Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the number of people leaving Baltimore had doubled. The report was released as city leaders celebrated signs that appeared to show a slight population gain.
Between July 2015 and July 2016, approximately 6,700 people left Baltimore, as crime and homicide rates continued to increase. In 2016, Baltimore reported 244 homicides and things are still looking pretty grim in the first quarter of 2017.
The 2015 death of Freddie Gray brought unrest, but this didn’t stop Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake from seeking to attract 10,000 families to the city. The decline is a huge blow, putting Baltimore back where it was a century ago, with a population of 614,664.
Maryland gained approximately 21,500 people in total, while the metropolitan statistical area only gained 5,000, the smallest increase the area has seen in years. Montgomery County saw a gain of 7,630 the highest in the state, while both Anne Arundel and Howard counties added about 4,500 people. Carroll County stayed about the same, as Baltimore County saw a gain of about 1,800.
Cook County, Illinois and Wayne County, Michigan saw a sharper decline in population than Baltimore.
Analysts cannot put their finger on the problem, but they are surprised by the decline, which does not support the growth in home sales and job gains. Mayor Catherine Pugh placed some of the blame on the 2015 unrest, when the universities and colleges took a big hit after student enrollment fell.