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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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Hello all, I just want to get your thoughts on Charles County. From what I can see, the county seems to be a non-descript suburb, probably more like a Prince William County, VA rather than the suburbs you typically see in MD. Charles County piqued my curiosity because it was the first place I saw that close into DC where a house like mine was also modestly priced.

When posting in another thread about Montgomery County, I realized that Charles County was the 21st richest county (http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/6-10-richest-counties-us-are-dc-area - broken link) in all of the United States. I had no idea it was that high! The "literature" on Charles County seems to be pretty scant and I just can't find out a lot about its contemporary development or even that much on the county's history.

A characteristic of note is that much of its population growth is a result of incoming African-Americans. It looks as if Charles County is the second county ever in the United States to become richer as it became blacker (PG County was the first). However, I don't think most people would advise PG County as a model to aspire to. Although African-Americans are not the majority and whites are the largest population, it seems as if Charles County is a slight "majority minority".

But from what I can glean about Charles County, incomes are high, homeownership rates are higher than the MD average, there a very few "multi-unit" structures (the warehouses of PG County poverty and crime), the schools appear to be decent, and crime seems to be what is expected of a suburban county of its size. I do find it curious that it is the first MD County ever to elect an African-American State Attorney and he has pledged to keep crime down. In the couple of forums I have seen on City-Data about Charles County from a few years ago people were complaining about a pretty sizeable increase in crime although stats from the same time frame actually indicate only a slight increase in crime despite the rapid growth. The most notable crime that comes up is that one arson incident from 2004.

Are these just the musings of a downward spiral because African-Americans are moving into the county or is an actual PG type decline taking place. I have no plans on moving soon but several people who want to relocate to DC metro on the MD side and are "priced out" of Montgomery County inquire about Charles County. From what I can see there are no outward signs of trouble (except traffic) but for those who live in Charles County or have more intimate knowledge of the area, what are your thoughts on the county's future?
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:55 PM
 
Location: On the Chesapeake
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Prince George's has had Black State's Attorneys for almost 20 years. Charles was not the first.

Nuisance crimes such as car theft are up in the County, or people think they are, due mostly to people coming from the County from elsewhere, doing something, and then rolling back up the road.

Charles also had a spate of murders a few years ago, all unconnected.

The reality is that Black Flight has changed some of the northern parts of the County to "majority minority", especially in some schools. That trend will probably continue as people flee the taxes, high costs and overall negative perception of Prince George's County. That has already happened to Calvert County with White Flight beginning in the early 90s. The process seems to be going faster in Charles.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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Default Correction

I mean't first black Maryland State's Attorney (for Charles County) not the first ever. You are correct: PG County and Baltimore City have had multiple black Maryland State's attorneys. I believe Covington is the first African-American state's attorney in a Maryland county that is not a majority African-American. I know Montgomery County has had a black Assistant State's attorney. That fact that he is black really doesn't matter though; it was more his statement about crime in Charles County. Such political speaks were viewed as scare tactics in the more contentious state's attorney's races in Baltimore!

I think that is interesting how you mentioned that "Black Flight" and "White Flight" from PG County is filtering into two separate counties. Although, Calvert County is the 13th wealthiest and Charles County is the 21st wealthiest in the U.S., the median household income is only separated by abouth $2500. So it doesn't seem like a matter of income that blacks move into Charles and whites move into Calvert. I wonder what are the circumstances that make blacks want to move into Charles County rather than Calvert County and vice-versa. They seem to be very similar.

As to the rate of speed, I think white Marylanders are not migrating into other counties, white Marylanders are just leaving the state (http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/2011/02/hispanics-drive-marylands-population-growth - broken link)altogether when moving!


Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Prince George's has had Black State's Attorneys for almost 20 years. Charles was not the first.

Nuisance crimes such as car theft are up in the County, or people think they are, due mostly to people coming from the County from elsewhere, doing something, and then rolling back up the road.

Charles also had a spate of murders a few years ago, all unconnected.

The reality is that Black Flight has changed some of the northern parts of the County to "majority minority", especially in some schools. That trend will probably continue as people flee the taxes, high costs and overall negative perception of Prince George's County. That has already happened to Calvert County with White Flight beginning in the early 90s. The process seems to be going faster in Charles.

