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Thread: 100,000 new D.C. residents?

  1. #1

    100,000 new D.C. residents?

    Mayor Anthony Williams would like to add 100,000 new residents to Washington, DC, whose current poplulation stands at about 572,000. This is certainly physically possible, as the Washington's population peaked during the 1950's at well over 800,000. Since that time, the population of D.C. proper has shrunk by a third, but the speed at which the decline is taking place has slowed significantly. The signs of gentrification and revitalization of blighted areas is obvious in many parts of the city once abandoned as slums, including Logan Circle, Shaw, and Columbia Heights.

    I think it's possible. Among the dense, older cities in the U.S. that actually gained population between 1990-2000 were Boston, New York, and Chicago.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    I think it's possible but extremely difficult to convince persons to give-up living in NoVa or MD for D.C.. I personally think Washington is a beautiful city with lots to offer culturaly, but I passed on moving when I was offered a job there a few months ago. The high crime rate, pitiful schools, high housing cost and heavy tax burden (D.C. has the highest in the nation) made it a hard for me to justify relocating. I hope the capital city continues to turn itself around and reaches its goal. The mayor certainly has his work cut out for him

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Ok i can speak to this-i live in Nova and would LOVE to live in DC

    BUT

    Yes the mess of commuting over the river to Va for work is just not worth it, the horrid tax rate and even worse the pain of dealing with DC gov and services. Dealing with getting a parking permit, paying a parking ticket etc etc are just a huge hassle in DC

    Im in Arlington and unless i find a sweet heart deal of a place cheap im not going to be living in DC anytime soon.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  4. #4

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    Re: 100,000 new D.C. residents?

    Originally posted by bestnightmare
    Among the dense, older cities in the U.S. that actually gained population between 1990-2000 were Boston, New York, and Chicago.
    These cities and the other older dense cities that grew in the '90s had HUGE immigrant population increases. I don't know about the others, but here in Chicago the Hispanic population alone grew by 40% in the '90s. If there had been no immigrant population growth in Chicago, there would've been another decrease in population overall.

    Is DC proper experiencing a large immigrant influx? I think that was the key to population growth for major cities in the '90s, and I believe that well is drying up.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    It's not impossible but its difficult to spur those kinds of numbers.

    Around here, even with Milwaukee's downtown housing boom, warehouse district loft conversion boom, and large scale infill projects, the increase in housing units has not been able to offset the decreasing size of the average household. DC, i suspect, might have the same issue.

    Taking a cue from pete-rock, do you really want to add 100,000 immigrants to the labor pool (or to the public subsidy trough) in a short span of time? That could be disasterous to the district's already short supply of social resources.

  6. #6
    [i]The high crime rate, pitiful schools, high housing cost and heavy tax burden (D.C. has the highest in the nation) made it a hard for me to justify relocating. [/B]
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Apr18.html

    where did you hear that d.c. has the highest tax burden in the country? refer to the above link. the problem isn't high taxes but rather how the city government is able to utilize the revenue. true, virginia has lower taxes than d.c. however, montgomery county in maryland has a higher tax burden than d.c., granted however that it pays for low crime, great schools and services.

    the presence of a high tax is not a significant deterrent in and of itself discouraging new residents from moving in. for a single person with no children such as myself, poor schools are not an issue. and i haven't had trouble with city services (yet). however, one must admit that, if anything, things have been improving significantly. remember the blizzard of '96? former mayor/crackhead marion barry, when asked what he planned to do about the snow covered side streets, replied something like, "the lord will take care of it", meaning wait for warm weather. although tony williams has a ways to go, he has made significant progress.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by bestnightmare
    ...remember the blizzard of '96? former mayor/crackhead marion barry, when asked what he planned to do about the snow covered side streets, replied something like, "the lord will take care of it", meaning wait for warm weather.
    Thank g*d you prefaced your comments with "crackhead" or else some of our right wing members *might* have thought you were bashing religion.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I think it's entirely possible for DC to add that many residents. The mayoral candidates are talking about the same thing here in Philly (granted we have 3x as many people). We have plenty of immigrants here. Most of the communities are already well established and the second generation is coming of age.

    But when all the new rowhomes sprouting up are selling for $300k and up I don't think "immigrants in the public subsidy trough" are who they're looking to attract .

