There is a scarcity of good news these days. But preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Aug. 12 give me a reason to feel optimistic, and here’s why.

Overall, population in the Southern Maryland region increased by 9.6% between 2010 and 2020. The “good news” is that Calvert County grew by only 4.6%, much slower that St. Mary’s County at 8.2% and Charles County at 13.7%.

To put this good news in historical perspective, Calvert County more than tripled in population from 20,682 residents in 1970 to 74,563 in 2000. If you were living in the county during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, you know only too well about the problems that come along with rapid growth and development.

I moved to Calvert County in 1981. Traffic backups along Route 2/4 are at the top of the list of downsides I experienced. We continued to grow by 19% between 2000 and 2010.

So, are we experiencing a welcome respite, a single digit growth rate that all county residents, including our elected officials, should be celebrating? Do we now have some time to catch our collective breaths and find ways to tread more lightly on the landscape and live more sustainably? Will we fix the broken infrastructure that needs our attention and transform our town centers into more attractive and welcoming spaces? Will we pass on a beautiful, pleasant peninsula dominated by forests and fields to future generations?

I raise a hardy “yes” to these questions and hope you agree.