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Charles County is a county in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of 2010, the population was 146,551. Its county seat is La Plata. This county was named for Charles Calvert (1637–1715), third Baron Baltimore. Charles County is a part of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
Charles County was created in 1658 by an Order in Council. There was an earlier Charles County from 1650 to 1653, sometimes referred to in historic documents as Old Charles County. In April 1865, John Wilkes Booth made his escape through Charles County after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. He was on his way to Virginia. On April 28, 2002, a tornado cut through the County and destroyed much of downtown La Plata. The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Among which, are the distinguished Green Park and the historical Pleasant Hill, home of the Green and Spalding Families.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 643.22 square miles (1,665.9 km2), of which 461.00 square miles (1,194.0 km2) (or 71.67%) is land and 182.22 square miles (471.9 km2) (or 28.33%) is water.
In its western wing, along the southernmost bend in Maryland Route 224, Charles County contains a rare instance where the traveler is due north, east, south, and west of the same state—Virginia.
On December 4, 2004, an arson took place in the development of Hunters Brooke which is located a few miles southeast of Indian Head. It later became the largest residential arson in the history of the state of Maryland.
Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:
The county is experiencing a dramatic growth in African-American population, which began in 1990. Census figures below are from 2000:
As of the census of 2000, there were 120,546 people, 41,668 households, and 32,292 families residing in the county. The population density was 262 people per square mile (101/km²). There were 43,903 housing units at an average density of 95 per square mile (37/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.51% White, 26.06% Black or African American, 0.75% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 2.08% from two or more races. 2.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 11.6% were of German, 10.8% Irish, 10.2% English, 9.3% American and 5.3% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 41,668 households out of which 41.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% were married couples living together, 14.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.50% were non-families. 17.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the county the population was spread out with 28.70% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 33.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $62,199, and the median income for a family was $67,602 (these figures had risen to $80,573 and $89,358 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $43,371 versus $34,231 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,285. About 3.70% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.70% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2010 the county population's racial makeup was 48.38% Non-Hispanic whites, 40.96% blacks, 0.65% Native Americans, 2.98% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islanders, 0.17% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 3.20% Non-Hispanics reporting more than one race and 4.27% Hispanic.Information and images courtesy of wikipedia.org