Friday Question of the Day – Are you a Transient or in it for the Long Haul? How Long Have you Lived in DC?


Today’s question has been brought up recently in the rant/revel and another reader writes in asking if we can address it again. Sure. You can see the results from 2012 here. So time for an update. How long have you lived in DC and do you think you are here to stay? Hard to believe but I’m coming on 18 years in DC this summer. Unless my company transfers me I’m probably here for the long haul – what about you guys?

184 Comment

  • Coming up on 19 years in DC.

    Definitely planning to leave in the next 4-5 yesrs. I don’t find the social scene very promising for those 40+. I will be looking to move to a smaller, friendlier city.

    • jack5

      I’m 40 myself, and I love DC, until I decide to sell my shack and move to Hawaii, I’m in it to win it. I have been here for 20 years now and haven’t had to deal with unemployment for more than 4 months in that period. I work in IT and I’m happy government jobs have always been around. I couldn’t imagine living in any other state (until I retire) because I know where everything is here and it’s close, but not too close to NY.

      • brookland_rez

        I’m with you. Coming up on 11 years in the area. I started out in NOVA and was miserable until I moved into the District. There’s been high points and low points, but in this area I wouldn’t live anywhere but the District. I’m a federal government employee in IT and I can’t agree with you more on the jobs front. I have lots of friends that are contractors and they’re never worried about having/finding work. I’m here until I’m ready to retire. In retirement, I don’t imagine staying, but who knows?

        • brookland_rez

          Lived in NOVA for 2 years, but working in DC and constantly coming to the city to see bands play at Black Cat, Nation, 9:30 Club, etc, and also to skateboard, I decided in 2006 that city life was what was best for me.

  • Blithe

    None of the options quite fit: I was born in DC, as were both of my parents, and I attended DC public schools. I left for college and graduate school, as well as for work. Although I’ve lived in other cities, I’ve always considered DC my “home”. I now live one block over the DC line, and, so far, I’m planning to stay.

  • skj84

    I moved to DC on a whim basically in 2005. Have family who live here, and I would come and stay long weekends and during the summer. I loved it here, especially compared to where I grew up in PA. In 2005 I was on one of my summer trips and decided I didn’t want to go back to PA. I transferred colleges and the rest is history. I can’t believe how fast 10 years have gone by. I am flirting with moving elsewhere, but for the time being I’ll probably stay in DC.

  • I’m native DC. I have lived in the MD and VA burbs, but always in the Metro area. This is home. I know it like the back of my hand, funked up traffic circles and all. I have traveled to alot of places, and so many are awesome, but when I see that stretch of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building, with the Mall between them on the approach to National (yes, it’s National) I know I’m home.

    • Same here! Born and raised, went to college at Howard U., I lived in PG County for about 3-4 years but I dont count that LOL (lived right on the border of DC, i could literally walk to SE in 10 mins). If I had to relocate it would be to the West Coast, preferably LA or San Diego. I’ve traveled a lot of places and no city/cities have had a stronghold on me mentally like San Diego. VERY PEACEFUL yet still semi-urban.

  • I was first introduced to DC during an undergraduate internship/”study abroad” program, and came back as soon as I graduated. I lived in DC proper for 5 years, and moved to Maryland 2.5 years ago (about 2 miles from the border). I’m not sure I’d have a DC address again, but I think my husband and I will continue living in Maryland (DC suburbs or possibly Annapolis) unless the job of a lifetime pops up.

  • I’ve been here for 21 years – longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. When I got to DC, I had no particular plans to stay or leave – just was waiting to see what happens. I was quite the country mouse at the time, but at some point – not sure when – I came to love the charms (most of them, at least) and convenience of living in the city. This is home – it’s where I met my wife, where my daughter was born, the only city in which I have ever had a real job. I don’t see myself leaving absent either a fantastic of horrible career or life development.

  • Unless what company transfers you, PoP? I thought PoPville was now your full-time gig.

  • Mr. Eggs and I talk about moving away every year, but we just can’t quite bring ourselves to do it. To be honest, the other options we would seriously look at are nothing at all like here, and I think I wouldn’t be really happy. I’ve been here for about 6 years now. We both have great jobs and have had so many opportunities to advance our careers, that I’m really hesistant to leave. I’m not sure we ever will, we’re happy here for now.
    The big issue at play for us is whether we ever want to own a home or not. We’ve agreed that we don’t want to buy here because we’re not sure how long we want to stay here, but if we ever get the itch to buy a home we’ll likely move elsewhere.

  • Been here for less than 2 years, but just bought a house…so I’d say for the long haul

  • justinbc

    Have been here for 8 years now, plan to stay at least another 15 until we both retire (I’ll be 50, her a bit less than that). Then we plan to pick a different country every 6 months and move around exploring the globe. We own several places here in DC though, so I’ll likely always hang on to one to use as a “base” for traveling and renting out the others. I’ve loved the city more every year I’ve been here, and am really excited about all the changes in the works for future development. Now if only we could do something about those winters…

    • A former colleague of mine did something like this – saved, invested wisely, retired early, and moved to a country where you simply cannot spend a lot of money even if you wanted to. It’s a great life, though it’s tougher (but still possible) if you have kids. He’s back now, but looking for his next 2-3 year destination.

      • justinbc

        Yep, I’ve already got a Pinterest board started for cheap travel destinations 🙂 It’s even easier when you’re older and need less to really be entertained by. Now, I just hope the world doesn’t go to shit in the next 15 years and all that planning will be for naught (granted, I won’t be the only one screwed in that scenario).

        • What’s the number one rule for reducing financial risk? Diversification Diversification Diversification. You have all your eggs in one basket (DC real estate), so you are definitely at very high risk. Having said that, so do I. I think DC has a ways to go to catch up with the real estate prices of other major cities like NY, SF, and Boston. The city is getting better by the minute and we have an influx of people expected in the coming decades, as well as building height restrictions. Cheers

          • By the way, I’ve been in DC since 1994. Back then the only “safe” places to go out to were Georgetown and Dupont. Getting out of the NW quadrant was considered suicide. The DC food scene was extremely mediocre. If you wanted middle eastern food, all you had in the city was Levanese Taverna on Connecticut Ave. Best Mexican was Cactus Cantina (not the most authentic), French – La Chaumiere and Bistro Du Coin, Spanish – Only Taverna Del Alavardero existed (Jose Andes was far from DC back then). I used to be Jealous of Chicago and NY, with all the small strips of bar and restaurants, and ethnic neighborhoods all over the place. DC is becoming that and more. I can’t keep up with all the great neighborhoods that are being transformed in DC. Dc is becoming less and less a transient city, and now people are staying here for the long haul. I’m leaving to Italy for 3 years, but I’m renting my house out and I’m definitely coming back to DC, which is home!

