Kavitha Cardoza


Examining D.C.’s Dropout Crisis

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One reason why some parts of D.C. have such high jobless rates is that many of the unemployed lack the skills and credentials to qualify for D.C.’s jobs. While most available jobs require a bachelor’s degree, 21 percent of people living in Ward 8 haven’t even completed high school.

Dropping out of high school has far-reaching effects on one’s life, family and community. WAMU 88.5′s Kavitha Cardoza reports on why people leave school in her examination of D.C.’s dropout crisis. In her first installment, she profiles a family with a history of dropping out:

The causes and consequences of dropping out are often intertwined. Low-income students are more likely to drop out, which means they can’t get jobs that pay well and continue lives of poverty.

Four generations of Walker’s and McMillan’s family haven’t graduated from high school. They have many of the risk factors for dropping out, including learning disabilities, teen pregnancy, and drug abuse. And it’s not clear whether or how the cycle could be broken.

The story, which you can read here, is the first of a nine-part series.

Mapping D.C.’s Food Deserts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its online food desert locator this week, and a look at D.C. highlights some grim realities that we know all too well about.

The data explores food deserts (low-income areas with poor access to grocery stores) by Census tracts, which are geographic areas. About 18,000 D.C. residents live in food deserts, where there are also high concentrations of children. In one such food desert, 39 percent of residents are children. And although Prince George’s County (D.C.’s Ward 9?) has more food deserts, D.C.’s deserts have higher concentrations of children. In fact, only two food desert Census tracts in all of Maryland and Virginia have higher concentrations of children than any of  D.C.’s food deserts: Norfolk, Va. and Anne Arundel, Md.


The pink areas are food deserts. In D.C., they are all located in Wards 5, 7 and 8.

But this map doesn’t tell the full story, as food is just one piece in the health puzzle. Kavitha Cardoza explained to my fellow DCentric blogger Anna John that the District also has exercise deserts. Violence and the perception of violence creates environments in which children and adults are less likely to go outside, walk, bike and generally be active.

Take a look at the food deserts from all of D.C., Maryland and Virginia here:

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