Wicomico County, Maryland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wicomico County
Pemberton Hall (Salisbury, Maryland)
Flag of Wicomico County
Official seal of Wicomico County
Map of Maryland highlighting Wicomico County
Location within the U.S. state of Maryland
Map of the United States highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 38°22′N 75°38′W / 38.37°N 75.63°W / 38.37; -75.63
Country United States
State Maryland
Founded1867
Named forWicomico River
SeatSalisbury
Largest citySalisbury
Area
 • Total400 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Land374 sq mi (970 km2)
 • Water26 sq mi (70 km2)  6.4%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total103,588
 • Density260/sq mi (100/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district1st
Websitewww.wicomicocounty.org

Wicomico County (/wˈkɒmɪk/[1]) is located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Maryland, on the Delmarva Peninsula. As of the 2020 census, the population was 103,588.[2] The county seat is Salisbury.[3] The county was named for the Wicomico River, which in turn derives its name from the Algonquian language words wicko mekee, meaning "a place where houses are built," apparently referring to a Native American town on the banks. The county is included in the Salisbury, MD-DE Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Wicomico County was created from Somerset and Worcester counties in 1867.[4]

Politics and government[edit]

Wicomico County was granted a charter form of government in 1964.[4]

In the period after the Reconstruction era, Wicomico County became solidly Democratic due to its strong support for secession and state efforts to disenfranchise most blacks by raising barriers to voter registration. Independent insurgent white groups worked to intimidate and discourage black voters, especially in rural areas.[5]

Maryland was a one-party state, like others in the South, until after the passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s to protect the right to vote. No Republican carried Wicomico County until 1928, when Herbert Hoover won due to anti-Catholic sentiment in the heavily Protestant county against Democratic candidate Al Smith. The popular general Dwight D. Eisenhower carried Wicomico in 1952.

No Democratic presidential nominee has won Wicomico County since Lyndon Johnson’s landslide in 1964, as white conservatives increasingly moved into the Republican Party.[6] Bill Clinton, a son of the South, came within 384 votes of beating Bob Dole in 1996. Barack Obama attracted a much higher proportion of the county vote in 2008 and 2012, likely among younger people, the educated, and other minorities. In 2020, Joe Biden came extremely close to winning the county, with Donald Trump only edging him out by 890 votes.[7] Biden obtained 47.7% of the county's vote, the highest percentage for any Democrat since 1964.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment of Wicomico County,
as of October 2022.[8]
Party Total Percentage
Democratic 26,982 40.83%
Republican 24,132 36.52%
Independents, unaffiliated, and other 14,964 22.65%
Total 66,078 100.00%
United States presidential election results for Wicomico County, Maryland[9][10]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 22,944 49.65% 22,054 47.72% 1,218 2.64%
2016 22,198 52.17% 18,050 42.42% 2,299 5.40%
2012 21,764 51.50% 19,635 46.46% 860 2.04%
2008 21,849 52.20% 19,436 46.44% 569 1.36%
2004 21,998 58.66% 15,137 40.36% 368 0.98%
2000 16,338 51.39% 14,469 45.51% 988 3.11%
1996 12,687 46.50% 12,303 45.09% 2,296 8.41%
1992 13,560 44.79% 11,481 37.93% 5,231 17.28%
1988 16,272 63.18% 9,413 36.55% 70 0.27%
1984 16,124 66.27% 8,160 33.54% 48 0.20%
1980 11,229 51.26% 9,431 43.05% 1,245 5.68%
1976 10,537 52.82% 9,412 47.18% 0 0.00%
1972 13,115 69.71% 5,510 29.29% 190 1.01%
1968 8,707 47.18% 5,392 29.22% 4,356 23.60%
1964 7,448 46.14% 8,695 53.86% 0 0.00%
1960 8,671 54.12% 7,350 45.88% 0 0.00%
1956 9,377 63.94% 5,289 36.06% 0 0.00%
1952 9,061 60.55% 5,878 39.28% 26 0.17%
1948 5,062 48.14% 5,415 51.49% 39 0.37%
1944 5,040 47.04% 5,674 52.96% 0 0.00%
1940 4,741 39.47% 7,198 59.92% 73 0.61%
1936 4,545 38.15% 7,273 61.05% 95 0.80%
1932 3,812 35.44% 6,895 64.11% 48 0.45%
1928 5,923 59.04% 4,095 40.82% 15 0.15%
1924 2,604 43.82% 3,068 51.62% 271 4.56%
1920 4,225 45.39% 5,054 54.29% 30 0.32%
1916 2,539 42.87% 3,285 55.47% 98 1.65%
1912 2,038 35.31% 3,176 55.02% 558 9.67%
1908 2,273 43.86% 2,751 53.09% 158 3.05%
1904 2,179 44.47% 2,593 52.92% 128 2.61%
1900 2,376 44.21% 2,793 51.97% 205 3.81%
1896 2,022 43.75% 2,253 48.75% 347 7.51%
1892 1,427 35.44% 2,317 57.55% 282 7.00%
1888 1,441 37.07% 2,210 56.86% 236 6.07%
1884 1,354 36.78% 2,262 61.45% 65 1.77%
1880 1,348 39.10% 2,058 59.69% 42 1.22%
1876 1,080 34.25% 2,073 65.75% 0 0.00%
1872 1,081 42.38% 1,470 57.62% 0 0.00%
1868 421 22.33% 1,464 77.67% 0 0.00%

