Maryland's Hispanic population doubles
Montgomery's minorities are now the majority
Maryland's population grew by about a half million residents in the past decade to 5.7 million, with the largest influx of new residents in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, according to 2010 U.S. Census data released Wednesday.
The largest spike was in the state's Hispanic population, which more than doubled to 470,632. Roughly one in 12 Marylanders is now Hispanic. According to the Census, people of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
About one-third of the state's Hispanics live in Montgomery County.
Of the county's 971,777 people, about 17 percent are Hispanic, and minorities, including Hispanics, now make up more than half of the county's population 50.9 percent, data show. Montgomery's total population grew by 11.3 percent since 2000.
There are 165,398 Hispanics in Montgomery County, according to the Census, an increase from 100,604 in 2000.
"In many ways, it really changes everything," said Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring.
Navarro, the council's only Hispanic member, said the increase in the county's minority population will alter the government's community outreach efforts.
"[Minorities] are now mainstream Montgomery County residents," she said.
In Prince George's County, the Hispanic population more than doubled in 10 years and now slightly outnumbers the county's white population.
"The Census only proves what we see on the ground," Gustavo Torres, president of CASA in Action, the political arm of Casa of Maryland, wrote in an e-mail. "The face of Maryland has changed and legislators and political parties that don't recognize those shifts by working for passage of policies that respect our families and community are relegating themselves to electoral irrelevance."
Navarro, who worked to educate Montgomery County's Hispanic residents about participation in the Census, said she was not surprised by the increase.
"It's basically confirmed what I've known for a very long time," she said. "A lot of the people who have been working in a lot of these communities for a while have seen that progression."
Montgomery County remained the state's most populous county with about one-fifth of the population followed by Prince George's and Baltimore counties.
Baltimore City remains the state's most populous city, with 620,961 residents. However, its population declined by 4.6 percent since 2000.
The only other cities to report population declines were Cumberland in Allegany County and Takoma Park, which declined by 584 residents or 3.4 percent of its population.
Valerie Berton, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Planning Department, said the department uses demographic data in the Census to decide where to build and what to build in the county.
"It's the backbone of every one of (our master plans)," she said.
Correction: The original headline on this story gave an incorrect figure for the increase in Hispanic people in the state.