Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Challenging the U.S. Census. After a government report shows Baltimore’s population shrinking, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake calls the numbers into question. The city claims tens of thousands of people weren’t counted.
Kai Jackson explains why growth is so important to Baltimore.
As the debate unfolds about Baltimore’s population shrinking, one group says it’s clearly focused on helping the city grow.
Baltimore is in a battle over numbers, a high-stakes debate about the city’s population. Numbers show it has decreased. That’s clear but the big question is by how much. The 2010 Census says Baltimore has more than 620,000 residents.
“It’s our understanding from the initial numbers that there has been a loss in the past year but that it is stabilizing close to a net zero loss,” said Steve Gondol, Live Baltimore.
Yet that’s not enough for city leaders who are challenging the 2010 Census data. They believe thousands of people weren’t counted.
“We found 15,635 housing units that we believe the Census Bureau missed in its count,” said Director of City Planning Tom Stosur.
City planners calculated an average of two people living in those homes and it adds up to more than 30,000 missed. Some say that shows the population has at least stabilized, if not grown. Baltimore was one of the biggest cities in America after World War II but its population has steadily gotten smaller.
Live Baltimore says there may be debate about the city’s population but there are clear-cut reasons why people move to a city and why they leave.
“I love being downtown. It’s just so convenient,” said Eli Allen.
“The more the government cuts things, the more people tend to leave,” said Vernon Fonseca.
And valuable federal dollars are tied directly to the population for cities nationwide.
“Pure and simple, the more population you have, the more dollars you would get for housing or health programs or a host of other things that are funded at the federal and state levels,” Stosur said.
City planners estimate Baltimore could gain or lose $90 million over 10 years, depending on how the Census Department responds.