Calvert County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is on a peninsula, bordered on the east by the Chesapeake Bay, and on the west by the Patuxent River. Calvert County is part of the Southern Maryland region. Its residents are among the highest-income in the United States.
As of 2004, the population was about 86,475. Its county seat is the town of Prince Frederick, Maryland. The county's name is derived from the family name of the Barons of Baltimore, the proprietors of the English Colony of Maryland.
Tourism is an important part of the economy, especially in supporting such activities as fishing, hunting, and boating.
Once made up primarily of farms and tobacco fields, the county was/is slowly claiming its place as a fast-growing exurban neighbor of Washington. Many home prices have nearly quadrupled in the past decade, with many four-bedroom homes in the northern half of the county averaging over $1,000,000. The popular weekend resort towns Solomons, Maryland and Chesapeake Beach are notable.
There were 25,447 households out of which 41.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.80% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.80% were non-families. 16.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the county the population was spread out with 29.60% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 31.70% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 8.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $65,945, and the median income for a family was $71,545. Males had a median income of $48,664 versus $32,265 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,410. About 3.10% of families and 4.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.10% of those under age 18 and 5.70% of those age 65 or over.
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:
Dunkirk, Huntingtown, Lusby, Owings, Prince Frederick, St. Leonard and Solomons have all been designated by Calvert County government as being "town centers." The "town center" designation means while these communities may not have incorporated central governments, they do have specified boundaries surrounding the central business and residential areas for zoning purposes. The reason behind the "town center" designation is to cluster new development within established areas with existing infrastructure, thus discouraging urban sprawl. The implementation of the "town center" concept in Calvert County over the past two decades has for the most part been successful in preserving rural and agricultural areas outside the designated "town centers", and stands as a key example of the smart growth planning strategy.
Other unincorporated places not listed as Census-Designated Places but known in the area include:
The main artery serving Calvert County is Maryland Route 4 (which begins in Washington, D.C. as Pennsylvania Avenue before crossing into Prince Georges County, Maryland and Anne Arundel County, Maryland). Route 4 in Calvert County begins at the very northern tip of the county at Lyons Creek, approximately 3 miles north of Dunkirk. At Sunderland, Route 4 meets Maryland Route 2 (traveling south as a two-lane road from Annapolis) and the two roads merge as Maryland Route 2-4. Route 2-4 continues south through Prince Frederick, St. Leonard and Lusby. At Solomons, Routes 2 and 4 split again, with Route 2 heading towards downtown Solomons and Route 4 crossing the Patuxent River at the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge into St. Mary's County.
Route 2-4 is designated Solomons Island Road throughout much of the county, with the section south of Prince Frederick being recently renamed Louis Goldstein Highway in memory of Louis Goldstein, the former comptroller of Maryland and Calvert County resident.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Route 2-4 underwent an extensive expansion project, with the formerly two-lane road becoming a four-lane dual highway. Certain portions of the highway were re-aligned, with the former roadway becoming Maryland Route 765. The final portion of the dualized Route 2-4 between St. Leonard and Solomons was completed in 1988.
Other major roadways in Calvert County include: