Friday Question of the Day – How Long Do You Think You Will Live in DC?

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

Last week we talked about how long folks had lived in DC for the Friday question of the Day. At the time a reader requested that I follow up that question by asking folks how long folks they think they would stay in DC. For those who plan on staying in DC a while do you think you will stay in the same neighborhood you are currently living in? For those who think they will move out of DC at some point – do you think you will move to the suburbs or a completely new city? Does anyone think they will move away but then move back at some point?

130 Comment

  • I’ve moved every three years for the past nine years (work/school) but I’m ready to stay put. I can see myself here for quite awhile, really, unless a reaaally great job opened up down the road. I’m in Adams Morgan but I’m moving to Capitol Hill next month, just want a mellower scene.

  • PoP,

    You missed a big category. I, like many people, I suspect, plan to live in DC until I retire (not “until I die.”). Once I retire, I will spend the last 20+ years in a cheaper city, almost certainly outside the U.S. So, I plan to live here another 20 years, but then another 20 years elsewhere.

    • I’m with el caballero on this. Most will retire in a cheaper locale. I’m also uncomfortable projecting too far out anyway so didn’t cast a vote, but I love this town. Been all over the world and DC would probably make my top 5 list of cities to be in at this time in my life, even if employment were no issue.

    • Yep, I’ve been here 12 years with no plans to leave before retirement. After that, it’s hard to say. We might stay in our Columbia Heights rowhouse until we die, or we might move somewhere quieter and cheaper. We won’t really know until the time comes.

    • Until retirement (10-15 years). Then I will sell my house and move somewhere soulless but more affordable.

    • PDleftMtP

      Leaving your friends will be harder than people seem to think. I’m agnostic on whether I’ll be in the old folks’ apartments on Connecticut taking the Metro to the Smithsonians or in some college town somewhere with an inexhaustible supply of cheap labor.

    • I’m with Caballero. I’m in DC as long as I’m in US.

    • This is a good point, although if I can afford it, I would always like to keep a home or an apartment in DC.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I’ve lived here since the beginning of 2004 for grad school, rented the first apartment I could find that I could afford at the time, found a job in the field in which I wanted to work, dropped out of grad school (long story, involved advisor going to prison), and am still working for the same employer and living in the same apartment almost 9 years later. I’ve actually lived in DC, and in this apartment, for longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else. I plan to stay here for the foreseeable future, unless I have a serious reason to go somewhere else. (In my case, the universe of “serious reasons” is small, and includes things like caring for aging parents and not much else). I’d love to buy a house in or near my neighborhood (Brightwood / Shepherd Park area) if I ever find anything decent that I can legitimately afford.

  • I checked the wrong box on the poll. I meant to say “until my kids are out of school,” not until I have kids of school age. Our kids are in a great school! It would be really tough to find a school this good in a neighborhood we could afford in this region. As for moving to a different region, you never know (but for now we are good).

  • I don’t know if others think this, but every week I have a different opinion of DC. But this week I wouldn’t have it any other way. Love the District and would love to stay at least 5 more years… definitely longer but I would consider employment before living situation.

    • Really interesting point. When I thought about it, it matches my own feelings. I’ve lived in the DC area (with a couple short breaks) since 1987 and I’ve been in the city since 1996 (again, with a 3 year break on the West Coast). I am generally happy with the way the city has changed, although every time I travel to other parts of the country I realize that people in DC are definitely rude and pretentious. And unfortunately the trend seems to be accelerating as newcomers to the city adopt those traits quickly & with a vengeance. I really love the level of education among most city residents and the wide range of cultural activities available here, but the unprecedented tribalism (“my neighborhood is awesome & yours sucks”) has become very tiresome. Some days I think I could definitely move to California, Portland or New York, but for now I’m happy here. I live near good schools, in a neighborhood with lots of interesting, international residents, but if I ever want a bigger house near good schools, I might have a hard decision to make.

      • “Rude and pretentious”….I hear you on that one. Of course, this is not a blanket criticism, as I’ve run across plenty of nice, friendly individuals. But since coming to DC a couple of years ago (first for work as a commuter, then recently moving into the District proper), I’ve often felt a vibe of outright hostility that’s just bizarre. (And let me head off the “This is a city, that’s the way things are in a big city, get used to it, blah blah blah” rebuttal by adding that I lived in New York for 13 years and never experienced anything like this. New Yorkers can be abrupt and fast-paced, yes–going out of their way to be rude, no.)

        • Totally disagree. New Yorkers are way more pretentious and snobby than Washingtonians, with the added bonus that they will slam into you while passing on the street, then walk away like nothing happened. I consider that to be far above and beyond any rudeness you will ever experience in DC.

          • Sorry you’ve run into some jerks in New York, evidently. That was never my experience, but I don’t doubt they exist here and there. Maybe I’m just biased because thus far in a relatively short time in DC, I’ve been: hit by a car (intentionally, as in the driver was stopped at a stop sign, waited until I was front and center to his hood while crossing, then drove into me); kicked by a runner; plowed into by a runner (both of whom were part of massive running groups storming down the entire width of the sidewalk…I’m a runner too, but that kind of behavior is just not courteous); and openly glowered at by about 3/4 of the neighbors to whom I’ve tried to smile and say “good morning” in the hall.

            But I’m willing to chalk that up to bad luck and hope there are friendlier folks in my DC future…

  • Don’t know how long I will be here, but I do know that if I leave it will not be to go to the suburbs, but rather to another large urban city or to an international city.

  • Leaving ASAP. Been here four years and that’s plenty. The horrifying heat and humidity in the summer, the lack of interesting outdoor activities, the mediocre bars and restaurants full of boring people in Oxford button-ups and polos. A government town with no relevant identity outside of the most white-washed version of the yuppie. Well, you get the point. New York, Chicago, both better cities as far as people go; San Francisco and L.A.: better on most fronts.

