Maryland MSAs With Declining Populations

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The last post provided a discussion about the size and population change of MSAs (Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas) in Maryland. What the analysis revealed was that the three smallest MSAs were also the only MSAs to lose population from 2010 to 2017. In this post, the annual population changes of these three Maryland MSAs are examined in more depth.

Among the three Maryland MSAs that lost population from 2010 to 2017 (Cumberland, Easton, and Cambridge), population decline was most severe in the Cumberland MSA. Cumberland had an average annual population decline of 0.65 percent from 2010 to 2017. By comparison, Easton and Cambridge had an average annual population decline of 0.29 and 0.23 percent, respectively.

Cumberland was the only MSA to lose population every year from 2010 to 2017 (Figure 1). Cumberland’s rate of population loss remained steady throughout the period, suggesting that the MSA will likely continue to lose additional population in the near future. While Easton and Cambridge experienced two annual population increases, the increases were small and at the beginning of the study period. Both Easton and Cambridge lost population every year from 2014 to 2017. Furthermore, Easton experienced the single worst annual population decline among these three metros over this period, losing 0.87 percent of its population from 2013 to 2014.

Figure 1. Percent Change in Population from Prior Year


Despite steady losses for all three metros over the past four years, the absolute number of people leaving is small. From 2010 to 2017 the populations of Cumberland, Easton, and Cambridge, declined by 3,362, 776, and 520 people, respectively. So, while losses have been steady, a few years of gains could get their population numbers back to previous levels.