List of counties in Maryland

Last updated
Independent city and counties of Maryland
Map of maryland counties.jpg
Location State of Maryland
Number23 counties and 1 Independent city
Populations(Counties only): 19,198 (Kent) – 1,062,061 (Montgomery)
Areas(Counties only): 254 square miles (660 km2) (Howard) – 695 square miles (1,800 km2) (Worcester)

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]



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 counties

FIPS code [5] County seat [2] [6] Est. [2] [6] Origin [2] Etymology [2] Flag
Population [7] Area [6] [8] Map
AlleganyCounty 001 Cumberland 1789Formed from part of Washington County.From Lenape oolikhanna, which means "beautiful stream" Flag of Allegany County, Maryland.png Seal of Allegany County, Maryland.png 68,106430 sq mi
(1,114 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Allegany County.svg
Anne ArundelCounty 003 Annapolis 1650Formed 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 Flag of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.svg Seal of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.svg 588,261588 sq mi
(1,523 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Anne Arundel County.svg
BaltimoreCounty 005 Towson 1659Formed from unorganized territory Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, first proprietor of the Maryland colony Flag of Baltimore County, Maryland.svg Seal of Baltimore County, Maryland.svg 854,535682 sq mi
(1,766 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Baltimore County.svg
BaltimoreCity 510 Baltimore City 1851Founded in 1729. Detached in 1851 from Baltimore County Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, first proprietor of the Maryland colony Flag of Baltimore, Maryland.svg Seal of Baltimore, Maryland.png 585,70892 sq mi
(238 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Baltimore City.svg
CalvertCounty 009 Prince Frederick 1654Formed as Patuxent County from unorganized territory. Renamed Calvert County in 1658The Calvert family; prior to 1658 it was called Patuxent County, after the Patuxent Indians, a branch of the Algonquians Flag of Calvert County, Maryland.svg Seal of Calvert County, Maryland.png 92,783345 sq mi
(894 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Calvert County.svg
CarolineCounty 011 Denton 1773From parts of Dorchester County and Queen Anne's CountyLady Caroline Eden, daughter of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore Flag of Caroline County, Maryland.svg Seal of Caroline County, Maryland.svg 33,293326 sq mi
(844 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Caroline County.svg
CarrollCounty 013 Westminster 1837From parts of Baltimore County and Frederick County Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a representative to the Continental Congress and signatory of the Declaration of Independence Flag of Carroll County, Maryland.png Seal of Carroll County, Maryland.png 172,891452 sq mi
(1,171 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Carroll County.svg
CecilCounty 015 Elkton 1672From parts of Baltimore County and Kent CountyCecil is an Anglicized form of the first name of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore Flag of Cecil County, Maryland.gif Seal of Cecil County, Maryland.png 103,725418 sq mi
(1,083 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Cecil County.svg
CharlesCounty 017 La Plata 1658From unorganized territory Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, second proprietor of the Maryland colony Flag of Charles County, Maryland.png Seal of Charles County, Maryland.svg 166,617643 sq mi
(1,665 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Charles County.svg
DorchesterCounty 019 Cambridge 1668From unorganized territory Dorchester in Dorset, England; the Earl of Dorset was a friend of the Calvert family Flag of Dochester County, Maryland.png Seal of Dorchester County, Maryland.png 32,531540 sq mi
(1,399 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Dorchester County.svg
FrederickCounty 021 Frederick 1748From part of Prince George's County Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore, final proprietor of the Maryland colony Flag of Frederick County, Maryland.png Seal of Frederick County, Maryland.png 271,717667 sq mi
(1,728 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Frederick County.svg
GarrettCounty 023 Oakland 1872From part of Allegany County John Work Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Flag of Garrett County, Maryland.svg Seal of Garrett County, Maryland.svg 28,806656 sq mi
(1,699 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Garrett County.svg
HarfordCounty 025 Bel Air 1773From part of Baltimore County Henry Harford, illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore Flag of Harford County, Maryland.png Seal of Harford County, Maryland.svg 260,924527 sq mi
(1,365 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Harford County.svg
HowardCounty 027 Ellicott City 1851From parts of Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County John Eager Howard, an American Revolutionary War officer and governor of Maryland Flag of Howard County, Maryland.svg Seal of Howard County, Maryland.png 332,317254 sq mi
(658 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Howard County.svg
KentCounty 029 Chestertown 1642From unorganized territoryThe English county of Kent Flag of Kent County, Maryland.gif Seal of Kent County, Maryland.gif 19,198414 sq mi
(1,072 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Kent County.svg
MontgomeryCounty 031 Rockville 1776From part of Frederick County Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War general Flag of Montgomery County, Maryland.svg Seal of Montgomery County, Maryland.svg 1,062,061507 sq mi
(1,313 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Montgomery County.svg
Prince George'sCounty 033 Upper Marlboro 1696From parts of Calvert County and Charles County Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain Flag of Prince George's County, Maryland (1963-present).svg Seal of Prince George's County, Maryland.svg 967,201498 sq mi
(1,290 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Prince George's County.svg
Queen Anne'sCounty 035 Centreville 1706From parts of Talbot County Anne, Queen of Great Britain Flag of Queen Anne's County, Maryland.gif Seal of Queen Anne's County, Maryland.png 49,874510 sq mi
(1,321 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Queen Anne's County.svg
SomersetCounty 039 Princess Anne 1666From unorganized territory.Mary, Lady Somerset, sister-in-law of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore Flag of Somerset County, Maryland.svg Seal of Somerset County, Maryland.png 24,620611 sq mi
(1,582 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Somerset County.svg
St. Mary'sCounty 037 Leonardtown 1637From 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 Flag of St. Mary's County, Maryland.png Seal of St. Mary's County, Maryland.png 113,777611 sq mi
(1,582 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting St. Mary's County.svg
TalbotCounty 041 Easton 1662From part of Kent CountyGrace, Lady Talbot, sister of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore Flag of Talbot County, Maryland.svg Seal of Talbot County, Maryland.png 37,526477 sq mi
(1,235 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Talbot County.svg
WashingtonCounty 043 Hagerstown 1776From part of Frederick County George Washington, first President of the United States Flag of Washington County, Maryland.svg Link to image 154,705468 sq mi
(1,212 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Washington County.svg
WicomicoCounty 045 Salisbury 1867From parts of Somerset County and Worcester CountyThe Wicomico River; in Lenape, wicko mekee indicated "a place where houses are built," possibly in reference to a settlement Flag of Wicomico County, Maryland.gif Seal of Wicomico County, Maryland.png 103,588400 sq mi
(1,036 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Wicomico County.svg
WorcesterCounty 047 Snow Hill 1742From part of Somerset CountyMary 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 Flag of Worcester County, Maryland.svg Seal of Worcester County, Maryland.png 52,460695 sq mi
(1,800 km2)
Map of Maryland highlighting Worcester County.svg

