Baltimore is a city that is quite rich in history. With multiple neighborhoods that are steeped in culture that’s quite fascinating, Baltimore as a city offers a lot to its residents. The gorgeous views surrounding the beloved Patapsco River is just one of them, to say the least. So, if you are planning on moving to Baltimore, here are some of the things for you to consider before you make that decision to relocate to the ‘City of neighborhoods’.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Baltimore?
Baltimore is the largest city by population in the US state of Maryland, with an estimated population of 593,490 as per 2019. It also happens to be the largest independent city in the United States. In case you were wondering, Baltimore covers an area of 92.05 square miles (238.41 km2), 11.10 square miles (28.76 km2) of which is water.
Baltimore’s culture has been primarily tailored to the working-class, with quite the affluent suburbs and an interesting mix of traditions, from both the north and the south. Something you might notice right away is the accent of Baltimoreans. They tend to drop a lot of syllables and this is more noticeable in South and East Baltimoreans than the North and West ones.
When it comes to food, the first thing you will learn when you step into Baltimore is how much the city loves carbs. The Blue Crab is a particular favourite here, along with chicken boxes and Berger cookies. When in a hurry, you might consider grabbing a quick Lake Trout sandwich for lunch. Bull and oyster roasts are popular foods made at events of some scale, where lemon peppermint sticks are sold as treats. The choice of food is certainly a strong temptation while considering moving to Baltimore.
Baltimore carries quite the rustic charm when you consider its evergreen music legacy and the aesthetics of its row houses. Remember that Baltimore consists of many neighborhoods, each of which come with their own culture and reputation. They all have something different to offer and moving within Baltimore can either be a source of excitement or of culture shock. It would depend upon your temperament as a person, how you react to it.
Crime Rate In Baltimore
The rate of violent crime in Baltimore is 18.76, as estimated against a group of 1000 people. It means that your chances of being the victim of a violent crime are 1 in 53. The rate of property crime is 43.95, meaning that the chances of being the victim of a property crime are 1 in 23. There are also instances of motor vehicle theft in the city, with the chances being 1 in 149. While the numbers might look uncomfortable, it is pertinent to remember that they are still better than a lot of other communities of similar size.
Baltimore’s weather is seldom extreme, and its climate has been described as being ‘humid subtropical’. Summers are typically hot, with July being the hottest month with an average temperature of 80.30F . There might be the occasional summer thunderstorm during those months, usually late in the day.
Winters are quite cool, with the average temperature in January being 35.80F (2.10C), but temperatures can go higher or lower. The seasonal rainfall comes to 20.1 inches (51 cm), but some seasons might not see winter at all. However, when snow does come, it is more prominent in the northern and western areas of the city. Freezing rains or sleets sometimes, are not unexpected.
It is a surprise that spring is the wettest time for Baltimore, with the greatest number of rainy days, with the average rainfall being 42 inches (106.68 cm).
Is Baltimore Expensive To Live In?
Baltimore is undoubtedly a good place to live in due to the prime locations and the great neighborhoods. But that does mean that life here requires a pretty coin to be comfortable. It is only reasonable to have an accurate assessment of the possible cost of living for when you move to the city, before you go there.
To talk about taxes, residents of Baltimore pay an income tax of 3.05% on earned income and non-residents who work there pay 1.25% of their income, according to tax-rates.org. Let’s take a look at the other costs of living in Baltimore.
Cost of Living in Baltimore
A family of four would need $3462.10, without rent for their monthly expenses in Baltimore. Similarly, a single person would spend $970.08 for their living expenses, if their rent was not calculated. This fits with the fact that the median household income in Baltimore is $51,000, according to DataUSA.
On a trip to the supermarket, you can expect to spend $0.92 on a litre of milk and $2.13 on a loaf of bread. A dozen eggs cost $2.55 and a kilogram of potatoes would be $2.92. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant is $15 and the cost of dinner at a mid-range restaurant would be $60. That is important information if you are a couple who plan their date nights or a single person looking to date.
