There’s much to be discussed about today’s Washington Post story on the meaning of D.C.’s changing demographics. But aside from the heated comments on gentrification — which even spurred a bingo card – comes this comment on the actual story, from poster gardyloo:
What stories on the census don’t discuss is how many of the 300,000 Washingtonians identify as African Americans because they are immigrants from Africa, or children of immigrants from Africa. That number is probably as high as ten percent of the overall total of African Americans here now. Their story is, for the most part, the immigrant story, the story of a search for opportunity and a better life. They aren’t weighed down by the city’s history and golden-age thinking.
We’re not sure exactly where those particular figures come from (perhaps they refer to the African population in the entire D.C.-metro area, which numbers as 150,000 strong). But if we look at the most recent Census estimates, the District had about 74,000 foreign born residents in 2009. Of those, about 18,000 are black immigrants from African and Caribbean countries — accounting for 24 percent of all immigrants here in the District. Those numbers obviously don’t include the U.S.-born children of these immigrants, but they do speak to a sizable population of folks in D.C. who may check “black or African-American” on a Census form but perhaps don’t identify first and foremost with the American black experience.