Baltimore City’s population dipped below the 600,000 level, not see in more than a century, as record homicides, an opioid crisis, and now an economic depression risks sending the city deeper into chaos.
The Baltimore Sun, citing new US Census data released on Thursday, estimates that the population in the city was 593,490 as of July 2019.
To give you some perspective on the collapsing population trend in Baltimore. In 1950, the city had 950,000 residents. Now it has 593,490, which is a loss of 356,510 people, or about 37.5% of the entire population in seven decades.
We’ve mentioned on several occasions how deindustrialization, “white flight” of the 1960/70s, the crack epidemic of the 1980/90s, and now the murder and opioid crisis has created another mass exodus, with many people fleeing for Baltimore County and other surrounding counties.
Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center and a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, said after the 2015 Baltimore Riots, no other counties surrounding the city saw a fall in population.
The city’s plunging population, Rendall said, “is not a phenomenon reflective of the overall metropolitan area.”
Over the previous year, Baltimore City lost 8,953 people, or 1.5% of its population.
Back in 2014, when Democratic Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was in office, the city had more than 623,000 residents. Which means the city has lost nearly 5% of its population in five years.
Since the riots, Baltimore’s economic revival was halted, homicides surged, and opioids flooded low-income neighborhoods. Many people have packed their bags and exited the city, reflected in recent population trends.
With a depression expected to hit the US economy in the second quarter, the fear is that Baltimore could dive deeper into chaos. Most of the jobs in the city are service-based, completely wiped out by the virus-related shutdowns. Economic downturns have been known to stoke violence, drug use, and could risk another uprising in the city by angry folks who have not just lost their jobs but have been living in a hellhole for the last several decades.