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Baltimore Losing Population

By July 6, 2009

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I was struck by this recent news: Baltimore is losing Baltimoreans.

Urban flight has been a constant in most major to medium-sized American cities for decades. After years of losing residents, Baltimore's population actually increased in 2006, a development that was much hailed by political and business leaders. However, that growth now appears to have been an aberration.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the city lost 3,231 people during the year that ended July 1, 2008. The business of counting people is hardly an exact science - the bureau's number is an estimate calculated using data from the 2000 census and taking into account births, deaths and immigration. The most recent census figures put Baltimore's population at 636,919.

This is important news for a number of reasons, the most notable being that the amount of money the city receives from many federal programs is based on its population. The fewer people, the fewer dollars Baltimore gets from Uncle Sam.

There are probably many reasons that account for the decline, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Why does Baltimore's population continue to shrink, and what can city leaders do to stop the exodus?

Comments

July 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(1) Tom Brown of Baltimore says:

crime. unemployment.

get rid of the criminal element. the only way this city is going to gain population is if people feel safe and recommend it to all of their friends and family members. I don’t recommend Baltimore to anyone mainly because there is a HUGE EPIDEMIC crime problem that has been going on for decades now.

I did a few years in Dundalk and a few months in Harford County, but other than that I have been in Baltimore City for most of my 29 years. There is a special kind of ignorance that is part of the Baltimore mentality and it is this ignorance that keeps Baltimore a stink hole EVEN THOUGH it could be a major regional powerhouse if we all got our acts together.

BUT BUT BUT, crime will continue to plague Baltimore until it is dealt with. How is that going to happen?????? I don’t know.

It would be nice to be able to walk anywhere in the city without fear of bodily harm from the ignorant animals that wander the streets looking to cause trouble for decent tax paying citizens.

In one science fiction scenario, I imagine a group of new law enforcement agents called Gang Elimination Troops who are paid by taxpayers to “get rid” of organized and un-organized violent criminal individuals and groups.

BUT that could get out of hand quickly. The thing to do would be to take a look at the mental and emotional challenges that today young urban kids are dealing with so that people who are able can help them (to help themselves) and as a result the city will not be so lacking. Then once we establish a more healthy mental/emotional “aura” for the city, we will be able to move forward.

–Tom Brown

July 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm
(2) Tom Brown says:

crime. unemployment.

get rid of the criminal element. the only way this city is going to gain population is if people feel safe and recommend it to all of their friends and family members. I don’t recommend Baltimore to anyone mainly because there is a HUGE EPIDEMIC crime problem that has been going on for decades now.

I did a few years in Dundalk and a few months in Harford County, but other than that I have been in Baltimore City for most of my 29 years. There is a special kind of ignorance that is part of the Baltimore mentality and it is this ignorance that keeps Baltimore a stink hole EVEN THOUGH it could be a major regional power house if we all got our acts together.

BUT BUT BUT, crime will continue to plague Baltimore until it is dealt with. How is that going to happen?????? I don’t know.

It would be nice to be able to walk anywhere in the city without fear of bodily harm from the ignorant animals that wander the streets looking to cause trouble for decent tax paying citizens.

In one science fiction scenario, I imagine a group of new law enforcement agents called Gang Elimination Troops who are paid by taxpayers to “get rid” of organized and un-organized violent criminal individuals and groups.

BUT that could get out of hand quickly. The thing to do would be to take a look at the mental and emotional challenges that today young urban kids are dealing with so that people who are able can help them (to help themselves) and as a result the city will not be so lacking. Then once we establish a more healthy mental/emotional “aura” for the city, we will be able to move forward.

–Tom Brown

July 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm
(3) baltimore says:

A lot of good points Tom, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

-Mike

July 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm
(4) Jeri Waddell says:

The reason people are leaving Baltimore is because the city is trying to attract businesses without first focusing on being family friendly and beautiful in most areas. The city community as a whole has not been transformed to look like one unit – uniform and landscaped. There are not enough spaces set aside for grasslands, playgrounds and pools are not colorful enough. Deteriorating housing continues to stand when the property should be regulated to allow for government demolition if not properly maintained. Get rid of the unsightly areas and create family freindly environments. Then businesses will want to be a part of the city. And families will live in the city. Empty buildings serve no good purpose. Funded graffitti on buildings replaced with perrenials like in more beautiful cities is more appealing. If the redbrick and marble steps are the standard, use it throughoutthe city. Row houses definitely had there place in Baltimore’s past, but to create a new look housing should be detached because we have the technology available to create them faster and sturdier so they can stand alone. Being futuristic is not being retro. Being innovative in community planning is standardizing a higher quality of life that is affordable for people. My grandfather worked in a brick yard in Fairfield, South Baltimore. The cost of the structures can be affordable. Maintaining the property needs to be regulated more closely because it would benefit everyone. And taxpayers should not be subject to accelerated taxes after purchase. How great it would be if the look of Fells Point/Federal Hill were spread throughout midrise structures from south Baltimore, Cherry Hill and downtown Baltimore to Catonsville and Highlandtown atleast. Now that would be a city to live in. Otherwise, Baltimore is still a small town of 1920′s architecture with a couple of nice neighborhoods to travel to. The caveat is that you should not stop anywhere in between them. Everyone in the suburbs knows this. Baltimoreans do too, but who cares. It appears all one has to do is call the place a city to explain the debris, vermin, crime and poor community planning. It seems like an explanation to me. However, I have lived other places, in other cities and I don’t buy that excuse. Hey, but I don’t live in the city.

July 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm
(5) bertha says:

Crime and the city government. After recently moving out of the city I can easily say the crime had a big part of the move. In addition, the government is not taking care of its people. Reducing the trash pick up, requiring trash cans in the house instead of out front brings more problems, mainly rats. The city is no longer pretty or safe; except of course for the new office buildings….

July 9, 2009 at 11:24 pm
(6) Millie Jackson says:

Having moved here three years ago, I can truly say that Baltimore is a city unlike any other where I have lived in or visited. The charm of the city fades rather quickly once you realize that even the nicest areas are just a mere corner away from some of the worst conditions of poverty and undereducation I’ve ever seen. I once shared with a friend that it was like traveling through downtown Beruit. Parts of Baltimore look as if there has been an explosion that accounts for the rubble, trash and disorder one encounters. It hurts me to see how many native Baltimorias live. If anyone wants to know why Baltimorians are leaving its because the City reeks with desolation and lost hope. Working with several youth groups you find that many native Baltimorians feel Baltimore has nothing to offer them. It’s so sad. There seems to be little that connects the more affluent Baltimorians with those less fortunate even among those who share the same ethnic backgrounds. Baltimore is a very disjointed city and that’s a big part of the problem. There seems no plan or strategy to connect services with people who need uplifted communities. Moderately priced housing in areas developed to accomodate good family living would be a good idea as well. Start with cleaning up the city, add dependable services and build for families that will support the city.

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