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March 9, 2011

Baltimore population loss not as bad as other cities'

Holy cow. Cleveland lost 17 percent of its population in the last decade. About 82,000 people. Since Baltimore was one of the first rust-belt cities to have its 2010 Census results announced, I've been waiting to see how our peers fared.

The answer so far, not so good. Results for Ohio and Pennsylvania are just out. Baltimore's loss of 4.6 percent of its residents over the decade is a significant continuation of a trend that has been going on for half a century. But it's not nearly as bad as the Cleveland hemorrhage. Or even Pittsburgh's population loss of 8.6 percent.

Cincinnati lost 10.4 percent of its people. Toledo, 8.4 percent, Akron, 8.3 percent.

UPDATE: St. Louis also lost population -- 8 percent.

Some Ohio and Pennsylvania cities, however, grew. Fueled by state government, education and health-care jobs, Columbus grew by 10.6 percent.

The most impressive rustbelt urban performance so far, however, is possibly by Philadelphia. From the Philly Inquirer:

The population of Philadelphia grew ever so slightly in the past decade, reversing a 50-year trend of decline, according to official census figures released today.

The number of people living in the city increased by 8,456 to 1,526,006, a rise of 0.6 percent.

Still, it's cause for celebration by government leaders and civic boosters, who have labored to lure people and businesses back to the city and stop the hemorrhage of population.

It suggests that Philadelphia's population may have stabilized, after decade upon decade of drops that began when Harry Truman was president.

Posted by Jay Hancock at 3:21 PM | | Comments (4)


What about St. Louey?

I don't think Missouri results are out yet. JH

Doh my bad. St. Louis is also down 8 percent.

Mayor Nutter is a UPenn grad and has implemented many innovative and dynamic programs. What policies did he use to help Philadelphia reverse a rather daunting trend and what could be used in Baltimore?

Trent: Good question. This is a guess: Attracting recently arrived immigrants? JH

Is it the incorporated legal city limits that have lost all those people or the entire metropolitan areas?

Baltimore has advantages over Pitt and Cleveland. 1. Maryland grew much more than those two areas, in fact Baltimore City was the ONLY jurisdiction to lose population in the whole state and that says something. 2. Baltimore has a direct line to the DC job core and the area is supported by the Federal government. 3. Baltimore is located in one of the wealthiest states in the country. 4. Near by cities on the 95 corridor all gained population. There are many advantages this city has.

The city is failing in perception, overly taxed middle income residents, and suffers from a sluggish, bloated, corrupt government.

Data shows that younger generations do want to move to the city. With the right and welcoming policies, Baltimore can and will grow. A slowing population loss is no great achievement.

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About Jay Hancock
Jay Hancock has been a financial columnist for The Baltimore Sun since 2001. He has also been The Baltimore Sun's diplomatic correspondent in Washington and its chief economics writer. Before moving to Baltimore in 1994 he worked for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The Daily Press of Newport News.

His columns appear Tuesdays and Sundays.

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