Both Fairfax and Montgomery have seen significant increases in both groups. More than one in 10 residents are 65 or older, and one in three was born in a foreign country. Non-Hispanic whites are now a minority in Montgomery County and are expected to become so in Fairfax County by the next census.
“One only needs to look at Silver Spring and Takoma Park to realize how diverse Montgomery County has become,” said Anirban Basu, a economic consultant with the Sage Policy Group in Baltimore. “Montgomery County is incredibly welcoming to people with various backgrounds. It has not tried to retain a sense of homogeneity, but instead has embraced diversity almost more than any place in the country outside of New York and northern New Jersey.”
It has embraced people like Josue Cifuentes, 47, and his wife, Leslie, 30.
Natives of Guatemala, the couple were living in Prince William County when Josue was laid off from his job as an electrician last fall. They fell behind on their rent, and the landlord asked them to leave.
So they and their three children moved into a house with his cousin and her child.
“Moving to Maryland was a big deal for us, but there were more opportunities for us in Montgomery County,” Josue Cifuentes said this week, waiting for his wife at a nonprofit clinic in Wheaton.
He was holding a rolled-up application for an electrician’s job and a handwritten note explaining that he had been unemployed for the past year but that he owns his own tools and transportation.
“We’ve never been in a position where we’ve had to ask for help, so it’s tough,” he said.
“But I have to feed the children either way.”
Rollin Stanley, director of Montgomery County’s planning department, said more businesses are being created in the county by minorities than by whites.
Lower household income levels reflect the county’s growing diversity, he said.
“Some may see it as negative,” he said. “I see it as positive. The demographics are changing and positioning the county for real success in the future. That’s going to mean a growth in business opportunities and a lot of people sharing the American dream.”
Staff writers Teresa Tomassoni and Victor Zapana contributed to this report.
More local census stories from PostLocal.com:
Census: Region’s drivers have most cross-county commutes
Recession pushes more in D.C. area to live with relatives
Census shows surge in gay couples in D.C. area