          • justinbc

            “You have all your eggs in one basket (DC real estate), so you are definitely at very high risk.”
            Oh that’s most definitely not true. That’s just all that’s relevant to this particular discussion about staying in DC!

          • @justinbc – Good for you man! I figure you must be well invested somewhere because you are on this blog all day. No way you have a 9-5 job and they let you blog your workday way.

          • justinbc

            I have a very accommodating schedule 😉 I take the work / life balance thing pretty seriously.

          • brookland_rez

            MJ, c’mon. Brookland had nice pockets back then esp around the monestary, also Capitol Hill near the Capitol was fairly gentrified back then too.

        • The friend I referenced lived in Buenos Aires for 3-4 years – when we saw him there, he could not have been happier. I also have heard good things about Malaysia for expats. Although I suspect neither of these suggestions are news to you . . . 🙂

          • I lived in Buenos Aires for 15 years, and 20 in DC. BS AS is a vibrant city, full of life, great food, and wine. What I don’t miss from BS AS is the crime, constant need for awareness so you don’t get mugged, and the fact that everyone is looking for a way to make money from you. It’s also jammed pack full of people (almost 3 million), so it can be grimy and dirty. I’m moving to Naples Italy for 3 years, the grimmiest cities of all. I think when I come back I’ll really appreciate how safe and clean DC is.

          • justinbc

            Malaysia is very high on the list due to the excellent health care (and I’m a sucker for Southeast Asian food of pretty much all types).

    • Justin,
      I’ve thought about something similar, but then it seems like it could get pretty lonely. Six months isn’t really long enough to forge strong friendships w/ locals in most places, so you’d really just be a perpetual outsider. How would you deal with that?

      • justinbc

        Well I would be doing it all with my partner, so being entirely alone would hopefully not be an issue. In most of the places we’ve looked there are large expat communities which tend to be welcoming (in most countries I’ve traveled so far). I’m also quite good at making friends pretty much everywhere I go so I can’t see it being too much of an issue except for areas where there are no expats and a strong language barrier. We’re also not set in stone on the 6 month commitment either. If we find we particularly love one location and the weather permits it then we’ll gladly stay longer. I basically just want to perpetually chase nice weather, I hate being cold! Every now and then we might enjoy a true winter somewhere just to remind ourselves what it’s like though, some areas are really pretty in the snow.

    • This is basically our plan, though we’re still 5-10 years out relative to where you are (planning on first rental property purchase now), and would like to sell all of the RE and move entirely when all is said and done. Someplace warm with good public transit and lots of international flights. Barcelona?

  • My wife and I will have lived in DC for 5 years in May. We love it and we don’t have any plans to move. But, we are not tied to much here besides work and lifestyle. Work can change and other cities offer similar lifestyle. Once we decide to have a family, it may force us to consider our options, but I think most cities will have similar pros and cons.

  • I moved to Bethesda from PA after college. I lived there for 12 years, 6 of those with my husband. We bought a house in DC in March of 2014, and we plan to stay for a long, long time! We are home!

  • I’ve lived in DC for 13 years and own my home here. The SO and I definitely think a lot about leaving for warmer year-round weather and a less stressful lifestyle, but there is something that has kept me in DC for this long. Even when we do eventually move, I want to keep our house and live here at least part of the year.

  • Been here eight years, and plan to stay until my children graduate high school. But if we couldn’t afford private, we’d move.

  • Have lived here for 12 years in the District proper (never lived anywhere longer), but lived in Fairfax for about 6 years while I was growing up. I consider my Midwestern even though 2/3 of my life has been out here. I plan to move to the Midwest eventually, but I’m in a golden cage right now with a good job, etc. DC isn’t all that bad- there are some really great advantages to living here, along with breathtaking views if you live on Capitol Hill. With all that said, I still don’t consider it home. Culturally and family-wise, home is the Midwest.

  • Born inside the beltway on the VA side and went to school there. Moved away for about 8 years then came to the city after a stint in Peace Corps. The wife and I have been here for about 8 years now. Have always loved DC and always will!!!! I share the same sentiment with the commenter above that there is a certain feeling when you have been away and drive into the city via 66 and see it’s beauty at night time. I remember watching Riggo’s run when I was 5 and feeling a great sense of pride in this city.

  • I was having trouble deciding whether to click the 11-15 years option or the 16-20 years option — I’ve been in the District proper for 13 years now, but was in the ‘burbs for 3 years before that.
    I’m here for the long haul. I don’t like the weather (to me, it’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer), but I like everything else about D.C. The only place I could really see myself moving to would be London, but it would be difficult to get a working visa, and I suspect that I wouldn’t be able to afford my own place there and would be stuck living with flatmates.

    • justinbc

      I count my time in the suburbs, since I was still working in DC then. If you’re “in” the DC grind then it’s basically like being in DC in terms of how you would explain it to outsiders.

      • Well, I wasn’t in the D.C. grind per se — I was in grad school — but I went into the District with increasing frequency. I remember someone asking my grad school friends and me something like, “So… where in College Park do you go out on weekends?” and we laughed and said, “To D.C.”
        I moved into the District pretty much as soon as I was able to — when I finished grad school and could afford to live somewhere other than graduate student housing.

  • I moved here for college in 2003 and have been here since (aside from a 5 month stint in Israel in 2010). I never planned for it to be this way, but my dad left the state where I grew up and never had any reason to go “back home” and so I just stuck around here and haven’t left. Right now, I guess I’m here until something pulls me away (a job offer in a field outside of teaching or a significant other)

  • Moved here 22 years ago after moving to NYC after graduate school. Was in a state of shock at the way the non-rich have to live there, but hated the sprawled out madness of the South where I grew up. DC seemed like a nice middle ground.

  • 5.5 years. Planning to move ASAP. It’s been great, but it’s time for something new. (And I am overall very positive on DC, but let’s be real: It’s also expensive, crime-ridden, and filthy).

