to in historic documents as Old Charles County.


Charles County is still governed by county commissioners, the traditional form of county government in Maryland.


Charles County includes three municipalities, all classified as towns under Maryland law:
  1. Indian Head (incorporated 1920)
  2. La Plata (incorporated 1888)
  3. Port Tobacco Village (incorporated 1888)

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people, but they lack local government. The United States Census Bureau recognizes the following Census-Designated Places in Charles County:
  1. Bennsville
  2. Bryans Road
  3. Hughesville
  4. Potomac Heights
  5. Saint Charles
  6. Waldorf
  7. Joppatowne
Other entities, such as the United States Postal Service, use a different selection of local place names. In all these cases, since the places are unincorporated, the boundaries are determined by the classifying authority.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,666 km² (643 mi²). 1,194 km² (461 mi²) of it is land and 472 km² (182 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 28.33% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 120,546 people, 41,668 households, and 32,292 families residing in the county. The population density is 101/km² (262/mi²). There are 43,903 housing units at an average density of 37/km² (95/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 68.51% White, 26.06% Black or African American, 0.75% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 2.08% from two or more races. 2.26% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 41,668 households out of which 41.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% are married couples living together, 14.50% have a female householder with no husband present, and 22.50% are non-families. 17.20% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.86 and the average family size is 3.21.

In the county the population is spread out with 28.70% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 33.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $62,199, and the median income for a family is $67,602. Males have a median income of $43,371 versus $34,231 for females. The per capita income for the county is $24,285. 5.50% of the population and 3.70% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 6.70% are under the age of 18 and 8.60% are 65 or older.

Cities and towns