The just released interim U.S. Census estimated data, under the “American Community Survey” for 2008, provides a snapshot of just how Cecil County fares in comparison with the rest of the state in many areas, from income to education levels to senior citizen population to workers’ commuting distances.
This is a treasure trove of information and data that is not easily digested in a moment. But our analysis of the new data provides some interesting information for citizens and our County Commissioners to keep in mind as they make decisions that affect all of us.
We all want to know where we “rank” in comparision with the rest of the state, given that Cecil County usually has either an inferiority complex or an assertive “so who gives a dam*” attitude about the rest of the state. So far in our analysis, Cecil County ranks #10 out of 16 jurisdictions in the state on both median household income and proportion of the population aged 65 or over. In other words, a bit below average…
The national Census Bureau report concluded that the state of Maryland was the richest in the nation, with median household income of $70,545 a year. (“Median” means the midpoint, with half the households above and half below that income level.) For Cecil County, the median income was $68,338, placing Cecil County at number 10 within the state—with 6 subdivisions poorer and 9 richer. (NOTE: this survey does not include smaller counties in the state, such as Kent, Somerset and Garrett.)
(See Chart Below)
|Anne Arundel County||83,285||+/-2,801|
|Prince George’s County||72,166||+/-1,809|
|St. Mary’s County||80,624||+/-5,214|
Frankly, we are a bit surprised that Cecil County even does this well. The Maryland Department of Planning interim estimates of income for Cecil County, previously estimated for the same 2008 period, estimated a much lower $63,850 median household income. We will be contacting the statistical gurus at the Maryland State Data Center in the next few days for their evaluation of the new U.S. Census data versus their own lower estimates.
One of the key indicators of future quality-of-life issues and community needs is the population aged 65 and over. The county’s planning study by the distinquished SAGE research group from Baltimore, as well as projections by the state Planning Department, estimate that Cecil County faces about a two-fold increase in the senior citizen population. So far, the new U.S. Census data only reflects where we are, not where we will be, but the data indicate Cecil County must seriously begin to plan for an aging population.
(MORE ON THIS ISSUE IN OUR NEXT POST ON THE CECIL TIMES)