List of counties in Maryland


There are 23 counties and 1 independent city in the U.S. state of Maryland. Though an independent city rather than a county, the City of Baltimore is considered the equal of a county for most purposes and is a county-equivalent. Many of the counties in Maryland were named for relatives of the Barons Baltimore, who were the proprietors of the Maryland colony from its founding in 1634 through 1771. The Barons Baltimore were Catholic, and George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, originally intended that the colony be a haven for English Catholics, though for most of its history Maryland has had a majority of Protestants.[1]

Independent city and counties of Maryland
Map of maryland counties.jpg
LocationState of Maryland
Number23 counties and 1 Independent city
Populations(Counties only): 19,270 (Kent) – 1,054,827 (Montgomery)
Areas(Counties only): 254 square miles (660 km2) (Howard) – 695 square miles (1,800 km2) (Worcester)


The last new county formation in Maryland occurred when Garrett County was formed in 1872 from portions of Allegany County.[2] However, there have been numerous changes to county borders since that time, most recently when portions of the city of Takoma Park that had previously been part of Prince George's County were absorbed into Montgomery County in 1997.[3]

Outside of Baltimore (which is an independent city) the county is the default unit of local government. Under Maryland law, counties exercise powers reserved in most other states at the municipal or state levels, so there is little incentive for a community to incorporate. Many of the state's most populous and economically important communities, such as Bethesda, Silver Spring, Columbia, and Towson are unincorporated and receive their municipal services from the county. In fact, there are no incorporated municipalities at all in Baltimore County or Howard County. The county-equivalent is also the provider of public schools—school districts as a separate level of government do not exist in Maryland.

The City of Baltimore generally possesses the same powers and responsibilities as the counties within the state. It is an entity nearly surrounded by but separate from the County of Baltimore, which has its county seat in Towson.

The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify states and counties, is provided with each entry.[4] Maryland's code is 24, which when combined with any county code would be written as 24XXX. The FIPS code for each county links to census data for that county.

List of countiesEdit

FIPS code[5] County seat[2][6] Est.[2][6] Origin[2] Etymology[2] Flag
Population[7] Area[6][8] Map
Allegany County 001 Cumberland 1789 Formed from part of Washington County. From Lenape oolikhanna, which means "beautiful stream"     67,729 430 sq mi
(1,114 km2)
Anne Arundel County 003 Annapolis 1650 Formed from part of St. Mary's County. Anne Arundell was the maiden name of the wife of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. Between 1654 and 1658 it was known as Providence County by Puritan settlers     590,336 588 sq mi
(1,523 km2)
Baltimore County 005 Towson 1659 Formed from unorganized territory Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, first proprietor of the Maryland colony     849,316 682 sq mi
(1,766 km2)
Baltimore City 510 Baltimore City 1851 Founded in 1729. Detached in 1851 from Baltimore County Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, first proprietor of the Maryland colony     576,498 92 sq mi
(238 km2)
Calvert County 009 Prince Frederick 1654 Formed as Patuxent County from unorganized territory. Renamed Calvert County in 1658 The Calvert family; prior to 1658 it was called Patuxent County, after the Patuxent Indians, a branch of the Algonquians     93,928 345 sq mi
(894 km2)
Caroline County 011 Denton 1773 From parts of Dorchester County and Queen Anne's County Lady Caroline Eden, daughter of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore     33,386 326 sq mi
(844 km2)
Carroll County 013 Westminster 1837 From parts of Baltimore County and Frederick County Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a representative to the Continental Congress and signatory of the Declaration of Independence     173,873 452 sq mi
(1,171 km2)
Cecil County 015 Elkton 1674 From parts of Baltimore County and Kent County Cecil is an Anglicized form of the first name of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore     103,905 418 sq mi
(1,083 km2)
Charles County 017 La Plata 1658 From unorganized territory Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, second proprietor of the Maryland colony     168,698 643 sq mi
(1,665 km2)
Dorchester County 019 Cambridge 1668 From unorganized territory Dorchester in Dorset, England; the Earl of Dorset was a friend of the Calvert family     32,489 540 sq mi
(1,399 km2)
Frederick County 021 Frederick 1748 From part of Prince George's County Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore, final proprietor of the Maryland colony     279,835 667 sq mi
(1,728 km2)
Garrett County 023 Oakland 1872 From part of Allegany County John Work Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad     28,702 656 sq mi
(1,699 km2)
Harford County 025 Bel Air 1773 From part of Baltimore County Henry Harford, illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore     262,977 527 sq mi
(1,365 km2)
Howard County 027 Ellicott City 1851 From parts of Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County John Eager Howard, an American Revolutionary War officer and governor of Maryland     334,529 254 sq mi
(658 km2)
Kent County 029 Chestertown 1642 From unorganized territory The English county of Kent     19,270 414 sq mi
(1,072 km2)
Montgomery County 031 Rockville 1776 From part of Frederick County Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War general     1,054,827 507 sq mi
(1,313 km2)
Prince George's County 033 Upper Marlboro 1696 From parts of Calvert County and Charles County Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain     955,306 498 sq mi
(1,290 km2)
Queen Anne's County 035 Centreville 1706 From parts of Talbot County Anne, Queen of Great Britain     50,798 510 sq mi
(1,321 km2)
Somerset County 039 Princess Anne 1666 From unorganized territory. Mary, Lady Somerset, sister-in-law of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore     24,584 611 sq mi
(1,582 km2)
St. Mary's County 037 Leonardtown 1637 From unorganized territory. Was named Potomac County between 1654 and 1658. The Virgin Mary, first county named in a colony intended to be a haven for Catholics     114,468 611 sq mi
(1,582 km2)
Talbot County 041 Easton 1662 From part of Kent County Grace, Lady Talbot, sister of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore     37,626 477 sq mi
(1,235 km2)
Washington County 043 Hagerstown 1776 From part of Frederick County George Washington, first President of the United States   Link to image 154,937 468 sq mi
(1,212 km2)
Wicomico County 045 Salisbury 1867 From parts of Somerset County and Worcester County The Wicomico River; in Lenape, wicko mekee indicated "a place where houses are built," possibly in reference to a settlement     103,980 400 sq mi
(1,036 km2)
Worcester County 047 Snow Hill 1742 From part of Somerset County Mary Arundell, the wife of Sir John Somerset, son of Henry Somerset, 1st Marquess of Worcester, and sister of Anne Arundell, the wife of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore     53,132 695 sq mi
(1,800 km2)

Defunct countiesEdit

County Years of existence Etymology
Old Charles County 1650–1654 King Charles I of England
Durham County 1669–1672 The English County Durham
Old Worcester County 1672–1685 Mary Arundell, the wife of Sir John Somerset, son of the 1st Marquess of Worcester,
and sister of Anne Arundell, wife of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Brugger, Robert J. (1988). Maryland: A Middle Temperament, 1634–1980. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN 0-8018-3399-X.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Counties". Maryland Manual Online. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  3. ^ Brown, Deneen (June 28, 1997). "As Unification Nears, Takoma Park Residents Still a Divided People". The Washington Post. pp. A1. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  4. ^ "FIPS Publish 6-4". National Institute of Standards and Technology. Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  5. ^ "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". Archived from the original on 2004-09-28. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  6. ^ a b c National Association of Counties. "NACo - Find a county". Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  7. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  8. ^ "Maryland QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-06-22.