Baltimore is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is located in the central area of the state along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The independent city is often referred to as Baltimore City to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County.
Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic United States and is situated closer to Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. After a decline in manufacturing, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy.
At 620,961 residents in 2010, Baltimore's population has decreased by one-third since its peak in 1950. The Baltimore Metropolitan Area has grown steadily to approximately 2.7 million residents in 2010; the 20th largest in the country. Baltimore is also a principal city in the larger Baltimore–Washington combined statistical area of approximately 8.4 million residents.
The city is named after Lord Baltimore, a member of the Irish House of Lords and the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore is an anglicization of the Irish Gaelic name Baile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "town of the big house", whence Baltimore, County Cork derives its name.
At the 2010 Census, there were 620,961 people residing in Baltimore, a decrease of −4.6% since 2000. According to the 2010 Census, 63.7% of the population was Black,29.6% White, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.3% Asian, 0.2% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 2.1% of two or more races. 4.2% of Baltimore's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race). After New York City, Baltimore was the second city in the United States to reach a population of 100,000. In the 1830, 1840, and 1850 US censuses, Baltimore was the second-largest city in population, surpassed by Philadelphia in 1860. It was among the top 10 cities in population in the United States in every census up to the 1980 census, and after World War II had a population of nearly a million.
Although Baltimore population has continued to decline since 1950, the number of families living downtown has increased significantly over the past 10 years, according to Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc. Downtown Baltimore’s core area experienced a population increase of 130% since 2000. The area in a one-mile radius of downtown between Pratt and Light Streets grew 13.6% during that time as well. New construction and the conversion of obsolete commercial buildings into residences has been a primary factor for growth in the central city. According to the Downtown Partnership growth in downtown Baltimore is higher than in other places, including Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. The average household income in downtown increased 39.7% to $64,128 from $45,895.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Baltimore's population lived in a total of 294,579 housing units in 2009. Age ranges were 22.4% under 18 years old, 11.8% at age 65 or older, and 65.8% from 18 to 64 years old. Baltimore's population was 53.4% female. The median age is 35 years old.
A statistical abstract prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the median income for a household in the city during 2008 at $30,078, and the median income for a family at $48,216. The same abstract also listed a per capita income of $22,885 for the city in 2008, with 15.4% of families and 19.3% of the population below the poverty line.
Despite the housing collapse, and along with the national trends, Baltimore residents still face slowly increasing rent (up 3% in the summer of 2010).
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