One of the county’s greatest resources is its citizen diversity. This diversity is often discussed in the context of the race and ethnicity of our 863,420 citizens and residents. While African-Americans remain in the majority, the county houses a growing population of Asians and Hispanics. Approximately one of every six county residents was born outside the United States. Close to one in every five Prince Georgians speaks a foreign language. These include European, Asian, and African languages and dialects.
Diversity is measured by more than race and ethnicity. One out of four residents is 18 years old or younger; over 19 percent are considered to be “senior citizens.” The typical household in the county has a median income 37 percent above the national average, yet 5 percent of our households are in poverty. One out of every three adults in the county has at least a bachelor’s degree, yet 13 percent lack a high school diploma.
We have great diversity of race, ethnicity, age, income, education, and other factors too numerous to mention. As a result, we need to have a governmental philosophy that one size does not fit all; that we have to diversify the programs and services we provide to satisfy the needs of a population that is expanding and at the same time, growing more complex. Many jurisdictions shrink from the burden; in Prince George’s County, we embrace it and celebrate it.
Just as our population grows more diverse, we must as well. Diversity and inclusion must go hand in hand. We need to find ways to break down any and all barriers that prevent our citizens from knowing what the Commission is, understanding the vast array of services we provide and fully utilizing those services. Some of that, I believe, can be accomplished through inclusion in our work force as well. Our employees can be our best ambassadors in spreading the word in our communities that the Commission is an inclusive organization and that all are welcome.
Prince George’s County Planning Department