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Census Shows Baltimore Population Keeps Shrinking

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore City’s population is shrinking by the year. New estimates show even more people moving out of the city despite efforts to bring more families in.

Pat Warren has the troubling new numbers.

The bad news is that the city lost about 100 people a month. The good news is it’s losing less.

While Baltimore is hard at work promoting itself– the nonprofit Live Baltimore group has a campaign on Facebook, for example– it continues to spring a leak.

In 1950, nearly a million people lived in the city, and that number has been on a steady decline. In the last decade, the city lost 30,000, and since the 2010 census, the population declined by 1,500 in 15 months– not the way the mayor wants the city to go.

“I set out an ambitious goal to grow our city by 10,000 families over the next 10 years, and this new information gives us that baseline from which we can grow,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Baltimore was ranked the sixth largest city in the nation in the 1950s and 60s. In the 70s it dropped a place and by the 1980 census, it ranked tenth. It lost more than 165,000 people by 2010 and now ranks No. 24.

Analyst Anirban Basu calls that troubling.

“The message is, cities that are attractive to young families, that are able to attract them and keep them, are growing population,” he said.

The good news is Baltimore is losing population at half the rate it was in the last decade, stemming the tide to hopefully, a trickle.

“It’s an overarching principle. It’s a goal in all the policies we make,” Rawlings-Blake said.

A key issue is affordability. The city still has the highest property tax rate in the state and just increased the bottle tax and raised water rates.

Washington, D.C. is now about only 1,500 people away from outranking Baltimore.

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