DCentric » Demographics http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU Unmarried And Same-Sex Couples More Likely To Be Interracial http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/unmarried-and-same-sex-couples-more-likely-to-be-interracial/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/unmarried-and-same-sex-couples-more-likely-to-be-interracial/#comments Wed, 25 Apr 2012 17:40:51 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15685 Continue reading ]]>

Captured_by_Becca / Flickr

Interracial relationships are more common among unmarried couples than people who are married, according to census data released Wednesday.

The numbers show that D.C. is above national rates when it comes to interracial marriage and dating. Another stand-out point: interracial coupling is more prevalent among same-sex partners than opposite-sex partners in D.C. Check out the numbers below:

Percentage of interracial couples living together:
Husband-Wife Unmarried, Opposite-sex partners Same-sex partners
D.C. 10.6% 13.8% 19.1%
United States 6.9% 14.2% 14.5%
*Source: U.S. Census Bureau

At first glance, it may appear that people are more likely to date and live with someone of another race than marry interracially. But we should also point out that interracial marriage is on the rise, around the country and in D.C., where 20 percent of people who got married between 2008 and 2010 married someone of another race. Compare that to the percentage of all married couples in D.C., 10.2 percent. So the unmarried, interracial couples living together in D.C. may just be newer pairs. More interracial cohabitating appears to be leading to more interracial marriage.

Aside from interracial marriage, the census data also showed that D.C. and Alexandria, Va. lead the nation’s large cities in the percentage of people living alone. In both cities, 44 percent of households consist of just one person. These individuals in D.C. are typically young and rich, and are the ones largely responsible for the District’s growing population.

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In Your Words: Who Are The Native Washingtonians? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/in-your-words-who-are-the-native-washingtonians/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/in-your-words-who-are-the-native-washingtonians/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:34:43 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15144 Continue reading ]]>

Mad African!: (Broken Sword) / Flickr

Most of D.C.’s newcomers hail from far-away locales rather than Washington’s suburbs, according to recent census estimates. Given that, I asked last week whether someone like me, raised in Maryland but now living in D.C., gets to claim any native Washingtonian status — a title that carries weight in this transient city. A number of you chimed in, both in our comments section and on Twitter.

Some have always felt strong ties to D.C., even if they’re technically from Maryland:

@ @ Born and raised in Silver Spring, and always considered myself a "Washingtonian." Was this wrong?
Cheryl Thompson

E in Rosedale wrote:

I fall into pretty much the same category as you Elahe.  I was raised in Bladensburg/Hyattsville before moving on to other parts of the country and finally settling back in DC about 8 years ago.  I wouldn’t put myself in the same category as someone that was born in DC and never left, but I’m certainly more connected than someone who moved from Iowa 6 months ago.

Really though, what qualifies you as a Washingtonian for me is getting a license, buying a place and getting a job (in or around DC for the job).  In other words, putting down serious roots.

Alice Thornton wrote:

Most “native” Washingtonians don’t even live here anymore (native = having been born here). I stuck around, but most of my family left for other climes. We needed to bring in new people to increase the tax base. I guess with this being the Nation’s Capital it would naturally be transient…

The term “native Washingtonian” can serve as code to distinguish gentrifiers from non-gentrifiers. Mike Madden tweeted that if “native Washington” means “non-gentrifier,” then “your socio-economic status is the only thing that matters.” But, he added, if calling yourself a native Washingtonian is “simply a marker for ‘I’m not totally new here,’ then yes, growing up in the D.C. area counts.”

To that, Clinton Yates tweeted that “there was a time when native/non-native status was not a thing,” and that things changed, to an extent, when ”newcomers chose to self-identify so loudly.”

And then, of course, there were those readers who bucked against the idea that being a “native Washingtonian” should carry any weight at all:

http://t.co/Jiu02aXN "'Native Washingtonian' carries plenty of clout in this transient city." It shouldn't. newcomers should push back
Boo, people who announce that they're native Washingtonians at political forums, booo http://t.co/ENOfOuC6
DC Porcupine

And Shani Hilton over at Washington City Paper wrote:

It’s pretty common for people all over the country to identify with the closest big city. I’ve met lots of people who tell me they’re from L.A. and when I press them, it turns out they mean a city 45 minutes away from L.A. But that doesn’t seem to happen here. But maybe as demographics change, so will the “native Washingtonian” identifier.

Do you think being a “native Washingtonian” should carry a special status? If so, who gets to claim it?


