DC’s Young Child Population, by Neighborhood and Ward

Part 2 of 3 in a series about DC’s young child population.

On the whole, the number of young children under the age of five is increasing in DC, but a look deeper than city-level data – at neighborhoods and wards – sheds light on where the young child population is greatest and where it’s growing.

The population density of young children varies across DC neighborhoods, with the lowest density in the West End and Foggy Bottom and the highest density in Douglas and Shipley Terrace, where one in every 10 residents is a child under the age of five. By neighborhood cluster, we looked at what percent of all residents is under five years old. The map below, excepted from our new DC KIDS COUNT data snapshot, indicates that the greatest concentrations of young children live in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River and directly west of the river, around Capitol Hill. The upper northwest part of DC, on either side of Rock Creek Park, has a relatively high density of young children as well. 

Population growth in young children is uneven across DC: where most children live now is somewhat different from where the young child population is growing. We looked at DC wards to learn more about where the young child population is increasing and where it’s declining.

Two stories emerge. The first is that the greatest numbers of DC children under five reside in Wards 4, 7 and 8. Half of DC’s 36,000 young children live in these wards. More than 20% of children under five reside in Ward 8 alone. The second story is about where the numbers of young children are smaller, but the past decade’s increase in the young child population is notable. Wards 2, 3, 4 and 6 are experiencing growth in their under-age-five populations. Between 2000 and 20010, the number of children under five in Wards 3 and 6 increased 18% and 17%, respectively.

In responding to these population trends, the city must consider both where most children live now as well as where the young child population is growing and creating a higher demand for services. Are all of our neighborhoods are equipped to support young children, with resources and opportunities such as child care and quality schools? The families of young children need support too, with affordable housing and good jobs for parents of all income and education levels. All of these community resources are important as families make choices about where to live. With neighborhoods that are full of good things for young children, families will want to stay – and we’ll all benefit from a generation of children who are growing up ready to learn and succeed in life.

We want our new data snapshot to spark and inform conversations about city and neighborhood planning for our young children. We encourage you to look at the data and tell us what the changes in the young child population means for your neighborhood and ward.

Read our other blogs in this series about DC’s under age five population:
DC’s Young Child Population is Growing. Are Neighborhoods Ready for Them?
The Undercount of Young Children in the Census (next week)

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