Housing Complex

D.C. Population Boom Continued in 2013


It's the data point at the heart of D.C.'s most passionate debates: How fast is the city growing? Advocates of changes to zoning and the 103-year-old Height Act to allow greater density argue that the city's population is booming, and that we need ways to expand housing and office supply in order to meet growing demand. Critics charge that the city's population growth is already slowing, and that the coming space crunch is exaggerated.

New population estimates out from the U.S. Census Bureau today would appear to give a boost to the former camp. According to the federal agency, the District gained more than 13,000 residents in the year leading up to July 1, 2013, bringing the city's total population to 646,449.

That growth, a 2.1 percent gain, is largely consistent with the increases of the preceding years. Between 2010 and 2011, D.C.'s population grew by 2.4 percent. Between 2011 and 2012, the figure was 2.2 percent. The United States population grew by just 0.7 percent from 2012 to 2013.

The District remains more populated than two states, Wyoming (582,658) and Vermont (626,630), both of which gained substantially less population in the past year than the District. But the third-smallest state, North Dakota, grew faster than D.C., rising to 723,393, fueled by an energy boom.

A growing population is considered vital to the District's economy, since the city can't tax a majority of the workers in D.C., who live outside the District. But it also requires new investments in infrastructure and measures to allow for greater density, according to some city officials.

Photo from the D.C. Office of Planning. Due to a reporting error, this blog post originally said the District gained more than 1,300 residents between July 2012 and July 2013. It gained 13,000.

  • Stirboo

    Okay, either your math is off or you've got a typo.

    A gain of 13,000 residents would be a 2.05% gain.

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

    @Stirboo: It was a typo, and an embarrassing one. It's 13,000, naturally. Thanks for flagging that.

  • SEis4ME

    Guess people didn't flee the city postFenty after all.

    I'm assuming this is something the administration can tout as an accomplishment or should Fenty and Williams?

  • ar

    It looks like this July 1 estimate means, given growth rates, that DC definitely passed 650,000 population as of 2013. Great milestone!

  • DCShadyBoots

    Will the city be able to sustain this growth rate when FHA Home Loan ceilings are dropped by 100k on January 1 to 659k.

    Considering the average home price in DC is approximately 800k, I don't think so. There is a BIG difference between 3% down and 20%.

  • Baldheaded Dude

    Any population increase during this day and time is a negative. The country and the world is way too crowded as it is. with increasing technology and diminishing resources you don't need as many people as years past. its time to start focusing on "smart decline" as some places in Europe have done.

  • Mrs. D

    DC, you're thinking only of SF homes (and exaggerating even that, a bit, it's really about $700K). The overall average is about $550K, and there are a number of condos (as well as SF homes in less-popular neighborhoods) well below that. Most people don't dive head-first into an $800K Victorian in a hot neighborhood as their first home, and man

  • Mrs. D

    *and many people never go that whole-hog. I can see myself buying a larger condo or very small rowhouse at some point in the future, but nothing at the $800K level...

  • Er.uh

    bald headed

    The US pop is growing at .7% per annum now. It will do whatever policies toward growth the District adopts.

    DC - what Mrs D said. If the FHWA changes really impact those houses, its likely to reduce prices in that range. I think prices are high enough even a significant decrease would not stop new construction (which in the District itself is virtually all multi-family, and mostly rental). It probably wouldn't even dramatically slow renovation of rowhouses, which sometimes come in at below 650k after renovation.

  • gimbels lover

    What is it about doomers that any mention of growth, no matter how local, is equated with malthusian catastrophe?

  • kldavis

    >"Advocates of changes to zoning and the 103-year-old Height Act to allow greater density argue that the city's population is booming, and that we need ways to expand housing and office supply in order to meet growing demand."
    Not following this logic since the city had more than 800,000 residents in the 1950s, and it did just fine. In fact, the skyline was lower then than it is now.

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  • http://chicago.localmart.com/apartments-for-rent/ Rachel

    In my opinion the city is growing very fast! It’s attractive, with a variety of choices for recreation and lifestyles. It has many good job opportunities that is the first reason people would like living in D.C.
    There are plenty of things to do here. DC area has lots of cultural activities, entertainment, shopping, festivals, outdoor recreation, and great restaurants. But the housing and the cost of living in the Washington, DC area is among the highest in the country. Salaries tend to be higher as well. The further out you live from the city, the lower the prices. There are a couple of expenses that are more affordable though – health care is on par with the rest of the country, as are goods and services, but groceries, transportation, and utilities do run a little higher. Many people are dreaming about D.C and sometimes those who live there want to move.