A Diversifying DC: Highlights from the Latest ACS Census Data

Yesterday the Census Bureau released its latest five-year block of data and, as DC Action has previously identified, the District’s resident profile is changing. We’re not only becoming a more densely populated city, but our city is also diversifying. As an organization that focuses on the well-being of its youngest citizens, we’re excited to see that children are becoming a more prominent part of DC. In fact, children under 6 now make up 43% of all children under 18 years of age. Children of color continue to make up the majority of children in the District, with the number of Black children decreasing slightly and the number of Hispanic/Latino children increasing.
DC Child Population by Race/Ethnicity


While having a larger number of children in our city is something to be celebrated, it also makes our work on early childhood issues more important than ever. Additionally, because DC Action also uses a family-centric lens in much of our work, we often highlight median income for families with children, a figure that increased by almost $13,000 (measured in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars). 
District-wide, the child poverty rate has decreased slightly (from 29.4% to 26.6%). However, when we take a look at disaggregated data, such as poverty rate by ward, it is clear that disparities continue to persist across our city.
Child Poverty by Ward


While DC is rapidly changing and becoming more diverse, we have to remember that it continues to be a city of unequally distributed resources. Diving a bit deeper, we found that for single female householders with children, median income has actually decreased from $28,427 to $25,906 (measured in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars). This change is especially important to highlight given that 48% of DC children live in households headed by single females.
All this being said, we realize that with new data releases it can be difficult to avoid getting bogged down by all of these numbers and percentages. Here at DC Action, we want to emphasize that these “data points” represent real people and stories, including those of our own families. The challenge is to not only interpret what these demographic trends mean for children and families in the District – but to help educate and guide leaders, teachers and other professionals in how we can best continue serving our youngest citizens. We must ensure that ALL DC children can grow up healthy and ready to learn and thrive – by doing this, we invest in EACH of their futures.