Last edited by Steelers10; 02-12-2011 at 05:15 PM.. Reason: left off actual response!
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:52 PM
 
Location: DMV
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Yeah I think the concern can be there, not because of the African American population persay, but because of the economic affordability of the area and the lack thereof for DC. It seems like there have been a lot of transplant people from DC who move down there. Sometimes the element of those who are moving from low-income crime ridden areas in SE tend to bring that element with them. Unfortunately I think that has contributed to the increase in crime. I also don't think Waldorf has been well-planned at all and there are a lot of teenagers that have nothing better to do but to just get in trouble. They definitely contribute to this. If you don't think so, I urge you to go to St. Charles Town Center, during the weekend. It looks like a teenage club in there. I mean after the mall and maybe the Captial Clubhouse, what else is there? Some of them look for trouble.

The biggest issues with Charles County, that will determine what will happen is leadership. PG County lacks good leadership and accountability, and has suffered as a result. If Charles County wants to stay afloat, they have to remain balanced with their representation. Voting Republican for some positions isn't always bad, sometimes you need that balance and also giving those elected officials a notice to let them know, that their party can be kicked out if they aren't performing. But because I think a lot other races are moving to Charles County as well, I don't think it will ever get that bad, I think it will remain balance and still be attractive.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:03 AM
 
2,331 posts, read 4,225,389 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
Yeah I think the concern can be there, not because of the African American population persay, but because of the economic affordability of the area and the lack thereof for DC. It seems like there have been a lot of transplant people from DC who move down there. Sometimes the element of those who are moving from low-income crime ridden areas in SE tend to bring that element with them. Unfortunately I think that has contributed to the increase in crime. I also don't think Waldorf has been well-planned at all and there are a lot of teenagers that have nothing better to do but to just get in trouble. They definitely contribute to this. If you don't think so, I urge you to go to St. Charles Town Center, during the weekend. It looks like a teenage club in there. I mean after the mall and maybe the Captial Clubhouse, what else is there? Some of them look for trouble.

The biggest issues with Charles County, that will determine what will happen is leadership. PG County lacks good leadership and accountability, and has suffered as a result. If Charles County wants to stay afloat, they have to remain balanced with their representation. Voting Republican for some positions isn't always bad, sometimes you need that balance and also giving those elected officials a notice to let them know, that their party can be kicked out if they aren't performing. But because I think a lot other races are moving to Charles County as well, I don't think it will ever get that bad, I think it will remain balance and still be attractive.
Voting Moderate is what is keeping Prince William County, VA afloat. Like Charles County, Prince William County experienced a surge in African American Population Growth and there is no discussions questioning the Crime rate and Corruption in Prince William County like they are with Charles County.......
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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I would not be so quick to equate "rich" with "high income." There is a difference. However, it is true that household income has shot up dramatically in Charles County with the influx of Black Americans.

About 20 years ago, Queens County, NY (though not majority black) also became more affluent with the influx of African Americans, mostly of Caribbean descent.

The rate of Black population increase in Charles County is so high that I think that it is certain to become majority Black. I think it's future will be a "mixed bag" like Prince George's county with unique high income Black neighborhoods and some "problem-areas" on the fringes. But I agree with those above that the worst aspects of Prince George's will be avoided if leaders in Charles take heed of lessons learned in PG.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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Default Thanks for the responses

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
Yeah I think the concern can be there, not because of the African American population persay, but because of the economic affordability of the area and the lack thereof for DC. It seems like there have been a lot of transplant people from DC who move down there. Sometimes the element of those who are moving from low-income crime ridden areas in SE tend to bring that element with them. Unfortunately I think that has contributed to the increase in crime. I also don't think Waldorf has been well-planned at all and there are a lot of teenagers that have nothing better to do but to just get in trouble. They definitely contribute to this. If you don't think so, I urge you to go to St. Charles Town Center, during the weekend. It looks like a teenage club in there. I mean after the mall and maybe the Captial Clubhouse, what else is there? Some of them look for trouble.
Thanks for the first hand insight! I don't know a lot about Capital Clubhouse. Do you think a place with an ice skating rink, soccer, and a rock climbing wall has the possibility of becoming thuggish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
The biggest issues with Charles County, that will determine what will happen is leadership. PG County lacks good leadership and accountability, and has suffered as a result. If Charles County wants to stay afloat, they have to remain balanced with their representation. Voting Republican for some positions isn't always bad, sometimes you need that balance and also giving those elected officials a notice to let them know, that their party can be kicked out if they aren't performing. But because I think a lot other races are moving to Charles County as well, I don't think it will ever get that bad, I think it will remain balance and still be attractive.


Yeah, I'm don't know if voting for a political party just because they are different solves the accountability issue but when long term candidates are not challenged in primaries and the same people just keep getting re-elected unopposed--well, isn't that just the definition of a political machine?

