Statewide, Howard County had the largest population growth over the last eight years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual population estimates released Thursday.
Howard data revealed the county had a 12.6% population change between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2018. The number of residents rose from an estimated 287,085 to approximately 323,196 living in Howard.
However, for the time frame between July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018, Howard County was tied for the second-highest population growth at 1.2% with Queen Anne’s County, according to census estimates. Frederick County was the highest in that time frame with a population growth of 1.9%.
As of July 1, 2018, there were an additional 3,822 people living in Howard from the previous year, according to census estimates.
Jackie Scott, director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services, found the population growth to be “very exciting and it really mirrors what we have seen in the department.”
The department has seen an increase in both Latino and Spanish-speaking families moving to Howard, as well as an increase of various Asian populations, including Chinese and Korean, in the county’s multigenerational and older adult populations, Scott said.
The growth is “making our work richer and our community even stronger,” she added.
Estimates were extrapolated from using the administrative records on births, deaths and other information from the 2010 census.
Both domestic migration — where residents move in or out of the county to other cities and counties — and international migration — where new residents from abroad, including students, immigrants and overseas military personnel move to or from the county — were positive for Howard between July 2017 and July 2018.
Through international migration, 1,280 new residents moved into the county; with domestic migration, Howard saw an increase of 862 residents.
The natural increase in population, reflecting the difference between births and deaths, was 1,703.
Census estimates are adjusted yearly, but adjustments made after decennial censuses like the one next April can be particularly significant, according to census demographer Amel Toukabri.
The U.S. Constitution mandates a census occur every 10 years. The U.S. Census Bureau will mail out its 2020 census forms by April 1, 2020.
County Executive Calvin Ball accepted a grant from the 2020 Census Grant Program Panel on April 2. The $150,240 grant from the Maryland Department of Planning will fund census outreach efforts to ensure every Howard resident completes their census form and is counted in 2020, according to a news release.
The Department of Community Resources and Services will be the lead facilitator to help Howard complete the 2020 census through outreach, education and participation, Scott said.
As a result of being the county’s human service agency, the department will work with local nonprofits, faith community partners and individuals “who are well-known in the community as community advocates,” including those who sit on local boards and commissions and who are business leaders, to bring awareness as to what the census is and the importance of filling it out, Scott said.
Toukabri said once data from next year’s census is available, the bureau’s demographers use the 2020 population counts to assess the accuracy of the estimates.
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Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Zhang contributed to this article.