WICOMICO County, MD
Wicomico County () is located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Maryland, on the Delmarva Peninsula. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,733. The county seat is Salisbury. The county was named for the Wicomico River, which in turn derives from Algonquian language words , meaning "a place where houses are built," apparently referring to a Native American town on the banks.
Wicomico County is included in the Salisbury, MD-DE Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The newspaper of record is The Daily Times.
Wicomico County was created from Somerset and Worcester counties in 1867.
Politics and government
Wicomico County was granted a charter form of government in 1964.
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.
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. Since the late 20th century, white conservatives, the majority in the county, have increasingly joined the Republican Party. In this same period, African-American voters have tended to favor the Democratic Party.
No Democratic presidential nominee has won Wicomico County since Lyndon Johnson’s landslide in 1964, as white conservatives increasingly moved into the Republican Party. 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 less than 900 votes. Biden obtained over 47.8% of the county's vote, the highest percentage for any Democrat since 1964.
Wicomico County's government, since 2006, is that of a council-elected executive system where the voters elect members of the council and executive. Prior to 2006, the county operated under a council-administrator system where the voters elect council members and the council appoints an administrator to oversee the government.
The legislative functions of government are vested in the County Council. The County Council consists of seven members, five of whom are elected from single-member districts; the other two are elected at-large.
The County Executive oversees the executive branch of the County government that consists of a number of offices and departments. 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 in 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. Upon the death of Robert L. "Bob" Culver Jr., on July 26, 2020, following a 6 month battle with liver cancer, 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.
Law enforcement in the county is provided by the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff, Mike Lewis, a Republican, is an elected official. Municipal police agencies exist in the towns of Delmar and Pittsville, along with the cities of Fruitland and Salisbury.
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, Esq.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (6.4%) is water.
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 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 .
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.
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 people per square mile (87/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.
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.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 98,733 people, 37,220 households, and 24,172 families living in the county. The population density was . There were 41,192 housing units at an average density of . 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. 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.
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.
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.
Primary and secondary schools
Wicomico County Public Schools operates all public schools in the county.
Colleges and universities
Perdue Farms, Inc., a multi-national poultry and grain corporation, is headquartered in Salisbury, the county seat of Wicomico County. Piedmont Airlines is headquartered in unincorporated Wicomico County, at the airport and near the City of Salisbury. Other major employers in Wicomico County include: Salisbury University, Verizon, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, The Knowland Group, Cadista Pharmacueticals, Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Dove Pointe, and Pepsi Bottling of Delmarva.
Other industries in Wicomico County include electronic component manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, and agriculture.
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).
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Wicomico County, MD, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.