Background of the City
Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland. It is considered to be among 30 of the populous city in the world. It is regarded as the largest independent city in the United States since the Constitution of Maryland established it. It currently has a population of more than 630,000. Baltimore’s inner harbor was once considered as the major port through which immigrants entered the country. The city is a service oriented economy which is renowned for major establishments such as the John Hopkins hospital. Baltimore City has some challenges and strengths that it grapples with on a regular basis. The advantage of living in the city is that it is a relatively affordable neighborhood as compared to other cities. The major disadvantage of living in the city is the high rate of poverty which has resulted in higher crime levels.
Baltimore is an affordable city due to the low prices of housing which enables the residents to own homes. It is ideal for people who desire to live in larger houses which they relatively expensive in other cities of the United States. Though the city experienced a state of deindustrialization, it has been able to develop a low wage service economy which employs more than 31,000 people (Wen & Sharfstein, 2015). Every year new companies are established in the city which has resulted in the increase of employment opportunities available in the state.
The technological sector is growing rapidly thereby attracting a large number of professionals to the city. Baltimore is also the home of the John Hopkins Hospital and other large companies such as Royal firms and Under Armor which contribute huge amounts to the revenue of the state in form of taxes (Zeemering, 2014). The inner harbor port of Baltimore is considered to be the world trade center since it hosts the headquarters for major shipping lines in the United States and generates more than $4 billion in salaries and wages per year. The port is a major source of tourism and tax revenues and provides 108, 000 indirect jobs and 14, 630 direct employment opportunities (Bower, Thorpe, Rohde, & Gaskin, 2014).
Some of the challenges of living in Baltimore City are rampant unemployment, poverty and a large income gap between the rich and poor. Poverty is a major issue in the city especially in the suburbs where it is considered to be a symptom of economic stress for families that live in the city (Wen & Sharfstein, 2015).Challenges of public safety and public health have also been observed in the community especially in impoverished neighborhoods. The high crime rates in the city especially drug abuse are attributed to poverty in the state (Bower et al., 2014). The homicide rate in the city is at levels which are above the national average rate, especially in poor neighborhoods. So extensive was this crime rate that in August 2014 that a youth curfew law was instituted to prohibit children aged between 14 and 16 from walking unaccompanied after 10 pm (Wen & Sharfstein, 2015).
The level of unemployment, poverty rates, housing, and income are different in white communities as compared to their African American counterparts. The savings difference between the two demographics is approximated to be $40,000 a year depicting the high rate of inequality in the city (Bower et al., 2014). The high rate of unemployment is associated with the increasing population and the decline in shipping and manufacturing industries (Wen & Sharfstein, 2015). The increment in jobs in the fields of life sciences, information technology, and cybersecurity has created a situation of structural unemployment which mainly results from the mismatch in skills of the potential employees and the work requirements. With regards to poverty, it is estimated that 24% of the population of Baltimore lives below the poverty line. For instance, Zeemering (2014) approximates that on average a family of three people live on an income of $20,090 annually. With regards to the health situation, Baltimore city has a recorded life expectancy of 63years old due to several health issues which include diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and homicide (Wen & Sharfstein, 2015).
Baltimore city has some strengths and weakness; the critical issue in the city is the high rate of income disparity that has spiraled into rampant poverty. The low-income rate has further been worsened by the high rates of unemployment which cause the youth to resort to crime as an alternative source of revenue. If Baltimore City is to overcome its challenges and to exert economic dominance in the region, then it has to create more employment opportunities for its residents. Deindustrialization has been attributed to be one of the major causes of the decline in employment rates. Other than investing in the technological industry which is enhancing the economy, the city should consider designing interventions geared towards reducing the high crime rates.
Zeemering, E. S. (2014). Collaborative strategies for sustainable cities: economy, environment, and community in Baltimore (Vol. 2). New York. Routledge.
Bower, K. M., Thorpe, R. J., Rohde, C., & Gaskin, D. J. (2014). The intersection of neighborhood racial segregation, poverty, and urban city and its impact on food store availability in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 58, 33-39.
Wen, L. S., & Sharfstein, J. M. (2015). Unrest in Baltimore: the role of public health. Jama, 313(24), 2425-2426.
Background of the City