Report: City population has dipped since 2000

March 22, 2010|By Brent Jones |

Overall population has declined in Baltimore since 2000, although some communities have flourished, according to Vital Signs, an occasional report that charts trends in neighborhoods by a variety of measurements.

The report analyzes data from 80 indicators provided by the city's planning department.

About 270 city neighborhoods are broken down into census-tract boundaries, and while the city has lost about 3 percent of its residents since 2000, several communities have experienced a population boom, including downtown (22 percent growth), Loch Raven (8.4 percent increase) and Northwood (9.9 percent increase).

The report also notes that the teen birth rate dropped from 93.3 out of 1,000 in 2000 to 66.1 per 1,000 in 2008.

The numbers - which come from a variety of sources, including the Census Bureau, housing department and police - are used to create a baseline for charting what is happening in Baltimore neighborhoods in such areas as family health, housing and safety. Due to the volume of data that is analyzed and compiled, the most recent numbers come from 2008, according to the report's authors, the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.

Thousands of statistics are gathered to paint a broad picture of the city. The report shows, for example, the numbers of clogged storm drains, calls placed to the city's 311 line for rat sightings and dirty street alleys in neighborhoods. The statistics allow for a comparison of lifestyles in the city's richest and poorest areas.

Other hard-to-come-by tidbits include the number of good air-quality days, the percentage of satisfactory-birth rates and the number of residential properties with more than $5,000 worth of rehabilitation work.

"Vital Signs is an important contribution to understanding Baltimore below the city level," said Janice Hamilton, a senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "I think it's one of the few reports that's doing that."

Along with the population increase in Loch Raven, median housing prices there hovered around $160,000, more than double the total at the beginning of the decade.

Northwood's increase in housing prices nearly mirrors Loch Raven. But the authors acknowledge that the economic downturn was not completely accounted for in the 2008 data.

"With the housing market the way it was, which was fairly robust before the last two years, these areas that were experiencing positive increases in population were due to the fact that they were either fairly new developments or viewed as more attractive - the schools, amenities, those types of things," said Matthew Kachura, program manager for the alliance.

Information is available on the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance Web site,

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