Posts about Census
For the vast majority of DC's new residents, Car Free Day (September 22) isn't a once-a-year event, but a year-round occasion. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of car-free households in in the District of Columbia grew by 12,612—
During that time, the number of car-free households in DC has grown by 14.3%, increasing their share of all households from 35% to 37.9%. By contrast, the District only added 1,662 car-owning households since 2010, an increase of just 1.0%.
The percentage of households with one, two, and three or more cars all declined. This is even though typical DC households have considerably more money with which they could buy cars: median incomes grew by 9.3% over the same time period.
More specifically, the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (using one-year estimates, and accessible via factfinder2.census.gov) showed that the number of car-free households in DC increased from 88,390 to 101,002, and the total of all households went from 252,388 to 266,662.
The ACS has also picked up on other consequences of DC's growing car-freedom, like a sharp decline since 2007 in the number of DC residents who drive to work.
This doesn't mean that new apartment buildings' garages are all seven-eighths empty, of course. There is considerable churn among households, especially in urban areas: fully 36.5% of DC households moved at some point between 2010 and 2012, with most of those moves taking place within DC. Some who already lived in DC and own cars moved into new buildings, and others moved from the city and took cars with them.
Some existing households bought cars, and others sold theirs. New households are created when couples or roommates split, when kids strike out on their own, or when someone new moves to town. (One set of new arrivals not contributing to the trend: students living in dorms are not considered households, as the Census defines the term.)
But the net effect of all these changes is the same: The people moving into DC, or striking out on their own here, are almost entirely car-free. They are very different from current residents in that regard: only 12% of new households own cars, compared to 62.1% of current DC households. These new households are demanding many fewer parking places, much less rush hour road space, and much less gasoline.
Parking minimums prepare for car ownership that just doesn't exist
These statistics show why DC does not need to continue requiring costly and environmentally destructive new parking garages within new developments that accommodate the city's growing population.
However, some longtime neighborhood activists have been fighting lower parking minimums. At this week's hearings on zoning code changes, multiple opponents of lower parking minimums also cited Census data to argue that parking was necessary: they said that the numbers of cars per household in DC was "holding steady" at 0.9.
In fact, the number of cars per household in DC declined from 0.90 to 0.86. Maybe if you round off to one decimal place, both numbers become 0.9— These trends aren't unique to DC; instead, they're consistent with what other growing, dense cities are seeing. Michael Rhodes from Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation consulting firm, recently calculated that in San Francisco, a similar 88 percent of new households are car-free. DC's car-freedom is also consistent with national and global trends pointing towards lower urban car ownership recently and into the future. The decline in car ownership should come as little surprise given DC's booming population of auto-averse millennials.
These trends aren't unique to DC; instead, they're consistent with what other growing, dense cities are seeing. Michael Rhodes from Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation consulting firm, recently calculated that in San Francisco, a similar 88 percent of new households are car-free. DC's car-freedom is also consistent with national and global trends pointing towards lower urban car ownership recently and into the future. The decline in car ownership should come as little surprise given DC's booming population of auto-averse millennials.
According to a US Census report, the District of Columbia's daytime population, including commuters, swells to over 1,000,000. The difference between DC's day and night populations is second greatest in the US.
The report dates from 2010 so the numbers are surely a bit different today. With DC's (then) nighttime residential population of 584,400, its 1,046,036 daytime population represents a 79% increase. Among US counties, only New York County (Manhattan) has a larger percentage increase.
Arlington looks much the same. Its 26% increase in daytime population is 13th largest nationally. That's higher than San Francisco on the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, two DC suburbs top the list of places with decreased daytime population. Dale City and Centreville in Northern Virginia both drop by over 40%, making them America's ultimate bedroom communities.
Montgomery County's Germantown is Maryland's top entrant on that list; it clocks in at #20, with a decrease of 31%.
Part of the explanation for this is simply where boundaries are drawn. For example, even though Houston has a large downtown with many commuters, it doesn't appear on the increased daytime population list because the City of Houston annexed so many of its suburbs that more of its commuters still technically live within the city limits. Likewise, Houston's Harris County is gigantic and more or less envelopes the entire metropolis, so there's little difference at the county level either.
Geographically smaller jurisdictions in large metropolitan areas are disproportionately more likely to show up in this data. So it's not a great comparison of commuting patterns across different metropolitan regions. But it's nonetheless interesting to know.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
It's pretty clear from looking around DC that many people are bicycling. The Census has published new numbers that show how many are.
3.1% of commuters in the District bike to work, according to the American Community Survey. That puts DC seventh among cities over 200,000 people. In 2000, that number was only 1.2%, for an enormous jump.
