Based on the facts that we’re selling ads on our fire trucks, begging non-profits to take over our most historic buildings, and seem to be unable to stop our streets from flooding on a regular basis, you might think that Baltimore was a struggling city. But don’t worry; we still have rich people. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ report (released yesterday), Baltimore is the 15th richest metro area in America, putting it up there with Napa, California and a couple of fancy Connecticut hedge fun townlets. Are you feeling the cognitive dissonance, too?

There are a few reasons that Baltimore tends to turn up on these “richest cities” lists. One is that Baltimore City actually comprises quite a small part of the “metro area” that these studies measure, so while the city might be full of people struggling to keep up with average wages, the counties are a different story.

And, to put it frankly, there is a lot of wealth concentrated up and down the east coast. From Boston and Barnstable through New York City, Connecticut (Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven), and DC, the eastern corridor is a concentrated bastion of wealth (all those cities made it onto the list) — even if its central cities are falling apart. (Downtown New Haven isn’t the most fun place, either.)

So is there a way to harness at least some of that money surrounding Baltimore and use it to bolster the city that serves as our geographic — and, dare we say it, emotional — heart? If you’ve got any solutions, let us know.

7 replies on “Baltimore is the Fifteenth-Richest City in the Nation. Hmmm….”

  1. Scratch the Red Line Project (2 billion), which is marketed towards getting people from the suburbs into the city center. Its less efficient at moving within the city.

    The Charles Street Street Car is a plan that costs 2 million (aka 10% the cost of the red line). Even conservatively speaking here, you could build seven street car lines through the city with the funds for the Red Line.

    If the city had a comprehensive internal public transit system, people with wealth will be more likely to move back into the city.

    1. I agree with scrapping the red line for a more comprehensive system! (The charles street street car has the same issues that the red line has – only going through the central corridor for the mostly better off/white folks who are concentrated there) A real comprehensive system throughout Baltimore city/surrounding counties – eight directions out – is the ONLY way our city will come up out of this mess, in my opinion. Until we have a quick way to DC and back that’s affordable and weekend bound, our city won’t be connected to it’s geographical greatness. How do/can our elected officials leverage this geographical and emotional center “heart” for a truly comprehensive transit system?

    2. I find it odd that some people believe that public transportation improvements should only cover areas that are super extra poor and have no white people. I did some demographics on the Charles Street Streetcar corridor. The corridor is about 45% white and has household incomes more than 10% below the Baltimore City median (or just over half the area median).

    3. The problem with “scrapping the redline for a more comprehensive system” is that the pushback against redline is a tiny fraction of what would happen to any concept for a REAL transit plan in this City. Properties would have to be bulldozed. Some neighborhoods would see increases in pedestrian traffic (THE HORROR).

      If we can’t get the Red Line in place, the chance of there EVER being worthwhile transit in Baltimore goes from about 5% to 0%.

  2. Cut the taxes! If the taxes get cut families may return/not leave. Schools will improve , crime will decrease etc etc. I also agree with the other two comments. As a resident of Canton I can’t see any advantage to the Red Line.

    1. Or, make taxes an even playing field, at least. Johns Hopkins is the largest non-governmental landowner in the City and they pay $0 in property tax, and who knows what other tax breaks they get as a non-profit institution. Same for the City’s hundreds of churches. That adds up to $0.

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