    • You’re hangin with the wrong crowd, bud. Not sure what outdoor activities NYC or Chicago has, but I’m pretty sure only the former has anything close to what DC has. Travel maybe 45 min outside of the city and there’s plenty to do.
      No relevant identity, eh I can sorta agree with you. Bar scene, get out of Georgetown! Come up to 11th St in CH, great stretch of fun and unpretentious bars.
      I’d love to live in Chicago, but DC has been great for me for the past several years.

    • Seriously, make some new friends! Only one of my friends works for the gov, and I rarely see oxford types in the bars I go too…Now if you complained about lawyers, that’s something I can get behind. 😉

      • This is true. I lived in Columbia Heights for 9 years and I have to say that there probably isn’t a more diverse place that I have been to in the world. Definitely not cookie cutter or pretense. I am now in upper NW and I can see a bit of your point but I happen to know the whole city is not like that.

    • Lack of outdoor activities? Are you joking? I was so hesitant to move here because I believed that, but after being here for five years I think that DC blows away any major city on the East Coast as far as the outdoor opportunites it offers both in the city and within a half hour drive. Hiking, biking (road and MTB), fishing, kayaking (world class whitewater just up river!!!), the Mall, I could go on. Seriously, how many other cites have a huge forest with miles of hiking trails smack dab in the middle of it (that make for fun rides on the snowboard during Snowmageddons)?

      That being said, I’m here long enough till we earn enough to move back to Colorado and buy a ranch where nobody will bother me. 😉

  • Where are the neighborhoods with good schools in DC?

    • West of Rock Creek they’re all decent to great now. The teachers in most of NW are good, it’s just the peers. As parents, mostly well-educated, the knowledge part isn’t the issue (the kids are going to be ‘into’ education by virtue of their upbringing by and large), but rather the stories, behaviors, and experiences they learn from other kids. Bancroft isn’t bad at all in terms of teachers (the facilities on the other hand…), but most of the kids have much less structure in their home lives and bring that to school. Also, in Bancroft’s case, no one speaks English. I’m not anti-Spanish, but — surprise, surprise — didn’t want our daughter to learn Spanish at this point as we teach my native tongue at home. [Plus, since I learned English when I got here, I don’t think it would be so terrible to learn the language of the country that blessed me with opportunity, but that’s another story].

      • Public Charter Schools – at least the top 10-15% of them – are great and rival or beat the best public schools in DC. You need to be lucky to get into them (via lottery), but you can live anywhere in the city as long as you are OK commuting to get to them.

    • we are here until we get shut out of a good school in five years. there are several great schools (west of the park and Cap hill) but most no longer take out of bounds students or there at least 200-300 on the list ahead of you via the lottery. If I can get my kid in EL haynes we might stay longer in Parkview but even that one is virtually impossible to get into. Its a shame because we have a school one block from my house but based on the info on line (test scores) there is NO WAY I would put my kid anywhere near it. Not even for Pre K.

  • Moving here was the 5th move I’ve made in the past 8 years. From the Midwest to the South to the Midwest to another place in the Midwest and now the mid-Atlantic. I’ve now hit 30 and I’m ready to begin to settle down a bit. I like DC and will likely stay if I can find a good job (current job is just ok). I still have a bit of an itch to try out the West Coast, so I guess I wouldn’t completely rule out leaving. And NY is a behemoth I could probably never turn down if a sweet career opportunity presented itself. But I can’t see myself leaving DC anytime soon, especially with a better job.

    • I guess I should add one of my Midwest locations was Chicago. I love that city immensely! Other than winter, it’s a perfect fit for me. So while I’m happy here in DC and likely to stay if I find a better job, my heart still belongs to Chicago and I would consider moving back if I don’t make any headway in finding a better job/better pay over the next couple of years.

  • My wife and I have been here for 10 and 6 years respectively. It has been great for this period of our lives but we are planning on moving within the next two years.

    We want more space and frankly, even though we have good jobs/careers, there is no way we can afford a larger place with some land in the city.

  • Hard to say. My girlfriend has spent her whole life in the area and is itching to do something new, but we have a lot of good reasons to stay put. We have a gorgeous old house in a neighborhood that keeps getting better and better. We’re only an hour away from her mother and three hours away from my family in New Jersey. I have a 20-minute walk to a job that I like, and during that walk I get to see both the US Capitol and the Washington Monument (something I still find really cool).

    I like that DC experiences all four seasons, and the winters aren’t brutally cold. I love having easy access to free museums. And I like the size of DC; I think we’d be overwhelmed by a place like New York and bored with something much smaller.

    We have a friend visiting from Seattle who hates it there– he hates that the population is less educated, less ambitious, and less diverse. There are fewer job opportunities and it’s cold and rainy all the time. It makes me think we have it pretty good here.

    • It’s so funny how some locations can match a person perfectly, and others would be a terrible, terrible fit! My boyfriend is a Seattle native, and while he’s put his grown-up roots down in the Mid-Atlantic, I can tell that he misses the PNW terribly. Better summer weather (none of the horrific heat and humidity), and when he goes back to visit, it’s a week-long, non-stop binge on pho, craft beer and locally-roasted coffee.

      • F YEAH TO ALL THAT!!!

        Thanks for making me homesick. 😉

        • Sorry ’bout that…

          We’re serious beer geeks, and spend a lot of our time at beer festivals, visiting breweries, etc. And he’s always going on about the sheer diversity of the small, craft breweries operating in and around Washington and Oregon.

          He also loves to tell me about his undergrad days at UW, when you could take an empty milk jug to a bar and could get them to fill it up like a growler. Not that I want to haul my beer around in milk jugs, but it’s a totally different attitude to beer than we have here on the East Coast.