Plus, the survey doesn't even capture all of the bicycling. It just asks about commute to work trips. Many people bike for other trips even if they drive, take transit, or walk to work. And if you bike a short distance to a longer Metro ride, the Census would capture your commute as being by Metro, not by bike.
DC also has the second-highest rate of people walking to work, 12.1%, behind Boston's 15.1%.
The District is very different than the whole region (which includes the inner suburban counties and the far exurban ones). For the larger metro region, 3.2% of people walk to work, says the Census report; it doesn't say how many people bike to work region-wide.
The US Census' newest county-level population estimates show that between 2012 and 2013, the District of Columbia added more residents than any other metro area county.
Loudoun County grew slightly faster by percentage. But even according to that measure, DC is second.
|District of Columbia||633,427||646,449||13,022||2.1|
|Prince George's (MD)||881,419||890,081||8,662||1.0|
|Prince William (VA)||430,100||438,580||8,480||2.0|
|Anne Arundel (MD)||550,175||555,743||5,568||1.0|
|Baltimore County (MD)||817,682||823,015||5,333||0.7|
|Baltimore City (MD)||622,417||622,104||-313||-0.1|
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
After decades of decline, DC's population is growing again. But parts of the city like Anacostia are still losing people, showing that revitalization has yet to take hold everywhere.
The population of Anacostia between 1990 and 2012. All data from the Census Bureau, graphs by the author.
While many neighborhoods across the city have grown in population and prosperity, Anacostia has lost nearly five hundred people and more than 140 housing units since 1990, according to newly released Census data. Meanwhile, the median household income has declined by $3,000, from $35,545 in 1990 (in 2012 dollars) to $32,262 today. There are fewer homeowners as well. In 1990, 32.8% of Historic Anacostia's 986 housing units were owner-occupied, whereas today just 29.9% of the 854 units are.
These raw numbers reflect the abundance of abandominiums within the neighborhood, including both single-family homes and apartments. More than a hundred units have been vacant for more than two decades, while others have been razed.
The drastic contraction in the available housing stock over the last two decades has led to the subsequent flight of nearly 15% of the neighborhood. In 1990 Anacostia counted 3,018 people, 437 more than in 2012, when 2,545 lived in the Historic District.
Although social media campaigns and advocates of the creative class have increasingly touted the neighborhood over the past half-decade, economic opportunities remain a dream for many residents. Of 1,799 people over 16, just 54.9% are in the labor force, compared to 58.4% of 2,130 people in 1990.
With the growth of white-collar information services in DC, blue-collar independent tradesmen living in Anacostia say they are at a double disadvantage. They don't have the education the information economy demands, and they are often shut out from joining existing contracting teams on local multi-million dollar public works projects. The neighborhood has its own day-laborer class of junkmen and uncredentialed tradesmen who may not fit into the formal economy.
Even though the neighborhood economy has remained stagnant over the past 20 years, and private capital is hesitant to invest and develop, Anacostia's human capital has slowly increased. Today, 79.1% of Anacostians 25 years old and over have their high school diploma, a dramatic increase over 49.7% in 1990. More than two decades ago less than five percent of Anacostia residents 25 years and older had a college degree; today it is 8.2%.
These numbers do not paint a complete picture, but they show Historic Anacostia to be a neighborhood dominated by low-earning renters, the same as it was in 1990.
In commemorating the March on Washington last summer, President Obama invoked "the corners of Anacostia" as an example of persistent inequities. While the areas and environs of 14th Street NW, 7th Street NW, H Street NE, and 8th Street SE have exponentially grown over the past two decades, Anacostia remains largely stuck in time, slowly fading away before the eyes of anyone watching.
Ten years ago, DC Mayor Anthony Williams famously set a goal of attracting 100,000 new DC residents within a decade. Pundits scoffed, but the latest population estimates show we made it closer than most imagined possible.
In 2003, DC's population was still shrinking. It had been about 569,000 in 2002, and 572,000 in 2000. Young single people had started flocking to some parts of DC, but families leaving for the suburbs still outnumbered people moving in and being born. Halting the decline seemed possible, maybe even likely, but growing by 100,000 people in a decade seemed outrageously optimistic.
And to be fair, we didn't quite make it. 83,000 isn't 100,000. But it's awfully impressive, awfully close. Far more than just about anybody thought possible.
DC's population peaked at 802,178 in 1950, then declined for the next half century. If today's impressive growth rate continues into the future, we'll catch up and surpass the 1950 high sometime in the mid 2020s.
