Thursday, December 31, 2009

Development and DC's Population Surge: 600,000 Souls and Counting


Though the economy is stagnant - or perhaps because it is and DC is basking in the glow of federal largesse - Washington DC's population growth is surging. The District released statistics today finding that in 2009 the city added nearly 10,000 new residents, its biggest percentage one-year gain since WWII, outpaced only by Utah (those Mormons), Texas (immigrants), Colorado (blame the scenery) and Wyoming (no idea why). The growth brings the city’s total population just a few sets of octuplets short of 600,000 residents, according to recently released estimates by the United States Census Bureau. DC continues to hold the record for the highest growth of any "federal district" in the continental U.S. Ahem.

According to a press release from the Mayor's Office, the growth can be attributed to a combination of housing supply, better neighborhoods, new births and residents moving to the District from other states and overseas. Mayor Adrian Fenty took some credit, boasting “this kind of growth will only continue as more people see how we are working to improve our schools, provide more transportation options and build healthier, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.”

There might certainly be something to it from a development perspective. In the past few years, several large, government-lauded residential project have opened to dramatically increase the stock of homes throughout the city. New buildings drew in residents creating dense populations, in previously low-density areas. Within the past 2 years, numerous projects have opened and begun filling with residents; projects like City Vista, (over 600 apartments and condos), EYA's Capitol Quarter (more than 300 townhouses), 22 West (95 units), JPI's three residential projects in the Capitol River Front neighborhood (960 apartments), Allegro Apartments (269 rental units), Kenyon Square (157 condos), Union Row (269 units), and Highland Park (229 apartments); in these 9 projects alone nearly 2900 housing units were added, most of which are now nearly fully occupied.

So the growth could be a sign of improvements for all real estate developers who have been holding their breath, waiting for 2008 and, now, 2009 to pass.

Washington DC real estate development news

5 comments:

IMGoph on Jan 4, 2010, 10:58:00 PM said...

i think the answer you're looking for with regards to wyoming is that it has such a small population to start with (smaller than DC's!) that it isn't difficult to whip up a large percentage increase for them.

Anonymous said...

This isn't necessarily a positive, despite Fenty's posturing. If the population increase is due to low-wage, low-skilled, low-education immigration, then the impact is going to be negative. And there certainly is an immigration impact on our area.

We've also seen increases in immigrant gang crime in the city as that population has increased. Is this a good thing?

IMGoph on Jan 6, 2010, 1:42:00 PM said...

well, anon, i can't base this on hard facts, but i think it's really, really, really, really safe to assume that the population increase that we're experiencing isn't the rabble moving in to make your and my lives worse. if anything, the poor seem to be moving out of the city, being replaced by a bunch of DINKs and what-not in places where new condos have gone up. the fact is that, for the most part, these people have higher incomes and use less city services that those who are leaving.

increases in immigrant gang crime? i mean, i guess, since it's probably gone from zero percent of the crime in the city 20 years ago to .4% of it now...

and, i'm pretty sure that the growth of the city has very little to do with adrian fenty, outside of the children he and his wife have produced...

Chris in Eckington said...

Immingrants as a percentage of the DC population has changed very little over the last dozen or so years. Most growth in the immigrant population has occured in the DC suburbs, particularly the exurbs.

And I'd like to point out to DC Mud that although the Capitol Quarter project that you mention may someday include 300 townhouses, it's nowhere near complete.

Anonymous said...

Wait until an actual count this year before celebrating. DC appealed the census department's mode of estimating population a few years back and won. The 2010 census should indicate which mode of estimate was more accurate. DC's relied more heavily on residential unit constructed, I think, so it's a real question whether the building boom translated into population growth.

At any rate, I don't see these stats as impressive. Pop growth in the District remains substantially lower than population growth nationally and, more importantly, than population growth in the metropolitan area. I think that the figures are 4.8% vs. 9% vs. 11+% (couldn't find 2009 data for metro DC -- but 2000-2008 was 11%).

Yes, when there's a recession and a war or two going on, govt spending and govt jobs increase and metro DC benefits. And, of course, there's lots of churn with a new administration. But even as the region grows twice as many people head to the burbs rather than the city. High taxes, substandard public facilities and services, failing schools, corrupt and incompetent city government are among the reasons why.

 

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