2020 Census Data: Baltimore City

Aug. 12, 2021

Live Baltimore’s statement on Baltimore City’s 2020 Census count:

Population growth is critical to an equitable and thriving Baltimore City economy. Residents not only contribute the greatest share of our city’s tax revenue, they support tens of thousands of local jobs with their household spending. A 2020 report by Econsult Solutions Inc. found that for every 1,000 households added to Baltimore, there is a $74 million local economic impact, generating 410 jobs and $25 million in employee compensation.

“We know that the City can grow,” said Executive Director Annie Milli. “In January, we released a report showing our potential to add more than 25,000 households over the next five years through targeted housing development. The strength of our residential real estate market supports that this is possible.”

So far in 2021, Baltimore City’s residential real estate market has shown the highest rates of growth among counties in the metro region. According to Bright MLS, the number of homes purchased in the City has increased by 31%, compared to the metro region’s 21%. The City’s median home price has improved by 23%, compared to the metro region’s 10% gain.

“As an organization that assists excited, new Baltimore City residents and homebuyers each day, it’s difficult to receive this Census result,” said Milli. “Today’s announcement underscores that the City’s population won’t grow by accident. More intentional strategies, across multiple agencies and organizations, are needed to reverse what is now 70 years of decline. This is a call to action.”

With the adoption of a new strategic plan in July, Live Baltimore has redoubled its commitment to growing our city. We are squarely focused on doing so by 2030 in collaboration with Mayor Scott and many other partners.


  • Baltimore City’s population peaked at 949,708 in 1950.
  • Since 1950, Baltimore City has lost population in every decade.
  • The decades that saw the largest decline in residents were the 1970s (when we lost 118,984) and the 1990s (when we lost 84,860).
  • Since 1950, the primary driver of Baltimore’s population loss has been the decline in the American household size (from 3.5 persons per household in 1950 to 2.5 persons per household in 2010).
  • At least 80% of the City’s population loss since 1950 can be attributed to decline in household size.
  • If 2010’s household size was equal to 1950’s, our population would have been 885,260.
  • Baltimore City’s number of households peaked at 289,349 in 1970.
  • Baltimore City lost households from 1970 to 2010. The number of households increased by 1,576 households between 2010 and 2020.
  • From 1970 to 2010, the City’s number of households declined by 39,446.
  • The decades that saw the largest decline in households were the 2000s (when we lost 18,488) and the 2010s (when we lost 8,093).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

TO GROW BY 2030:

  • At the current household size (2.26 persons per household), approximately 4,500 added households are needed to net 10,000 new residents.
  • To grow the City’s population back to that of 2010, roughly 16,000 households must be added in Baltimore.
  • According to Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Baltimore City’s annual residential market potential is 44,335 households.
  • Given this market size, it is estimated that between 5,300 and 7,100 households could be added each year through the targeted renovation and construction of new housing.

For additional information, contact:

Annie Milli
Executive Director