Ward Snapshots Reveal Growing Disparities

Ward Snapshots Reveal Growing Disparities

Despirte growth and econmic prosperity in the District, some wards are being left behind

Washington, DC – December 8, 2015 – The new Ward Snapshots released today by DC Action for Children reveal that citywide data show continued prosperity, but many of the city’s children and families continue to face substantial barriers to accessing opportunities and assets.

While the city’s median income has risen by nearly 18 percent since 2010, the Ward Snapshots indicate significant disparities by ward. Wards 5, 7, and 8 are home to the largest numbers of children, yet families in these wards have the lowest median incomes. Furthermore, the child poverty rate has declined by less than 1 percent over the same time, and at least 20% of children in Wards 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8 continue to live in poverty.

DC Action for Children’s annual Ward Snapshots track 20 key indicators of child and family well-being across the city’s 8 Wards to give us a deeper, more nuanced picture of children's well-being than is possible from city-wide averages.

Some key highlights from the Snapshots include:


  • In the last three years the number of young children under the age of five has grown by over 11 percent. Young children now account for more than 85 percent of the growth in the child population as a whole.
  • While the child poverty rate for children across the city declined slightly since 2010, it grew from 13% to 18% in Ward 4 and from 48 percent to 51 percent in Ward 8. Ward 8 was the only ward where median family income declined.
  • The number of children enrolled in Medicaid grew by 12%, with large increases in Wards 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. 


“Over the last few decades, DC has made substantial investments to improve the lives and well-being of our children,” said HyeSook Chung, executive director of DC Action for Children. “But we continue to grapple with a daunting fact—where children live continues to profoundly shape their quality of life and access to resources. We must invest in policies and tailor our programs to overcome the effects of deep poverty and ensure that all children have access to opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential.”

While the data indicates that each ward has unique challenges and strengths that must be addressed through tailored neighborhood-level solutions, DC Action for Children recommends three key strategies to help support all DC children and families:


  • Improve quality in early care and education programs including home visiting and child care programs to ensure all children enter school healthy and ready to learn.
  • Create and implement policies that support financial stability for families like Paid Family Leave.
  • Use the most current and critical population data to inform budget and resource decisions in FY17 Budget.


DC Action for Children publishes the annual Ward Snapshots as a tool for decision-makers, child advocates and community members to advocate for solutions to address the needs of children in their communities.

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