Crisfield is a city in Somerset County, Maryland, United States, located on the Tangier Sound, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The population was 2,726 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. Crisfield has the distinction of being the southernmost incorporated city in Maryland.
Crisfield is a very compact city, with little vacant land. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.06 square miles (7.93 km), of which, 1.62 square miles (4.20 km) (53.0%) is land and 1.44 square miles (3.73 km) (47.0%) is water. As one of the southern points on the Delmarva Peninsula and one very close to the Chesapeake Bay, the city is extremely flat, with the elevation never rising above 3 feet (0.91 m).
The city of Crisfield is surrounded by salt marshes and was built on a floodplain. The downtown is especially prone to flooding during large storms and hurricanes. On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge left most of the city underwater. Ongoing local concerns about flooding and the impact of sea level rise were featured in the Washington Post in October 2013.
Crisfield is the southern-most city in the state of Maryland; the point farthest south is geographically located at Ape Hole. Regardless of this, Southern Maryland is an official region of the state not associated with the Eastern Shore, and areas of Saint Mary’s County are sometimes claimed to be the southernmost point of the state.
Crisfield is part of the Salisbury-Ocean Pines CSA, a combined statistical area (CSA) which includes the Salisbury metropolitan area (Somerset and Wicomico counties) and the Ocean Pines micropolitan area (Worcester County), which had a combined population of 155,934 at the 2000 census. Salisbury is the principal city of this CSA.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,726 people, 1,113 households, and 667 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,682.7 inhabitants per square mile (649.7/km). There were 1,531 housing units at an average density of 945.1 per square mile (364.9/km). The racial makeup of the city was 59.0% White, 36.4% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.7% of the population.
There were 1,113 households of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.1% were married couples living together, 25.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.1% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.06.
The median age in the city was 38.4 years. 27.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.5% were from 25 to 44; 24.6% were from 45 to 64; and 17.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.0% male and 56.0% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,723 people, 1,172 households, and 723 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,674.9 people per square mile (645.0/km²). There were 1,357 housing units at an average density of 834.7 per square mile (321.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 58.54% White, 37.46% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 2.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.65% of the population.
There were 1,172 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.9% were married couples living together, 25.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 27.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 75.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $17,979, and the median income for a family was $23,929. Males had a median income of $30,078 versus $20,670 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,387. About 30.5% of families and 34.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.8% of those under age 18 and 30.2% of those age 65 or over.
Crisfield gained a new police chief in 2007—Chief Michael L. Tabor, who retired from the Baltimore Police Department to head law enforcement in the city. Since then, crime rates have been on a steady decline, generally halving between 2006 and 2008. The most prevalent crime in the city is property crime, down from a high of 180 in 2006 to 92 in 2008. Theft is also very common. Violent crimes, such as murder and forcible rape, are rare, though the numbers for those are on the decline as well. In January 2010, it was reported that Crisfield experienced an 81% decrease in crime rates of all kinds since 2007.