Housing Complex

Fun With Pie Charts: Vacant Property Edition

Population Per Ward
Vacant Properties Per WardIt's data time! In case you needed yet another reminder that our fair city is vastly divided economically, Housing Complex assembled some pie charts for your viewing pleasure.

On the right, population per ward (numbers via Neighborhood Info DC, as of 2000, the latest year for which figures are available) is fairly equal.Below that, registered vacant properties per ward, via Councilmember Muriel Bowser via DCRA, are a bit more imbalanced. Ward 7 has the most with 637, and Ward 3 has only got 66.

Meanwhile, the graph at the bottom charts the average and median income per ward (numbers via the Department of Planning and Economic Development, as of 2003–we know, things have changed since then, but the general outlines are similar). Unsurprisingly, there's a few correlations: From highest to lowest income, it's Ward 3, 2, 4, 6, 1, 5, 7, 8. From lowest number of vacant properties to highest, it's Ward 3, 2, 4, 8, 1, 6, 5 and 7.

Why is this important?

Under the vacant property taxation changes made for the 2011 budget cycle, owners of unused properties will have to pay $250 to register them, and then pay $5 per $100 of assessed value in yearly property taxes, unless they qualify for one of a host of exemptions. The intention is to make it more expensive for delinquent landowners to keep their properties empty. That could mean that the lowest-income wards with the most vacant properties could benefit most from the legislation–even if organizations and individuals without the money to develop their properties wind up having to sell to avoid the tax.
Picture 2

  • SBrown

    Does this data include lots? I worked in Deanwood alongside neighbors to get several nuisance and long abandoned houses razed. Now we contend with vacant overgrown lots. I think we're also seeing a rise in demolishing houses by developers so they can dodge the vacant property fee and leave a vacant lot indefinitely and with no fee to spur development.

  • Eric

    Your list of incomes by ward looks as if you used average household income rather than median household income. Statisticians would tell you that median household income should always be used in contexts such as this. This is because "average" numbers include outliers that can skew the numbers higher or lower (such as multimillionaires or conversely, income-less seniors), whereas "median" numbers are not affected or skewed by the extremes and thus are more accurate at portraying what the actual norm would be. This also explains why some of the average numbers in your bar graph are so much different than your median numbers (such as in Ward 3).

    In this case, the wards listed by median household income would be 3, 4, 2, 6, 1, 5, 7, 8.

  • http://lifein.mvsna.org niello8

    I'm curious where the list of vacant properties is listed? DCRA has a VERY short "blighted" list. The city has notoriously undercounted vacant property for years allowing developers to slumbank and skate on vacant property tax. in my neighborhood we have handed them carefully researched lists to no avail. Jemal alone would've owed the city millions.

  • Lydia DePillis

    Niello8 and SBrown--

    The data is from a list that CM Bowser read from the podium, and I've been assured that the full list will be posted on the DCRA website soon.



  • Pingback: Is Anacostia Being Gentrified? | DCentric