Defunct counties

CountyYears of existenceEtymology
Old Charles County1650-1654King Charles I of England
Durham County1669-1672The English County Durham
Old Worcester County1672-1685Mary 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 also

Related Research Articles

Baltimore County, Maryland County in Maryland, US

Baltimore County is the third-most populous county in the U.S. state of Maryland and is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area. Baltimore County is part of the Northeast megalopolis, which stretches from Northern Virginia northward to Boston. Baltimore County hosts a diversified economy, with particular emphasis on education, government, and health care.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.

Local government in the United States refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. Most states and territories have at least two tiers of local government: counties and municipalities. Louisiana uses the term parish and Alaska uses the term borough for what the U.S. Census Bureau terms county equivalents in those states. Civil townships or towns are used as subdivisions of a county in 20 states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.

In the United States, an independent city is a city that is not in the territory of any county or counties and is considered a primary administrative division of its state. Independent cities are classified by the United States Census Bureau as "county equivalents" and may also have similar governmental powers as a consolidated city-county. However, in the case of a consolidated city-county, a city and a county were merged into a unified jurisdiction in which the county at least nominally exists to this day, whereas an independent city was legally separated from any county or merged with a county that simultaneously ceased to exist even in name.


  1. Brugger, Robert J. (1988). Maryland: A Middle Temperament, 1634–1980. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN   0-8018-3399-X.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "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. 1 2 3 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.