Garrett County (gərɛt) is the westernmost county of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 30,097, making it the third-least populous county in Maryland. Its county seat is Oakland. The county was named for John Work Garrett (1820–1884), president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Created from Allegany County, Maryland in 1872, it was the last Maryland county to be formed.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 656 square miles (1,700 km), of which 647 square miles (1,680 km) is land and 8.6 square miles (22 km) (1.3%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Maryland by land area.
Garrett County is Maryland’s westernmost, bordered to the north by the Mason–Dixon line with Pennsylvania, to the south and west by West Virginia (with the Potomac River forming its southern boundary), and to the east by a land border with Allegany County, Maryland. The county’s northwesternmost point is approximately 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its southeasternmost point is approximately 160 miles (260 km) northwest of Baltimore, Maryland.
Garrett County is located entirely within the highland zone of the Appalachian Mountains known variously as the Allegheny Mountains, the Allegheny Plateau, and the Appalachian Plateau. The county’s highest elevations are located along four flat-topped ridges and range to a height of 3,360 feet (1,020 m) at Hoye-Crest along Backbone Mountain, the highest point in the state of Maryland. As is typical in the Allegheny region, broad flats generally lie below the ridge crests at elevations of approximately 500 feet (150 m). River valleys are generally narrow and deep, with ravines typically 1,000 to 1,800 feet (550 m) below surrounding peaks.
The county contains over 76,000 acres (310 km) of parks, lakes, and publicly accessible forestland. It is drained by two river systems, the Potomac and the Youghiogheny. The Savage River, a tributary of the Potomac, drains about a third of the county. The Casselman River, a tributary of the Youghiogheny, flows north from the county’s central section into Pennsylvania. The Youghiogheny itself drains the westernmost area of the county and flows north into Pennsylvania, where it empties into the Monongahela River at McKeesport, just south of Pittsburgh.
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,846 people, 11,476 households, and 8,354 families residing in the county. The population density was 18/km² (46/sq mi). There were 16,761 housing units at an average density of 10/km² (26/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 98.83% White, 0.43% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.09% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. 0.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 36.1% were of German, 22.9% identified as American, 9.6% English and 8.8% Irish ancestry.
There were 11,476 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.70% were married couples living together, 8.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.20% were non-families. 23.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the county, the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,238, and the median income for a family was $37,811. Males had a median income of $29,469 versus $20,673 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,219. 13.30% of the population and 9.80% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 16.60% are under the age of 18 and 13.90% are 65 or older.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 30,097 people, 12,057 households, and 8,437 families residing in the county. The population density was 46.5 inhabitants per square mile (18.0/km). There were 18,854 housing units at an average density of 29.1 per square mile (11.2/km). The racial makeup of the county was 97.8% white, 1.0% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 0.1% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 35.4% were German, 13.6% identified as American, 11.3% were Irish, and 11.3% were English.
Of the 12,057 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.0% were non-families, and 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.92. The median age was 42.7 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,760 and the median income for a family was $56,545. Males had a median income of $40,035 versus $27,325 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,888. About 8.9% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those aged 65 or over.
Garrett County is home to an Amish community in the Oakland area that consists of a church district of about 70 homes. The Amish community dates back to 1850 and became associated with the New Order Amish, with electricity permitted inside of homes.