    • justinbc

      I really don’t find it to be filthy. Most of the neighbors (that I go through anyway) are quite well kept, the downtown area (Farragut, Metro Center, etc) is kept clean by businesses, and the only real “trashy” areas I see are the Mall when large tourists groups rampage through.

      • I agree. Compared to other American cities I’ve lived in, DC is really quite tidy. The no eating allowed on the metro makes a huge difference.

    • Filthy??? I don’t find it filthy at all. Expensive yes.

    • Funny how some people think DC is “filthy” and people from NYC think it’s too “clean and sterile”

      • Yeah I don’t find DC that filthy. Parts of my neighborhood in Columbia Heights can look a little…um…unkempt at times. It’s nothing like other cities though.

      • Yeah – every time I come back to DC from visiting NYC I’m struck by how clean DC is. I would never walk around the streets in flip flops in NYC…ICK!

        • +1 to “[E]very time I come back to DC from visiting NYC I’m struck by how clean DC is.” Sure, there’s still more litter in east-of-the-Park D.C. than I would like… but it’s very clean in comparison to NYC.

        • +2
          I lived in NYC for 9 years. That place is dirty, grimy, and smelly. If you think DC is dirty, then you probably shouldn’t live in a major American city, as it’s among the cleanest.
          At least in DC we don’t have the constant odor of hot urine all summer long (sorry NYC) 😡
          And TBH, most people I know in DC are pretty happy. Only my stupidly wealthy friends in NYC are truly happy. Everyone else I know is grinding it out and pretty miserable/stressed all the time.

    • Sorry guys, Petworth is dirty. My street has so much trash on it. Food containers. Beer cans. Chicken bones. Auto glass (lots). Soda bottles. (I pick stuff up here and there, but I admittedly don’t contribute as much as I should). There is a bush on the corner by my apartment that is full of needles. Landscapers tore it out recently, and there were several needles on the sidewalk.

      Sure it’s not as trashy as NYC, but they have 4x the population. I guess I grew up in clean suburbs (no thanks) and cut my city teeth in Europe. Germany has awesome large cities that are sparkling. Yes, most US cities are dirty, but not all: Seattle is clean as can be, and I was recently impressed by Portland too. Amazing how low our standards are.

      I know that after a while you don’t see it, but when you really open your eyes, there’s trash everywhere.

      • Yeah, it is a dirty city. I’ve lived in every region of this country, and DC and the South in general are just dirty compared to the Midwest (exceptions being places like Detroit or St. Louis). The people thinking DC is not dirty are likely from the South! Different cultures in different regions.

        • When reading your comment, I was about to exclaim, “WTF?? There are definitely dirtier cities in the Midwest!!” but then you mentioned STL as an exception… Yeah, compared to a couple other cities I’ve lived in- such as St. Louis- DC is pretty damn clean.

      • OK. Petworth maybe dirty, but that’s far from saying that DC is dirty. I don’t find most of the popular DC neighborhoods dirty. I live in Capitol Hill and never see littering.

      • justinbc

        I can understand being frustrated by that. I guess I don’t really go to Columbia Heights or Petworth much (the places people are saying are exceptionally dirty).

      • LisaT

        You’re right. Definitely depends on what hood you’re talking. Tough to say anything about DC in general. Lots of areas are beautiful and sparkly clean, where I live in Brightwood Park, not so much. I’d call it filthy. The SO is from Chicago, traveled the world, lived in other countries, and he thinks DC is filthy.

      • You want to see dirty? Go to Baltimore and see what dirty really means. Petworth is tidy in comparison.

        • Like I said: Low standards

        • jim_ed

          Or Richmond, or Philadelphia, or Durham, or Norfolk, or Wilmington (DE), or Trenton, or Newark, or Harrisburg, Cleveland, etc etc etc. DC may be dirty compared to cities in the Nordic countries, or Germany and Switzerland, but overall, I find it to be noticeably cleaner than most American big cities.

          • brookland_rez

            I agree. I’ve been in nearly every major U.S. city and DC is one of the cleanest. Having said that, Petworth is probably one of the less clean neighborhoods, but like any transitioning neighborhood, it’s improving each year.

      • There is definitely way too much litter for my liking in Columbia Heights, Park View, Pleasant Plains, and Petworth.
        I’d encourage everyone here to pick up litter at least from in front of your own house/building, and ideally in front of one house/building on either side too.

        • epric002

          fyi, MPD4D listerv sent out info last week or earlier this week about upcoming cleanup days on specific blocks.

          • Yeah — the problem is, the occasional one-off cleanup of a single block doesn’t make that much of a dent in the litter problem. (I think it’s more of a PR move.) Hell, I used to clean my entire block every week (before I got tendinitis from so much use of my “grabber” device), and it was incredibly frustrating because the litter would just come back, again and again.
            IMO, the best way to address the litter problem is to do it on a smaller scale and much more frequently — at least every other day, if not daily.

  • jim_ed

    Been here 6 years in the city proper, and in that time we’ve gotten engaged and married, bought a home, and had our first kid, all within the District, so this is our home through and through. If we ever leave, we’ll leave the entire area because my personal hell is NoVa or Maryland, but thats not likely to happen anytime soon.

    • +1000 on personal hell is NoVa or MD.

      I love DC. Have a car and rarely drive it. Crime is minor league compared to Detroit, NoLa, or some other cities. (But I do watch the crime stats and am concerned about it, but not overly so.)

      Now if someone could tell me where to meet a great 50-something guy…..

      • My personal hell is NoVa too!

      • brookland_rez

        I hate the suburbs too. But if I have to pick a suburb to visit or shop, it’s PG county every time. To me, culturally, PG county feels like the suburban version of DC. NOVA just feels like a whole different world, and not in a good way. And sprawl and the resulting traffic are so much worse in NOVA.

      • tonyr

        “great 50-something guy…..” – Ahem!

  • 10 years as a DC resident, grew up over the Maryland line and attended UMD undergrad and CUA Law. I think im slowly starting to run out of love for the city though, and it hurts, like breaking up with a gf. Own a home here, and would love to never sell it, but am having some serious “grass is greener” feelings whenever I go someplace else.

