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These 4 data points offer a look at the pandemic’s impact on Baltimore

Baltimore Data Week is underway. On Monday, Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance leader Seema Iyer offered highlights from this year's Vital Signs report for community leaders.

Rowhouses in Baltimore. Photo by Flicker user Owen Byrne
Baltimore Data Week 2021 kicked off Monday with an introduction to the vital signs of the city.

Using open data, the annual Vital Signs report offers a look at the health and quality of life of the city. It is prepared by the team from the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BINIA) at the Jacob France Institute in The University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business, who are also organizers of Baltimore Data Week.

The Vital Signs report features eight story maps on data in Baltimore. Categories include: U.S. Census demographics, crime and safety, workforce and economic development, sustainability, housing and community development, children and family health, arts and culture, and education.

BNIA’s data is unique beacuse it is broken down by neighborhood. The panel on Monday offered both a quick explainer of the highlights of the Vital Signs 19 report, and a tutorial on how to use the BNIA site to advocate for your neighborhood.

Here’s a look at some of the data presented by Seema Iyer, associate director of the Jacob France Institute and head of BNIA:

COVID-19 vaccination

  • At least 60% of Baltimore’s population has one vaccine dose.

A slide from BNIA shows pandemic data (Screenshot)


  • Since March 2020, more than 9,000 low-income workers lost their jobs due to the economic disruption of the pandemic, according to an estimate by the Urban Institute.
  • On a neighborhood level, it was areas like Loch Raven and Claremont/Armistead in Northeast Baltimore, as well as Brooklyn and Curtis Bay in South Baltimore, that felt the largest economic impact of those job losses.

A slide shows economic fallout from the pandemic (Screenshot via BNIA)


Crime and safety

  • Baltimore City has a low rate of property crime and a high rate of violent crime.

A Vital Signs slide shows crime data trends during the pandemic. (Screenshot)

Children and family health

  • Teen pregnancy has been on a steady decline in the city since 2010 and lead levels in children under 6 are down. The declines prove that a steady, concerted policy effort from the city can make a difference on an issue, Iyer said.

A slide shows data trends in Baltimore’s teen birth rate. (Screenshot)

The first webinar of Baltimore Data Week was just a sample and brief explainer of the wealth of data BNIA has to offer for a community member seeking it out. The goal of events like this, and Baltimore Data Week in general, are to make more people aware of the resources they have available to advocate for their neighborhoods.

“Policies need to have a neighborhood lens,” said Iyer. “Because the neighborhoods themselves have these disparate outcomes and realties, polices have to take that into account. And that’s what [BNIA’s] long-term point of view is all about.”

Find the full agenda for Baltimore Data Week here.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: University of Baltimore
People: Seema Iyer
Projects: Data Day

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