Where transportation within the city is concerned, a one-way ticket costs $1.90 and a monthly pass, $74. If you prefer taxis, the base fare is $2.59 and the cost per kilometre is $1.92. If you are a vehicle-owner, the price of per litre of gasoline is $0.65. These numbers are as per Numbeo.
When it comes to healthcare, Baltimoreans can expect to pay $312 for an individual major medical insurance plan. The cost-of-living index of Baltimore is 88.2. While it might not be entirely cheap to live in Baltimore, it is not expensive either.
Buying A House
The approximate price of a home in Baltimore is $165,380, as per Zillow. This is significantly lower than the national average, even though the price may vary by neighborhood. Baltimore is a great place to invest in a house considering the low cost of housing, easy walkability of the areas and the excellent public transport.
Renting A House
According to Zillow, the average rent for a two-bedroom house in Baltimore is about $1150. Rents are quite low in the city, with the rent for a three bedroom house also falling within $1800. The housing situation would be particularly affordable and comfortable if you were to split it with a roommate. Again, the rent is subject to the neighborhood, but overall, the situation is quite favorable for the renter.
Utilities like electricity, water, heating, cooling and garbage cost $149.30, on average for a medium sized house. If you were to take an unlimited internet plan, which is pretty much a necessity in today’s day and age, the cost of it would be $74.64.
Baltimore Economy And Employment Opportunities
Due to the easy access to the central location of Baltimore in the mid-Atlantic region, the city is highly attractive to businesses. The main industries of the economy are financial and professional services, health and bioscience technology, culture and tourism, information and creative services, logistics, and advanced manufacturing. Some of the larger companies in Baltimore include Under Armour, BRT Laboratories and McCormick & Company, among others.
The area is surrounded by about 60 federal agencies, which brings a lot of federal money and employment opportunities to the region, and the John Hopkins hospital is one of them. There are several business and industrial parks as well as two avant-garde biotechnology parks that generate significant economic output, as well as employ significant intellectual and workforce talent.
The Maryland Port Administration and US headquarters for crucial shipping lines are housed by the World Trade Centre Baltimore, which happens to be Baltimore’s centre for international commerce. As far as ports go, Baltimore is ranked 9th for the monetary value of its cargo and 13th for the total tonnage in the US. The port generates $3 billion in yearly income for its employees and is responsible for providing 14,630 direct employment opportunities as well as 108,000 tertiary jobs. The cruise sector here employs around 500 people annually and harbours $90 million to the economy yearly.
There is also the Foreign Trade Area #74 (FTZ) in Baltimore that is spread over 1200 acres of non-contiguous duty-free that is a facilitator of global business for the city. Another significant industry in Baltimore is the tourism industry. Its history and attractions make it a major tourist hotspot of the East Coast. The tourism industry here generates close to $6 billion every year owing to an average of 26 million visitors every year. The diversity and scope of employment offered by Baltimore is certainly a major point in its favour.
The Baltimore City Public Schools manage the schools in the city which include not just the public schools but also a few others. Some of the others are the Digital Harbor High School, a school that focuses on information technology, for one. Then there’s also Carver Vocational-Technical High School, which as the name suggests, is a vocational high school and centre. Oh and not to forget, the Western High School which is the oldest all-girls public school in the city and the country.
There are also a number of public and private universities that offer two and four-year courses in various fields. Some of the private universities are The John Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Stratford University. Public universities include Morgan State University, Coppin State University and University of Maryland. The city is well stocked with schools and colleges to ensure that one does not miss out on the desired education.
Getting Around Baltimore
Major part of the residents of Baltimore do not have a car. Public transit is used to the fullest with major sections of it under plans of expansion at all times to meet the ever-growing demand. Let’s take a look at some of the most used methods of transportation used to get in and around the city.
Baltimore has two airports – the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) and the Martin State Airport (MSA). BWI is the 22nd busiest airport in the US and the largest in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The MSA is a general aviation facility. It’s accessible by the Eastern Avenue and by the MARC train.
