According to new U.S. Census estimates compiled by the State of Maryland, Carroll County is growing slightly less white and more racially and ethnically diverse.
Between April 2010 and July 2018, it is estimated that Carroll County saw a decrease of about 1,691 white people, according to a table published Thursday on the planning.maryland.gov website — about 1% of Carroll’s estimated total population in 2018 of 168,429 people.
In the same time span, the population of non-Hispanic people of color — African-Americans, American Indians, Asians, Native Hawaiians or Pacific islanders, and those who identify as two or more races — increased by an estimated 2,978 people, or just more than 1.7 % of Carroll’s total 2018 population.
Estimated changes in the Hispanic population were tracked separately and show an increase of 1,885 people between April 2010 and July 2018, just over 1.1% of the 2018 population total.
U.S. Census counts take place every 10 years, the last being conducted in 2010 and the next scheduled for 2020.
“I didn’t realize there was such a rise for the minority population,” Jean Lewis, president of the Carroll County NAACP chapter, said when asked about the newly released population estimates. “I think it’s a wonderful thing if Carroll County is becoming more diverse in population. I think it adds a whole lot to everybody — you can see and work with people that don't look like you.”
Carroll County Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said that while a 1% flow of population one way or the other might or might not be an indicator of future trends, racial and ethnic diversity can have benefits.
“You know, diversity allows for strong growth,” he said. “Small business growth takes diverse populations of people that are not thinking the same, they're coming from different backgrounds and they’re able to solve problems differently.”
But Rothstein also said that the Census data he was most interested in centered on age rather than race, in respect to Carroll’s aging population as well as school-age children.
“I am much more interested in how the Census breaks down the numbers of those that we should look at resourcing and providing services,” he said. “If we start seeing much larger millennial groups coming in, then we know that there's gonna be more children coming into where we have services and schools.”
Schools, however, have been one area where Carroll has already struggled to keep up with a more diverse population.
Between Sept. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018, Carroll County Public Schools hired 111 educators, but only four minorities — two who were African-American and two who were Asian — or just 3.6 percent of new hires.
However, the school system also lost four minority educators in that same year, making for a net gain of zero, and the second year in a row that exact pattern — hire four, lose four — played out.
The school system’s strategic plan for 2018-19 included a performance target of increasing minority recruitment by 5%, and Chantress Baptist, director of human resources for Carroll County Public Schools, told the Times in November that the system had remained “pretty stagnant.”