How diverse is Ocean City, Maryland?
As my daughter, Allie, builds sandcastles with her new “friend” for the day and I chat with his/her parents, as I partake in the wide variety of cuisine that Ocean City, Maryland has to offer, or as I speak to the friendly hotel staff that make the facility that Carousel 601 is located in run so efficiently, I often marvel at all of the amount of diversity that this beach town has to offer.
So, for this blog I decided to delve into some of the census data and finally satisfy my curiosity to the following question: How diverse IS OCMD?
Diversity in Ocean City, Maryland depends upon the season. During the summer, the population consists of several different groups: Year-round residents, Non-resident property owners, Overnight visitors , Day visitors, and Seasonal workers. It is was estimated by the Town of Ocean City that on a peak summer day in 2019, there are as many as 332,547 people and that there were 7.6 million visitors in 2012 (3.4M in the summer months). That’s pretty amazing, considering that the town is only 4.46 square miles! This also makes sense when I look at how busy the boardwalk and beaches are during the summer, versus when my family goes down in the other seasons. This can clearly be seen in the spring and fall “shoulder seasons,” where expansion has become a main goal of OCMD. It has resulted in neat events like the Movie Festival in March, Springfest in May, and the OC Bike Week, Winefest, and Sunfest in September.
I’ve also noticed several people working in restaurants and at the Carousel that have English as a second language. This is because Ocean City, Maryland welcomes international students for summer seasonal employment under the J-1 visa work program. This comprises of at least 4,000 young adults joining the local population as both visitors and part of the workforce each year! This is an awesome opportunity for my husband and I to learn about cultures and often sparks Allie’s curiosity about what it is like living in another country.
However, during the fall, winter, and springtime the population decreases and data mostly reflects that of year-round residents. The increasing tourist economy enables more households to be supported year-round by the summer trade and allows for the expansion of public facilities to serve an increasing population. In addition, there has been an influx of retirees who have found Ocean City to be a desirable place to live. My husband and I love coming here so much, that we are monitoring the real estate market and are seriously considering moving from Pennsylvania to OCMD when we retire.
All of this information is quite interesting, but I need to get back to my main question at hand: How diverse IS OCMD?
Well, the 2017 reported that Ocean City was home to a year-round population of 7.03k people, from which 96% were citizens. Of that, 573 Ocean City, MD residents were born outside of the country.
The ethnic composition of the population of Ocean City, MD was composed of 6.4k White Alone residents (91.1%), 306 Hispanic or Latino residents (4.36%), 127 Black or African American Alone residents (1.81%), 113 Two or More Races residents (1.61%), 50 Asian Alone residents (0.712%), 31 American Indian & Alaska Native Alone residents (0.441%).
I’m not sure how this compares to other Maryland towns, but it definitely seems like there is room to grow with the year-round population. No specific data exists for the additional visitors that vacation from one year to the next, but I feel like the variety of friendly people that I meet on the beach and see in the hallways of the Carousel lead me to believe that the town is making strides to ensure that everyone is welcomed and valued. The local offerings of things to do are a reflection of this visitor diversity. Places like Northside Park, restaurants like the new Alley Oops, and condos with kid-friendly amenities like our facility at Carousel 601, appeal to children and families. Sports bars like the Greene Turtle and the late night scene of Seacret’s and Fager’s Island, gyms (chains and those within hotel facilities), and sports lessons ranging from Stand Up Paddleboarding to Surfing to Jet Skiing, appeal to the single set and sports enthusiasts. The Ocean City Lifeguard Museum, Assateague Island, and the Salisbury Zoo are places that education, nature, and animal lovers can enjoy. Nearby golf courses, the variety of festivals, antique shops, and community events like yoga and bingo can appeal to both young and old.
So, how diverse is OCMD? What do you think?