    Despite the recent census reporting a population loss i think the numbers reflect what happened in the first half of the decade (which had already slowed when compared with the first half of the decade). I think the trend of pop. loss reversed itself in '98. I see it in almost every neighborhood in the city. The trend is toward new rehabs not new board-ups.

    The people moving here, it seems, are 20 somethings that grew up within a 200 mile radius - and former New Yorkers looking for something affordable. Philly has the chance to capitalize on that. There's no place that's cutting edge in NYC anymore. When the Bronx is gentrifying there is no more "urban frontier" and the hipsters are already starting their exodus.

    DC may be a different story. There are different cultural attitudes to overcome. The bias seems to be even more anti-urban down there but i think it will happen. 10 years may be optimistic. I give them 20 years.

    Only the next census will tell.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
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    I'll see your 100,000 and raise you...

    900,000.

    Toronto's new Official Plan envisages, and seeks to accommodate ONE MILLION new residents over the next 30 years. Should be interesting to watch. Physically, we could easily accommodate that number. Whether it will happen or not is another story.

  10. #10

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    Originally posted by jresta
    The people moving here, it seems, are 20 somethings that grew up within a 200 mile radius - and former New Yorkers looking for something affordable.
    I think that's true for Philly and most other major cities right now. Here in Chicago, there are tons of 20-somethings who graduate from Big Ten schools (particularly Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana) and move here -- to become Cub fans (ugh).

    The problem is, the 20-something singles who move here and share an apartment barely replace the families that own homes who leave to escape crime and find better schools. bturk said it best -- "the increase in housing units has not been able to offset the decreasing size of the average household."

    That change happens only when families move back into cities, and the only families moving into cities recently have been immigrant families. Again, here in Chicago the Hispanic population grew by 40% in the '90s; the overall population growth of the city was 4%. So despite the gentrification and increase of housing units in the Loop, South Loop, the Near South Side, the Near West Side, Wicker Park, Bucktown, the Near North Side, Lincoln Park, and Wrigleyville, among others, there still would've been a decrease in population in Chicago had there not been Hispanic increases in other parts of the city like Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Ravenswood and Marquette Park.

    Chicago grew slightly because it became an immigrant destination. It is certainly possible that DC can experience the same growth. Just remember that the "revitalized" areas of most major cities are not the ones contributing to population growth.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    bestnighmare...

    interesting but you yourself exemplifies the problem: I am single so I do not care about schools. To use an overused planning term: that concept does not appear to be sustainable.

    The government is awful as Planner Girl attests. Bad schools and bad government and really high housing is not a great combination.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    between 1950 and 1990 Philadelphia lost almost 600,000 residents. Getting another 100,000 to move back in is small fries in comparison and wouldn't require a large influx of immigrants. Big immigrant families would make the numbers climb more quickly - we have immigration
    Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American, Polish, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, and just about every english speaking country in West Africa - but that has not been enough to offset the loss.

    What has offset the loss is Center City's population growth of 55% in the last 20 years. Over 100,000 people live downtown now (only New York and San Francisco have more people living in the CBD) and only 7% of the people living downtown are under 18 as compared to 25% of the city being under 18. 60% of the downtown population is 18-44. The average household size is 1.6 persons

    The demand by this demographic has pushed the gentrification into places that just 10 years ago would've been unthinkable. Bella Vista, Italian Market, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Southwest Center City, Fairmount, and of course University City and associated trolley neighborhoods like Cedar Park and Spruce Hill.

    What's even more interesting is that you are seeing these 20 somethings that bought those fixer-uppers in Bella Vista a few years ago are now having kids and they're not leaving. With all the Catholic schools in South Philly and the charter schools for K-8 these families aren't bound to lousy public schools. They have the money to send their kids elsewhere and they do. I see these obviously professional parents walking their kids to school every morning before they themselves walk to work.

    The art and gay communities establish a foothold in a neighborhood which maked yuppies more comfotable living there, which changes the neighborhood drastically, which makes families more comfortable living there, which makes it more appealing to still more families.

