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Somerset County, Maryland

Somerset County is the southernmost county in the state of Maryland, located in the eastern part of the state. As of 2000, the population is 24,747. It was named for Mary, Lady Somerset, the wife of Sir John Somerset and daughter of Thomas Arundell, 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour. She was the sister of Anne Calvert, Baroness Baltimore, née Anne Arundell, the wife of Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, who lent her name to Anne Arundel County. The county seat is Princess Anne.

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Somerset County was created in 1666 by an Order in Council. In 1742 Worcester County was created from Somerset County. In 1867 portions of Somerset and Worcester Counties were taken to create Wicomico County.

Law and government

Somerset County is governed by county commissioners, the traditional form of county government in Maryland. Commissioners are elected to four-year terms; all commissioners' terms will expire in 2006.

Current Somerset county commissioners:

1James N. RingDemocrat
2Charles F. FisherRepublican
3Michael K. McCreadyDemocrat
4C. Samuel BostonDemocrat
5Paul T. Ward, Jr.Republican

Boston is the President of the County Commission; Ring is the Vice President.

County Executive

The county commissioners exercise such executive powers as exist in the government of the county.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,582 km² (611 mi²). 847 km² (327 mi²) of it is land and 736 km² (284 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 46.4% water.

Somerset County is bordered on the north by Wicomico County, on the east by Worcester County, and on the south by Accomack County, Virginia.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 24,747 people, 8,361 households, and 5,444 families residing in the county. The population density is 29/km² (76/mi²). There are 10,055 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (31/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 56.4% White, 41.1% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 8,361 households out of which 38.30% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% are married couples living together, 15.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% are non-families. 15.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 2.92.

In the county the population is spread out with 18.5% under the age of 18, 15.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36.5 years. For every 100 females there are 114.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 119.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $29,903, and the median income for a family is $37,643. Males have a median income of $27,496 versus $23,035 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,965. 20.1% of the population and 15.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 28.4% of those under the age of 18 and 19.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Cities and towns

This county contains the following incorporated municipalities:

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:

  1. Chance
  2. Dames Quarter
  3. Deal Island
  4. Eden
  5. Fairmount
  6. Frenchtown-Rumbly (a combination of the communities of Frenchtown and Rumbly recognized as a unit by the Census Bureau)
  7. Mount Vernon
  8. Smith Island
  9. West Pocomoke

Colleges and universities

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