A healthy birth rate allowed Maryland to push past the 5 million population mark this year, even though people moving out of the state outnumbered those moving in, the Census Bureau says.
Revised estimates released yesterday show that Maryland's population hit 5,006,000 in July, compared with 4,798,000 four years earlier -- a 4.1 percent change.
But the migration trends, which were attributed primarily to the state's long economic slump, were troubling. Maryland stood apart from Virginia, Delaware and other South Atlantic states, which gained residents through moves, according to bureau statistics.
"They're going to where the jobs are," said Edna Mach, manager of sales for Baltimore Storage Co., a Mayflower agent.
As recently as 1991, 6,000 more people came to Maryland than moved out. But in each of the next three years, the state showed net losses from migration: 2,000 in 1992; 11,000 in 1993 and 4,000 in 1994, according to bureau estimates.
"If there had not been a fairly healthy rate of natural population increase -- that is, more people being born than people dying -- then Maryland would have experienced a population decline," said Ed Byerly, a Census Bureau statistician/demographer.
There were 77,000 births in the state between July 1993 and July 1994, and 41,000 deaths. Also contributing to the state's overall population increase was the addition of 13,000 people from other countries.
Dr. Michael Conte, director of the Regional Economic Studies Program at the University of Baltimore, blamed the lack of good jobs for the exodus of state residents.
"We have not had a whole lot of highly paid job opportunities in Maryland in the '90s," he said. "The migration figures come as a bit of a shock because we were doing so well in the '80s. And the outlook for the next few years is for much of the same."
Jean Bostwick said she and her husband, Rick, hated to leave Maryland when they moved from Baltimore to Philadelphia eight months ago. But he couldn't find a job here in the reinsurance business.
"My in-laws have lived in Catonsville 30 years and they tell us they have noticed a decline in the number of companies coming into Maryland, that and big companies like Westinghouse making layoffs," Mrs. Bostwick said. Moving companies contacted yesterday said job transfers and retirements were the main reasons behind their clients' moves from Maryland.
"We're definitely seeing a lot more moving out than in," said Melanie Fringer, office manager for VIP Transport, the Allied agent in Jessup. "A lot still go to Florida; another hot spot is the Carolinas."
All the other South Atlantic states showed net migration gains during 1994, including Delaware, 3,000 more residents; Virginia, 6,000; West Virginia, 4,000; North Carolina, 68,000; South Carolina, 4,000; Georgia, 83,000; and Florida, 128,000.
In the South Atlantic region, only Washington, D.C., also experienced a net migration loss -- 17,000 more people left the nation's capital than moved in, according to bureau estimates. The Middle Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey and #F Pennsylvania all lost people to moves during 1994, as did the New England states of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Mr. Byerly said he couldn't speculate why people are leaving Maryland. "When we see the smaller numbers, for the counties and cities, we should be able to tell more, whether it's due to higher taxes or more regulations or fewer jobs."
The Census Bureau will have updated population information for America's counties in February and for cities in June.
Maryland has been ranked 19th in population throughout this decade. But the new census estimates, based on July figures, show that Texas passed New York as the second most populous state behind California, which has 31.4 million residents. Texas has 18.4 million residents and New York has 18.2 million, according to bureau estimates.
Nevada led all states in the percentage of population increase -- 5.4 percent from mid-1993 to mid-1994. It was followed by Arizona, 3.3 percent, and Idaho, 3 percent. Maryland's population increased 1 percent during that period.