7 Maryland Towns People Are Fleeing As Soon As Possible

Maryland, known for its picturesque Chesapeake Bay coastline, historical significance, and proximity to the nation’s capital, is a desirable place to live for many. However, like many other states, Maryland is facing population shifts, with some towns experiencing significant declines in residents.

This article will examine seven Maryland towns where people are choosing to leave and explore the complex factors contributing to this outward migration.

1. Baltimore, Maryland

The city of Baltimore, once a thriving industrial hub, has faced challenges in recent decades. While it boasts a rich history and cultural attractions, the city has been plagued by high crime rates, poverty, and a shrinking job market. These factors have led to a steady population decline over recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Baltimore’s population decreased from 620,961 in 2010 to 585,708 in 2020.

2. Hagerstown, Maryland

Hagerstown, located in Western Maryland, has experienced a stagnant economy and limited job growth. This has made it difficult for the town to attract and retain residents, especially younger generations seeking better opportunities elsewhere. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that Hagerstown’s population has decreased slightly in recent years.

3. Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, was once a center for coal mining and manufacturing. The decline of these industries has left the town struggling economically. Lack of well-paying jobs and limited amenities have contributed to a population exodus in recent years. U.S. Census Bureau figures show a decline in Cumberland’s population over the past decade.

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4. Salisbury, Maryland

Located on the Eastern Shore, Salisbury has seen an uptick in crime rates and concerns about public safety. Additionally, the town’s cost of living has been rising, making it less affordable for residents. These factors have driven some people to relocate to more affordable or safer areas. Sources like the U.S. Census Bureau may offer population data to track these trends.

5. Elkton, Maryland

Elkton, a small town in Cecil County, has struggled to keep up with the rising cost of living in the region. Its proximity to larger metropolitan areas with more job opportunities may also be contributing to population decline as people relocate in search of better prospects. U.S. Census Bureau data could reveal potential shifts in Elkton’s population figures.

6. Aberdeen, Maryland

Aberdeen has a heavy reliance on the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a major military installation. Changes or reductions in activities at the Proving Ground can significantly impact the town’s economy and potentially lead to a decrease in population, as residents may move to areas with greater job stability.

7. Frostburg, Maryland

Frostburg, a college town in the Allegheny Mountains, has faced challenges stemming from the decline in the coal industry. Its remote location and limited economic opportunities outside of the university make it difficult to retain residents after they graduate. Population figures could provide insights into whether the trend is a consistent population decline.

Factors Contributing to Population Loss

Several underlying factors are driving the population decline in these Maryland towns:

  • High Cost of Living: Maryland has a relatively high cost of living compared to other states. This includes housing costs, taxes, and the price of everyday goods and services. Towns with a high cost of living may be less attractive to potential residents.
  • Limited Job Opportunities: Economic decline, a shrinking industrial base, or a lack of diverse employment options can make it difficult for residents to find good-paying jobs.
  • Crime and Safety Concerns: Towns with elevated crime rates or concerns about public safety can significantly deter people from living there. Families, in particular, place a high value on safety when choosing a place to settle.
  • Quality of Life Issues: Limited access to quality education, healthcare, cultural amenities, and recreational opportunities can reduce a town’s overall quality of life. This makes these towns less attractive places to live.
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The Impact of Population Loss

The loss of population can have a cascading effect on a community:

  • Economic Consequences: When people leave, local businesses lose customers. This can lead to closures and job losses, further weakening the town’s economy.
  • Strain on Public Services: A declining population also means less tax revenue, making it difficult for a town to fund essential services like schools, infrastructure, and public safety.
  • Decline in Property Values: As demand for housing decreases due to population loss, property values may decline. This can make it difficult for homeowners to sell their homes or obtain equity.

Potential Solutions

Addressing the root causes of population decline is essential for reversing these negative trends:

  • Revitalization Efforts: Towns can invest in revitalization projects aimed at improving infrastructure, public spaces, and community amenities. This can make them more attractive places to live, work, and raise a family.
  • Addressing Affordability: Measures to improve the affordability of housing and reduce the overall cost of living can make these towns more accessible to new residents and help retain current ones.
  • Attracting New Businesses: Offering incentives and creating a business-friendly environment can encourage new businesses to establish themselves in the area, generating employment and economic growth.


The population decline experienced by some Maryland towns is a complex issue with no easy solutions. Factors such as rising costs of living, lack of opportunities, and concerns about safety all play a significant role. Acknowledging these challenges and developing targeted strategies for revitalization is crucial.

While a reversal of population decline may be a long-term project, implementing solutions to address the quality of life, economic opportunity, and affordability in these towns could stem the outward migration and help these communities thrive again.

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  • U.S. Census Bureau: Provides the most up-to-date and reliable data on population trends. (https://www.census.gov/)
  • Newspaper publications: Local newspapers often cover stories related to population shifts, economic trends, and community development plans.
  • Economic Development Agencies (state and local): These agencies may have reports and data on the economic health of specific towns, including job markets and cost of living analyses.

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