Stop the presses!
Hear yea! Hear yea!
Baltimore City Council proclaims Baltimore City is "approaching no net out-migration"!
Well, that's good news. Or is it?
Back in September of 2012, according the Baltimore City Council Journal, the City Council correctly changed the zoning in the Coldstream Homestead Montebello Urban Renewal area to one that would not allow for the conversion of homes into multi-family dwellings (read apartments). They may have saved an entire community.
But one of the reasons they gave for this zoning change is rather astonishing. They state the community will not need additional housing because the City is approaching a "stable number" of residents and that "no net out-migration" is coming soon.
In other words, the City Council believes that Baltimore City will soon be attracting enough new residents to replace those that are leaving.
Now that is news.
To put it another way, the Baltimore City Council believes that the population of Baltimore will not be increasing much beyond what we have today.
Now that is news too - sad news - but news all the same.
My question is how did the City Council reach this conclusion? Can they point to any studies? Do they have that much faith in Mayor Rawlings-Blake's plan to attract "10,000 new families" in ten years? (Can they even explain clearly what the Mayor means by "families"? Does one new person moving into Baltimore constitute a "new family" even if another family with 10 people moves out?)
Frankly, I am not as optimistic as the City Council seems to be. I point to this December 20, 2012, article in the Baltimore Sun as Exhibit A:
D.C. now has more people than Baltimore
"The District gained more than 13,000 residents between July 2011 and July 2012. The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday put D.C.'s population on July 1, 2012 at 632,323 -- up from 619,020 a year earlier.
"In contrast, on July 1, 2011 Baltimore's population was estimated by the Census Bureau to be 619,493, down from 620,560 a year earlier."
Washington is bigger than Baltimore! That is enough to make any true Baltimorean shrink in shame.
But unless the 2012 Census Bureau estimate for Baltimore's population, which will be released this year, shows a dramatic reversal of the "out-migration" we have been experiencing since the 1960s, I don't see how the City Council could come to such a fantastic assumption.
To be sure, I have not seen any sustained effort by the current Mayor and City Council to reverse the City's "out-migration".
In fact, another year has past and our city is just as dirty, just as dangerous (despite statistically improved crime numbers), and just as expensive to live in as ever.