Census: D.C. added 30,000 residents in 27 months

December 20, 2012

We’ve been building it, and they are coming. (Jeffrey MacMillan/The Washington Post)

The District’s boom keeps booming: Residents are flocking to the city at a blistering pace, according to new Census Bureau estimates.

In the 27 months since the 2010 Census was conducted, the bureau says, the D.C. population rose from 601,723 to 632,323. That’s a rise of 30,600, exceeding the 1,000-resident-a-month pace that’s been cited many times in the past year by Mayor Vincent C. Gray and his planning director Harriet Tregoning.

The District, ranked beside the 50 states, boasts the second-highest population growth rate (2.15 percent) from July 2011 to July 2012. Only oil-and-gas-booming North Dakota did better (2.17 percent). Note that the new figure is a dropoff from D.C.’s 2010-to-2012 growth, which was estimated at 2.7 percent.

Here’s your standard disclaimer on D.C.-to-states comparisons: It’s generally unwise to draw broad conclusions from them. Many cities are seeing population growth just as D.C. is seeing, but the figures released today do not include more granular data necessary to compare the District’s growth to other urban areas.

From 2010 to 2011, forty-four cities of 50,000 or more had higher growth rates than Washington did, including Austin, Texas; Denver; Raleigh, N.C.; Tampa, Fla.; and Atlanta.

But this much is beyond dispute: The Census Bureau now estimates the District’s population now outranks a second state, Vermont, in addition to Wyoming. The Green Mountain State had 24,000 residents more than D.C. in 2010, but, according to estimates, it has added fewer than 300 residents since. 

As Greater Greater Washington notes, this means there are now at least six voting members of Congress who represent places with smaller populations than the District.

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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