The 10 Best Counties To Live In Maryland For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Maryland have the most for people looking to make the move to Maryland.

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Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Maryland a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in Maryland.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Old Line State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of Maryland, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 24 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Old Line State for 2021.

Howard County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Maryland. And you might want to avoid Somerset County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move Maryland, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Maryland and the cheapest places to live in Maryland.

The Best Counties To Live In Maryland For 2021

1. Howard County

Columbia, MD

Biggest Place: Columbia

Population: 318,855
Median Income: $121,160 (best)
Median Home Price: $455,700.0 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (6th best)
More on Howard County: Data

2. Calvert County

Chesapeake Beach, MD

Biggest Place: Chesapeake Ranch Estates

Population: 91,511
Median Income: $109,313 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $358,800.0 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (12th best)
More on Calvert County: PhotosData

3. Queen Anne’s County

Centreville, MD

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Stevensville

Population: 49,632
Median Income: $97,034 (7th best)
Median Home Price: $353,100.0 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (best)
More on Queen Anne’s County:

4. Carroll County

Hampstead, MD

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Eldersburg

Population: 167,699
Median Income: $96,769 (8th best)
Median Home Price: $339,600.0 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (3rd best)
More on Carroll County: PhotosData

5. Charles County

Indian Head, MD

Biggest Place: Waldorf

Population: 159,428
Median Income: $100,003 (5th best)
Median Home Price: $313,300.0 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (5th best)
More on Charles County: PhotosData

6. Anne Arundel County

Annapolis, MD

Biggest Place: Glen Burnie

Population: 571,275
Median Income: $100,798 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $361,200.0 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (11th best)
More on Anne Arundel County: PhotosData

7. Frederick County

Brunswick, MD

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Frederick

Population: 251,422
Median Income: $97,730 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $331,600.0 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (9th best)
More on Frederick County: PhotosData

8. Talbot County

Easton, MD

Biggest Place: Easton

Population: 37,167
Median Income: $73,547 (14th best)
Median Home Price: $336,800.0 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (4th best)
More on Talbot County: PhotosData

9. Harford County

Aberdeen, MD

Biggest Place: Bel Air South

Population: 252,222
Median Income: $89,147 (10th best)
Median Home Price: $293,400.0 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (10th best)
More on Harford County: PhotosData

10. Montgomery County

Gaithersburg, MD

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Germantown

Population: 1,043,530
Median Income: $108,820 (3rd best)
Median Home Price: $484,900.0 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (13th best)
More on Montgomery County: PhotosData

How do you determine which Maryland county is the best?

To give you the best county in Maryland, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a “best county” and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Maryland across each of the criteria from one to 24, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the “Best County To Live In Maryland”.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Old Line State.

Read on to see why Howard County is the best county, while Somerset County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Maryland.

There You Have It – The Best Counties In Maryland To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Maryland can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in Maryland according to the data:

  1. Somerset County
  2. Baltimore City
  3. Wicomico County

For more Maryland reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Maryland

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Howard County 1 318,855 $121,160 $455,700.0
Calvert County 2 91,511 $109,313 $358,800.0
Queen Anne’s County 3 49,632 $97,034 $353,100.0
Carroll County 4 167,699 $96,769 $339,600.0
Charles County 5 159,428 $100,003 $313,300.0
Anne Arundel County 6 571,275 $100,798 $361,200.0
Frederick County 7 251,422 $97,730 $331,600.0
Talbot County 8 37,167 $73,547 $336,800.0
Harford County 9 252,222 $89,147 $293,400.0
Montgomery County 10 1,043,530 $108,820 $484,900.0
St. Mary’s County 11 112,290 $89,845 $301,300.0
Worcester County 12 51,765 $63,499 $262,200.0
Kent County 13 19,536 $58,598 $249,900.0
Baltimore County 14 828,018 $76,866 $261,500.0
Cecil County 15 102,552 $76,887 $242,700.0
Prince George’s County 16 908,670 $84,920 $302,800.0
Garrett County 17 29,235 $52,617 $173,900.0
Caroline County 18 33,049 $58,638 $202,500.0
Washington County 19 150,109 $60,860 $210,300.0
Dorchester County 20 32,138 $52,917 $183,300.0
Allegany County 21 71,445 $45,893 $120,700.0
Wicomico County 22 102,539 $56,956 $175,700.0
Baltimore City 23 609,032 $50,379 $160,100.0
Somerset County 24 25,729 $37,803 $139,100.0
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best counties to live in Maryland.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.