  • I’m a couple months shy of 6 years here. Moved here for the 1 job offer I had after graduate school. Here for the indefinite future, but I off and on apply for jobs in warmer climates and closer to my family on the west coast.

  • Gah!! I still consider myself transient…even though I’m coming up on 13 years of living in the area. Plans to move are coming soon (as they always seem to), but I mean business this time! I’m at a different phase of my life now, and DC doesn’t fit the bill (literally and figuratively) anymore :-\

    • justinbc

      What city is drawing you away?

      • This time, the SO is mulling a move to Miami… Before that I’ve been thisclose to moving to Los Angeles, Houston and NOLA for work. Those times, it was just me and I was scared to move someplace I didn’t have a support system. Now, I’m a little less afraid for the Miami move–it helps that I have friends there too.

  • KSamps

    Work will likely keep my husband and I here for the long haul, although I would love to move back to Seattle (home).

    • Agreed. I find that most people from the West Coast that are living in DC also want to move back. Once you have had filet mignon, why eat hamburger?

      DC will do for now. But for those of us from the West Coast, Manifest Destiny is in our blood.

      • Interesting… I grew up in San Diego, and own rental property in Coronado, but prefer the East coast. I guess I like trees and water!

        • I grew up in NY and I still think the West Coast is the best coast. Planning on moving back to California eventually.

    • Agree. Coming up on 9 years in DC but pine for the PNW and would love to move back.

  • What if I grew up three blocks over the line in Takoma Park? I count myself as not a DC native, but pretty damn close.

  • I’ve been in DC or 4 years. I moved here after grad school for a job. I’m at the point where a lot of friends I had went I first to DC are starting to move away and I’m still here. At some point I’d like to move back to NY to be closer to family, but my SO and I have great jobs in and DC and we love here, so we’re staying put for now.

  • Getting close to the 25 year mark (not including a few years in grad school)! Capitol Hill, Adams Morgan but mostly Mt Pleasant.
    I don’t see myself moving elsewhere permanently, although at some point I’ll be spending more time at the family farm.

  • Followed my wife (then girlfriend) down here after college. Always thought we would head back up to New England, but 16 years later we are still here. We have a house, a kid, and two good jobs. Heading north is not in the cards anymore. We are here for the long haul. Unfortunately the only thing that could get us to move out of the city would be the school situation (Hello Montgomery County!). Second year in the lottery getting wait listed everywhere!

    • gotryit

      what is your neighborhood school?

      • Neighborhood school is Barnard. But not very diverse, unfortunately.

        • I’m confused at your comment that Barnard is not very diverse. It’s also our neighborhood school and we’re excited to be getting ready to send our kid there to start PS-3 next year. Its diversity is one of the (many) things that we like about it.

          That said, I totally understand that every family has their own criteria for choosing a school – I hope your school situation works out well for your family!

          • We want a school with a mix of all races, and unfortunately Barnard doesn’t fit that category for us. I wish it did, it would make our lives a lot easier. Best of luck to your little one as they begin their educational adventure!

    • We are also planning to stay, but the school situation might get us out. What is your plan, if you dont mind sharing?

      • We will try the lottery again next year for Kindergarten. Currently we have our son in a private preschool, and we will be looking into private schools for Kindergarten as well. Not sure beyond that, trying not to lose hope, but wait listed at all schools two years in a row is pretty disheartening. Our best wait list number is 62.

    • “the only thing that could get us to move out of the city would be the school situation (Hello Montgomery County!).”
      That’s what did it to us. I’ll be a MD resident in 2 months. I still can’t believe it. But, absent a dramatic change in plans, there will be a 3rd grade slot open at a HRCS in Petworth next year, if that interests anyone.

  • Born and raised in NoVA, lived in DC for a little over a decade, now back in NoVA. Don’t think I’ll be leaving anytime soon, although sometimes I dream of other things…

  • emvee

    I grew up in Arlington, fled for college and Americorps, and then spent a few blissful years in Baltimore. I just returned to DC in August and had told myself and the SO that we’d be here no more than three years. Now I’m considering grad programs and the weather is improving, though, so who knows. We may end up here longer than planned, which isn’t the worst thing.

    • Oh man I LOVE Baltimore. If it made any sense whatsoever with our job situations, Mr. Eggs and I would be there in a heartbeat.

      • emvee

        I would’ve stayed if there were more jobs there. Cost of living is stupidly cheaper than here, everyone is much more laid-back about careers, and the work/life balance is attainable and encouraged. It’s also just quirky and laid-back, which is much more in line with who I am. I often feel like I’m not “serious” enough for DC.

        • 100% agreed on every single point. I also want to throw it out there that I vastly prefer to the music scene in Baltimore to DC. Mr. Eggs and I are very into rock music, and we feel like it’s hard to find that here most of the time.
          Fells Point and Canton will most likely always be my favorite neighborhoods in the entire world (that I’ve visited so far, of course).

          • @ eggs and emvee – I am 100% the same way. I have so much love for Baltimore. I only lived there for two years but it just always seems like home to me.

            If we count “DC Metro Area” as DC then I’ve been here for 25 years, but I’ve only lived in DC proper for 8 years. Bought a house last year…so I’m just kind of going with the flow. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up/where I want to live…but so far I’ve had amazing job opportunities here.

      • Blithe

        It’s nice to see so much Baltimore love!

  • Nearly eight years in the metro area, six in D.C. Did a Capitol Hill internship in college and wanted to come back, so I did. Married, had a kid, went to grad school, and bought a house here. No other family here, but it’s home, and we like it. I figure we’ll stay until retirement and then move to somewhere more accommodating for a fixed income.

  • Born here (in a hospital that is no longer around)
    lived either in DC or its immediate surrounding areas besides college
    Cap Hill now for 1.5 years
    this is home

  • 30 years here. Came in 1985 from the rust belt Midwest for the jobs and stayed for the jobs. The second I retire it’s back to the Midwest since I won’t be able to afford living here. Really liked working downtown for 26 years then my employer who I will not leave moved up to Rockville meaning a horrible commute to an office canyon where you have to drive to perform even the smallest chore.

  • Been in DC 12 years now. Moved to the DC area after college in 2003. Lived in VA & MD then made the move into DC in 06. My original plan was to work a few yrs in DC, then move back to Ohio but there was no turning back. I Really fell in love with the city. Bought a house with my husband in 09 on the hill and have no plans to move any time soon.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Born and raised here. My mom still owns the house on Fessenden Street. I have owned in Dupont Circle/West End and now 14th and W. I love this city and am delighted to see it coming back with such strength!