    But i could really care less about attracting urban-wary families from the suburbs. The fastest growing segment of the population is the 55+ crowd. Between us young'uns with no kids and those empty nesters there are plenty of us to fill 20% of the void left by the 600,000 who high-tailed it to the fringes of the Amish country.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  13. #13

    attitudes about moving back to the city

    d.c. indeed has had no problem attracting young people, singles, couples with no children, empty nesters, and those who can affort private schools. the presence of the government workers, hill staffers, lawyers, lobbyists, ngo's, and non profits give d.c. a distinct advantage in that there will always be a solid presence of middle and upper class educated professionals, enough of whom to support a thriving cultural scene, and also enough to cause home prices to constantly rise by ridiculous amounts. the average rowhouse in any up and coming neighborhood costs at least twice as much as a comparable philly rowhouse.

    no problems attracting rich families, either. and for those who aren't rich yet lucky enough to live in upper northwest, there is one single school district worthy of middle class patronage (wilson high school).

    there are three parts to the district, really. there are rich, white neighborhoods (west of rock creek park); poor, mostly african-american slums (southeast, parts of northeast); and those neighborhoods that are being quickly gentrified from slums into white yuppie outposts.

    the exodus from the district is no longer 'white flight', but rather 'black flight' - african americans who can afford to leave have poured from the district into neighboring prince georges county in droves, making it the most affluent majority-black county in the u.s. unfortunately, in my mind at least, this reflects the same pattern whites experienced during white flight, but present day - that success means a detached home with a two-car garage and a substantial lawn on a cul-de-sac.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I would think it's definitely possible for DC to add all those residents. It's a much nicer city than it used to be. I lived there (actually in Arlington, VA but worked in downtown DC) from 97-99 and notice when I travel there now that it's a lot cleaner looking and more vibrant. Plus, you get a sweet $5000 tax credit for being a first time home buyer in the District. If I had had the money back in 97 to buy a house, I might've stayed around there. Maybe some people who live in VA or MD and suffer interminable commutes will decide to give DC a shot. And like some others have mentioned, DC is a major immigrant desitnation, especially for Latinos and Africans.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    you know i dont have any numbers to back it up-only personal observations but the immigrant populations seem to be going to the burbs and not DC-they cant afford it!

    arlington and fairfax co have HUGE growth rates in non black minority groups-DC is not as impressive if i recall from census numbers

    PG
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  16. #16

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    Originally posted by jresta
    between 1950 and 1990 Philadelphia lost almost 600,000 residents. Getting another 100,000 to move back in is small fries in comparison and wouldn't require a large influx of immigrants. Big immigrant families would make the numbers climb more quickly - we have immigration
    Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American, Polish, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, and just about every english speaking country in West Africa - but that has not been enough to offset the loss.

    What has offset the loss is Center City's population growth of 55% in the last 20 years. Over 100,000 people live downtown now (only New York and San Francisco have more people living in the CBD) and only 7% of the people living downtown are under 18 as compared to 25% of the city being under 18. 60% of the downtown population is 18-44. The average household size is 1.6 persons

    The art and gay communities establish a foothold in a neighborhood which maked yuppies more comfotable living there, which changes the neighborhood drastically, which makes families more comfortable living there, which makes it more appealing to still more families.

    But i could really care less about attracting urban-wary families from the suburbs. The fastest growing segment of the population is the 55+ crowd. Between us young'uns with no kids and those empty nesters there are plenty of us to fill 20% of the void left by the 600,000 who high-tailed it to the fringes of the Amish country.
    We're agreeing to the facts and coming to different conclusions.

    A quick visit to census.gov revealed the following about Philly and Chicago:
    Housing HUs per Persons
    Pop. Units sq. mi. per HH
    Philly (2000) 1,517,550 661,958 4,900.1 2.48
    Philly (1990) 1,585,577 603,075 4,464.2 2.56

    Chgo. (2000) 2,896,016 1,152,868 5,075.8 2.67
    Chgo. (1990) 2,783,726 1,025,174 4,513.6 2.67

    Philly's increase in Center City population, as you state, has not offset the overall population loss. In fact, Chicago's increase in population in the Loop and surrounding areas (the City of Chicago reports 85,000 people living in the Loop) hasn't really contributed to population growth in the city.

    You yourself point to the fact that yuppies are moving in and that household size is decreasing. I've visited Philly twice in the last three years, and I was impressed with the quality of Center City and nearby gentrified neighborhoods. It's comparable, maybe even better, than what I've witnessed in Chicago over the same period. But it has nothing to do with future population growth of the city.

