This diary is meant to be a little fun given all the heavy redistricting diaries we have on here. The one thing that’s always struck me about my home state is how it’s so diverse and interesting in spite of being so small. This diary will try to explain how the various cultural groups fit together by using Dave’s mapping program, along with accompanying demographic and political data.
Region 1 – Eastern Shore (blue)
292,037 people (5.1% of the state)
70.6% white, 21.5% black, 4.4% Hispanic, 1.4% Asian
46.1% Average Dem
This region is already well known to anyone familiar with MD politics, and is probably the easiest to define geographically – basically the entire Eastern shore, minus the wealthy Baltimore influence areas of Kent Island, St. Michaels, and Ocean City/Ocean Pines, as well as the college town of Chestertown and northern Cecil County.
This region is the most “Southern” part of Maryland, and would be more at home in tidewater Virginia than in the I-95 Corridor. However, given that this is not the Deep South, and that there is a fairly large black population as a holdover from slavery, Dem margins aren’t as bad here as one would think. Most of the counties still have Dem registration advantages, and as you can see, local Dems do slightly better than Obama did.
Region 2 – Prince George’s County (green)
901,776 people (15.6% of the state)
15.9% white, 67.5% black, 9.5% Hispanic, 4.2% Asian
86.1% local Dem
Geographically, this region includes all of central and southern Prince George’s County, as well as parts of northern Charles County, western Anne Arundel County, North Laurel in southern Howard County, and Calverton in Montgomery County.
Home to a large and renown middle-class African-American population, this region of Maryland is probably the closest thing in the rest of the nation to the Atlanta suburbs. It’s interesting that this region exists at all given that Prince George’s County was only 10% black in 1970. What happened to cause this shift was a court decision in the 1970s that demanded the complete racial balancing of all schools in the county. Whites fled, either out of racial fear or out of anger over having to attend a far-away school. Blacks from DC (and later from around the nation) came in to replace them, and the region has continued to grow ever sense. The most recent trend has seen the black middle class expanding outward into other counties. Just think how different Maryland politics would be if that court decision never happened.
Region 3 – Southern Maryland (purple)
297,796 people (5.2% of the state)
79.4% white, 12.7% black, 3.3% Hispanic, 1.8% Asian
50.3% Average Dem
This region spans all of St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties, along with southern Anne Arundel County and rural Charles County. This region is a lot like the Eastern Shore, but has held onto its Democratic roots a little more (as noted by the avg Dem performance). This once tobacco-producing part of the state once spanned all of Charles County and southern Prince George’s County as well. With time, the expansion of the DC suburbs will probably kill this region and make it into one big suburb with no southern tendencies to speak of.
Region 4 – Creative Class (brown)
1,712,227 people (29.7% of the state)
59.7% white, 15.6% black, 10.1% Hispanic, 11.5% Asian
66.9% Average Dem
When you meet someone who says they’re from Maryland, this is probably where they’re from. Including most of Montgomery County (MoCo), most of Howard County (HoCo), College Park and Bowie in Prince George’s County, northwestern Baltimore County, the wealthier part of Baltimore City, southern Frederick County, Chestertown in Kent County, and Annapolis in Anne Arundel County, this region is full of wealthy young professionals trying to climb the ladder of advancement. It’s hard to say when this region first took off, but I’m sure it has something to do with the GI Bill and federal government expansion in the 1940s.
This area has one of the highest income levels in the country, as well as one of the highest levels of educational attainment. It is staunchly liberal, one of the most liberal areas in the entire nation. It is the largest of Maryland’s cultural groups, and keeps growing larger each day. Who knows how much of Maryland will fall into this category in the future?
Region 5 – Baltimore exurbia (yellow)
776,454 people (13.4% of the state)
88.8% white, 3.9% black, 2.8% Hispanic, 2.8% Asian
38.6% Average Dem
This region includes northern Baltimore County, northern Harford County, western Cecil County, eastern Carroll County, northern Howard County, eastern Frederick County, and central Anne Arundel County, along with Damascus in Montgomery County, Linthicum in Anne Arundel County, Arbutus in Baltimore County, Kent Island in Queen Anne’s County, St. Michaels in Talbot County, and Ocean City/Ocean Pines in Worcester County.
