Irish American populations can be found throughout the Baltimore area ,  and the Northern and Eastern suburbs of Washington D. A large percentage of the population of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland are descendants of British American ancestry.
The Eastern Shore was settled by Protestants, chiefly Methodist and the southern counties were initially settled by English Catholics. Western and northern Maryland have large German-American populations. More recent European immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century settled first in Baltimore, attracted to its industrial jobs.
Many of their ethnic Italian , Polish , Czech , Lithuanian , and Greek descendants still live in the area. The shares of European immigrants born in Eastern Europe increased significantly between and Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, many immigrants from Eastern Europe came to the United States—12 percent of whom currently reside in Maryland. Salvadorans are the largest Hispanic group in Maryland. Other Hispanic groups with significant populations in the state include Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and Hondurans. Though the Salvadoran population is more concentrated in the area around Washington, D.
Maryland has one of the most diverse Hispanic populations in the country, with significant populations from various Caribbean and Central American nations. Asian Americans are concentrated in the suburban counties surrounding Washington, D. Numerous Indian Americans live across the state, especially in central Maryland.
Attracting educated Asians and Africans to the professional jobs in the region, Maryland has the fifth-largest proportions of racial minorities in the country. In , were counted as foreign born, which represents mainly people from Latin America and Asia. About four percent are undocumented immigrants. According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the U. Census, 12, same-sex couples are living in Maryland, representing 5.
As of , non-Hispanic white Americans were By , minorities are projected to become the majority of voting eligible residents of Maryland.
Maryland has been historically prominent to American Catholic tradition because the English colony of Maryland was intended by George Calvert as a haven for English Catholics. Baltimore was the seat of the first Catholic bishop in the U. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Georgetown University , the first Catholic University, was founded in in what was then part of Maryland. Among the immigrants of the 19th and 20th century from eastern and southern Europe were many Catholics. Demographically, both Protestants and those identifying no religion are more numerous than Catholics.
According to Pew Research Center , 69 percent of Maryland's population identifies themselves as Christian. Mary's , Garrett , and Cecil counties. Two of Maryland's counties, Howard and Montgomery, are the second and eleventh wealthiest counties in the nation respectively. Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in , with a ratio of 7. As of February , the state's unemployment rate was 4. Maryland's economy benefits from the state's close proximity to the federal government in Washington, D. In addition, a number of educational and medical research institutions are located in the state.
In fact, the various components of The Johns Hopkins University and its medical research facilities are now the largest single employer in the Baltimore area. Altogether, white collar technical and administrative workers comprise 25 percent of Maryland's labor force , [ citation needed ] attributable in part to nearby Maryland being a part of the Washington Metro Area where the federal government office employment is relatively high. Manufacturing, while large in dollar value, is highly diversified with no sub-sector contributing over 20 percent of the total. Typical forms of manufacturing include electronics, computer equipment, and chemicals.
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The once mighty primary metals sub-sector, which at one time included what was then the largest steel factory in the world at Sparrows Point , still exists, but is pressed with foreign competition, bankruptcies , and mergers. Mining other than construction materials is virtually limited to coal, which is located in the mountainous western part of the state.
The brownstone quarries in the east, which gave Baltimore and Washington much of their characteristic architecture in the midth century, were once a predominant natural resource. Historically, there used to be small gold-mining operations in Maryland, some near Washington, but these no longer exist.
One major service activity is transportation, centered on the Port of Baltimore and its related rail and trucking access. The port ranked 17th in the U. The port also receives several different brands of imported motor vehicles and is the number one auto port in the U. Baltimore City is among the top 15 largest ports in the nation,  and was one of six major U. Its computer industries are some of the most sophisticated in the United States, and the federal government has invested heavily in the area.
Maryland is home to several large military bases and scores of high level government jobs. Maryland has a large food-production sector. A large component of this is commercial fishing , centered in the Chesapeake Bay, but also including activity off the short Atlantic seacoast. The largest catches by species are the blue crab , oysters , striped bass , and menhaden. The Bay also has overwintering waterfowl in its wildlife refuges.
