Appeal of 2010 Census nets city small population gain

Baltimore's challenge challenge to the 2010 Census count netted the city a small population bump.

Instead of being home to 620,961 people on April 1, 2010, as the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2011, Baltimore actually had 621,074 residents — an increase of 113 people, federal records show.


That's a far smaller increase than Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other Baltimore officials had hoped for. The city's planning department argued in its appeal that census workers did not count 15,635 housing units in Baltimore.

If that were the case, the department said, the city's population would have held steady since 2000, not lost 30,000 people.


The city stood to gain $87 million more in federal funding if the official count remained at around 650,000, city planning officials said. Over 10 years, a city resident on average is worth about $2,900 in federal funds for entitlement programs, such as foster care and health care, Baltimore Planning Director Tom Stosur said last year.

It's unusual for municipalities to see significant increases to their Census counts after filing such challenges. After the 2000 Census, challenges led to a net gain of a measly 2,700 people nationwide.

The leaders of more than 200 communities filed challenges to the 2010 count. Allegany County, College Park, Kensington and Takoma Park were the only other Maryland jurisdictions to appeal their 2010 numbers.

As with all revisions stemming from a municipal challenge, Baltimore's amended count will not be used for legislative redistricting. Government offices, however, can use the new count "for future program requiring official 2010 Census data," according to the Census Bureau.

The adjusted figure will also be used by the Census Bureau as the base for annual population estimates until the 2020 count. The most recent annual estimate, released in March, said there were 621,342 people in Baltimore on July 1, 2012 — a 0.2 percent increase from a year earlier.

Baltimore's challenge was based on an analysis of housing data reviewed by the Abell Foundation and the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative, the planning department said.

When the appeal was filed last summer, the mayor's office stated she would use the revised number as the baseline from which she would begin counting toward her goal of increasing the city's population by "10,000 families" in a decade.

She set the goal, which her aides say translates to an increase of 22,000 individuals, at her inauguration in December 2011. Expanding the city's population is a top priority for Rawlings-Blake and she mentions the goal at many of her public appearances.

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