          • first, the uw is in wisconsin, duh.

            second, i hear you about the beer/coffee options around here — it’s absolutely terrible compared to where i’m from (mn). never thought that’d be something *to* miss — thought every city had comparable beer and coffee … and i was very, very wrong.

  • We will be here until our kid starts school. Our main reason is that the city does not seem to want the 30-40 crowd with kids. The city is almost exclusively building 1bedroom apartments, bars, and restaurants. This is geared towards the young, single crowd with money to play with. The dearth of 2-3 bedroom apartments/condos and lack of local public green space where I can bring my kids to play leaves me no choice but to move to the suburbs.

    • It seems like there is a lot of public green places for the kids to play here. Far more than in the suburbs. Probably because in the suburbs everyone has their own yard (that their kids never play in).

    • I agree that the city’s development trajectory seems geared towards single urban professionals and DINKs (dual income no kids). I yawn at virtually every restaurant and bar opening, and find myself visiting Bethesda/Rockville for kid friendly outlets far more often than I like to admit. DC does have parks and kid friendly activities — just way less consistently than MoCo, and many events and attractions str equally accessible from MoCo as East of Potomac Park.

      We have one kid starting elementary age and another a few years behind, but I can easily see making to move to MoCo within the next 3-5. Our Hill schools are generally good, but upper ES and middle school bring more promises of improvement than tangible results. There are many excellent MoCo public school options from K through HS, and there are areas well served by mass transit (and bike), close to amenities AND in bounds for top schools. Leaving DC does not require moving to isolated and soulless suburban tracts, but even suburban MoCo boasts some of the regions best stock of MCM houses in addition to McMansions and colonials. Prices are high, but so are DCs, and the price for which we could sell could easily cover a move to Bethesda.

  • I’ll live here until the day I die. And since I ride Metro every day, that could be very soon!

  • I’ve been here since college, and I could see myself raising a family here. But I still think there’s more to explore. I’ll probably relocate for a bit, perhaps in a few years time, and then make my way back for the long haul!

  • Since we have a baby on the way, I think it mainly depends on how the public/charter schools do in the next 5 years. Many of the charter schools look promising, so there is hope to staying in DC indefinitely.

  • As someone who just moved out of DC, I’ve given this a lot of thought lately.

    You have build a life in a place that fits your lifestyle, goals, and needs at the time. When I was in my late 20s, early 30s, DC was perfect for me. Loads of other young single people, lots of social opportunities, it was a ton of fun.

    Now I feel like my needs and lifestyle has changed, as have my priorities. After about 5 years in DC, I looked around one day, and realized that all of my close friends had moved away, and that if I wanted somebody to hang out with, I needed to re-build my social circle all over again. It was an exhausting thought. In my hometown city (close enough to DC to keep my job and commute), my family and friends have been establishing lives featuring affordable housing, a solid restaurant scene and other fun things to do, and I’m now close to the people I love. At this point in my life, this suits me so well that it felt like such a relief to get out of DC (even though I still like DC! I just want to live somewhere else now). You just gotta do what’s right for you at the time!

    • I’d be curious to know for people that moved out, where did they go? For me the close in suburbs aren’t really that different in terms of density, traffic, etc. Maybe more houses but still not a lot of space and not hugely cheaper unless you start going much further out. Then you are talking miserable commutes.

      • That’s how I feel. You’re still paying at least half a million for a townhouse inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia, and if you live outside the Beltway you’re facing a commute of at least an hour each way if you work in the city. PG County always seemed like a good alternative because it’s less expensive and has less traffic, but everyone says that not a good place to raise kids.

      • I moved to Baltimore. But I grew up in B-more, and still have many family and friends here, so that was an additional draw for me. The social scene here is a lot more relaxed, a lot more casual, which I think goes along with B-more’s blue-collar roots. I love that I can have entire conversations with people without being asked, “so, what do you do?”

        My commute from Glover Park to Judicuary Square was at least 45-50 mins each way. Now door to door, my commute is about about a half hour longer each way. But it is on the train, so I use the time to nap and catch up on my reading. It absolutely helps that my office is a 10 min walk from Union Station, so I no longer have to bother with Metro. That would be a total deal breaker for many, but it’s worth it to me. I’m living in a fully detatched, 3-bedroom house in a nice neighborhood, and houses in my neighborhood are around $175-$200k.

        • You commute for 2.5 hours a day, roughly? For me, I could not do that. I would never see my kids. I here you on your points though.

          • 2.5 hours a day is really not bad for the DC area, especially if you’re on a train the whole time. I had a similar-sized commute from Fairfax County, but I had to drive because there was no good way to do it by public transit. That was pretty terrible.

            I have friends who bought a Victorian mansion in Baltimore for around $300k a couple years ago. The place has seven porches! I’d trade in my 10-minute commute for that. The only downside, from what I’ve heard, is that the commuter trains stop running after a certain hour so you can never stay late at work.

          • Having done the DC-Baltimore commute for a while, I have to say it was pretty soul-sucking, for me at least…although I definitely agree that it’s less draining to be sitting on a train versus sitting in a car in traffic. (It also didn’t help that I had a drive to/from Penn Station and a Metro ride to/from Union.) In any case, I was more than ready to trade space and cheap(er) housing for a shorter commute and the extra time that it freed up to work out, see friends, do some volunteer work, etc. And the other commenter is correct–last MARC out of DC is 10:30pm, and while this didn’t happen often (when you have to wake up at 5:45 for your morning commute, it’s a pretty powerful disincentive to take a train the night before that won’t have you home ’til midnight) there were a handful of times when I got caught up chatting with friends or co-workers at dinner/happy hour, and red line was running 20-minute headways, and I had to literally run a mile to Union to make last train. Not fun.

            But who knows, maybe after a few years of the short-commute/exorbitant-rent experience the trade-offs of Baltimore will seem worth it again.