We'll have to keep up impressive growth to meet Mayor Gray's goal of 250,000 new residents by 2032.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
Sunday's Washington Post featured a big story about gentrification on 14th Street, including the claim that it "recently surpassed Columbia Heights as the densest area in the city." Is that true? The US Census can tell us.
Using American FactFinder, I created this map illustrating the population density of DC's central neighborhoods.
5 of DC's 6 overall densest census tracts border on 14th Street, between downtown and the northern end of Columbia Heights. It's definitely the city's densest string of neighborhoods.
But is it denser north or south of Florida Avenue? That depends how you count. While the stretch of 14th Street between Florida Avenue and P Street remains a little sparser than in Columbia Heights, the stretch from P Street south to Thomas Circle is the densest single tract in DC.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
Last week's post about census tract density in the DC area showed which neighborhoods inside the Beltway are densest. Now let's look at the densest spots in the core areas of other large cities.
Urban areas are defined by the US Census as geographically-connected areas with a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile (ppsm). The standard provides a uniform definition of "city," more useful for national comparisons than political boundaries. These maps show the central county in each of America's 20 largest urban areas, in order beginning with the largest.
1. New York: America's biggest city breaks the scale. While others on this list might have a few neighborhoods in the top density category, New York is covered end to end. It's one of only 4 cities with tracts above 100,000 ppsm. Its peak is 200,000 ppsm.
2. Los Angeles: Despite its reputation for sprawl, LA compares favorably to the densest cities after New York. Its peak density of 94,000 ppsm is well above DC's.
3. Chicago: Home to probably the single densest census tract in America, a 508,000 ppsm anomaly that's so small it's not visible at normal scale. Besides that tract, Chicago tops around at about the same level as LA.
4. Miami: Thanks to more narrowly-drawn census tracts along its high-rise coast, Miami's peak density shot up from 38,000 ppsm in 2000 to 77,000 ppsm in 2010, but the actual change wasn't as significant on the ground.
5. Philadelphia: At 64,000 ppsm, Philadelphia's peak is about the same as DC's, but Philly's rowhouse neighborhoods extend farther out.
6. Dallas: Dallas' density dropped significantly. It has fewer dense tracts in 2010 than in 2000, and its peak is down to 44,000 ppsm from 57,000 ppsm.
7. Houston: Unlike Dallas, Houston appears to be densifying. Oddly, its densest area is not the core.
8. Washington (with Arlington & Alexandria): Washington is has more dense neighborhoods and a higher peak than in 2000. The numbers shown on these maps are slightly different than those on Michael Rodriguez's map, which used a different map projection to calculate area. These census numbers are official.
9. Atlanta: Not only is Atlanta shockingly sparse, its densest tract fell from 41,000 ppsm in 2000 to just 21,000 ppsm in 2010. The explanation? A downtown public housing complex was demolished, erasing the population of the densest 2000 tract.
One of only 4 cities with a tract above 100,000, Boston has a single tract that reaches 110,000 ppsm.
11. Detroit: Detroit's peak density of 18,000 ppsm is about the same as in 2000, but the number of mid-density tracts in the 10,000-20,000 ppsm range declined significantly as the city continued to empty.
12. Phoenix: Central Phoenix didn't change much, and tops out at 23,000 ppsm.
13. San Francisco: San Francisco has more tracts above 100,000 ppsm than any city except New York. It tops out at 161,000 ppsm.
14. Seattle: With a peak of 51,000 ppsm and a small but significant core, Seattle occupies a middle ground between the older denser cities and newer sparser ones.
15. San Diego: While downtown San Diego densified compared to 2000, and its 50,000 ppsm peak is higher, some of its other denser neighborhoods are sparser in 2010.
16. Minneapolis: Minneapolis' changes were minor compared to most other cities. Its peak was 25,000 ppsm in 2000, and it still is in 2010.
17. Tampa: By far the sparsest city on this list, Tampa's peak of 13,000 ppsm means it has no tracts in the 3rd or 4th categories, and precious few crack even into the 2nd.
18. Denver: Like a smaller Minneapolis, Denver looks much the same. Its peak of 23,000 ppsm is respectable for a mid-sized non-coastal city.
19. Baltimore: Baltimore's lone tract in the densest category is an impressive 86,000 ppsm, but that tract is down from a whopping 176,000 ppsm in 2000. What happened?
20. Saint Louis: Saint Louis' losses have been less drastic than Detroit's, but they still hurt. Its peak is down to a Tampa-like 13,000 ppsm, from 15,000 ppsm in 2000.
I made all these maps using American FactFinder on census.gov, which has data for every county in the United States. I couldn't have done it without Geoff Hatchard, who walked me through the laborious census.gov process. If you'd like to make your own maps, I documented step-by-step instructions. Godspeed.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
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