This region is the nemesis of the Creative Class region. It is staunchly conservative and proud of it. A lot of people mistakenly think that the Eastern Shore is the center of Maryland conservatism, but no, this is. Andy Harris actually personifies this region – upper class, well-educated, but wanting nothing to do with society at large, and constantly scared that everything one has will be taken away. Look for this region to shrink as white flight from Maryland accelerates.
Region 6 – Western Maryland (teal)
333,931 people (5.8% of the state)
87.9% white, 6.6% black, 2.5% Hispanic, 1.1% Asian
38.6% average Dem
This region includes all of Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties, along with northern Frederick County and northwestern Carroll County. Staunchly conservative, this is the one region of Maryland that is historically Republican. This region was a major hotbed of abolitionism during the Civil War, and like eastern Tennessee hasn’t given up on Republicans since. The major issue here is shrinkage – Garrett and Allegany finally stopped losing population, but the eastern side continues to be devoured by the outward expansion of DC and Baltimore.
Region 7 – Delaware (grey)
42,144 people (0.7% of the state)
81.1% white, 9.8% black, 4.7% Hispanic, 1.7% Asian
51.1% Avg Dem
Encompassing northeastern Cecil County, this is the smallest of Maryland’s cultural regions, and exists as an outward expansion of Wilmington’s suburbs. It’s worth mentioning because its Dem performance is much higher than what its racial stats would suggest.
Region 8 – Baltimore, Hon!
610,137 people (10.6% of the state)
69.6% white, 17.0% black, 6.6% Hispanic, 3.7% Asian
56.6% Avg Dem
This region covers southern Harford County, southeastern Baltimore County, southern Baltimore City, southwestern Baltimore County, and parts of northern Anne Arundel County. This region is low in income and low in educational attainment (aka blue collar). Most of the people here actually came from the South and from West Virginia years ago to work in Baltimore’s then thriving factories. Now that the factories are gone, the region is best known for John Waters, drag racing, Natty Bo, and 98 Rock.
A lot has been made of this region’s racism, given how much worse Obama did compared to the average Dem. That difference is actually obscured somewhat by the numbers I’ve provided given that I included some racially-diverse (but still blue collar) neighborhoods that brought Obama’s numbers up. Given the lack of opportunity here, the region is constantly shrinking.
Region 9 – Hispanic Maryland (sky blue)
199,903 people (3.5% of the state)
14.6% white, 26.1% black, 49.8% Hispanic, 7.2% Asian
82.1% Avg Dem
Encompassing northern Prince George’s County and central Montgomery County, this region is a newcomer on the Maryland scene. It started in the 1980s when refugees from Central America began to settle in Prince George’s County. Since then, it has expanded greatly, and look for more expansion in the future. Issues here include poverty and low levels of educational attainment, but those issues might be less prevalent as citizenship becomes less of an issue.
Region 10 – African-American Baltimore (pink)
607,157 people (10.5% of the state)
12.7% white, 80.2% black, 3.0% Hispanic, 1.9% Asian
89.7% avg Dem
Encompassing most of Baltimore City, western Baltimore County, and a few scattered communities in eastern Baltimore County, this region is sadly known for extreme segregation and poverty. The region has its roots in the 1800s when runaway slaves wanted somewhere to live and work (Maryland was actually not a relatively bad place for a runaway slave to live in spite of the fact that the state had slavery). It expanded greatly during the Great Migration through the 1970s, when African-Americans from the South came north to look for factory jobs. You know the story from there – 1970s – jobs gone, 1980s and 1990s – crack epidemic, 2000s and 2010s – recovery.
One thing that should be mentioned is that the part of western Baltimore County in this region is actually very middle class, which has only worsened conditions in the inner city (as middle class African-Americans fled the city for the county). However, given that the two areas have a common history, I included them as one region. Baltimore City is actually losing blacks faster than it is losing whites now, and while some will head for the County, some will probably head South as well. Look for this region to shrink in the City but expand in the surrounding counties.
So that’s it; questions? comments?