Ground Up

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Rent Café: Baltimore among nation’s most prosperous cities

The website Rent Café has named Baltimore as one the nation’s most prosperous cities based on U.S. Census data.

Rankings were determined using factors such as household income, median value of owner occupied housing prices and population share with at least a bachelor’s degree. Baltimore’s inclusion on this list, at No. 8, comes despite the city losing about 5 percent of its population between 2000 and 2016.

“However, Baltimore’s case may raise some eyebrows as the city scored surprisingly high considering the fact that it has been struggling with a declining population for a long time,” according to Rent Café, which helps potential residents find apartments.

Median prices of owner-occupied homes increased in Baltimore by 56 percent, the share of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 55 percent, while the rate of residents living in poverty increased by 1 percent.

These demographic shifts gives credence to the argument that Baltimore’s population drop can be attributed to lower-income residents taking advantage of greater flexibility in terms of where they can use housing vouchers. Meanwhile younger, higher-educated residents are choosing to make homes in city neighborhoods such as downtown, Federal Hill and Canton.

The site notes that Baltimore’s high property tax — more than double surrounding counties — is playing a role in the growth of suburban Baltimore County. It also suggests that millennials currently bolstering the city may eventually decide to commute to avoid high property taxes.

Rent Café ranked Washington as the top city in the nation in terms of prosperity growth since the turn of the century. The District’s population has increased by 15 percent, income has jumped 30 percent and home values have increased by a staggering 135 percent since 2000.

Other cities on the list include Miami, New York and Seattle.

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