As was reported in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal and other news media last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual population estimates for counties. The Maryland State Data Center released its tables and analyses on March 14, 2103. These can be found on the 2012 Population Estimates for Maryland’s Jurisdictions webpage. The big news for Maryland was that Baltimore City is estimated to have grown by just over 1,100 residents (0.2%) for 2012 (between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012). The city has been losing population nearly every year since the 1950s.
Also of significance Montgomery County, which has had the largest population in Maryland since 1989, became the first county in Maryland to reach the one‐million population mark, with an estimated population of 1,004,709 as of July 1, 2012.
Overall, the latest Census Bureau population estimates indicate that the effects of the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, and the collapse of the overheated housing market of the mid 2000s are still being played out in the second year of the current decade. Loss of jobs, followed by an anemic recovery, along with a housing market saddled with foreclosures and stricter mortgage loan standards, combined to greatly impact the ability of residents to move to other locations.
This reduced mobility had the greatest negative impact on rural/exurban counties in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore which in the past grew mostly from the migration of residents from other parts of Maryland. On the other hand, reduced mobility had the greatest positive impact on inner suburban and some outer suburban counties which in the recent past had experienced significant domestic out migration. The result of this reduced mobility since the beginning of the Great Recession (and continuing through the second year of the current decade), has been that the majority of the State’s population growth has been concentrated in the four inner suburban counties (Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel and Baltimore) plus Howard County, with growth in all five counties aided by gains from international migration.