  • Interned here in 2007, moved to DC full time in 2008. Flirted with the idea of moving somewhere cheaper because of housing costs/bad schools/job satisfaction/wanderlust, then all of a sudden the husband and I bought a 4 bedroom house late last year. Now that we have a huge mortgage, we’re here for the long haul.

  • epric002

    been in DC-proper for 3 years, was in the hellish burbs for 4 years before that. was a transient navy brat until college, and lived in the burbs twice as a kid when dad was stationed up here. definitely no immediate plans to leave, but we would certainly consider it for the right job elsewhere. otherwise, i love where i live!

  • I’ve been here almost 11 years.
    When we were kids we came here on vacation and my older sister stopped in the middle of the sidewalk in Dupont and declared that when she grew up she was going to move here. I wanted to be just like her, so I also followed on with my own declaration. About 10 years later that’s exactly what happened.
    We both own and have no plans to move.

    • Aw I love your story! I decided I wanted to move here when I was visiting on a family vacation, also. I was in 8th grade I think.

  • Moved to DC a year ago from New Orleans for a job and I definitely see myself leaving soon, I could never afford to buy a home here along with the cost of living, the work culture is pretty exhausting to be around, and the lack of diverse personalities and middle class diversity is really disturbing to me . My next move will hopefully be either to Philly, B’more or back to NOLA.

    • emvee

      I want to +1 every single point you made. Total solidarity!

    • I agree with you on the “never owning a home here” thing. I’m lucky to have been able to surround myself with people who don’t focus on the work culture when we’re not at work, because I can’t stand the overly ambitious/cutthroat/”so what do you do?” culture. I have a very hard split between my work and personal life on purpose.

  • I’ve been here 6 or 7 years at this point and my husband’s been here for 8. We love it here and we’re here for the long haul. Even if we end up working overseas for a couple of years, we’re still planning on keeping our home and renting it out. We’re in an area that still feels quiet and intimate (though with the explosion of condos that’s about to happen here we’ll see how long that lasts) but can hop on the Metro or walk 8 blocks or so to hustle and bustle. It’s great.

    The only way we’ll move is if we decide to live my dream, which is selling everything and moving to Iowa to raise sheep and llamas.

  • From MD burbs, came to DC for college and have stayed since. Even — GASP! — had two kids here and not planning to move.

  • Grew up in the area, moved to a few other places fairly nearby. But at this point, I’ve lived in the DC area for most of my life. The majority of my family is here, so the odds of my leaving the area entirely are slim. Though I am debating leaving DC proper unless I buy a place or the rents calm down. I don’t want to do it, but it’s getting to the point where I feel like I’m paying way more than what I’m getting is worth.

  • I moved here on a whim 8 years ago. A lot things fell into place within those first two years, so I decided to stay and ride things out. Things have gone well. I don’t think I see myself living out my days here, but when I think back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

  • Coming up on eleven years here for me. Moved here for grad school, and didn’t plan to stay initially, but am very glad that I did. It’s a great place to be during your 20s and (so far) 30s. My retirement/departure plan is similar to justinbc’s, but we should get there closer to 40, so probably 8-10 more years in DC.

  • Been here for 8 years, almost 9. Plan on leaving in the next few months for the great city of Chicago. I want a more affordable city with the perks of a metropolis…and also a better dating scene. All this is pending a job offer, of course.
    Didn’t plan on being in DC so long, but it has a way of sucking you in and not letting go.

  • LisaT

    11 years this month. Bought a house at the end of 2010. Hoping to leave in 5-10 years for better weather and overall quality of life. Good economic opportunity and we both love our work, but no deep friendships, high cost of living, don’t know any other 40-something child-free folks, no real ties to the area other than professionally. Great area for a lot of things, but I don’t plan to get old here.

  • Moved here about 6 years ago from the Midwest. Bought a house in NE about 3 months ago so here for the long haul! Occasionally we talk about how wonderful it would be to buy a house with cash in some cheap Midwestern town but then we wouldn’t have the wonderful experience of Metro delays each morning during our commute.

  • I Dont Get It

    I’ve been here 31 years so apparently I moved here when I was -5. I love DC and the East Coast but I doubt if I can afford to retire here.

  • My family has deep roots here. Great grandpa sailed to USA from Denmark in the 1800s, became the Chief Machinist at the Navy Yard in DC, and lived in SE. Neat to see old black and white photos of grandma as a kid saluting troops during WWI. Grandpa built his first church over on Naylor Rd in Anacostia. They hosted hundreds in the hallways of the church during WWII when folks came to town in droves. Grandma told stories of passing Calvin Coolidge on the streets of DC. Dad was born here. My kids were born here. When I arrived, I met a friend of a friend who said he was so sick of DC and was leaving after having been here 12 years. I said to myself, “I’ll never be here that long!” That was back in 1990. Here I am 25 years later still here. It’s been great to see the recent changes, DC isn’t static anymore, what vibrant new city we have, and it’s still growing.

    • Love your story!!

    • Mine, too – I’ve even been to some of the old houses that my great-grandparents lived in (on both my mom and dad’s side of the family). My great-grandfather was a streetcar driver on the line that ran from Georgetown to Glen Echo. Have a lot of relatives in the cemeteries around town…

    • My many greats grandpa was a farmer who lived near modern-day Tenleytown in the late 1700s. His son moved far away. Sometimes I wistfully think: had the family held on to but a single 10-acre plot…

    • I Dont Get It

      That’s awesome, thanks for sharing!

  • I was scared to move here in ’93, but loved it. I left to NJ after 2 years, and after 11 up there I had to quit my job so I could move back. I’ve been back here now for about 10. I just can’t quit DC… I’ll be here until I retire, at least.

  • I’ve been “here” my whole life minus moving away for college. By here it wasn’t always DC proper, but I grew up in a far out Va suburb about an hour west of DC. People commute to DC from there, but I find that rather insane. After college I tried to escape the area, but jobs pulled me back here and I started out living in McLean, then Falls Church, then Arlington, and finally DC! Now we bought a house here so I guess we’re in it for the long haul, but I dream of just up and moving to Costa Rica or maybe my partner’s home country. Doubt we’d do it anytime soon though.

