by Mardee Handler

The foreign-born population plays an integral role in Baltimore, Maryland’s goal to grow its population by 10,000 families over the next decade. Like many other cities dependent on the manufacturing industry, Baltimore’s economy has been significantly impacted over the past few decades by a changing workforce and population loss.

On September 17, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a New Americans Task Force report that includes 32 recommendations “to further strengthen Baltimore as a place of welcome, economic opportunity and inclusion,” according to a City press release.

Baltimore’s 2013 population is estimated at 622,104, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Data from Merritt Research Services shows that the number of Baltimore (city) residents born in the State of Maryland declined from 437,606 in 2009 to 418,947 in 2012, a 4.3% decrease. During that same time period, the number of foreign-born residents increased from 39,685 in 2009 to 45,956 in 2012, a 15.8% increase.

The New Americans Task Force report, entitled “The Role of Immigrants in Growing Baltimore, Recommendations to Retain and Attract New Americans,” speaks to the City’s desire to create a “city of welcome.” Its recommendations focus on Economic Growth and Community Wellbeing, specifically in these areas:

  • Workforce Development
  • Small Business Development
  • Housing
  • Welcome & Diversity
  • Safety

Most of its recommendations aim to provide a level playing field for immigrants to have access to city services, opportunities for civic engagement, access to housing and small business assistance and ensuring public safety for all residents.

The report was a collaborative project of the New Americans Task Force, the Abell Foundation and the Office of the Mayor.