We get it — lists of America’s coolest cities are about as important as another vampire novel is to the world of literature. But what makes this latest list from Forbes magazine interesting is how it chooses to categorize Baltimore at number 14: an “up-and-coming” neighbor to Washington, D.C., which is number two on the list of 20.
In general the cities on our list fall into one of two categories: established (typically wealthier) cities (like New York, Los Angeles, even D.C.) and up-and-coming places* whose low costs of living and/or strong economies have been attracting artists and young adults who can’t afford to live in the former.
“Baltimore is in transition because it has been down and out for a long time but it’s beginning to come back because it’s affordable,” says [Founder of Sperling’s Best Places Bert] Sperling. [more]
While some of the data out there is promising — numbers touted by the Downtown Partnership in its 2011 State of Downtown report show that some 42,000 residents live in the area extending as far north as the University of Baltimore and as far south as the Maryland Science Center, a population growth of 14 percent since 2000 — other information depicts a slightly different picture.
The 2010 Census indicated that Baltimore had lost 30,000 residents since 2000. At the third annual Data Day, it was revealed that more than 50 percent of Baltimore’s renters spend 30 percent of their income on rent payments. (And rents in Baltimore are increasing.)
But Forbes‘ central (albeit generalized) assertion that Baltimore, compared to places like New York City and D.C., is more affordable holds up, and the cost of living in Charm City is one point routinely noted by entrepreneurs as something that keeps Baltimore attractive.
And the startup community in this city has grown stronger over the last year, as Greg Cangialosi told Technically Baltimore last week: “One of the benefits of what’s happening in Baltimore right now is there’s a lot of people who are working together. Everyone’s coming out of their silos.
*Philadelphia, home of Technically Philly, the sister site of Technically Baltimore, was ranked number 15.