  • We arrived in 2006 after I fell in love with DC as an intern and convinced my partner to move with me from NYC. Nearly a decade in, I’m feeling totally worn down by the crime, commuting, air pollution, light pollution, constant noise, and high cost of life.
    We’re planning an imminent move to a smaller, cheaper city or – if I play my cards right – somewhere quiet where you can see the stars at night!

    • To add – we bought a foreclosed fixer upper in 2009. Now that (almost) all of our projects are (maybe) almost done, we’re ready to take the $ and move on.

    • sigh, worn down by the crime. me too. my wife and i visited japan last year, where there is essentially no street crime, and it was such a refreshing change from the bullsh!t we deal with every day here in DC.

    • My wife and I are 6 years in and I’m starting to feel the exact same way. The first 5 years were amazing and almost overnight I started hating every aspect of living DC. The petty street crime, same annoying conversations with people that only care about career advancement, constantly being pushed into new roles at work, more people, more overpriced restaurants/bars, and absolutely nothing to do that doesn’t involve spending $100 or going to a museum.

      I honestly never understood why so many people hated DC when I first moved down but it has suddenly hit me. We have also made a killing on our rowhouse and I’ve determined that we can easily buy a house all cash somewhere smaller, cheaper, and more beautiful and get by with only part-time jobs within two years. DC may

  • This summer will be 24 years for me. I came here in 1991 (at the peak of the crime/crack/murder epidemic), and it has been astounding to see how the city has changed since then.

    • I moved here in 1993, and I agree, it’s crazy how much DC has changed. For starters, I remember going to the old 9:30 club near Gallery Place/Chinatown when that neighborhood was mostly wig stores, discount clothing stores, and vacant buildings.

    • Coming here from a small town in upstate NY, I didn’t expect to like living in DC, but I ended up loving it. But my husband and I will probably leave DC when we retire in a few years, partly because it’s so expensive to live here, but also to have a bit more property than the row house and tiny yard that we currently have.

  • janie4

    Moved to the area 10.5 years ago, moved into DC proper in 2008, bought in Petworth that same year.

  • Been here for 6 years now. Went to college in DC and stayed after graduation. I was teetering on moving for the past year due to friends moving to other cities and getting tired of the DC scene. I feel like i have fallen back in love with the city though in the past 3 months and can’t even imagine myself living somewhere else in the near future. Yeah DC has it’s ups and downs but it is definitely home away from home.

  • Becks

    I’ve been in DC now a little less than 5 years. I love the fact that I have the great honor of living in the Nation’s Capital. With that said, I am ready to move on to the next job opportunity, wherever that may be. I have realized that there are many places, like Williamsburg, that I haven’t visited. So, I am planning weekend and camping trips to visit the area before I , maybe, move.

  • Well, I checked the 21-25 box since I moved into DC in 1993, but I grew up in Hyattsville, so if we’re counting living in the area (other than college and a couple of brief stints overseas), then I’m 45 years. I would consider moving elsewhere, but don’t really want to do it on my own at this stage of my life. Would love to live overseas again…

  • I’m from D.C. Have always loved my city even through the height of the drug and crime era. Though I have traveled to many places, D.C. will always be home and I will, most likely, never leave.

  • nightborn

    Moved to MD from the former USSR when I was a tween in the 90s, and went to UMCP. Have lived in DC proper for the past 7 years and I love love love it. Husband and I are planning on having a kid though, and I hear the elementary schools are solid but the middle schools are atrocious, so that’s probably when we’ll look into moving. If we could afford private school, we’d stay.

  • I’ve been here for 15 years. I really don’t like what DC has become, and there are many great cities where I’d probably be much happier, but the job situation has me trapped here. And among friends and colleagues that I talk to, a lot of people feel exactly the same way.

  • Anonomnom

    In it for the long haul! 26 years and counting. I am also 26, so clearly I don’t like moving.

  • My husband and I thought we were transient, moving back to the Midwest when our kids were ready for school. But then our first child got into a great charter school through the lottery and we are now here for at least the next 18 years. No regrets or disappointment about that – its a good city to raise kids, if you can get the right school setting, and we have a great village of families to help raise our kids.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Been here since January 2004, willing to move if there is a very good reason to do so, but otherwise planning to stay.

  • 25 years…sigh. We keep saying we will move, but we don’t. I guess I’d have to change my Twitter handle.

  • I am coming up on my 10 year anniversary in dc. I contemplated a move to the west coast in 2007 but couldn’t pull the trigger and I’m still here. My partner owns two businesses in the area that at this stage he can’t be away from, and my government job would be tough/impossible to relocate. Unless/until those things change I don’t think we could consider living elsewhere, so it’s not really on my radar. (Although personally I think I would at least consider it once my student loans are paid off and I have the resources to leave my government job — but of course, I’ll be pushing 40 then and might have lost the itch to move.)

  • 17 years, dying to get out. Working on that right now, so hopefully within the year.

  • I moved here because it was a great place for me and my wife to find good jobs after grad school a couple years ago. I don’t think it’s as unaffordable as it’s reputation suggests, since the most common cost of living comparisons usually leave out transportation, which is always cheaper in dense, walkable cities with good transit and bike infrastructure like DC.

    But we are planning on moving back to the Midwest soon. Third-tier cities like Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and especially Pittsburgh are in the early stages of a new renaissance and they need educated young professionals more than the big coastal cities like DC do if they’re going to keep improving. We think we have a much greater opportunity to make an impact in those cities than we do here, where Master’s Degrees are a dime-a-dozen.

    • Yeah I would move to Cincinnati if I had to pick somewhere in the Midwest to live that was that kind of city (so excluding Chicago and places like that).

  • I have been here for six years. I had a lot of friends who moved here right after college, left to move elsewhere, and are now circling to move back after realizing other bigger places aren’t always better. Happy to have a pretty stable group of friends for now at least!

  • Michigander here. Moved out here to go to grad school up in Baltimore. Fell in love with an Army officer. The Pentagon has yet to move, therefore, neither have we. This is my 10th year in the area. TEN. Wow. Have been living in DC for 5 of those years. Looking to move back to Ann Arbor soon. Very soon. Like, as soon as possible.