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Who Can Claim ‘Native Washingtonian’ Status? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/who-can-claim-native-washingtonian-status/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/who-can-claim-native-washingtonian-status/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 19:16:20 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15070 Continue reading ]]>

Mr. T in DC / Flickr

A D.C. flag painted on a planter on gentrified H Street NE.

Most newcomers to D.C. hail from from far-away places, not nearby suburbs, according to newly-released census estimates. More than double the number of people who moved into D.C. from Maryland and Virginia came from outside the region, such as New York and California.

While the nation has seen its population increase because of the rise of racial minorities, D.C.’s population has grown because of whites moving into the city. At the same time, the District’s black community has shrunk. And those leaving D.C. mostly move to places like Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, according to the census estimates.

All of these numbers makes me wonder about what it means to be a “native Washingtonian.” It’s a term that carries plenty of clout in this transient city, and especially in light of gentrification, it’s become code for “non-gentrifier.” But as the city swells with folks who hail from so far away, could local newcomers claim some of that clout, too? Take me, for example: I was born in D.C. and grew up in Maryland. I moved into the District a few years ago, but D.C. news, arts and politics have been a big part of my adult life. At the same time, I acknowledge that my childhood was marked more by rolling, rural hills than by city streets. Am I no different than someone who moved from, say, the Midwest?

Anyway, check out the full list of places from where D.C. newcomers hail and click through our map of movement throughout the D.C. region:

Movement Patterns In The D.C.-Area

*Map and list courtesy of Brendan Sweeney/The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Source: American Community Survey.
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D.C. Population Changes by Block http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/07/d-c-population-changes-by-block/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/07/d-c-population-changes-by-block/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2011 15:28:24 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=8974 Continue reading ]]> There’s nothing like a color coded map to help you understand D.C.’s demographic changes. The Washington Post‘s interactive Census map details the density of racial groups by blocks throughout D.C.-metro area. After zooming in on the District, it appears some of the most dramatic changes over the past 30 years occurred in Shaw, Columbia Heights and Petworth.

The blocks just north of the U Street corridor used to be 77 percent black and 5 percent white; now, they’re 15 percent black and 66 percent white. Columbia Heights blocks that once had a black majorities are now mostly Hispanic. Blocks between Georgia and Sherman avenues were majority black in 1990 and still are — although to a much lesser degree.

The maps below show which racial groups constitute the majority in a block area. Bolder colors represent higher percentages of that group:


Screenshot / Washington Post

Population breakdown in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Shaw and Petworth in 1990. (White = Pink; African Americans = Blue; Hispanics = Purple)


Screenshot / Washington Post

Population breakdown in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Shaw and Petworth in 2010. (White = Pink; African Americans = Blue; Hispanics = Purple)

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Which D.C. Ward Has The ‘Ideal’ Racial Make-Up? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/which-d-c-ward-has-the-ideal-racial-make-up/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/which-d-c-ward-has-the-ideal-racial-make-up/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 16:41:08 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=6042 Continue reading ]]> Lamenting over D.C.’s changing mix of residents (read: more white people, less black people) have raised some questions: isn’t this just increased diversity? And isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?

Courtland Milloy included this interesting point in a Tuesday column:

“Surveys show that when asked, blacks, on average, say the ‘ideal’ neighborhood racial composition would be about 30 to 35 percent black,” said Roderick J. Harrison, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Howard University.

Why? Because blacks derive significant benefits from living among middle-class white people, such as better city services, better schools and higher-quality stores.

Moreover, 30 percent is large enough for blacks to create a comfort zone that blunts the effects of white prejudice but small enough not to trigger white flight.

A 2009 study by researchers at New York University noted that “the strongest predictor of resistance to racial integration among whites is prejudice, whereas the strongest predictor of black avoidance of white neighborhoods is fear of discrimination.”

Flickr: Bill McNeal

Ward 1, which includes neighborhoods such as Columbia Heights, is D.C.'s most racially diverse area.

So which D.C. neighborhoods most reflect this “ideal mix?” It seems Ward 1 comes closest; although no one group maintains a majority there, 40.8 percent of residents are white, 31.5 percent are black and 20.8 percent are Hispanic or Latino. As for the socioeconomic makeup of the ward, 41 percent of households make $75,000 or more a year; 28 percent make $35,000 to $74,999 a year; and 31 percent make below $34,999.

But you still have to live in the neighborhood in order to derive the benefits that more whites and richer people bring. Nordlie1, a commenter on a DCentric post explaining why so many black residents have left D.C., writes:

“Losing a majority (of black folks) ” “More diverse (white folks)” = (politically correct:) gentrification. All the same. Bad thing when it displaces poor black people.

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