The Fast-Growing Counties in Maryland Are Exploding in Growth

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: September 26, 2023
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Maryland is a small Mid-Atlantic state with a population that one might expect to find in a much larger area. According to the 2020 Census, Maryland was home to 6,177,213 people. Yet, the overall population in the Old Line State is falling based on new estimates. The population is not evenly decreasing across the state, though. Today, we’re going to look at 6 fast-growing counties in Maryland that are continuing to grow in population despite the overall population in the state shrinking.

All the information used for this article comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 county population estimates. This resource provides data on changing populations and demographics within each county in Maryland.

6. Queen Anne’s County

Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is to the west of Queen Anne’s County.

©Pat Anderson Photo/

Population GainPercent Gain

Queen Anne’s County is in eastern Maryland. The county has a border to the west with Chesapeake Bay and a border to the east with Delaware. Centreville, a town of 4,286 people, is the county seat and most populous area of this county.

According to the 2020 Census, Queen Anne’s County was home to 49,871 people. That number has risen to 51,711 people in 2022. The population in this area rose by 1,840 people in those two years, a total growth of 3.69%!

The overall growth in this county was not very large. However, it was enough to put this county on the list of fast-growing counties in Maryland based on the large percent growth.

5. Carroll County 

Snow in Maryland

Bordering Pennsylvania, Carroll County is in the northern central part of Maryland.

©Jon Bilous/

Population GainPercent Gain

Carroll County is in the northern central part of Maryland. The county has a border with Pennsylvania to the north. Westminster is the largest city in this part of the state, and it has a population of nearly 20,000 people.

The original population in Carroll County in 2020 was 172,890 people. That number rose a fair amount to 175,305 by 2022. That means the area gained an additional 2,415 people over two years. All told this county grew by 1.40%.

This region is northwest of Baltimore, so it may be gaining population from people leaving the city and looking for a less expensive place to live.

4. Howard County

An aerial view of historic Ellicott City, Maryland in the fall.

With a population of approximately 76,000 people, Ellicott City is the largest city in Howard County.

©Nicole Glass Photography/

Population GainPercent Gain

Howard County is in central Maryland, and this area is immediately west of Baltimore. Ellicott City is the largest city in the region, and it has a population of about 76,000 people.

Howard County had a population of 332,316 residents in 2020. The population continued to rise over the next two years, eventually reaching 335,411 in 2022. This is a positive change of 3,095 people between 2020 and 2022. This region is highly populated, though, so the population growth only equals 0.93%.

Given its proximity to Baltimore, it’s likely that one of the reasons this county is growing is due to Baltimore’s population moving out of the city and to this region. This is a common theme throughout the country where people have left cities because of housing costs and other concerns, only to settle nearby so they can commute to work.

3. Charles County

Population GainPercent Gain

Charles County is in southwestern Maryland. The Potomac River flows to the west of this county. This county is very close to Washington D.C., less than 20 miles away.

Charles County had a population of 166,621 people in 2022. The area has seen many new people move to the area, and now the population in this county has reached 170,102 people.

That means this county’s population grew by a total of 3,481 people, or 2.09%. This growth is probably coming from people leaving the nation’s capital and settling in nearby areas.

2. Harford County

Population GainPercent Gain

Hartford County is in the northern part of Maryland, and its northern border is shared with Pennsylvania. This county is northeast of Baltimore. Its proximity to this city could be a major reason why people are moving to this area. With Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, and U.S. Route 40 flowing through the county straight to Baltimore, the commute to the city would be direct.

Harford County started 2020 with a population of 260,294 people. In 2022, the estimated population in this part of Maryland reached 263,867 people, a modest growth in residents. The county grew by 3,573 people or 1.37% of the population.

1. Frederick County

View north along Maryland State Route 550 (Creagerstown Road) between Old Frederick Road and Longs Mill Road in Creagerstown, Frederick County, Maryland

With a rise in population of 5.66%, Frederick County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Maryland.

©Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Population GainPercent Gain

Frederick County is nestled between Maryland’s borders with Pennsylvania and Virginia. The city of Frederick is the largest city in the county, and it is home to almost 80,000 people.

Frederick County was the leader among the fast-growing counties in Maryland. This area has been quickly growing in population since 2020. The 2020 Census showed that 271,709 people lived in this region. By July 2022, the estimated population in the area had reached 287,079 people.

That means an additional 15,370 people moved to this part of the state in just two years. That’s a rise in population equal to a 5.66% growth! This is a huge number of people moving to a single area in a short amount of time.

So, why is this county growing so quickly? It’s reasonably close to Baltimore and Washington D.C., making it a great location for people who are remote or hybrid workers in those cities. The county is close enough to those major cities without the same costs of living in them. Since Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, the three most populous counties, have lost portions of their population over the last two years, these people could be uprooting themselves and moving to nearby counties rather than all leaving the state.

Many people left cities beginning in 2020 because of crowded, overpriced housing markets, and others had to move for the sake of employment. The next census should provide more specific insights as to why people are moving to these fast-growing counties in Maryland.

Summary of the Fast-Growing Counties in Maryland

RankCountyPopulation Gain
1.Frederick County15,370
2.Hartford County3,573
3.Charles County3,481
4.Howard County3,095
5.Carroll County2,415
6.Queen Anne’s County1,840

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sean Pavone/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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