The Penn Station in Baltimore is probably the busiest in the country. It is a crucial destination for Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor. Some of the trains that serve the city are Acela Express, Silver Star, Crescent and Vermonter. The Camden station and the Penn Station, which are the city’s two main intercity stations, are connected to Union Station in Washington DC by the MARC commuter rail service.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA Maryland) provides public transit in Baltimore. The MTA runs an extensive bus network, which includes local, express and commuter buses.
A shuttle bus service, called the Charm City Circulator (CCC for short), operates in the city, funded partly by the city’s parking fees runs free of cost seven days a week, picking up passengers every 15 minutes. There is also the availability of a water taxi service, run by Baltimore Water Taxi, and runs through six routes.
Walking And Cycling
Walking and cycling are the cheapest as well as the most environment-friendly modes of transportation that exist. And Baltimore sure does have a well-established system for them. There is a wide network of bicycle routes in the city, many of which pass through downtown. A protected cycle track in Maryland Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue will soon be the crux of a bicycle network being planned downtown. There are over 230 km of bicycle lanes along with some enviable bike boulevards.
There are three main trails in Baltimore at present as well as several hiking trails, most of which are under plans of expansion. A walking path called the Stony Run Trail is under construction, connecting Jones Fall north to the Northern Parkway. Until then, you can always walk on the sidewalk and save some money and the environment.
Best Neighborhoods of Baltimore
1. Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon is the best of life that Baltimore has to offer. It’s a beautiful neighborhood with awe-inspiring buildings and picturesque views. There are rooftop bars where one can watch the sunset over the city, Instagram-worthy museums and a library which will make one forget Instagram. Visit that after the museum.
There are popular restaurants like Dooby’s which makes the ideal date place or an official lunch meeting kind of place. One might also choose to take a walk on N.Charles Street and choose from the variety of street foods on display. The median cost of a house on Mount Vernon is $150,000 and the cost of renting a house here is $1,000.
2. Fells Point
Probably the most beautiful neighborhood of Baltimore, you would be hard-pressed to stop Instagramming the place. Most of the row houses have been converted into boutiques, galleries, bookstores, pubs and taverns. Walking through Fells Point is a particular delight because you will be coming across things like the oldest house in Baltimore, a park museum and Baltimore’s oldest bar which, incidentally, is also the last place anybody saw Edgar Allen Poe alive.
The cost of a house in Fells Point is $250,000 and the cost of renting a house is $1,900.
If you love a place to have quirks and a personality of its own, you will love Hampden. The area’s primary focus is around ‘The Avenue’. You will find many shops in colourful buildings and you will find that be it shopping or window shopping, nothing gets better than Hampden. There is a shop that sells chocolates and shoes, one that sells authentically vintage clothes and a number of tattoo shops, salons and yoga centres. Hampden during Christmas is especially beautiful, when the Christmas lights illuminate everything in their trademark over-the-top manner.
The cost of buying a house here is $185,000 and the cost of renting a house is $1,650.
4. Federal Hill
This area is very close to Inner Harbor and is full of beautiful buildings that house everything from people to businesses. There are several eating places, shopping spots, galleries and other shops and as can be deduced from the name, a hill. That hill is basically a park that honours the War of 1812. It also has beautiful views and you can occasionally have a picnic here. An interesting part of the neighborhood is the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), which is a museum with non-traditional exhibits that are a window to the world. You could easily spend a day here.
The cost of a house here is $220,000 and the cost of renting a house is $1,900.
Is Moving To Baltimore A Good Idea?
All in all, Baltimore is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer its residents. This is a city where there is always something new to explore and discover. The residents of the city love the place for this very aspect and civic pride runs deep. Therefore, once you make an objective assessment of your finances and temperament, and compare them to the cost of living and culture of Baltimore, you can accurately decide whether moving here is a good idea. That said, it’s a city that will never disappoint and it would be a source of pleasure to have aided in said decision-making process.
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