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Saint Mary's County, Maryland

Saint Mary's County is a county located in the U.S. State of Maryland.

As of 2000, the population is 24,747. Its county seat is Leonardtown. The name is in honor of Mary, mother of Jesus.

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

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Cities and Towns
6 Military Bases


The settlement of Lord Baltimore's Maryland began with the arrival of passengers from England at Saint Clement's Island in the Potomac River in what is now southwestern St. Mary's County on March 25, 1634 (the anniversary of this landing being annually celebrated as Maryland Day). The passengers arrived in two vessels, the Ark and the Dove, which had set sail from the Isle of Wight pn November 22, 1633.

St. Mary's County was the first county established in Maryland, in 1637, probably by an order of the Governor.

The county seat and state capital was St. Marie's City.

Law and Government

St. Mary's County is still governed by county commissioners, the traditional form of county government in Maryland.

County Executive

The county commissioners exercise such executive powers as exist in the government of the county.


Saint Mary's County includes one municipality, classified as a town under Maryland law: Leonardtown, the county seat (incorporated 1858).

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 St. Mary's County:

  1. California
  2. Charlotte Hall
  3. Golden Beach
  4. Lexington Park
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.

The county has a total area of 1,582 km2 (611 mi2). 847 km2 (327 mi2) of it is land and 734 km2 (284 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 46.43% water.

The county is largely bordered by water: the Patuxent River, the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and the Wicomico River.


As of 2000, there are 24,747 people, 8,361 households, and 5,443 families residing in the county. The population density is 29/km2 (76/mi2). There are 10,092 housing units at an average density of 12 persons/km2 (31 persons/mi2). The racial makeup of the county is 56.37% White, 41.10% African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.35% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 8,361 households out of which 25.90% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.10% are married couples living together, 15.10% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 34.90% are non-families. 29.40% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.90% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 2.92.

In the county the population is spread out with 18.50% under the age of 18, 15.70% from 18 to 24, 29.50% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 114.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 119.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $29,903, and the median income for a family is $37,643. Males have a median income of $27,496 versus $23,035 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,965. 20.10% of the population and 15.00% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 28.40% are under the age of 18 and 19.10% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns

Military Bases

The county houses the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, which plays a significant role in the local economy, and also the (much smaller) Naval Air base at Webster Field.