A new estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau says more than 5,300 people left the Baltimore city limits between 2016 and 2017, equal to just shy of 1 percent of the city’s population.
The numbers bring more grim population-related news for Baltimore, which already lost nearly 8,700 people between July 2014 and July 2016. The new numbers reflect the difference from July 2016 and July 2017. Baltimore’s population now stands at 611,648, according to the Census Bureau.
The decline has been ongoing since 2014. The number of residents was actually trending upward from 2011 to 2014 with a 2,500-person bump, which brought the total to more than 623,000. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had pledged to grow the population by 10,000 within the next 10 years.
But that rise stagnated and a bleed began in 2014, coinciding with the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and the ensuing Baltimore Uprising. The narrative goes that residents left in droves as homicides and violent crime spiked, and have since remained at high levels.
Baltimore’s 2016-17 population loss was the second-highest of any jurisdiction in the country behind Cook County, Ill., which lost more than 20,000 people, but still has more than 5.2 million in all. Cook County houses Chicago, which has also been grappling with a spiking homicide rate.
Ironically, amid the losses for Baltimore City, the greater Baltimore metro area actually moved up in size relative to other metro areas around the country.
“In 2017, the Baltimore metro area was now the 20th most populous metro area, up from 21st place in 2016,” the Census Bureau noted in a release. Meanwhile, the St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. metro area (also dealing with high violent crime) dropped to from 20 to 21.
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