  • Been here for over 4 years. Moved from the Bay Area after law school. Got a government job. Met my wife playing softball on the Mall. Bought a condo. Got a dog. We will always love DC. But the Pacific, the redwoods, the Sierras, the Bay, la gente are calling me back . . . and the grandparents want their grandchildren to grow up in CA.

    From my journal entry from August 2010:
    Going to Washington, DC, became my go-to response to the oft-asked question by everyone in the legal community “So, what are you going to do after you take the bar?” like a measuring stick of your ambition and ability. Was I really going? I didn’t even really believe it myself. I was too preoccupied with finishing law school and taking the bar. Going to DC became wrapped up in some all-encompassing purpose to go do something with my life or at least find the place where I could go kick start my career.
    By my second year in law school I had figured out that I did not want to go to a private law firm, at least not right away. Working eighty hours a week defending some corporate Castle Greyskull and being bullied by Skeletor and his senior associates was not what I had in mind. Entering the legal profession in the public’s service became the more attractive calling by that point in law school. I knew I wanted to do something to add a positive value to world—or at least battle the Masters of the Universe to protect the Star Seed for the good of Eternia. I was drawn to the intellectual intricacies of water, climate, and energy law. To me, that was the future. That was why I went to law school; not for some grandiose idea of saving the world, but doing what I believed to be the right thing with my education. As it turned out, finding a job working in water, climate, or energy fresh out of law school in 2010 with no experience was a laughable offense. “Good luck, He-Man. Why don’t you go into wills and trusts or better yet, bankruptcy?” Bleh!
    At some point during the previous fall, while working for a district court judge in San Francisco all suited-up smart with gelled hair and shiny shoes, I started to weave the possibility of going to Washington, DC, into my post-bar plans. The fact that I had no job to look forward to, no promising prospects, and no real back-up plan made going to DC a justifiable mission. Instead of the grand post-bar trip I fascinated about that circled the Indian Ocean from Mozambique to Jakarta, I figured I would just go to DC to find my legal career somehow. After all, Washington, DC, is to lawyers as Los Angeles is to actors, right? They’re always turning over jobs in that town, looking for new, un-jaded young professionals to introduce to the District of Columbia fresh meat grinder, career-making machine. I unknowingly joined a steady stream of the District of Carpetbaggers who show up with a District of Conviction bent on their District of Careerism that turns into a District of Confusion as the District of Complacency sets in to finally form the District of Convenience full of District Cronies Clowns and Cliques in a Clusterf*ck Congestion of Conceit.
    I remember when I realized that DC was the place to go. I was sitting in my Administrative Law class discussing the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the government’s enforcement role in making sure it never happened again. That was it! I wanted to be an enforcer. F*ck Castle Greyskull! I wanted to go work for the federal government with a big mean bald eagle on my shoulder. The light turned on and I felt I figured out what I wanted to do, or at least what I would do to start off this lawyer fantasy I created—fully realizing that “do” is a multifaceted word and I would “do” many things in life and being a government lawyer was but one piece of the “do” puzzle bridge I was walking across or driving across at this point. And I was all-of-a-sudden determined to go to the place where what you “do” is more closely linked to who you are than anywhere else in the world. A notion I will continue to challenge to the grave.

    • Holy shit I’m making this my new Twitter profile…
      “I unknowingly joined a steady stream of the District of Carpetbaggers who show up with a District of Conviction bent on their District of Careerism that turns into a District of Confusion as the District of Complacency sets in to finally form the District of Convenience full of District Cronies Clowns and Cliques in a Clusterf*ck Congestion of Conceit.”

    • So what happened next? Were you able to find a your way into some sort of enforcement role in the water/climate/energy field? A curious government lawyer would like to know (one whose role is sadly pretty much the opposite of standing up to Castle Greyskull).

    • My favorite part was “I wanted to go work for the federal government with a big mean bald eagle on my shoulder.”
      Thanks for sharing!!

  • I am an “area native” – from a suburb in the metro area, but never close enough to actually spend time in DC before I moved into the city. I’ve been here since 2008, when I moved back to the area after college and some work abroad. I did move away (to NYC) for graduate school and contemplated staying up there, but I found that I missed my home town, even if I’d only lived in that home town for 3 years before I left it.

    I came back after grad school and moved back into the same neighborhood (first Petworth, now back in Park View, but all within 1/2 mile of my original place), and I seem to be here for good. As I start to look at buying a place, I may have to move neighborhoods due to housing stock availability and price issues, but a walkable, urban community in DC or just outside of it is where I plan on staying.

  • I lived in Arlington for 19 years and I’ve been in DC for 2 years now. The SO has lived in DC for at least 25 years now so when we bought a house together a couple years ago, VA or MD weren’t even options.

    We’re thinking about leaving this area entirely in the next couple years. We’re both over the DC rat race and want to move to a place where people are nicer and the cost of living isn’t so damn high.

  • Aglets

    First visit to DC was in 1994 when some friends and i drove down from pittsburgh to see Sebadoh & the Dog Faced Hermans play here. I moved here in 1998 for a non-government internship at a non profit where i kept moving up until i went as far as I would have wanted there. left that job in 2007 to do two years in DC government and now i work at another small non profit that i’m growing to hate by the second.
    i’m pretty sure i’m done with DC as i get about 20 emails a day from websites featuring job searches in other cities.

  • Moved here 6 years ago. I like to consider myself a lifer because I can’t imagine being drawn enough to anywhere else that I’d want to pick up everything and leave. DC has been so kind to me. I’m originally from the Midwest and was pleasantly surprised by how friendly people can be here (yes, “can be”). My career has more of a non-profit focus and I don’t have to deal with The Hill People on a regular basis, which I’m sure helps immensely. If I had to move to another large city, I’d choose to live just outside San Francisco or Chicago proper (though I don’t fare well in frigid temps). I’d also consider Raleigh.

  • Been here bit over 8 years, 4 for college and 4 working. I LOVED this city since the day I first came here. But as my career progressed I realized that my job opportunities will be limited to the VA/MD suburbs and the winters became to become more intrusive. I’ll be heading back to grad school in my home state of CA next year and likely staying on the west coast.

    • I feel the same way– DC is a great place to live if you can actually get a job in the city, but that’s really hard for a lot of us to do. Having to spend a lot of time in the VA suburbs makes living here a lot less appealing.

