A Portrait of Baltimore: Results of the 2023 Baltimore Area Survey

 In Research

Co-designed by Johns Hopkins researchers in collaboration with community leaders, the inaugural Baltimore Area Survey attempts to address topics important to people who live there. ­­The survey of 1,352 city and county residents, conducted by mail this summer, focuses on issues central to how people feel about and experience living in the area.

Tellingly, the survey revealed differences in experiences and perceptions between Black and white residents. Black residents are more likely to fear the police, experience hunger, and grapple with inadequate transportation than are white residents, the analysis shows. Download the report here.

Other key findings include:

Food insecurity

  • Roughly one in five Baltimore-area respondents experiences hunger because they don’t always have enough money for food; two in five worry about running out of food.
  • Half of Black respondents suffer from food insecurity compared to 15% of white respondents.
  • Almost a third of Black respondents experience very low food security, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


  • Three-quarters of Black respondents fear the police questioning or arresting them or their loved ones, while three-quarters of white respondents report no fear.
  • For more than a third of Black respondents, the fear affects their daily lives “some” or “a lot.”


  • More than 20% of respondents have needed to reschedule appointments or cancel plans because of transportation issues.  
  • A larger share of respondents in the city than in the county have issues with transportation.
  • Black respondents are twice as likely as white respondents to have their lives disrupted because of issues with transportation.

Drug addiction

  • More than 40% of respondents know someone addicted to drugs.
  • More than a quarter have had someone close to them die from an overdose.
  • About 20% of city respondents know three or more people struggling with addiction.


  • Roughly seven out of eight respondents are satisfied with their neighborhoods.
  • More than 30% of city respondents think their neighborhood has improved over the past five years.

Public trust

  • Though nearly 75% of respondents don’t trust their local government, more than half trust local businesses and nonprofits.
  • About 65% of respondents trust other people.  


  • One-third of Black respondents believe starting their own business would be more lucrative than working for someone else. Only 15% of white residents felt the same.

We are committed to making the data from the survey open and accessible. You can access the documentation here and the data here.

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