DC: Home to more than 110,000 children, not just the Capitol!

Over the last month, DC has been in the national spotlight – a new President is in the White House, consistent protests are taking place at the Capitol, uncertainty looms for many federal agencies and, most recently, uproar surrounds many Cabinet nominations.  

In a time of spotlight and commotion, it’s all the more important to step back and refocus. DC is not just the Nation’s Capital – it’s home to a diverse community of families and a growing number of children. Specifically, DC is home to over 110,000 children –that means that 1 in every 6 individuals living in DC is under the age of 18. Using new data from the American Community Survey (ACS) in combination with our updated Data Tool 2.0, the racial and ethnic diversity across the city is clear: 61.3% of DC children identified as black, 25.3% white, 14.3% Hispanic and 6.5% as those who identify as a different race, or Other.

Because our Data Tool 2.0 disaggregates data by neighborhood cluster, we can see that the largest concentrations of children under-18 are in Congress Heights/Bellevue/Washington Highlands, Brightwood Park/Crestwood/Petworth, Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant/Pleasant Plans/Park View and Douglas/Shipley Terrace neighborhoods. In fact, almost 25% of all DC’s children live in one of these four neighborhood clusters.



SOURCE: 2015 American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates

Knowing where children live in the District is only the first step. When we dig a bit deeper, we find that a majority of the children living in these neighborhoods are children of color (Congress Heights and Douglas 98% black; Brightwood Park 55% black; Columbia Heights 42% Hispanic and 39% Black). We also see that the percentage of child poverty in these same neighborhoods ranges from 22% in Columbia Heights to 57% in Congress Heights. In a city where wealth and resource disparities fall closely along racial and neighborhood lines, what do these data points say about the District’s capacity to support ALL children and families?

While there is a great deal of attention on the National political landscape, the team at DC Action is focused on our DC children and families. We remain committed to advocating for policies that mandate equitable distribution of resources and inclusive services across the District.  Furthermore, we applaud and stand with our city leaders and partners who work tirelessly to strengthen and protect the values that make DC strong. It is crucial that we all continue to make informed and focused investments in our children and their futures – so that they can ALL thrive.