Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood
From the Mayor’s Office:
“Mayor Vincent C. Gray today welcomed confirmation that the District of Columbia continues to be an attractive place to live, as the latest estimates from the US Census Bureau were released showing that 9,782 new residents were added between July 2013 and July 2014, keeping Washington, DC on the list of the top positive growth areas in the country.
The District’s total population now stands at 658,893—a figure not seen since the 1970s. The District grew by 1.5 percent over the year. (Note: This is based on the Census Bureau’s revised 2013 population estimate). The previous 2013 population estimate of 646,449 has been revised upward to 649,111. This number means that the city has added 57,000 people or grown an average of 1,120 new residents per month between April 1, 2010 (when the 2010 Census count closed) and July 1, 2014. Based on the revised 2013 population estimate, the District grew by an average of 815 new residents per month between July 2013 and July 2014. For the fourth year in a row, the District remained among the nation’s top five fastest-growing states. This continued growth trend moves the District closer to its Sustainable DC goal of increasing the city’s population by 250,000 residents between 2010 and 2030.
“This data confirms what I have often said over the last four years – that the District is one of the most attractive, greenest, and livable cities in the nation,” said Mayor Gray. “The growing number of new residents from other nations shows that we compete successfully for new residents, new jobs and new industries not only with other U.S. cities but with other countries. I am proud to have overseen continued growth of our great city’s population during each year of my administration.”
“The District’s unabated growth year after year bears witness to the effectiveness of our investments in and policies supporting transportation choices, job growth, sustainability, housing options and new amenities benefitting residents across the city,” said Ellen McCarthy, Acting Director of the DC Office of Planning (OP), which oversees the District’s State Data Center and Census activities.
New Residents – Migration and Births
According to Census Bureau’s data, this growth can be attributed mainly to international migration and births. While net domestic migration dropped off significantly in the twelve months prior to July 2014, international migration held steady and contributed more than 76 percent of the total 4,933 net migrants to the city, another sign of what a global city Washington has become. With births remaining above 9,000 annually once again, the sight of baby strollers throughout the District shows no sign of abating and indicates young families are continuing to choose to live in the District. The components of the population growth show 9,647 births and 5,228 deaths from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014, resulting in an additional 4,419 residents from natural increase (births minus deaths).
Education and Health Services
The education and health services (“eds and meds”) sectors in the District have experienced significant employment growth in the last five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Education Services sector added over 17,200 jobs while the Health Care and Social Assistance services sector added another 7,200 jobs. These two sectors have provided a solid job base and employment opportunities for the growing population. Additionally, Mayor Gray’s Age-Friendly DC Strategic Plan, released in December, aims to assist District agencies and community stakeholders in ensuring maximum livability for aging residents. The initiatives underway through this Plan have complemented economic development in both the education and health services sectors, and should positively impact the lives of the District’s growing population aged 65 years and older.
In addition to the improvements in other quality of life indicators, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has seen continued success in the fight against crime. As a result, the District saw an 18 percent reduction in the number of robberies in 2014, along with a 9 percent decrease in violent crime. With incredible growth in neighborhood development, booming commercial districts, dozens of construction projects and thriving restaurants and night life in the District, new and greater demands have been placed on the city’s police services. To its credit, MPD has responded to these new challenges, expanding engagement with residents and visitors and launching new policing initiatives. In sum, the District of Columbia has become an even safer place for residents and visitors.
While the District of Columbia’s economy has become more diverse and dynamic, public sector layoffs and slow growth in professional services have significantly impacted job growth, according to the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES). The public sector loss of 4,500 jobs between July 2013 and July 2014 was offset by the 12,800 jobs gained in the private sector. Although job growth in the DC region has been somewhat stagnant for some time, in recent months it has ticked up at a slow pace, with the regional unemployment rate averaging 5 percent (lower than the national average). Despite the slow growth total, employers report difficulties hiring qualified applicants in some fields, according to a DOES commissioned research study. This highlights the importance of continuing to improve job training in the city. However, job-seekers with the right professional background can continue to find great opportunities for employment in the District of Columbia.
The demand for residential real estate in the District remains strong, even in the face of a 3.0% increase in median home prices between August 2013 and August 2014, according to the Washington, DC Economic Partnership. The more than 12,000 new units set to be delivered in the next 36 months should contribute substantially to an improved balance between population and housing supply in the District.”