Moving to Frederick was pure economics for the Hughes family.
“Honestly, the rent was a lot cheaper here,” said Shontez Hughes, who moved with his wife and two children to Frederick in January after considering Montgomery County, where he works.
The Hugheses, an African-American family, are part of the city’s diversifying population.
As more people move into Frederick County, the area is increasingly becoming a melting pot — especially the city, according to data released today in the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.
Frederick County’s population grew by 2,837 from 2011 to 2012, to 239,582 people. Frederick city’s population grew 225 residents, to 66,390, according to the data. In the last five years, from 2007 to 2012, nearly 15,000 people have moved into the county and nearly 5,000 people have moved into the city.
The community survey data is less accurate than data from the U.S. Census, and the margin of error can be higher than 5 percentage points in some categories.
In the city, one in every threeresidents is now a minority, about 33.4 percent of residents, according to the data.
Step outside the city limits, however, and the diversity diminishes. About eight in every 10 county residents are white, or about 81.6 percent of residents, the data states.
The Hughes family chose the city of Frederick over elsewhere in the county because Shontez Hughes’ co-worker from the Navy recommended it as a good place to live.
The racial mix is growing much faster in the city than in the county.
In the last five years, the percentage of white residents fell by 5.3 percentage points in the city and 2.4 percentage points in the county.
In the city, the Hispanic population is growing, while in the county, both Hispanic and Asian populations are growing, according to the data. In both the city and the county, the percentage of mixed-race residents is growing. About 4.1 percent of residents in 2012 were of two or more races in both the city and the county.
Nekesha Hughes, Shontez’s wife, said that there are not many other black families in her neighborhood, but there are many Latinos and Asians.
She said she had no problem being one of the few black people in her area.
“We move around a lot. We’re used to it,” she said.
Some local leaders say minority residents move to the city because it offers services the county does not.
When people relocate to an area, they move to areas that are “more involved” and more populated, said Angela Spencer, chairwoman of the Frederick County Human Relations Commission.
The city has buses and other transportation services, and more medical services, Spencer said.
“Most people like to be in the ‘in’ of the city,” she said.
County Commissioners President Blaine Young agreed that public transportation makes a difference.
In the county, areas served by TransIT buses have a more diverse population, Young said.
“You do have pockets of diversity in the county,” he said. “I’ve actually been amazed when I go down to Urbana because I see people from Russia, China and Africa.”
Guy Djoken, president of the county NAACP, thinks the city works harder than the county at making minority residents feel welcome.
The city’s police department understands minorities, he said; former Police Chief Kim Dine specifically reached out to minority groups to see how the community could work together.
“They make sure that people feel comfortable,” Djoken said.
Frederick Mayor Randy McClement said the city serves all residents the same.
“If someone needs something special, then we take it as a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Djoken said the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office’s enforcement of immigration law scares some minority residents away.
Young said he does not believe that is true.
McClement said the city follows U.S. immigration policies, and “probably put more people in the county jail system than anyone else.”
The city is a great place for everyone to live, he said.
“Whether a person is of an ethnic origin or not, our job is to provide services to the citizens of Frederick.”
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