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Harford County, Maryland
Seal of Harford County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Harford County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1773
Seat Bel Air
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

527 sq mi (1,365 km²)
440 sq mi (1,140 km²)
86 sq mi (223 km²), 16.4%
 - (2020)
 - Density

497/sq mi (192/km²)

Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2020 census, the population is 260,924. Its county seat is Bel Air. Harford County forms part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.


Harford County was formed in 1773 from the eastern part of Baltimore County. It contains Tudor Hall, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Harford County also hosted the signers of the Bush Declaration, a precursor document to the American Revolution.

The county was named for Henry Harford (ca. 1759-1834), illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert. Harford was the last Proprietary Governor of Maryland, but did not inherit his father's title because of his illegitimacy.

Havre de Grace, an incorporated city in Harford County, was once under consideration to be the capital of the United States rather than Washington. It was favored for its strategic location at the top of the Chesapeake Bay; this location would facilitate trade while being secure in time of war. Today, the waterways around Havre de Grace have been silted, one of the primary environmental issues of Harford County.

Environmental History[]

Harford County has been a hotbed of environmental issues in three major areas: land use, water pollution/runoff, and soil contamination/groundwater contamination.

The county's past, present, and future population booms and development have created conflicts between farmers and developers/homeowners wishing to create subdevelopments. The county was one of the first in the country to implement a development envelope plan, in which new development is channeled into specific areas of the county.

Because the county sits at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay along the Susquehanna River, it plays a key rôle in controlling sediment and fertilizer runoff into the bay as well as fostering submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) regrowth. The county has had to balance the needs of land owners to practice agriculture and/or pave land (creating impervious surfaces) with effects of runoff into the bay.

Harford County has been burdened by soil contamination and groundwater contamination since the creation of Aberdeen Proving Ground. The military installation performs research for the U.S. Army and has released various chemical agents into soil and groundwater, including mustard gas and perchlorate. The bordering towns of Aberdeen and Edgewood have both been affected by this contamination. Aberdeen Proving Ground contains three superfund priority sites as of 2006. Groundwater contamination by MTBE, a mandatory gasoline additive, has also affected Fallston.

Politics and government[]

Harford County is, like the Pennsylvania Dutch Country to its north, a strongly Republican region. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Harford County since Lyndon Johnson’s landslide of 1964. In the period before World War II Harford leaned strongly Democratic as it had sizeable Confederate sympathies,[1] but during and since the Second World War the county has turned away from its traditional allegiances. In 2020, Joe Biden became the first Democratic candidate to get above 40% of the vote in the county since Jimmy Carter.

Template:Party color cellTemplate:Party color cellTemplate:Party color cell
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment of Harford County[2]
Party Total Percentage
Democratic 65,878 35.42%
Republican 79,561 42.78%
Independents, unaffiliated, and other 40,541 21.80%
Total 185,980 100.00%
United States presidential election results for Harford County, Maryland[3]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 80,930 54.61% 63,095 42.58% 4,161 2.81%
2016 77,860 58.25% 47,077 35.22% 8,735 6.53%
2012 72,911 57.89% 49,729 39.48% 3,314 2.63%
2008 71,751 58.19% 48,552 39.38% 2,992 2.43%
2004 71,565 63.48% 39,685 35.20% 1,478 1.31%
2000 52,862 57.82% 35,665 39.01% 2,897 3.17%
1996 39,686 50.76% 29,779 38.08% 8,726 11.16%
1992 36,350 45.05% 27,164 33.67% 17,173 21.28%
1988 38,493 65.73% 19,803 33.81% 270 0.46%
1984 37,382 68.41% 17,133 31.36% 127 0.23%
1980 26,713 52.44% 20,042 39.34% 4,186 8.22%
1976 24,309 55.00% 19,890 45.00% 0 0.00%
1972 25,141 73.16% 8,737 25.42% 488 1.42%
1968 15,799 51.48% 9,914 32.30% 4,978 16.22%
1964 9,968 42.38% 13,550 57.62% 0 0.00%
1960 12,090 56.54% 9,293 43.46% 0 0.00%
1956 12,657 65.77% 6,588 34.23% 0 0.00%
1952 10,770 60.99% 6,809 38.56% 80 0.45%
1948 6,168 52.49% 5,494 46.76% 88 0.75%
1944 6,751 58.25% 4,839 41.75% 0 0.00%
1940 6,501 53.91% 5,500 45.61% 59 0.49%
1936 5,327 46.20% 6,165 53.46% 39 0.34%
1932 3,954 39.02% 6,073 59.93% 107 1.06%
1928 6,479 64.53% 3,506 34.92% 55 0.55%
1924 3,545 45.69% 3,841 49.51% 372 4.80%
1920 4,175 49.86% 4,134 49.37% 65 0.78%
1916 2,302 40.16% 3,345 58.36% 85 1.48%
1912 1,737 30.40% 3,064 53.63% 912 15.96%
1908 2,742 45.91% 3,148 52.71% 82 1.37%
1904 2,561 43.91% 3,151 54.02% 121 2.07%
1900 3,145 45.42% 3,509 50.67% 271 3.91%
1896 3,374 47.49% 3,360 47.29% 371 5.22%
1892 2,449 40.67% 3,309 54.95% 264 4.38%


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,364 km² (527 sq mi). 1,140 km² (440 sq mi) of it is land and 224 km² (86 sq mi) of it (16.40%) is water.