  • Pretty hard to contemplate. I moved here in 2001 and it’s really a different city now. In another ten years who knows what it will be? I’m hoping the city will continue to make progress but the reality is that cities can relapse too. DC in 2020? 2040? Who knows?

  • I’ll be here until the next set of riots break out (gentrifiers finally get fed up with crime and revolt against the thug criminals). My prediction- 2015

  • PDleftMtP

    I’m still not “from here” and never will be, but it’s been almost 20 years since I moved here. I spent a few years overseas and probably will again, but this is more or less home now. The biggest change is that we’re likely to move west of the park with a baby on the way; I’d rather have my child in a great public school than a private one (even though it’s probably at best a wash on cost once you figure in how much more expensive it is to get a great house on a nice block in, say, Forest Hills than Crestwood). We’re lucky enough to be able to afford to live where we want.

  • m_i_z_dc

    5 more months….then moving to Seattle! Been here 4 years, and OH so tired of this heat (even though this particular August has been kind of mild, relatively speaking…).

    • Me too! After six years in DC, I’m now down to six more months, then I’m Seattle-bound! I can’t wait to get out of here.

  • My wife and I have been here for 2 years, but I grew up in Fairfax, so familiar with the area as a whole. I could see living in DC until at least retirement (35 years or so) I see no reason to leave. At some point we will have kids, and I still have faith that at that time that they are ready for school, the schools will have improved.

  • no idea! I like DC a lot, and I could see myself staying here long term. But a part of me wants to move back to NYC, where my fam has stayed. I guess it depends on my s.o.’s career path, and if we end up staying together; I’m doing an online grad M.A., which is fortunately portable to anywhere.

  • Until the kid starts school. DC is good enough for me, but not my kid. And it’s not just the schools (which even under the best circumstances are not great) – it’s the cavalier way I see people treat their neighborhood, the casual acceptance of violence and crime as “part of living here,” and the lack of safe space for children to play in. These are all conditions that are fine for me to navigate as an adult; my husband and I have very much enjoyed our time here. But I want better for my boy. And now you may flame away.

    • I agree with this, nothing against city kids or those who choose to raise their kids there, but DC, as well as most other cities, is not kid friendly. Areas of suburban MD and VA offer safety and outdoor spaces at a much lower cost.

      As for me, I have a year of grad school left and after that, its wherever a job takes me.

    • As a father of two in the City, can I just say that when I am in the suburbs I find the parents much less involved and the kids to be much ruder. Actually, I think people in general are ruder in the burbs. Not sure why that is but my theory is that when you live in the CIty you learn to live and let live much more than the burbs. Totally unscientific.

      • I don’t know anything about kids, but I drive to Target and Home Depot in the burbs specifically because the staffs (and the stores) are SO much nicer.

        Also not scientific, but we tested this out with Home Depot one day. RI Ave, we were there for close to three hours and still couldn’t get the issue resolved. Literally stood around for I don’t know how long trying to get someone to help us, because so-and-so was on a break, and so-and-so was at lunch, etc. All the while, anywhere from 3-5 staff members stood around chatting. Went to a different store in the burbs and had a 180 degree different experience.

      • I’m not a parent but I feel the same way. My neighborhood (Capitol Hill) has a lot of kids, and I’m continually amazed at how well-mannered and sophisticated they are. Maybe the people who choose to raise kids in the city are more well-mannered and sophisticated themselves, or maybe the kids simply receive better parenting from someone who isn’t drained from four hours of commuting each day. Either way, I’ve seen a lot of evidence that kids can do well in the city. They also seem to spend more time outdoors, which is very important. When I drive through my mother-in-law’s kid-friendly suburban community I never see a single kid outside– presumably they’re all in the house playing video games.

        • OMG! I’m so happy to hear that someone else has noticed this! What’s up with the lack of kids outside in the suburbs?! It’s kind of eerie. I’ve seen blocks and blocks of perfect little houses with well manicured yards and…not a kid in sight. There’s no one riding a bike, no one sitting outside, no one yapping with friends. Nothing. Where IS everybody??

      • I don’t entirely disagree with you on this – I know many children who are abnormally kind, talented and polite, all DC. Some suburban setups do lend themselves to an odd sort of isolation and rudeness. It all comes down to the people, primarily the parents. Unfortunately, I don’t see enough of those good things to make me feel confident that the bad can be properly mitigated. I didn’t feel like this until I had my son. But now, I feel that it’s hard enough to raise a happy, healthy child without worrying about fitting him into a city lifestyle that increasingly feels unfriendly, even hostile at times. Rude people and criminals are everywhere, but I want to live someplace where those people are rightly viewed as trash, not the expected consequence of living in a certain place.

        • Why would you want to live somewhere where people are simply viewed as trash?

        • For me and my kids in the city, I feel like I have to be more engaged because we live in the city. We have to plan for green space and outdoor activities and things of that nature and I think it forces more quality time and family time upon us. The kids also seem to like it. Just my experience though. I do sometimes wish it was like when I was a kid growing up in a small town. But I can’t really duplicate the small town experience for them around here, since there aren’t any.

  • Isn’t the world ending sometime this year anyway, so it doesn’t matter? :p

    We’ve been here since 2004 and would like to be out in 3 years or so. Depends on job situations of course, but definitely not interested in staying any longer if we can help it. Too expensive, too rude, not any true friends to speak of, and starting to feel “aged out” of this city. Would most like to go to Mexico or possibly another Central American or island country.

  • Until I have kids which according to the wife is another 2-4 years.

    I would be OK with a couple of elementary schools in DC, one middle school and one highschool (done all the research already) and while they are “fine”, they certainly aren’t excellent. However, I do not have the million + to spend on a tiny, tiny home (and I am not living in a condo, been there, done that) in the neighborhood where I would need to live to guarantee placement.

