Best counties to raise a family in Maryland

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June 3, 2021
Zrmachuga // Wikimedia Commons

Best counties to raise a family in Maryland

Known in other parts of the world as shires, provinces, or territories, the United States’ counties (also known in certain states as boroughs or parishes) date back to the 1600s, when settlers first came to find freedom from British rule. Today, those counties remain, with the 50 states divided into several, each with its own unique makeup.

For people looking to find a home to raise a family in, choosing a county is an important decision. Most families place affordable homes, safe neighborhoods, a quality school system, and family-friendly activities at the top of their wishlists.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to raise a family in Maryland using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, healthcare, recreation and weather.

The list features counties that boast some of the top schools and fun, family-friendly activities for every season. Keep reading to explore the best counties to raise a family. Maybe you’ll find one that suits your brood.

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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Cecil County

- Population: 102,552
- Median home value: $242,700 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,126 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $76,887
- Top public schools: Cherry Hill Middle School (B+), Kenmore Elementary School (B+), Conowingo Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: West Nottingham Academy (A+), The Tome School (A), Tri-State Christian Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Perryville (B), Charlestown (B-), Rising Sun (B-)
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MamaGeek // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Prince George's County

- Population: 908,670
- Median home value: $302,800 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,475 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $84,920
- Top public schools: Eleanor Roosevelt High School (A), The Academy of Health Sciences - Prince George’s Community College (A), Math & IT Academy Public Charter School (B+)
- Top private schools: Al-Huda School (A+), DeMatha Catholic High School (A), New Hope Academy (A-)
- Top places to live: University Park (A), West Laurel (A), Fairwood (A)
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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Caroline County

- Population: 33,049
- Median home value: $202,500 (73% own)
- Median rent: $895 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $58,638
- Top public schools: Ridgely Elementary School (B+), Colonel Richardson High School (B+), Denton Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Denton (B), Federalsburg (C+), Preston (B-)
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Eric Fischer // Wikicommons

#15. Wicomico County

- Population: 102,539
- Median home value: $175,700 (58% own)
- Median rent: $1,060 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $56,956
- Top public schools: North Salisbury Elementary School (B+), Northwestern Elementary School (B+), James M. Bennett High School (B+)
- Top private schools: The Salisbury School (A), Salisbury Christian School (B+), Faith Baptist School (B+)
- Top places to live: Fruitland (B+), Delmar (B), Hebron (B-)
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Vpuliva // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Washington County

- Population: 150,109
- Median home value: $210,300 (66% own)
- Median rent: $921 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $60,860
- Top public schools: Barbara Ingram School for the Arts (A), Fountaindale Elementary School (A-), North Hagerstown High School (A-)
- Top private schools: Saint James School (A+), St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School (A), Heritage Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: St. James (A-), Robinwood (B+), Halfway (B+)
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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Charles County

- Population: 159,428
- Median home value: $313,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,682 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $100,003
- Top public schools: North Point High School (A), Dr. James Craik Elementary School (B+), La Plata High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Grace Christian Academy of Maryland (B+), Southern Maryland Christian Academy (B), St. Peter's School (A)
- Top places to live: La Plata (B), Waldorf (B), Hughesville (B)
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Linda Roy Walls // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Worcester County

- Population: 51,765
- Median home value: $262,200 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,035 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $63,499
- Top public schools: Ocean City Elementary School (A), Pocomoke Elementary School (A), Stephen Decatur Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Worcester Preparatory School (A+)
- Top places to live: Ocean City (A-), Berlin (B+), West Ocean City (B+)
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Shopkins91 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Talbot County

- Population: 37,167
- Median home value: $336,800 (70% own)
- Median rent: $1,116 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $73,547
- Top public schools: Tilghman Elementary School (A-), Chapel District Elementary School (B+), St. Michaels Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Ss. Peter & Paul High School (A-), Chesapeake Christian School (B-), Ss. Peter & Paul Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Easton (B+), St. Michaels (B+), Trappe (B+)
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Queen Anne's County

