City Desk

What’s A Native Washingtonian?

Elahe Izadi poses an interesting question after reviewing Census data that reveals that most new residents in D.C. are from outside of the region, and most people leaving D.C. are moving to Prince George's County. The people leaving D.C., as we know, are overwhelmingly black, and the people moving in are overwhelmingly not black. Izadi writes:

All of these numbers makes me wonder about what it means to be a “native Washingtonian.” It’s a term that carries plenty of clout in this transient city, and especially in light of gentrification, it’s become code for “non-gentrifier.” But as the city swells with folks who hail from so far away, could local newcomers claim some of that clout, too? Take me, for example: I was born in D.C. and grew up in Maryland. I moved into the District a few years ago, but D.C. news, arts and politics have been a big part of my adult life. At the same time, I acknowledge that my childhood was marked more by rolling, rural hills than by city streets. Am I no different than someone who moved from, say, the Midwest?

It's pretty common for people all over the country to identify with the closest big city. I've met lots of people who tell me they're from L.A. and when I press them, it turns out they mean a city 45 minutes away from L.A. But that doesn't seem to happen here. But maybe as demographics change, so will the "native Washingtonian" identifier.

Anyway, it all just reminds me of this fascinating blog post by @ruSERIOUSINGme about which neighborhood has the highest concentration of native-born Washingtonians: That would be Barry Farm.

Image by Brooke Hatfield

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