      • We moved here 6 years ago with the intention of being long-term residents, but have decided to take a leap to the West Coast within the next 2-5 years. My wife and I both have cushy downtown DC jobs that are within walking distance of our house, but we just aren’t as career driven as everyone else in the city. In fact, my wife and I don’t enjoy working at all, and would prefer living in a less expensive city that has better weather and more outdoorsy things to do. Fortunately for us, virtually every other city in the country is either cheaper and/or has a higher quality of life so we are not short of options. Ideally, we would like to move to Oregon or Washington State, buy a house all cash, and work part-time at a non-profit/university.

  • Third generation Washingtonian; born here at Freedman’s Hospital 59 years ago. I grew up in Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Columbia Heights, Adams-Morgan and now back in Columbia Heights. My schools were Garrison Elementary, Morgan Elementary (now Marie Reed), Morgan Annex (now condos), Gordon Jr. High (now Hardy), Western High School (now Duke Ellington). Finally I graduated UDC with a history degree. Hoping to stay in D.C. until my mid-60s then retire to Jamaica, W.I.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I moved to DC in 2006 b/c I hated living in FL and where I wanted to move didn’t have any jobs. I chose DC b.c my sister and her family live here. I sent her an email asking if I could quit my job and move in with her and she said, “Yes!” So here I am with a job and and place of my own. (My sister’s house is now my country home.)

  • Been here for over 12 years. Spent about 10 of those hoping to move someplace else, but at this point we’ve made our peace with the fact that we’ll probably be here until retirement.
    As much as people talk about other places being “cheaper” or “friendlier” that never seems to be the case once I do the math and spend some time in a prospective city (apologies to the South, but fake nice doesn’t cut it for me). The city has changed a great deal since I moved here, and while it’s still a long way from having the same amenities as a true world-class city I think it will get there – and it is kind of exciting to be along for the ride.

    • There are really only about eight US States I would live in. And yeah the South can be nice and friendly, butttt not so much if you’re LGBT. As an LGBT person I would never live in 80% of the South. Same goes for Midwest.

  • First came to DC in 2001 from the Caribbean for college. I had no idea what to expect. it was my first trip to the US and came alone with two huge suitcases. Loved it!! Spent each summer interning in different cities and landed in NYC after college. 7 years later and after grad school; and, finally with options on where I could find work I came straight back to DC without thinking twice about it. Convinced my then boyfriend now husband to come with, and we’ve been back for about 3 years. Bought a house, intending to stay for the long haul. But, now that we’re about to have our first kid the doubts are creeping in. If we leave DC though, we’d likely leave the country – I can’t seem to find anywhere else that I want to live.

  • Born and raised in NoVA, went away for college and lived in NW pretty much ever since. I love this place.

  • Been here 3.5 years. Moved for my husband to go to law school after a career shift. He graduates in May and has a job lined up for at least the next 14 months; beyond that, no idea.

    Overall, I have loved living here. The past year the entire DC vibe has really bummed me out. I am not a Professional and have struggled with finding my place in the social circles because of that. Most people are OK, but some are just way too type-A/workaholic/career obsessed that I can’t relate. Then I work in a rougher neighborhood on the verge of gentrification in the service field so I am met with a whole plethora of locals who generally dislike me for being the organization’s “token white girl.”

    Day to day my thought process flexes on whether or not I intend to be here longer or if we’ll start looking for work outside of DC. I would certainly not do NoVa or MD; and would never move further north (hate winters). I have moved a lot and there aren’t a lot of places I’d rather live, but I do miss warmer weather, the coast, and more diversity/middle class demographics.

    That all said, the community I have found (specifically our Church) is really fantastic and probably the biggest motivation to stay. Living here has made me a lot more aware of issues that I only read about in news articles but now experience first hand (hello, Affordable Housing). I can appreciate that while I struggle with a lot of “the poor” issues, being white does alot me some credibility (not at ALL OK, but it is what it is), which has given me chances to speak with people and (hopefully) persuade some to think a little bit more compassionately.

    So, pros: the people, the history, the diversity (culturally), the cherry blossoms, the city-vibe but not hyper-NYC-vibe, beautiful ball park, delicious food, lots of do-gooders-trying-to-make-the-world-a-better-place
    the cons: the people, the expense, the lack of a beach, lack of a middle class, the winter, the discrimination, and the crime

    My husband is confident that once he’s working and we have a little more flexible income that I’ll be able to explore and appreciate all the things people do here. That’s a few years away, so I’ll withhold judgment until then.

    But man, buying a 1 (or 2!) bedroom condo for under 300k + having a dog would make a significant impact on my happiness factor here for sure.

  • Been here 5 years, when I thought i would be here for 3-4 months. I am thinking about leaving temporarily though for a few months or a year to gain some perspective and come back, re-energized, like when I moved here. I am liking NYC more and more but I need to earn over 100k to live there comfortably and I’m getting old for the sharing an apartment in bushwick thing.

  • I moved here from Nashville in 1989. It’s my new home. I love it here and plan to stay here for the rest of my life.

  • I moved here in December. It’s been a good transitional place – had to get the hell out of the Midwest for a bit – but I don’t know that I’ll stay after my lease is up. It’s very expensive here and if you have a middle-class career that’s NOT government affiliated, it’s really tough just to be able to afford to survive, let alone thrive.

    On a plus side, I did qualify for Medicaid! On a negative…I qualified for Medicaid because my salary in ohio, with a masters degree, is poverty level here.

    I love the nightlife and the food and the Mall and I have met amazing people here. Dc is beautiful but very high-stress. I’m thinking my next move will be to somewhere I can live more simply.

  • My parents moved to dc from Wisconsin in 1976, lived first in SW and then they bought a house by eastern market for $40k. They watched I’ve lived in dc most of my 34 years, with 6 years in Fairfax ( college and after) and 2.5 in Denver, CO. DC was always home, and I ended up moving into the very apt building that my parents lived in when they first came to DC in 1976. Its about $1500 more a month than when they rented here though.

  • I’ve been here 20 years now, and I don’t think I’ll ever really leave, other than for stints of a year or so possibly later in life. I went to undergrad and law school here, got married here, bought a condo in the heart of the city, had a child and got her into a wonderful charter school that goes through high school. I didn’t like the city when I first moved here in 1995, but every year it has gotten so much better, and now I’m in love with it.

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