Building a Better Community

Did you know?

Basic Needs

  • The 2-1-1 Maryland hotline links individuals to the health and human services they need. In fiscal year (FY) 2011 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011), 2-1-1 Maryland Information & Referral Specialists responded to more than 271,000 calls around basic needs such as food, housing, health care, utility assistance, personal finance assistance and more. 1


  • In 2010, Maryland had the fourth highest median household income of any state in the nation – $63,828 – yet 1 in 10 Maryland residents lived below the federal poverty threshold ($11,344 for an individual under 65 years of age with no dependent children and $22,190 for a family of four). 2, 3

  • Approximately 13.0% of Marylanders less than 18 years of age lived below the poverty threshold in 2010. In Baltimore City, 37.3% of individuals in the 18 and under cohort lived below the poverty threshold in 2010.


  • An individual is classified as “unemployed” if he/she meets the following criteria: (1) currently without employment, (2) actively sought employment in the past 4 weeks, and (3) currently available for job placement. The “unemployed” count also includes individuals who were temporarily laid off and are not working while waiting to be recalled. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 2011, the unemployment rate for central Maryland (i.e., Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard Counties) and Maryland was 8.0% (or 110,535 individuals) and 7.4% (or 224,335 individuals), respectively. Baltimore City, at 11.1% (or 31,158 individuals) in July 2011, had the highest rate of unemployment among all county equivalents Maryland. 4 


  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 733,000 Marylanders under the age of 65 (or 14.5% of this population) lacked health insurance coverage throughout 2010. 5

  • As of March 2011, 655, 000 Marylanders were covered under Medicaid, a means-tested public health insurance program for individuals who meet income thresholds and/or dealing with certain disabling conditions. 6


  • A September 2011 report from the Food Research and Action Center examined rates of food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for households with and without children. According to the analysis, in 2009-2010, 20.8% of households with children in Maryland said they were unable to afford enough food. The food hardship rate for households without children was 13.2%. 7

  • In July 2011, 688,816 Marylanders participated in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Fifty-four percent (or 376,238) of those individuals were central Maryland residents.8

Housing and Homelessness  

  • For agencies who serve individuals experiencing homelessness, it is often very difficult to count, track and engage this population.  According the 2011 Maryland Point-in-Time Survey, 10,148 Marylanders had experienced homelessness at some point during the calendar year. About 59% of those individuals were included in the central Maryland total point-in-time count. 9

  • According to the 2011Counting Matters: Baltimore City Homeless Point-In-Time Census Report, there was a 19.7% increase in the homeless population count compared to 2009.  Approximately 44% of the homeless sheltered population is made up of families. 10
  • It is difficult for many Marylanders to secure affordable, safe housing. The 2011 Fair Market Rent (FMR, i.e. the monthly rental rate that does not exceed 30% of an individual’s monthly income) for a two-bedroom apartment in central Maryland is $1,263/month. A central Marylander earning minimum wage ($7.25/hour) would have to work 3.4 full-time jobs to afford an apartment priced at the FMR rate. 11
  • In FY 2010, the Emergency Transitional Housing Support/Homeless Prevention Program at the Maryland Department of Human Resources provided grants or loans, relocation assistance, tenant-landlord mediation, and/or resource referrals to over 8,900 families facing an imminent eviction. 12


  • According to the 2010-2011 Maryland School Readiness Report, 19% of kindergarteners are not fully school-ready; in Baltimore City, 33% are not fully school-ready. 13

  • There are currently 79 Maryland high schools in various stages of school improvement, an increase of 41 from 2010. 14

1 United Way of Central Maryland. About 2-1-1. URL:

2 U.S. Census Bureau. 2010 American Community Survey 1-year Poverty Estimates. URL:

3 U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty. URL:

4 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local Area Unemployment Statistics. URL:

5 U.S. Census Bureau. Health Insurance Historical Tables - HIB Series. Table HIB-6. URL:

6 U.S. Census Bureau. Health Insurance Historical Tables - HIB Series. Table HIB-4. URL:

7 Food Hardship in America 2010: Households With and Without Children. (August 2011). Food Research and Action Center. URL:

8 Food and Research Action Center. July 2011 Participation Tables — 1-Month Change, 1-Year Change, and State-by-state analysis. URL:

9 Baltimore County, Department of Planning Homeless Management Information System. MD Point-in-Time Count. URL:

10 Morgan State University School of Architecture and Planning. (2011). Counting Matters: Baltimore City Homeless Point-in-Time Census Report. URL:

11 National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2011; URL:

12 Maryland Department of Human Resources Office of Grants Management. Emergency Transitional Housing Support/Homeless Prevention Program SFY 2010 Statistical Report. URL:

13 Maryland State Department of Education. (2011). Getting Ready: The 2010-2011 School Readiness Report. URL:

14 Maryland State Department of Education. (2011). 2011 Maryland Report Card. URL:

These few statistics remind us that many Marylanders have unmet basic needs. Unemployment, homelessness, food insecurity and lack of health insurance coverage are just a few of the many obstacles faced by many of our neighbors on a daily basis. Organizations and agencies that provide job training, nutritious food, secure shelter and/or high-quality medical care are critical partners in closing the services and supports gaps. Support the nonprofits that help your neighbors in times of need by contribute to the Maryland Charity Campaign! Together we can make a difference!