    While its secondary and I wouldn’t move soley because of it, I am also looking forward to getting out of “east of 16th because I am sick and tired of wading through all the trash on the streets and the ho-hum, education is a 4 letter word culture that deems it ok to deposit it there. I am tired of walking the block (as I’ve done for years) every weekend and filling up a full trash bag with other peoples trash.

    • Wow! So you know the state of the high schools in 2026 and beyond? I’m impressed. Can I borrow your crystal ball? People who worry about the hypothetical schools for their hypothetical children always amuse me. Given that change is a given (good or bad), I wouldn’t bank on that research being of much value a decade and a half from now.

  • I agree with monkeydaddy. There’s a missing option for those of us who have kids and love their school.

    This whole “you have to leave DC when you have kids” cliché is tiresome, and posts like this just reinforce it.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      You have an option it’s the last one: “As Long as I’m Alive”

      Unfortunately in many discussions I’ve had with many different folks – where to send your kids to school is still a very real issue in many of DC’s neighborhoods.

    • Exactly how is it tiresome?

      The way I see it, there are only two ways it works:

      1. You make enough money to live in a West of the Park location where you can get placement in the couple public schools that are ok (read not excellent, but of comparable quality to the average Arlington/Ffx/MontCo school.

      2. You don’t really care about your kids education or haven’t been paying attention. DC ranks dead last in every study, all the time. Ok, in fairness, sometimes DC trades the last spot with some place like Mississippi or Nebraska for a year, then reclaims it the next.

      These are the only two possibilities. Which one do you fall under?

      • Neither. If you only see 2 possibilities, you’re so ill-informed or just plain biased that you’re not worth convincing.

        • I’d be interested in hearing other possibilities.

          • People have mentioned charter schools, which are a perfectly viable choice for some people. Not my first choice for a bunch of reasons, but that’s one option. Another would be choosing a good east-of-the-park school and joining the growing number of families who are working to improve them. Ross ES in Dupont (my kids’ school) is east of the park and has a waiting list of over 500 (400 in preschool and pre-k alone), so they’re doing something right. Garrison got rid of its old principal and is getting better to the point where I’d send my kids there now if they were in preschool or pre-K. Marie Reed is a few years behind those other two but has a great principal and lots of new families.

            Admittedly, the middle school issue is a problem, and that’s going to impact anyone’s thinking. Still not sure what we’re going to do about it. But to say that anyone who’s not a millionaire and who chooses to stay in DC is doing a disservice to his or her kids is just obnoxious, hostile and ignorant.

          • Oh, and not you, theheights. I took your question as sincere.

          • It was sincere because I don’t want the schools to drive me out of
            the city. I’ve heard of great improvements parents have made at many elementary schools across the city. I’m more concerned about what happens when I have kids that are in middle or high-school.

          • Charters are out, personally because while there are a couple great ones, the rest are barely better than the average DC offerings and certainly don’t measure up to your average Arlington/Montco school.

            You yourself said you weren’t considering Charters, which was your only alternative. The couple schools you mentioned that don’t happen to be west of the park, aren’t very good schools, plain and simple. They may rank higher than other awful schools in DC but that certainly doesn’t make them even close to passable, so again I ask…what are all of these so called options?

            Comparing crap schools to slightly “less” crap schools in DC is pretty ridiculous. You should be comparing your options to the average quality education of a neigboring jurisdiction like Arlington. Otherwise you are needlessly fooling yourself.

          • Anon, I presume that your hypothetical super awesome suburban school would help you with your reading comprehension.

            What I said was that charters weren’t my first choice. Apparently unlike you, I and most people able to weigh multiple, competing (and sometimes even conflicting) factors when deciding what to do. And the main reason charters aren’t my first choice has more to do with financial and real-estate instability than academic concerns.

            As for the other stuff about those schools not being good, you keep telling yourself that. All the more space for those who know different.

        • How can you say that? The test results that show certain DC schools doing very well are measured in comparison to OTHER DC SCHOOLS, not schools just across the river or Western ave, which are legitimately some of the best in the entire country. If you think the best schools in DC are providing a similar level of education–to the average student–in comparison to, say, the Whitman boundary schools, you’re nuts. If you take your kids’ education seriously, why would you not move 50 feet over the line for the same housing prices as west of the park?

          • The testing process is not terribly informative, and testing doesn’t even begin until 3rd grade. It’s also not terribly informative of a school’s value. DC is MUCH more invested in early childhood education than surrounding districts, which only make it publicaly available for low income families.

            The affluence of districts like Whitman also speaks to high scores. Children who struggle get the external support necessary to succeed. That speaks more to socio economic status than to the success of the schools. The schools also tend to be more homogenous (ie white) and affluent, and where there is diversity at a place like Whitman, it tends to be more international professionals (ie not recent immigrants) than a true mix of students from genuinely diverse backgrounds.

      • You have charter schools and the lottery to go to school out of bounds. While it is somewhat left to chance I know several people that have been successful in placing their kids in school out of their boundaries.

        • Out of 8 women I know who did the lottery this year, only ONE got into one of her choices. The others are frantic and scrambling to figure out what to do . And the one who got didn’t find out until last week. Its this constant stress of lottery, uncertainty that will likely drive me away. I do appreciate the parents who have made it their full time job to turn their neighborhood schools around over many many years. Im sure Ross is great, but with 500 on the list to get in, Im not getting in. I also don’t have time or resources to fix park view elementary which is what I am in bound for. I don’t want to live in the burbs but to be able to just be in bounds for a really good school, ALL THE WAY through high school without the yearly lottery would be awesome. And thats what will make us move when our kid is school age.

          • Yeah, the charter and ot-of-boundary DCPS lotteries are much, much different right now than they appear to have been a few years ago. Parents are actually sending their kids to the good in-boundary schools (largely west of the park). So there are many fewer spaces, if any at all, for those of us looking to get in OOB. There are some schools that are improving, but you’re still taking a chance on your kid’s education, and even those have huge wait lists. Look at the stats for Marie Reed, Bancroft, Tubman, etc.–hundreds of applicants for two or maybe three classrooms at the PS/PK/K levels. Those schools are better than a lot of other DCPS, but I think most people would have a hard time saying that they are great schools or on par with Ross, Murch, Janney, etc. across the park.

