Census: D.C. poverty rates stagnate as incomes rise


As median incomes have risen, poverty rates have surged since 2007. (Chart: Mike DeBonis/THE WASHINGTON POST/Data: U.S. Census Bureau)

The Post’s Carol Morello and Ted Mellnik focused on income statistics in their Post story today on the new data:

The District, which the census compares to both states and counties, has seen its ranking shoot up in the last five years as its median household income has risen from $54,000 to about $63,000. When compared with states, it rose from 16th to fifth. Compared with counties, it ranks 125, up from 247.

Meanwhile, the District’s poverty numbers remained essentially unchanged from 2010.

A slight decline, from 19.2 percent to 18.7 percent, is deemed statistically insignificant by the census. Child poverty also remained essentially the same, moving from 30.4 percent in 2010 to 30.3 percent. (The new poverty rate carries a 1.4 point margin of error; for children, 3.7 points.)

Given the rise in the city’s population, the raw number of District residents in poverty in 2011 — about 110,000, including about 31,000 children — remained as high as it had been in at least the previous seven years. That’s well above the pre-recession low, in 2007, when fewer than 92,000 residents were in poverty.

In that time, the District’s median income has gone from about $54,000 to $63,000, about twice the rate of inflation. By a measure of income inequality used by the Census Bureau, D.C. outranked all 50 states and Puerto Rico in 2011, as it did in 2010.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.
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