Housing Complex

Yes, D.C.’s Getting Whiter, But It’s Getting More Hispanic Faster


It's no secret that the District is getting whiter and less black. The city lost 3.3 percent of its black population from 2007 to 2012, according to a new analysis from the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. At the same time, its white population increased by 17.2 percent.

But in the same time period, D.C.'s Hispanic population grew by 28 percent. And the number of residents who classified themselves as an "other" race or ethnicity jumped by 27.3 percent.

The trend is a mirror image of the region as a whole, where the percentage of residents who are white declined from 51 percent to 48 percent, as pointed out by the Washington Business Journal. The D.C. region is now majority minority—as is D.C. proper, in the sense that there's no longer a majority race.

So yes, our city is getting whiter. But it's also getting a whole bunch of other things, and certainly more diverse overall.

Chart from the CRA report

  • John Smith

    Yet crime stays high go figure. See FBI crime statistics to see which two race lead in crime statistics.

  • Anony

    The whole region is getting more hispanic. Even though the increase in the District is significant, it's not keeping pace with the overall region.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    The whole country is becoming more Salvadoran, Mexican, South American, Cuban, Dominican, Central American, and Puerto Rican, Anony.

  • Alger

    This is an entirely misleading story in that it is missing some vital context. The number of Black/African Americans in the Metro area is estimated at 308,516. The number of Whites is 231,122. The number of Hispanics is 53,372 (American Community Survey 2011 5 year estimates [sorry, the 2012 results are not released yet]). Using your suspect percentages (see #3 below), this means an increase of ~18000 Blacks, ~3500 whites, and ~17500 Hispanics in that 5 year period. If these numbers stay constant, we are still a long way away from the end of a black majority in the Washington Metro Area. These same problems apply to the discussion of DC proper.

    This story is wrong in three ways.

    The first problem is that the first two categories are "Races" and the third is an "Ethnicity" which overlaps the other two. Many of the Whites and some number of the Blacks are Hispanic.

    The second problem is that while it is true that the rate of Hispanic population growth is faster than that of either racial category, that is an artifact of the disparity in numbers. Were there only two Hispanics in the DC metro area, and they had a child, this story would not need to change a word.

    Third problem is that because you used 1-year ACS datasets, your percentages have a considerable margin of error. Not that I think it changes the relative positions of the categories, but I would question the accuracy of the percentages.

  • UGH

    Looks like African Americans are decreasing in DC population proper but moving up the salary chain with the percentage increases in Arlington, Loudon, and Prince William Counties (The most wealthiest in VA). Most young black professionals that I know at least, have no interests in living in the city proper, most of us grew up in DC in the 80's and 90's and lived in public housing and made it through college. So a nice spike in salary and dash to the suburbs is a welcomed change of pace for most of us. Even I live in the most suburban NE DC Neighborhood but have my eyes set on McLean for my next property. So welcome white people, feel free to buy my home in a few years!

  • SEis4ME

    @Ugh, clearly most of the young professionals you know are DC-born which is why your view on what "we" want/desire is extremely limited.

    Most of the young black professionals I know are chomping at the bit to either remain or move into DC. There is nothing in NE DC that is more/less suburban than HillCrest of Spring Valley. But if soliciting white people as the only group who would have the interest/means to purchase your property somehow makes you feel great, then by all means, have at it.

  • SEis4ME

    Still LOL at the foolishness of your post. "come on white people, you is da only ones who can buy my suburban-like home because we black'uns don't got no money in da bank. Please white people...save the city w/yo money while we negroes move to McClean..where most of you currently is."

  • Saywhat14

    I don't know why this story was even necessary, unless it is to give some White candidate running for Mayor hope, forget about it, that won't happen, sorry we will not have a White Mayor in DC 2014.

  • DC

    Your comment is pretty misleading itself although your conclusion is correct. First if all, you seem to be talking about DC proper, not the DC metro, since your numbers are so small.

    Secondly, the 2012 one year estimates have a margin of error ranging from .1% to .6%, that is hardly a "considerable margin if error". Moreover, your belief that the five year estimates are somehow better at showing growth is particularly mistaken. The five year estimate only tells us what the average was in any particular category over five years. It doesn't give a snapshot. And they still have a margin or error ranging from .1% -.4%.

    According to the most recent estimate (the 2012 one year) 49.5% of DC's population was black alone (.4% MOE) with an additional .7% of the population identifying as multiracial including black. So by including this group (and at least traditionally we have when discussing demographics) DC is still a majority black city. Or at least it was as of 2012. Chances are that it is not any longer, but that's just speculation.

    And it is certainly not the case that there is, or has even been, a black majority in the DC metro area.

  • Alger

    Hi DC,
    You are right about the numbers, and even as I was running the numbers they seemed small and strange. The label on Fact Finder is in two parts, and I only read the 1st. But I was writing while leaving home for work, and so...as they say, haste makes waste.

    And I was never suggesting the 5 year data was better at showing growth, only that calculating out to the thousandths with a margin of error in the thousandths makes the percent calculations unreliable.

    I will however stand by my statement that the article is misleading, for the same reasons.

    Thanks for the fact check.

  • UGH

    @SEis4ME: Wow, I'm speaking from my experience and the context of the article. Whatever insecurities you have or insults you feel (because I didn't offer every ethnicity in the area to jokingly buy my house) is an issue for your therapist. I don't care who buys it, It was meant as humor either you get it or you don't. 80% of my neighbors are black (and are also great spellers, hint…) and we have similar aspirations. And even if African Americans aren’t the majority in DC at some point who cares? It’s one thing if we were all being pushed out into slums but people are leaving by choice and exploring places and experiences outside of this very small spec of the country.

  • grammarian

    Waiting for the day when we can dispense with the misnomer "minority". It's going to get increasingly absurd in its usage once "white" people are no longer the majority in America. Then what will people call "minority" preference programs? "Majority" preference programs? Race is an unwieldly and illogical way to divide people, can't wait till it's a dead and buried concept.

  • grammarian

    ps: What are the actual population numbers? Because if you start with 5 people who choose "other" and 2 new people move into DC who mark "other", that's a 40% increase, but really tells you nothing about the big picture demographics of the city.

    On that note, when are we going to focus on demographics that matter, like tracking how many people in which income bracket live in our city? *That* is something that has a practical effect, on our tax base and potentially what we pay for services.

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  • SEis4ME

    Ugh, uhm...you're speaking from your own experiences which encourages your limited point of view. If you intended to clarify or provide context to your remarks, it doesn't change what I said. You're experiences are clearly limited.

    And no, I don't have any insecurities at all. You're the DC Native who wants to jokingly take his salary and flee to McClean..like most of the blacks you know. Not me. Doesn't sound like anything to be insecure about...at least I don't think so.

    BTW, I'm not a DC native so it really has never mattered what the ethnic makeup of DC is. That's something you and your fellow chocolate city natives once cheered about.

  • JP

    Mclean is the definition of suburban hellscape. Ugly office parks, terrible traffic, zero culture, and virtually nothing to do but sit around a big, cookie cutter house.

    Before you move, ask yourself why all of the young white kids that grew up in towns similar to Mclean want to live in urban neighborhoods now.

    The two main demographics that are leaving the city are people with small kids looking for better schools, and long time residents that no longer can afford the rent/property taxes. Both are basically being priced out of city.

    Median household income is clearly rapidly rising in DC proper and slowly falling in the surrounding suburbs. My guess is that the quality of public schools in the suburbs will deteriorate over the next ten years as it becomes the landing spot for all of the displaced low and middle class DC residents.