- Population: 49,632
- Median home value: $353,100 (81% own)
- Median rent: $1,503 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $97,034
- Top public schools: Kent Island High School (A-), Matapeake Middle School (A-), Centreville Middle School (A-)
- Top private schools: The Gunston School (A), Lighthouse Christian Academy (unavailable), Wye River Upper School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Stevensville (A-), Kingstown (B+), Grasonville (B+)
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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#9. St. Mary's County

- Population: 112,290
- Median home value: $301,300 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,398 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $89,845
- Top public schools: Chesapeake Charter School (A-), White Marsh Elementary School (B+), Great Mills High School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Mary's Ryken High School (A), Leonard Hall Junior Naval Academy (B), The King's Christian Academy (B)
- Top places to live: California (A-), Leonardtown (B+), Lexington Park (B+)
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Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Carroll County

- Population: 167,699
- Median home value: $339,600 (82% own)
- Median rent: $1,132 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $96,769
- Top public schools: Century High School (A), Hampstead Elementary School (A), Liberty High School (A)
- Top private schools: Gerstell Academy (A), Carroll Christian Schools (B), Silver Oak Academy (C+)
- Top places to live: Eldersburg (A), Sykesville (A), Hampstead (A-)
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Charlie Stinchcomb // Flickr

#7. Anne Arundel County

- Population: 571,275
- Median home value: $361,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,663 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $100,798
- Top public schools: Severna Park High School (A), South River High School (A), Broadneck High School (A)
- Top private schools: Key School (A+), Severn School (A+), Indian Creek School (A)
- Top places to live: Crofton (A+), Severna Park (A), Arnold (A)
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Preservation Maryland // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Calvert County

- Population: 91,511
- Median home value: $358,800 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,520 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $109,313
- Top public schools: Huntingtown High School (A), Mount Harmony Elementary School (A), Mutual Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Calverton School (A), Cardinal Hickey Academy (A), Our Lady Star of the Sea School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Dunkirk (A-), Chesapeake Beach (A-), Owings (A-)
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Harford County

- Population: 252,222
- Median home value: $293,400 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,257 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $89,147
- Top public schools: C. Milton Wright High School (A), Bel Air High School (A), Patterson Mill High School (A)
- Top private schools: The John Carroll School (A-), New Covenant Christian School (B+), Harford Christian School (B-)
- Top places to live: Fallston (A), Pleasant Hills (A-), Bel Air (A-)
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Baltimore County

- Population: 828,018
- Median home value: $261,500 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,302 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $76,866
- Top public schools: Eastern Technical High School (A+), Hereford High School (A+), Dulaney High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Park School of Baltimore (A+), McDonogh School (A+), St. Timothy's School (A+)
- Top places to live: Lutherville (A+), Towson (A+), Mays Chapel (A+)
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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Frederick County

- Population: 251,422
- Median home value: $331,600 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,422 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $97,730
- Top public schools: Urbana High School (A+), Oakdale High School (A), Centerville Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Saint John's Catholic Prep (A), Friends Meeting School (A-), New Life Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: Urbana (A+), Spring Ridge (A+), Middletown (A)
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TownCreative // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Montgomery County

- Population: 1,043,530
- Median home value: $484,900 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,768 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $108,820
- Top public schools: Poolesville High School (A+), Winston Churchill High School (A+), Richard Montgomery High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Holton-Arms School (A+), Georgetown Preparatory School (A+), Landon School (A+)
- Top places to live: North Potomac (A+), North Bethesda (A+), South Kensington (A+)
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Zrmachuga // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Howard County

- Population: 318,855
- Median home value: $455,700 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,716 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $121,160
- Top public schools: Marriotts Ridge High School (A+), River Hill High School (A+), Centennial High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Glenelg Country School (A+), Chapelgate Christian Academy (A), Mount Airy Christian Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Ellicott City (A+), Columbia (A+), Scaggsville (A+)

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