County Grew By 55,000 In Six Years, New Analysis Finds

County Grew By 55,000 In Six Years, New Analysis Finds

Silver Spring, Burtonsville are most diverse; Bethesda, Potomac have the fewest minorities

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Montgomery County added 55,000 residents between 2010 and 2016, according to a new report from the county’s planning commission.

The analysis measured growth in County Council districts and found that the areas that grew the fastest included District 2 (Germantown/Damascus/Barnesville), District 3 (Rockville/Gaithersburg) and District 5 (Silver Spring/Burtonsville), which all gained more than 12,000 residents.

With more than 1 million residents, Montgomery County is the largest in Maryland and was one of the fastest growing in the region – with population increasing 8.9 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to census statistics. Overall growth in Maryland in the same period was 4.8 percent.

Among the highlights of the report:

  • A large disparity in education exists between District 1 (Bethesda/Potomac/Poolesville) and the rest of the county. Eighty percent of District 1 residents over age 25 have a college degree, compared to 58 percent countywide. In District 4 (Wheaton/Olney), 13 percent of the adult population didn’t graduate high school.
  • District 5 has the highest population of minorities, with 66.8 percent of the district’s 206,638 residents. About one-third are African American, 20 percent are Hispanic and another 10 percent are Asian. The Hispanic population is slightly higher in District 4, at one-quarter of that district’s nearly 200,000 residents. District 1 is the least diverse, with a white population of 71.5 percent.
  • Three-quarters of the county’s population drives to work. The district with the highest share of public transit commuters was District 5, with 21 percent.
  • District 1 households tend to earn the highest salaries, with two-thirds making more than $100,000 per year, and almost half making more than $150,000 per year. In District 4, about 30 percent of households are making less than $50,000 per year.

Council member Tom Hucker, who represents District 5, said that he wasn’t surprised about residents’ lack of use of public transportation.

“We are not where we’d like to be. We’re in the process of a very complicated retrofit of a very suburban community,” he said.

Hucker said he was optimistic that the expansion of bus rapid transit on Route 29 between downtown Silver Spring and Burtonsville, along with the implementation of the county’s recently-approved bike master plan, would help get cars off the roads.

“That’s a very ambitious document that aspires to put hundreds of miles of bike lanes and shared use paths,” he said of the bike plan.

District 3 council member Sidney Katz said he hadn’t seen the report, which was released Thursday, but was somewhat surprised when he learned that nearly 10 percent of adults older than 25 hadn’t graduated high school.

“That to me is high, and it’s certainly something we need to look at,” he said.

Data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which examines demographic trends such as age, race, education, employment and socioeconomic status.

The current council boundaries were adopted in 2011, following the last census. The lines will be redrawn following the next census in 2020.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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