Wicomico County's government, since 2006, uses a council-elected executive system where the voters elect members of the County Council and Executive. Prior to 2006, the county operated under a council-administrator system where voters elected council members who in turn appointed an administrator to oversee the government.[11]

County council[edit]

The legislative functions of government are vested in the County Council.[12] The County Council consists of seven members, five of whom are elected from single-member districts; the other two are elected at-large.

Wicomico County Council[13]
District Name Party Role 
District 1 Shanie P. Shields Democratic
District 2 Jeff Merritt Republican
District 3 Shane T. Baker Republican Vice President
District 4 Joshua Hastings Democratic
District 5 Joseph Holloway Republican
At-Large John T. Cannon Republican President
At-Large James Winn Republican

County executive[edit]

The County Executive[14] oversees the executive branch of the County government, which consists of a number of offices and departments.[15] The executive branch is charged with implementing County law and overseeing the operation of County Government. The position of County Executive was established by a modification of the County's Charter in 2006. Day-to-day functions of the executive branch fall to the appointed Director of Administration, who also serves as the Acting County Executive during vacancies in the office of the County Executive.[16][17] Upon the death of Robert L. "Bob" Culver Jr., on July 26, 2020,[18] the Wicomico County Council appointed then-Director of Administration John D. Psota to that role in an acting capacity until the 2022 election cycle for the county executive seat.[19]

Wicomico County Executive
Name Party From To
Richard M. Pollitt, Jr. Democratic 2006 2014
Robert L. Culver, Jr. Republican 2014 2020
John D. Psota (Acting) Republican 2020 2022
Julie Giordano Republican 2022

Sheriff[edit]

Law enforcement in the county is provided by the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff, Mike Lewis, a Republican, is an elected official.[20] Municipal police agencies exist in the towns of Delmar and Pittsville, along with the cities of Fruitland and Salisbury.

State's attorney[edit]

The Wicomico County State's Attorney is responsible for prosecuting the felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile cases occurring in the county. The current elected State's Attorney is Jamie Dykes.[21]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 400 square miles (1,000 km2), of which 374 square miles (970 km2) is land and 26 square miles (67 km2) (6.4%) is water.[22]

The county's boundary with Delaware is composed of the Mason-Dixon line and the Transpeninsular Line. The intersection of these two historical lines is the midpoint of the Transpeninsular Line, fixed by Mason and Dixon between 1763 and 1767. The midpoint is located about 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Salisbury, near the center of the Delmarva Peninsula. The county is generally flat, characteristic of the region, with a few small hills in the northeast. The lowest elevation is at sea level and the highest elevation is 98 ft (30 m).

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Climate[edit]

The county has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) according to the Köppen climate classification. According to the Trewartha climate classification, the subtropical boundary of eight months of daily averages of at least 50 °F (10 °C) runs through the northern part of Wicomico County. The hardiness zone is mainly 7b.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
187015,802
188018,01614.0%
189019,93010.6%
190022,85214.7%
191026,81517.3%
192028,1655.0%
193031,22910.9%
194034,53010.6%
195039,64114.8%
196049,05023.7%
197054,23610.6%
198064,54019.0%
199074,33915.2%
200084,64413.9%
201098,73316.6%
2020103,5884.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
1790-1960[24] 1900-1990[25]
1990-2000[26] 2010–2018[27]

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 84,644 people, 32,218 households, and 21,779 families living in the county. The population density was 224 inhabitants per square mile (86/km2). There were 34,401 housing units at an average density of 91 per square mile (35/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 72.58% White, 23.29% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 1.75% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.80% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. 2.18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The largest ancestry groups in Wicomico County are 23% African American, 14% English American, 13% German, 12% Irish and 4% Italian.[29]

There were 32,218 households, out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.20% were married couples living together, 14.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out, with 24.80% under the age of 18, 11.80% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,035, and the median income for a family was $47,129. Males had a median income of $32,481 versus $23,548 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,171. About 8.70% of families and 12.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.60% of those under age 18 and 8.80% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 98,733 people, 37,220 households, and 24,172 families living in the county.[30] The population density was 263.7 inhabitants per square mile (101.8/km2). There were 41,192 housing units at an average density of 110.0 per square mile (42.5/km2).[31] The racial makeup of the county was 68.7% white, 24.2% black or African American, 2.5% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.9% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.5% of the population.[30] In terms of ancestry, 15.7% were English, 15.1% were German, 13.6% were Irish, 6.0% were American, and 5.6% were Italian.[32]