            And charter school wait lists are insane. We were # 300-something for PS at Mundo Verde and Inspired Teaching this year–two schools that opened up either last year or the year before. They each had nearly a thousand applications for just four grades, so maybe 250 spaces, max. EL Haynes had no spaces available in the lower grades for non-siblings of current students.

            We wanted so badly to believe that the DCPS lottery and/or charter schools were our answer for when our older kid is school-aged, but it’s become very, very clear that it’s not. You have to get lucky and the truth is, most people don’t. I’m just thankful that we have the resources to move to MoCo (TP/SS, not Bethesda by any stretch) if we can’t find a school we’re comfortable with in DC. A lot of people don’t have that option.

          • I can’t really speak to the percentages. I just know somebody that got both kids into Eaton and somebody else that got their kid into the Chinese school.

    • Agree. I didn’t grow up here, but I went to a public school that had a really bad reputation with hysteric parents trying to avoid it. One of my neighbors with a kid my age bought a second house in a neighboring town solely so they’d have the necessary address to send her to the better school district.

      Even though my sister and I went to the scary school, we turned out just fine. I graduated with high SAT scores and a good scholarship that covered most of my college tuition, and went on to get a BS and MS in electrical engineering. I didn’t have the 36 AP credits that my freshman roommate did coming in, but I did well in college. My best friend in high school went on to be a doctor, and her brother and sister became engineers. My next-door neighbor, who was carted off to a posh private school, became a penniless drug addict from what I heard. My girlfriend went to one of the best schools in Northern Virginia but I don’t think any of her former classmates are doing anything that spectacular.

      Point is, I really think the parents have a much bigger influence than the schools, and it’s silly to have a school’s reputation dictate where you choose to raise a family. My parents, and my doctor friend’s parents, all stressed the importance of education and it had a lasting impact on us.

      • The notion that you have to move to have a marginally better school experience for your child doesn’t make sense to me. There are DC schools (yes, largely West of the Creek) that are competitive regionally, but many of those that aren’t competitive have seen an upward trajectory in their test scores. City-wide, public schools are no longer the worst among comparable cities, and their low ranking is partially due to the huge differences in the economic conditions that exist in the city. I’m not discounting the concerns of those considering moving due to school reasons (obviously everything is student-specific), but rather the mis-informed generalizations (anon @ 10:12).

        • “Test scores on an upward trajectory”

          You mean those schools and dozens of teachers and administrators under investigation for the past two years for highly suspicious answer changes?

          The DCPS “answer-change gate” is the most underreported thing in the Post. Anyplace else there would have been mass firings, here the new Chancellor has chosen to stop the investigation and hide the results ala “nothing to see here”.

      • My brother and I had the EXACT same experience growing-up in DC public schools. Did well in school. Did well in college. Doing well in careers. Doing well in life. It’s largely about parental influence!

  • I’ve been here for almost ten years and a decision point for leaving will come when I finally finish up grad school next year. I’ve seen many friends come and go, get married and leave, and it has me thinking of where I want to be in the future. I love my bike commute to work, and I love the fact that there are so many educated, interesting people in this town. However, it takes trips home to the Midwest to remind me that there are far friendlier people and you don’t have to endure surly and angry customer service. Further, the crumbling of Metro has sharply limited my access to the rest of the city, since I hate long waits. Metro, in my mind, is a quality of life issue, and it is giving DC a few more negative points when I consider the pros and cons of living here. And while I have some family and my best friends here, my parents and other family are in the Midwest, so that is also a consideration in the long term.

  • My husband was born and raised here and his family is around. We both have DC-centric / internationally-focused types of jobs so it makes sense to live here for the long haul. Plus, I just love DC. However, who knows what the future holds? I went to college in Nashville and I adore that city. I could also see my husband and I retiring to the beach!

  • 0-2 – This is in addition to the 5 i’ve been here. I imagine i’ll leave within the next couple years to get a grad degree, but I’m very open to the idea of coming back. Just depends if I prefer wherever I end up next.

  • I’ve lived here for just over 3 years, and I’m only going to live here another week because I am moving! I have never felt a connection to DC so I am happy to be leaving.

  • We’ve been here a little over six years and I would be amazed if we hadn’t moved on by the ten year mark. I love DC for so many reasons, but I’m also finding all sorts of things about the city that have become more exhausting, more frustrating, and more unbearable as time goes on. I’ll certainly always love coming back to visit!

  • I grew up in Montgomery County, attended college outside of Philadelphia, and moved into the city about 3 years ago but I’m ready to leave the area. I’d love to move west coast or aboard for a few years. I love my job and I’m incredibly close to my family but I’m ready for a change and to challenge myself so I’m giving myself another 1-2 years to figure some things out and make moves.

  • ledroittiger

    I don’t have much longer now. Dude got shot up the street and there have been a number of muggings in my neighborhood. I’d give myself a couple weeks tops.

  • Sad to say, I fall in the “until kids go to school” camp. Unless something changes dramatically, we won’t be able to afford the neighborhoods with the great schools or the private schools, the local district schools are embarassingly bad, lottery is iffy, and I have mixed feelings about the charter school options. Obviously, things could change with the schools or my finances in the next few years, but I predict a future in Takoma Park. Sigh. It’s a damned shame. I would love to raise a city kid in a lot of ways; the parks, museums and the like are really hard to beat. And I have become entirely too attached to the restaurants and bars and plays and music. And, oh well. I’m trying to console myself ahead of time with dreams of a yard. And voting representation in Congress.

