D.C. Remains Among Fastest-Growing Areas in the U.S.
Census Figures Show City Gained 13,022 Residents
dc.gov | 12/30/2013, 12:02 p.m.
The District’s significant investments to improve public education and offer high-quality school facilities are another factor attracting new residents and retaining families. The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) showed the greatest growth among all urban school districts in the nation on its 2013 Trial Urban District Assessment. The growth in DCPS students’ 4th and 8th grade math and reading scores represented the highest scores ever seen on this test for DCPS. DCPS’ ranking among other urban school districts also jumped significantly this year, moving from last on this test in 2007 to having nine districts behind DCPS in 2013. Additionally, the growth in DCPS students’ scores equaled or exceeded growth of the District’s public charter school students.
The Census Bureau numbers continue to reflect the demand for housing in the District. According to Delta Associates, new rental buildings in Shaw, Downtown, NoMa and along South Capitol Street by Nationals Stadium leased up at some of the fastest rates in the region. The condominium market is seeing similar activity. The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors reports that year-over-year condominium sales through November are up over 17 percent each year for two years in a row.
Local investments in public infrastructure are paying off. The District’s investments are providing more transportation choices – including car, bike sharing, rapid bus service and streetcar lines – while residents are better utilizing public transportation and walking to work. According to census data, between 2000 and 2012, for workers 16 years and older, the percentage of people who use public transportation for commuting increased from 33.2 percent to 38.6 percent. Over the 2000 to 2012 period, while the District’s population increased by 10.7 percent, the percentage of households with no vehicles available increased from 36.9 percent to 37.9 percent, meaning more people and households but fewer households with cars.
Another important factor making the District a safe and attractive place to live and work is the significant decline in homicides. According to the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2012 Annual Report, the District saw its lowest number of annual homicides in almost half a century with 88 murders. Although the number of homicides in 2013 is on track to bypass the 2012 number, mainly due to the Navy Yard shooting, homicides in the District has declined significantly over the past 3 years.
In general, the upward trend in the District’s population is expected to continue since the District abounds in attractions. The District’s investments in public infrastructure, transportation choices, parks, public schools, libraries, retail establishments, and abundant choices for leisure and entertainment are some of the factors yielding high returns.