When you say a "lot of other races are moving into Charles County as well", is this saying that only blacks (in this case from PG County) are problematic or that having a diversity of cultures is better than being a monoracial county or just black and white?


Quote:
Originally Posted by $mk8795 View Post
Voting Moderate is what is keeping Prince William County, VA afloat. Like Charles County, Prince William County experienced a surge in African American Population Growth and there is no discussions questioning the Crime rate and Corruption in Prince William County like they are with Charles County.......
I'm not certain that Prince William County ever experienced a surge in African American population. Correct me if I'm wrong but even with the massive population explosion over the past 15 years, the PW County black population has always hovered at around 20% overall, probably a little less. The real surge has been with the Hispanic population and that hasn't exactly brought out the most "moderate" PW County politics:

Prince William immigration law remains controversial

If anything I would think the tie that binds PW County and Charles County is the high foreclosure rates. PW's has "simmered down" over the past year or two while Charles County has remained one of the highest in Maryland at almost 1 in every 300 houses in foreclosure last year but at its peak PW County was like 1 in every 100 houses.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BougNeg1 View Post
I would not be so quick to equate "rich" with "high income." There is a difference. However, it is true that household income has shot up dramatically in Charles County with the influx of Black Americans.

About 20 years ago, Queens County, NY (though not majority black) also became more affluent with the influx of African Americans, mostly of Caribbean descent.

The rate of Black population increase in Charles County is so high that I think that it is certain to become majority Black. I think it's future will be a "mixed bag" like Prince George's county with unique high income Black neighborhoods and some "problem-areas" on the fringes. But I agree with those above that the worst aspects of Prince George's will be avoided if leaders in Charles take heed of lessons learned in PG.
I would definitely agree that there is a difference between "rich" and "wealthy". But I would think "rich" and "high income" are the same. I would be interested to hear your distinction. I think you hit the nail on the head when you qualified that the "African Americans" are of Caribbean descent. There is some literature out there that Caribbean blacks and African immigrants by far exceed the standards of living and education levels of native-born African Americans and even exceed that of whites.

But weren't PG County's historical circumstances very unique? It started out as rural then a white flight suburb for more working class whites from the NE and SE of Washington DC? Do you think the power structure of 1970s PG County wanted it to succeed when black flight began to happen? How do you think the contemporary political situation in Charles County compares?
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelers10 View Post
I would definitely agree that there is a difference between "rich" and "wealthy". But I would think "rich" and "high income" are the same. I would be interested to hear your distinction. I think you hit the nail on the head when you qualified that the "African Americans" are of Caribbean descent. There is some literature out there that Caribbean blacks and African immigrants by far exceed the standards of living and education levels of native-born African Americans and even exceed that of whites.

But weren't PG County's historical circumstances very unique? It started out as rural then a white flight suburb for more working class whites from the NE and SE of Washington DC? Do you think the power structure of 1970s PG County wanted it to succeed when black flight began to happen? How do you think the contemporary political situation in Charles County compares?
Steelers 10,

I agree with BougNeg1 that rich and high income aren't necessarily the same thing. There are plenty of people with high incomes who are deeply in debt, losing their homes to foreclosure, and living from paycheck to paycheck. A high income doesn't necessarily guarantee being rich/wealthy.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RamblingMan View Post
Steelers 10,

I agree with BougNeg1 that rich and high income aren't necessarily the same thing. There are plenty of people with high incomes who are deeply in debt, losing their homes to foreclosure, and living from paycheck to paycheck. A high income doesn't necessarily guarantee being rich/wealthy.
I would make a distinction between rich and wealthy. Wealth is about having assets with value. There are heirs to fortunes that have never received a paycheck in their lives. However, they own property and shares that could be liquidated or sold to provide an income.

Most Americans with high incomes are in debt. Even if you make over $250,000 a year ("rich" at least according to the IRS) its not as if you could buy a new home without taking out a mortgage. Certainly you could go to most "rust belt" cities and buy a home cash easily with a $250,000 salary but I would think someone with that level of income is largely expecting their high income to buy them the amenities associated with safety and quality (i.e. how many people in Detroit with a $250,000 salary go buy a $20,000 fixer-upper Victorian in the inner city). I would say having a high income which could afford you safe quality housing and a well-maintained surrounding infrastructure could be defined as rich. Being able to afford these amenities without being in severe debt could be defined as wealthy.

NFL Players = Rich
NFL Owners = Wealthy
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