Of the 37,220 households, 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.1% were non-families, and 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.01. The median age was 35.7 years.[30]

The median income for a household in the county was $50,752 and the median income for a family was $62,150. Males had a median income of $42,408 versus $34,544 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,505. About 7.8% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.[33]

2020 census[edit]

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 103,588 people.[2][34] The racial makeup of the county was 59.3% white, 27.0% black or African American, 3.0% Asian, 0.4% American Indian and Alaskan Native, 3.7% from other races, and 6.5% from two or more races.[35]

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Wicomico County Public Schools operates all public schools in the county.[36]

Private schools[edit]

  • Faith Baptist School
  • Salisbury Baptist Academy
  • St. Frances de Sales
  • Salisbury Christian School
  • Stepping Stones Learning Academy
  • The Salisbury School
  • Wicomico Day School

Colleges and universities[edit]

Economy[edit]

Perdue Farms, a poultry and grain corporation, is headquartered in Salisbury. Piedmont Airlines is headquartered at Salisbury–Ocean City–Wicomico Regional Airport in unincorporated Wicomico County.[37] Other major employers in the county include Salisbury University, Verizon, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, The Knowland Group, Cadista Pharmaceuticals, Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Dove Pointe, and Pepsi Bottling of Delmarva.

Other industries in Wicomico County include electronic component manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, and agriculture.

Transportation[edit]

U.S. 13 runs north-south through the county, while U.S. 50 runs east-west through the county.

Salisbury–Ocean City–Wicomico Regional Airport is the only airport in the region offering commercial passenger fights. These flights are run by American Eagle to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Until 1957 the Pennsylvania railroad operated the Del-Mar-Va Express train from Cape Charles, Virginia, through Salisbury Union Station to Philadelphia.[38]

Media[edit]

Periodicals[edit]

  • Coastal Style - bimonthly magazine
  • The Daily Times - daily newspaper
  • Metropolitan Magazine - monthly magazine
  • Salisbury Independent - weekly newspaper
  • Salisbury Star - monthly newspaper

Television[edit]

Salisbury is the focus city of a larger Delmarva television market, which includes Dover and the northern Eastern Shore of Virginia. Most of the market's major-network affiliates are based in Salisbury, including WBOC-TV (CBS, Telemundo, NBC, and Fox), WMDT (ABC and The CW), and Maryland Public Television station WCPB (PBS).

Communities[edit]

Salisbury

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weiner, Tim. "Ex-Director of C.I.A. Disappears While Canoeing on Choppy River", The New York Times, April 30, 1996. Retrieved on April 25, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Wicomico County, Maryland - Historical Chronology". msa.maryland.gov. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  5. ^ Levine, Mark V.; "Standing Political Decisions and Critical Realignment: The Pattern of Maryland Politics, 1872-1948"; The Journal of Politics, volume 38, no. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 292-325
  6. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; "How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century"; America Magazine published in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "2020 Election Results". elections.maryland.gov. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  8. ^ "Summary of Voter Activity Report" (PDF). Maryland State Board of Elections. October 2022. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  9. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - U.S. President". Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  11. ^ "Wicomico County Executive Race". www.wboc.com. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "Wicomico County, MD: County Council". Wicomico County, MD Code. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "County Council Members". Wicomico County government. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  14. ^ "County Executives". Maryland State Archives. December 5, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Wicomico County, MD: The Executive Branch". Wicomico County, MD Code. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Wicomico County, MD: Director of Administration". Wicomico County, MD Code. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  17. ^ "Wicomico County, MD: Vacancy in the Office of County Executive". Wicomico County, MD Code. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  18. ^ "Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver Passes Away". www.wboc.com. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  19. ^ Peck, Louis (September 19, 2020). "Moving to End Standoff, Wicomico Council Taps County Administrator as Acting Exec". Maryland Matters. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  20. ^ "Mike Lewis Sworn in as Wicomico Sheriff". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  21. ^ "Coming home: Dykes ready to lay groundwork as Wicomico County interim state's attorney". Delmarva Daily Times. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  22. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  23. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  24. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  25. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  26. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  27. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  28. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  29. ^ "Wicomico County, MD Ancestry & Family History". Podunk, Inc. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  30. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  31. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  32. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  33. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  34. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  35. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  36. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Wicomico County, MD" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2022. - Text list
  37. ^ "Career Opportunities Archived 2009-05-24 at the Wayback Machine." Piedmont Airlines. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
  38. ^ "Pennsylvania Railroad, Table 65". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 90 (7). December 1957.
  39. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  40. ^ "GEN. Lewis J. Fields DIES". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Posts Websites. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  41. ^ Nothing is Strange with You: The Life and Crimes of Gordon Stewart Northcott. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris Corporation. 2008.[self-published source]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°22′N 75°38′W / 38.37°N 75.63°W / 38.37; -75.63