Fenty's record, from schools to safety

Adrian Fenty, the youngest mayor in four decades of home rule, lost the Democratic mayoral primary to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray.
Saturday, January 1, 2011; 5:57 PM


Long-standing demographic trends continued unabated during the last four years as the city gained affluent, educated and white residents and lost African Americans.

The District ended the decade with the city on the cusp of losing its status as a majority black city, though African Americans will remain the single largest group for many years to come.

Annual census estimates between 2006, the year before Mayor Adrian M. Fenty took office, and the 2010 Census show a city that grew despite the recession that hit some residents especially hard and ushered in program cuts.

In 2006, Washington had 582,000 residents who were 56 percent black, 35 percent white and 8 percent Hispanic. This year, the city surpassed 600,000 for the first time in two decades. Its residents were 53 percent black, 39 percent white and 9 percent Hispanic.

Median household incomes rose from under $52,000 in 2006 to over $59,000 in 2009, the last year for which figures are available. More residents held college degrees. Every age group older than 25 grew in size, particularly the generation aged 25 to 34, and empty nesters in their early 60s.

The changes contributed to a drop in the overall poverty rate, from 20 percent to 18 percent. But poverty among black children soared during the recession, from 31 percent in 2007 - below the national average - to 43 percent in 2009, well above the national average.

Some say the changes were driven by forces outside Fenty's control, like the return-to-the-city movement and a recession that took a harsh toll on those workers with high school degrees or less.

"Some call it gentrification, some call it displacement," said Benjamin Orr, an analyst with the Brookings Institution. "The increased income of District residents has forced prices up, particularly housing costs. And that has pushed lower-income residents out. That effect has been disproportionately felt by African Americans in the District."

But Ed Lazere of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute said the administration did not focus on affordable housing and improving literacy among adults.

"No doubt the recession made it harder," he said. "But there wasn't a lot of proactive response to address the trends."

- Carol Morell

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