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Baltimore slides as Washington suburbs lead population gains

Rockville and Frederick were the only two Maryland cities to crack the country's list of 300 fastest growing places with populations above 50,000 last year, while Baltimore dropped farther behind other cities in terms of total population.

Baltimore slid two places to rank as the nation's 29th largest city, behind Portland, Oklahoma City and Las Vegas, after its estimated population dropped 1,862 — essentially flat in a city of 621,849. Baltimore is the only Maryland city in the nation's top 300 by population.

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The findings are drawn from the U.S. Census's release Thursday of its most detailed estimates yet for population change between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015. The numbers estimate for births and deaths, as well as migration in and out.

Maryland's population of just over 6 million is growing slightly more slowly than the country at large, increasing half a percentage point last year. The U.S. grew 0.8 percent, adding 2.5 million people for a total of 321.4 million.

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The estimates show populations expanding in the Southern half of the country, with Texas cities claiming five of the top 11 growth rates.

In Maryland, places close to Washington saw the most robust gains. Rockville was the fastest growing place with a population above 50,000, climbing 2.1 percent to 66,980. Frederick, with a population of 69,479, followed at 1.7 percent.

The estimates cover only incorporated places, a category that excludes many population centers in Maryland, including Columbia, Ellicott City and Towson.

Here's a look at fastest growing and shrinking places in Maryland.

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Fastest growing places in Maryland by rate

1. Leonardtown, St. Mary's County, pop. 3,633, up 3.3 percent

2. Rockville, Montgomery County, pop. 66,980, up 2.1 percent

3. Church Hill, Queen Anne's County pop. 747, up 1.8 percent

4. Willards, Wicomico County, pop. 989, up 1.7 percent

5. Frederick, Frederick County, pop. 69,479, up 1.7 percent

Largest population gains in Maryland by number

1. Rockville, Montgomery County, pop. 66,980, +1,379

2. Frederick, Frederick County, pop. 69,479, +1,148

3. Gaithersburg, Montgomery County, pop. 67,456, +645

4. Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, pop. 39,47,4 +634

5. Bowie, Prince George's County, pop. 58,025, +433

Fastest shrinking places in Maryland

1. Deer Park, Garrett County, pop. 381, down 1 percent

2. Kitzmiller, Garrett County, pop. 310, down 1 percent

3. Clear Spring, Washington County, pop. 351, down 1 percent

4. Friendsville, Garrett County, pop. 476, down 1 percent

5. Sudlersville, Queen Anne's County, pop. 485, down 1 percent

Largest population losses in Maryland by number

1. Baltimore City pop. 621,849, -1,862

2. Cumberland, Allegany County, pop. 20,130, -157

3. Bel Air, Harford County, pop. 10,190, -66

4. Cambridge, Dorchester County, pop. 12,507, -49

5. Frostburg, Allegany County, pop. 8,667, -38

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