  • I’m gay, in my late 40s and have lived here for 21 years to be exact. I got sick of it about 8 years ago and moved abroad for a few years. Ran out of money and moved back here only because the job opportunities for my line of work don’t exist in many other places. I had to completely start over. Hardly any of the friends I had in my late 20s were still here, or they were still here but had become a bunch of duds–“I’m tired” “I have plans every day and night for the next three weeks” “Oh, you know when you have kids…”, GIMME A BREAK! Being surrounded by pinheads who are experts at “everything” gets old too. Luckily I found a job immediately and made a lot of new friends, and oddly, most of them are under 30 and straight. Life has been much more diverse and interesting. The gay bar scene used to be fun, but the internet has obviated the need to spend a zillion dollars on drinks with the sole goal of hooking up with someone (while I can drink at home for pennies on the dollar). Will i stay here forever? Hard to say, but it works for me for the time being.

  • This discussion is dominating our dinner conversations right now. DC has so much to offer and has been good to me and my husband for that past 10 years, but it’s also exhausting. And we don’t even have kids yet. We’re looking to start a family out west, where I’m from, for an easier lifestyle. Easier = less traffic, less congestion, lower cost of living, better weather, better options for schools. I just don’t want to continue doing back flips to keep my lifestyle going here.

  • Probably staying put in Capitol Hill East for another 5 years (been in my condo already for 2) while trying to figure out what to do next. I’m mainly dependent on GF and my career plans for the near to medium term. The biggest thing pushing me out is affordability and school quality. No matter what, I’ll need to move out to NOVA or MD unless DC schools make some dramatic improvements over the next few years, which isn’t very likely, especially in my neighborhood.

  • valentina

    I’m in DC one more year(until my current lease is up) and then I’m out of here. I’m tired of this place!

  • At this point, I don’t see leaving until my kid is out of school, unless we go somewhere international. There is no better, more educational place to raise a kid. My child is in an amazing charter school that aligns exactly with our philosophy – Mundo Verde. I have never seen another school that more perfectly fits my family, and the quality of the education and the community there is absolutely amazing. But, even more than the school, the access to continued educational resources, especially free ones, is unsurpassed. We go to museums at least a week, and when a particular subject becomes of interest, there are so many hands-on resources to consult and knowledgeable people with whom to discuss. I think that a lot of the “I need to leave DC when my kids go to school” people don’t understand all of the options that are available here. Without a doubt, there are many in DC that go to bad schools and live in bad environments, but if you look and work a bit for it, there is nowhere as academically and culturally stimulating in this country as this city.

  • Hard to say…you never know where life will take you. I agree with the commenter who mentioned that it depends on your stage in life and what you value in a neighborhood. I rent a small studio near 16th and Columbia, paying through the nose for it. In my mid-30s, I’m not really into a raging bar/party scene anymore (to the extent I ever was to begin with!)–but I enjoy being in a walkable community that’s close to shopping, restaurants, and fitness opportunities (both outdoors, like the park, and indoors, like gyms and yoga studios). And after doing an “extreme” commute (2-2.5 hrs each way) for a couple of years, I value dearly my 2-mile walk or 25-minute Metrobus hop to the office now. For me, I’m willing to trade size and quality of living space for location, and I don’t necessarily see that changing anytime soon. (I’m sure it also helps that I’ve lived my whole adult life in small, semi-crappy, overpriced rentals in big, expensive cities, so I’m used to it.) I moved here for a job, and I always thought I’d go back to New York after a couple of years in DC, but I think ultimately it will depend on how long my current job (grant-funded nonprofit work) lasts and where I’m able to find my next gig.

  • Got a big town house at 5th and East Cap that is appraised for a million more than we bought it for 12 years ago.

    The wife and I make about 450K combined and the two kids (3rd and 4th grades) are in private , (natl cathedral and Sidwell)

    We aren’t moving, we have comfy lifestyles and the kids want for nothing, least of all excellent educations and our careers just started really picking up the past few years so our best days seem to be ahead of us.

    Having said all that, I would move out of DC in a second if we couldn’t afford to send our kids to private schools. We have a friend with their kid in Deal which is a respectable school, but most of you seem to be trying mightily hard to convince yourselves (let alone others here) that you can responsibly send your kids to dc public schools in a highly subjective and sometimes hilarious manner.

    • With that kind of money, it’s easy to like where you live. If we made that, might be more inclined to stay!

    • Wanting to send your kids to the best schools possible is lazy parenting, in my opinion. If you teach your kids to be inquisitive and studious they will get into a good college and get good jobs regardless of whoever’s teaching them in school. The kids that do poorly in DC public schools are the ones with parents that don’t value education, and that’s why they don’t do well.

      • Ding ding ding, we have a winner for the most ridiculous thing posted to POP today!

        • It’s sad that people think it’s ridiculous! If you have kids you should take it upon yourself, not others, to raise them well. Right?

          • Raise them to be intellectually curious minds and decent human beings is one thing.

            Teaching them physics, calculus, chemistry etc… is another. Your kid can be the most well adjusted, natually intelligent and well raised child who ever lived, but it won’t matter a tinkers damn if they can’t pass simple standardized tests and get accepted to choice colleges.

            Fine, if you have no job and have all the time in the world to homeschool your kids, knock yourself out.

            Most people don’t have that option, and wanting them in the best possibly academic environment when they are out of your household for those ~9 hours a day isn’t lazy. People who think so clearly have their tin foil hat affixed too tight.

          • I’m just saying the success of one’s child shouldn’t be, and isn’t, contingent on what school they send them to.

          • No, thats not what you said. You clearly supported this statement

            “Wanting to send your kids to the best schools possible is lazy parenting,”

            You are wrong, to an enormous degree.

            We all know good parenting is atleast half of what it takes to make children succesful academically, then career wise, but proper schooling is also an ernormous part.