    Many of the major cities have no problem attracting yuppies, artists, or the so-called "creative class". DC has lost population for years, but has managed to have some pretty significant gentrified neighborhoods thrive. Most of the major cities have not been able to attract families, other than those cities that have become immigrant destinations.

    As for "urban-wary families from the suburbs," that is exactly who cities must compete with suburbs to attract. There is no sustainability in a city that is predominantly yuppies and seniors.

    I wish DC, Philly and others well in trying to turn the tide. I just think that the facts bear out that, at least in Chicago, the growth of the '90s was the exception and not the rule.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Originally posted by bestnightmare
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Apr18.html

    where did you hear that d.c. has the highest tax burden in the country?

    ...the presence of a high tax is not a significant deterrent in and of itself discouraging new residents from moving in. for a single person with no children such as myself, poor schools are not an issue.
    The tax burden was documented in a recent Money magazine article. It recorded the average tax burden per citizen. THis included ALL taxation ,Property, Income, Wage, etc... and DC ranked as (if not) one of the highest in the nation amongest the 50 states. I don't have kids now either but beeing in my mid 20's I expect that it won't be too many years before I do so the state of the local schools was something my fiance and I had to consider (And you will find out that one can't afford to live in most of NW or even SW DC on a planners salary).

    For young persons (no longer in school or supported by their parents) low taxes and overall affordability is a big issue when deciding where to live. At least was with me. Here in Pittsburgh, which has lost about half of it's population in the past 50 years, the city has managed to attract a slowly growing number of 20 somethings and redevelop several once declining neighborhoods. This is due to several factors, one of the major ones being that it is fairly cheap to live here. One can get a lot of big city amenities with low housing cost and decently effective services. Plus you don't get that bourgeois "nuvo riche" attitude that seems pervasive in DC and environs - excluding those Cyburbia members who live there of course.

    Also I think Planner girl is correct about the immigrant population mostly moving to NoVa. I was recently visiting a friend in Ballston and was amazed at the size of the Indian and Pakistani population of Arlington Co.

    Once again, I wish DC luck. Sorry for the long post
    Last edited by biscuit; 23 Apr 2003 at 10:22 AM.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    PlannerGirl -

    Yes, I do remember how many immigrants NoVa was getting, especially as you go down Rt. 50 into Falls Church and all over Fairfax. But, there are areas of DC that are pretty big immigrant targets - I think Columbia Heights and some of the regions near Adams-Morgan maybe?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    We're agreeing to the facts and coming to different conclusions.

    A quick visit to census.gov revealed the following about Philly and Chicago:
    Housing HUs per Persons
    Pop. Units sq. mi. per HH
    Philly (2000) 1,517,550 661,958 4,900.1 2.48
    Philly (1990) 1,585,577 603,075 4,464.2 2.56

    Chgo. (2000) 2,896,016 1,152,868 5,075.8 2.67
    Chgo. (1990) 2,783,726 1,025,174 4,513.6 2.67

    ************

    I don't think we're regarding the same facts.

    The triage theory has been de facto policy here at least since Rendell's first term as mayor. The population losses have been in the outer neighborhoods. Actually, having looked it again, the population losses were actually over-estimated by 100,000 people which leads me to believe that the tide has already turned. That coupled with my own observations. As i said, every where you look you see the boards coming down and new windows going in, not the opposite.

    My point in presenting the statistics is that the population growth is mostly in the 18-34 group and the over 50 crowd. The city is marketing itself to the younger demographic through it's "Stay - Invent the Future" program and to the empty nesters mostly through its arts program.

    Even if, for now, the population growth is mostly white, 18-34 year olds, encouraging them to buy a house and settle down will mean families in the future. No one ever said it was hard to get people to move here, most people who spend time here love it, it's getting them to stay. The #1 reason people give for leaving is the job market. Personally, i think people got a little spoiled with the go-go 90's.

    If the city has already added +50,000 people to its population in the last 15 years and stemmed the tide of the native population loss then adding another 100k in the next 15 years will be a challenge, sure, but not impossible. Philly has a lot more to offer than it did 15 years ago and has a much better local reputation .


    If the city has lost 600,000 people since 1950 there's plenty of room for 100,000 to come back - regardless of the household size. Unless people start buying summer homes here, en masse, I don't think we're going to see less than 2 people per household. There's just too many college students here for that.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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