Housing Complex

Mapping D.C.’s Extraordinary Demographic Changes

Last week I presented a few charts and maps of the demographic changes the District has experienced, courtesy of a project by the Urban Institute. Now, using a new tool from the U.S. Census Bureau, I've been able to create some additional maps that show just how much the city has been transformed over the past two decades.

Let's start with education. Here's a map showing the percentage of people in the District's various census tracts who held a bachelor's degree in 1990 (legend below the maps):


Not a lot had changed by 2000, when the majority of the city's college graduates still lived west of 16th Street NW.


But by 2012, the change was substantial, with a striking spread of college-educated residents through the portion of the city west of the Anacostia River, while the eastern neighborhoods continued to lag behind:



Or how about immigration? In 1990, foreign-born residents were relatively evenly spread out among the six western wards of the city:


By 2000, the number of immigrants in Ward 5 (and, to a lesser extent, Ward 6) had dropped meaningfully:


And by 2012, Ward 3 had lost many of its immigrants (while Ward 5 gained some back), leaving immigrants more concentrated in the central vertical swath of the city than before:



Next, let's look at rental housing versus owner-occupied housing. In 1990, the city's owners lived mainly along the edges of the District:


By 2000, not much had changed:


Nor by 2012:


But if you zoom out to the regional level, you can see the extent to which D.C. is an island of renters in a sea of owners:



There's lots more to explore with the Census Bureau's mapping tool; check it out here.

Maps via the U.S. Census Bureau

  • Gah!

    You said "courtesy" twice in the lede. You're better than that Aaron!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/ Aaron Wiener

    Am I, though? In any case, it's fixed now. Thanks, Gah!

  • Much appreciated

    And, yes, you are a good journo. This has been your Daily Affirmation With Stuart Smalley.

  • Tom M

    I'm trying to understand what the scale is for the colors. Is it just me or is the info not at all described? Are we talking, on the first map, 10, 20, 30 or 40 PERCENT or per hundred or per thousand? Makes a big difference... Same issue with all the maps in that regard. Brother can you spare a data key?

  • 7r3y3r

    @Tom M: "Here's a map showing the percentage of people..."

  • Corky

    Somebody pleae tell this guy that Arlington and Alexandria are no longer part of Washington.

  • Zeus

    Washington Area, Corky. For those of us who care about what it's actually like to live here and not just formal borders, they're still relevant

  • gimbels lover

    Ugh borders are like lawyers. This area has too many of them. Can't get shit done.

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  • Win Barber

    In the last map, I disagree with shading in yellow, the area south of Bowie MD, stretching down toward Upper Marlboro (east of 301). That area is basically just rural farms, along with the new high-end "Beechtree" golf course community (large detached homes) by Leeland Road, and it should be shaded red.

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