            Telling someone (read above) that they were lazy parents after they took days off work and spent countless hours trying to et their kids into their choice charter or out of bounds school is simply the most ridiculous think written here today.

          • Hey now, I only had half the equation (I’m the Anonymous who posted above at 10:24 about having great parents but a terrible school) and I think I made out well academically. I think the odds of success are much lower when the factors are reversed. Kids usually take after their parents and it’s hard for a kid to be interested in academics when their parents clearly aren’t. The school thing seems to be more an issue of snobbery than anything else: successful people want their kids to rub elbows with the kids of other successful parents. The question is, does that inherently make the kids more likely to be successful? I’m not sure, but it does seem to make the kids more neurotic.

  • NYC in a year or so….(if I get a job offer)

    • Oh, and I’ve been here for 9 years. Wayyyy over DC. The crime. The underlying yet pervasive racism problems. Just. Over. It.

  • DC CapHill

    Since there seems to be no end in sight to the predatory nature of youth/criminals in this city, ZERO responsiveness by the District to curb or eliminate them, corruption up and down the length and breadth of local gov’t, the underlying yet bubbling cauldron of racial tension nobody has the courage to talk about, and the rising price of everything, I’m at my wits end. Been here since 2001, seen a lot, done a lot, experienced pretty much everything DC has to offer, and will be somewhat sad to leave.

    This could be an amazing place, if people actually gave a shit, longer than one news cycle. If DC actually used my tax dollars and parking ticket money in an appropriate way; fixing DCYS, locking up criminals for as long as the surrounding areas for similar crimes, fixing the damn streets riddle with pot holes and steel plates, and quit election completely fradulent scumbags to City gov’t, this would be an amazing place to live.

    But that won’t happen in our life time, barring something drastic.

    So, so long DC, and thanks for (most of) the memories.

  • I am a native so DC is home and will be for the rest of my life. I have lived elsewhere – including some places that other people are devoted to (NYC, Seattle, Charlottesville, Philly, small-town Coastal Maine) but in every one of those places, within a few years I found myself wanting to be back in DC. The last time I moved back I swore that I was back to stay, and after several years I still have no desire to leave again.

    Some of that of course is the bulit-in support system – some family, lots of friends from as far back as high school and even elementary school – but some of it is inherent to DC – I think this city offers an incredible array of opportunities for a place of its (relatively small) size, in terms of restaurants and the cultural things that I like and consume (theater, museums). I appreciate that it is pretty compact (DC proper anyhow) and relatively easy to get around in. Sure the summers are awful, but I like how the city slows down in response (somewhat, and less now than in the past.) I also still find it cute that we freak out at the predition of snow. And although I don’t much care about football, I love how the Redskins are such a unifying thing in a population that doesn’t unite around much. Whether they’re winning or losing, they are always a common topic of conversation no matter what neighborhood you’re in. (I’d prefer if it were the Nats, or ideally the Caps, but… )

    It even still amuses me to hear the new arrivals’ complaints and watch them adapt or move on. (That’s partly why I read PoP.) It can be sad when the people leave, but I’ve gotten used to it. And I have a bunch of friends who were new people once and have stayed and that’s a good thing.

    There’s a whole lot more, but basically, it’s DC for me, for life.

    • I spent most of my formative years here, so for better or worse, DC is the yardstick by which I measure all other places. There is so much culture here-museums, theater, independent cinema, concerts. I like the diversity and the quality of the restaurants in the area. I like that it is possible to have *your own* decent-sized apartment in the city without being a millionaire. (Yes, my rent is expensive. But I’d be hard pressed to say I was not getting my money’s worth.) I like living in a neighborhood with a 98 walkability score. I like that my daily commute is a 15 minute walk. I like that the Metro, problematic as it is, makes it possible to get around to so many places around the tri-state area. I like that there are not many times when the city is so crowded that getting around or accessing what you need is difficult. I like that Washingtonians are so smart and politically engaged. I am lucky to have family in the area, so I don’t see leaving anytime soon. This is home. And I can’t imagine another city delivering as much as DC does and not having to pay through the nose for it-either in rent, general cost of living or just by having a monster commute.

  • I’m happy to say that my daughter is starting high school in the District of Columbia this year, and we are here for the duration. I wouldn’t mind a beach house, though. That might be my compromise…in DC until I die, but with a summer house.

  • The value of dialog on DC school issues is inversely proportionate to the age of those involved. The younger you skew, the less you know. Sorry, but the only 20 or 30 somethings I’ve ever spoken with intelligently about the state of DC schools are those with kids at least 3 years old.

    For everyone who rips DC schools on test scores alone, you don’t know half the picture of why as school is good or bad. There’s plenty to rip, but you’re really just talking out of your ass with the tired meme of “DC schools suck.” Believe it or not, there are plenty of dissatisfied MoCo parents who rip their high scoring public schools too. Just visit DC Urban Moms if you want a taste of those discussions.

  • saf

    I came to go to college. Fell in love with the city. So I’ve been here since 1983 with no plans to leave. It’s home.

  • I came to DC in 2004 for college and never left. While DC has some great qualities:free museums, lots of outdoor activities, diverse neighborhoods and cultures. I think I am ready to move on. I am originally from a suburb of NYC and have found people there to be actually nicer. In the past year I have been yelled at twice by people driving cars, knocked over by a cyclist and had a cyclist punch my car. I am a friendly and easy going person but I think I’ve had my fill of DC for one lifetime.

  • lindz0722

    Yesterday I helped an elderly neighbor bring her groceries up to her apartment. I asked her how long she’d been living in our building (in Logan Circle). Her answer? Since May of 1972 — 40+ years.

    I wish we would have had more time to talk, because I can only imagine the stories she could tell having lived in that neighborhood as it changed so drastically.

    FWIW, I just moved into DC this past spring and hope to stay at least until I have a family (and preferably longer than that).

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