The waterfowl support a tourism sector of sportsmen. Maryland has large areas of fertile agricultural land in its coastal and Piedmont zones, though this land use is being encroached upon by urbanization.
Agriculture is oriented to dairy farming especially in foothill and piedmont areas for nearby large city milksheads plus specialty perishable horticulture crops, such as cucumbers , watermelons , sweet corn , tomatoes , muskmelons , squash , and peas Source:USDA Crop Profiles. The southern counties of the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay are warm enough to support a tobacco cash crop zone, which has existed since early Colonial times but declined greatly after a state government buyout in the s.
There is also a large automated chicken -farming sector in the state's southeastern part; Salisbury is home to Perdue Farms. Maryland's food-processing plants are the most significant type of manufacturing by value in the state. Maryland is a major center for life sciences research and development. With more than biotechnology companies located there, Maryland is the fourth-largest nexus in this field in the United States.
Maryland is home to defense contractor Emergent BioSolutions , which manufactures and provides an anthrax vaccine to U. Tourism is popular in Maryland, with tourists visiting the city of Baltimore, the beaches of the Eastern Shore, and the nature of western Maryland, as well as many passing through on the way to Washington, D.
Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast has been a popular beach destination in summer, particularly since the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was built in connecting the Eastern Shore to the more populated Maryland cities. Maryland also has several sites of interest to military history, given Maryland's role in the American Civil War and in the War of Other attractions include the historic and picturesque towns along the Chesapeake Bay , such as Saint Mary's , Maryland's first colonial settlement and original capital.
Maryland has experimented with healthcare payment reforms, notably beginning in the s with an all-payer rate setting program regulated by the Health Services Cost Review Commission. The Maryland Department of Transportation oversees most transportation in the state through its various administration-level agencies.
I , fully contained within Anne Arundel County and the shortest There are also several auxiliary Interstate highways in Maryland. Among them are two beltways encircling the major cities of the region: I , the McKeldin Baltimore Beltway, which encircles Baltimore; and a portion of I , the Capital Beltway, which encircles Washington, D. I , which connects the Frederick area with Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia through major suburbs to the northwest of Washington, is a major commuter route and is as wide as fourteen lanes at points.
Construction of the ICC was a major part of the campaign platform of former Governor Robert Ehrlich , who was in office from until , and of Governor Martin O'Malley , who succeeded him. The only other airports with commercial service are at Hagerstown and Salisbury. The Maryland suburbs of Washington, D. The College Park Airport is the nation's oldest, founded in , and is still used.
Wilbur Wright trained military aviators at this location. The WMATA 's Metrorail rapid transit and Metrobus local bus systems the 2nd and 6th busiest in the nation of their respective modes provide service in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and connect them to Washington D. The Maryland Transit Administration often abbreviated as "MTA Maryland" , a state agency part of the Maryland Department of Transportation also provides transit services within the state. Baltimore's Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink systems serve its densely populated inner-city and the surrounding suburbs.
The MTA also serves the city and its suburbs with its local bus service the 9th largest system in the nation. Freight rail transport is handled principally by two Class I railroads , as well as several smaller regional and local carriers. Major rail yards are located in Baltimore and Cumberland,  with an intermodal terminal rail, truck and marine in Baltimore.
The government of Maryland is conducted according to the state constitution.
The government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments , has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, except as limited by the Constitution of the United States. Power in Maryland is divided among three branches of government: executive , legislative , and judicial. Maryland's governor is unique in the United States as the office is vested with significant authority in budgeting.
The legislature may not increase the governor's proposed budget expenditures. Unlike many other states, significant autonomy is granted to many of Maryland's counties. Most of the business of government is conducted in Annapolis , the state capital. Elections for governor and most statewide offices, as well as most county elections, are held in midterm-election years even-numbered years not divisible by four. The intermediate appellate court is known as the Court of Special Appeals and the state supreme court is the Court of Appeals.
The appearance of the judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals is unique; Maryland is the only state whose judges wear red robes.