The terrain rises in elevation and relief from south to north, with flat areas south of U.S. Route 40. The highest elevation, at 805 ft., is located near the Pennsylvania border in the county's northwestern corner. The lowest elevation is sea level along the Chesapeake Bay.

Adjacent counties[]


As of the census² of 2000, there were 218,590 people, 79,667 households, and 60,387 families residing in the county. The population density was 192/km² (496/sq mi). There were 83,146 housing units at an average density of 73/km² (189/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 86.77% White, 9.27% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.69% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 1.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.5% were of German, 13.1% Irish, 9.8% Italian, 9.2% English, 8.1% "American" and 6.0% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

By 2006 the population of Harford County had risen 10.4% to 241,402.[4]

The 2005 report on race and ethnicity indicated the county's population was 82.8% non-Hispanic whites. The proportion of African-Americans in the county had risen to 11.5%. Hispanics were now 2.4% of the total population.[5]

In 2000 there were 79,667 households out of which 38.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 19.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $57,234, and the median income for a family was $63,868. Males had a median income of $43,612 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,232. About 3.60% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 6.70% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[]

Harford County contains the following incorporated municipalities:

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:

  1. Aberdeen Proving Ground
  2. Bel Air North
  3. Bel Air South
  4. Edgewood
  5. Fallston
  6. Jarrettsville
  7. Joppatowne
  8. Perryman
  9. Pleasant Hills
  10. Riverside

Other unincorporated communities include:

  1. Abingdon
  2. Belcamp
  3. Cardiff
  4. Churchville
  5. Darlington
  6. Gunpowder
  7. Castleton
  8. Dublin
  9. Forest Hill
  10. Norrisville
  11. Pylesville
  12. Street
  13. Whiteford
  14. White Hill


Though there are not any major league teams in the county, Harford County is home to a minor league baseball team, the Aberdeen IronBirds. The team was founded by former Baltimore Orioles player and hall of famer Cal Ripken, who was raised in Aberdeen. Harford County is also home to Kimmie Meissner, who lives in Bel Air. Meissner competed in figure skating in the 2006 Winter Olympics and won a gold medal in the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships in Calgary, Alberta.

Major sports facilities include:

  • Ripken Stadium minor league baseball facility in Aberdeen, capacity of 6,200


For an entire list of schools see List of Schools in Harford County

Elementary Schools[]

There are thirty-two elementary schools in Harford County. Homestead-Wakefield, William Paca/Old Post Road and Youth's Benefit Elementary schools are two-building campuses housing primary students (Kindergarten-2nd Grade) in one building and intermediate students (3rd Grade-5th Grade) in the other building.

Middle Schools[]

There are currently 8 Middle Schools in Harford County, which all run from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., except North Harford Middle School which runs from 7:40 to 2:15.

High Schools[]

There are currently ten high schools in Harford County, along with one technical high school.

The John Archer School is an alternative "pre-K to 12th-grade" school in Harford County, run under the auspices of the Harford County Public Schools. The John Carroll School is a private Catholic school in the county.

The school mascots are the Aberdeen Eagles, Bel Air Bobcats, C. Milton Wright Mustangs, Edgewood Rams, Fallston Cougars, Havre de Grace Warriors, Joppatowne Mariners, North Harford Hawks, Patterson Mill Huskies, Restoration Academy Lions and Harford Technical Cobras.

Three of the HCPS high schools also have or are preparing for magnet programs. Aberdeen High School hosts the Science and Math Academy, and Harford Technical High School is in itself a magnet school for academic and technical programs. Edgewood High School is in the beginning stages of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, in which the school will offer college-preparatory courses for its students, who will graduate with an internationally recognized high school diploma.


There are no 4-year universities in Harford County. Harford Community College, located in Churchville, offers 2-year Associates degrees and vocational programs.


The single largest employer in Harford County is Aberdeen Proving Ground, with over 11,000 civilian employees. Following the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission of 2005, approximately 5,300 jobs will be moved to Aberdeen Proving Ground within the following decade.


The newspaper of record is The Aegis.

The Conowingo Dam is on the eastern border of Harford County; the dam operations and offices are on the Harford County side of the river.

Many scenes from the films Tuck Everlasting and From Within were filmed in various places around Harford County.


  1. ^ Levine, Mark V.; ‘Standing Political Decisions and Critical Realignment: The Pattern of Maryland Politics, 1872-1948’; The Journal of Politics, volume 38, no. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 292-325
  2. ^ "Summary of Voter Activity Report". Maryland State Board of Elections. August 2020. 
  3. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". 
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links[]

Coordinates: 39°32′N 76°18′W / 39.54, -76.30

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Harford County, Maryland. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.