Baltimore Still Losing Population

July 01, 2009|By Olivia Bobrowsky | Olivia Bobrowsky,

Baltimore's population continues to drop, losing 3,231 people during the year that ended July 1, 2008, according to new census estimates released Wednesday.

Except for a small uptick in 2006, the city's population has been on a half-century decline. The most recent census figures put Baltimore's population at 636,919.

The number is an estimate, calculated by using data from the 2000 census and taking into account births, deaths and immigration.

City leaders have annually disputed the census' initial estimates, arguing the numbers are too low. The preliminary count for 2007 was 637,455, but the bureau readjusted the figure to 640,150. This year, Mayor Sheila Dixon said, she will appeal again.

"The census is one of the most important issues in our city," she said. "Every dollar we get for our viable services is [attributed] to the number of people in the city."

When any jurisdiction challenges the bureau, demographers re-calculate, figuring in data such as construction permits and housing occupancy rates.

Other jurisdictions in Maryland, however, are growing, according to the census bureau estimates. Baltimore County gained 212 people, reaching 785,618.

As in 2007, Howard County boasted the largest population growth in the Baltimore region, increasing by 2,384 people to reach 274,995 in 2008. Anne Arundel County added 2,283 to hit 512,790.

Prince George's County was again the only Maryland jurisdiction to lose more people than Baltimore, with a decrease of 4,466 people for a current estimated population of 820,852.

Maryland's population as a whole is also growing, although slowly. The state increased by 14,698 people to the new high of 5,633,597, becoming the 44th fastest-growing state between 2007 and 2008.

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