Baltimore’s population dipped below 600,000 people, according to new estimates released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau, the lowest total in more than a century.
As The Baltimore Sun noted, the last time the population was below the 600,000-mark was in 1910, when there were 558,000 residents in the city. A decade later, during the next count, there were more than 730,000 people living in Baltimore.
At its peak, the city had nearly 950,000 in 1950, The Sun reported.
Today’s estimate, compiled by demographers using data on births, deaths and migration, places Baltimore’s population at 593,490 as of July 1, 2019.
In response to today’s estimate, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said in a statement that the drop underscores the city’s effort to get the “count as complete and accurate as possible” in the upcoming 2020 Census. Federal dollars are distributed for infrastructure, healthcare and other projects based on the tally.
“During a time of great challenge, federal funding tied to Census numbers are helping our City feed vulnerable children and seniors,” Young said. “We know that every dollar is needed and that we’ll only get our fair share with a complete Census count.”
The mayor said he held a virtual meeting with Baltimore’s Census Complete Count Committee this morning to encourage participation amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the city is considering alternative methods to reach people while maintaining social distancing, such as social media, phone banking and text messages. The city will also hand out information on the Census at 50 sites giving out meals during the coronavirus outbreak.
Last week, the Census Bureau said it would push the deadline for responses by two weeks due to coronavirus. U.S residents now have until Aug. 14 to fill out the form for the decennial tally of the country’s population.
Speaking to Baltimore Fishbowl last year, Austin Davis, 2020 Census project manager for the Department of Planning, said officials are targeting a 73 percent response rate—up from 63 percent in 2000 and 68 percent in 2010.
The city, Davis said at the time, planned to focus on “hard-to-count populations” in the city such as seniors, people returning from prison, young black men, non-English speakers, people with disabilities and special needs, homeless individuals and LGBTQ youth.
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