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 results of this year’s annual crab population survey may have Marylanders feeling a little salty.
Baltimore City is bleeding residents, according to new U.S. Census figures released today.
In an article in yesterday’s New York Times, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was quoted as saying, “I’m trying to grow the city, not get smaller.”
That comes as no surprise. By now we’re all familiar with Rawlings-Blake’s goal of attracting 10,000 new families to the city by 2023. But what’s interesting is Baltimore’s commitment to expansion given its simultaneous embrace of razing vacants to the ground. How attractive is a city that is tearing down building after empty building?
The trick is to turn demolition into a bold step forward, rather than a retreat. To that end, Baltimore has been offering many of the vacant lots to urban farming operations, like Boone Street Farm in Midway, which cultivates an eighth-acre site and sells the produce to local eateries and at farmers markets.
Two weeks ago we celebrated a minor victory in Baltimore City’s population battle when government number crunchers informed us that from July 2011 to July 2012 Baltimore turned around over six decades of population decline and experienced 0.2 percent growth. An article in the Baltimore Sun explains why we partly have the recession to thank for that.
We’re still a long, long way off from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s ambitious goal of a net gain of 10,000 families in Baltimore City by 2023, but we’ve got some heartening news. According to numbers crunched by the government, between July 2011 and July 2012 Baltimore’s population grew by, drum roll, 1,100 residents.
As you probably know, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has made it her mission to increase Baltimore’s population by 10,000 families over the next 10 years (or wait, was it 10 families over the next 10,000 years? — yeah, that sounds more realistic). Well, she sees immigrants, particularly Latinos, as key to achieving that goal, and with good reason. In the 2010 census, most cities that showed population growth could credit it mainly to their Latino residents.
And you thought Baltimor Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s goal of attracting 22,500 new residents to Baltimore in the next ten years was tough enough already. And now the U.S. Census Bureau has used data on housing units, number of people moving, births, and deaths to determine that Baltimore’s population dropped by approximately 1,500 people between April 2010 and July 2011.
That means we were hemorrhaging 100 people a month. And if the population naturally continues on that downward trend, then even if we attract 22,500 new residents (or 10,000 new families) to Baltimore over the next 120 months, its impact will be undermined by the steady exodus.
Have you noticed that things have been feeling a little… crowded recently? That may be because world population is creeping closer and closer to the seven billion mark, which it’s predicted to hit on October 31, 2011, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
It was only 12 years ago that we topped six billion; in fact, if you’re looking for terror, population stats are way more effective than most haunted houses. Consider the fact that if fertility rates remained at 1995 levels for the next century or so, in 2150 world population would be 256 billion. Yeah. Go hide under your bed now, while there’s still room under there.
(However, the news does present a great costume opportunity for folks who don’t feel like dressing up. If someone asks you what you are, just tell them you’re the 7th billion human. Terrifying!)
Okay, deep breaths. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has a Population Center, and they’re going to tell us that it’s all going to be okay. Or maybe not — but at least they’ll be reassuringly professional about it. Watch their panel The Seven Billionth Human: What Does This Birth Mean? in person or streaming on the web this Friday from 2-4 PM. Speakers include Babatunde Ostimehin, the executive director of the UN Population Fund; Hania Zlotnik, Director of the UN’s Population Division; David Lam, an economics professor from the University of Michigan; and Brian O’Neill of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
“The only sustainable population growth in the long term is zero. The question is how we get there,” says Hopkins prof Stan Becker. Wondering how you can do your part? I’ve always thought that Philip Larkin had some pretty good advice on that…