The District of Columbia’s population has continued to grow at an impressive rate for a large American city, according to newly released Census Bureau estimates, but the growth has slowed compared with the past three years.
The District’s population as of July 1 was 658,893 — representing an increase of 9,782 residents, or 1.5 percent, over last year’s revised estimates. Census estimates released in 2012 and 2013 showed growth of 2 percent or more.
The apparent slowdown means that city leaders can no longer claim that the District is adding 1,000 residents a month, a favorite statistic of the outgoing mayor, Vincent C. Gray.
But the city’s growth — averaging more than 800 people a month — remains impressive, particularly when compared with the 50 states. According to the data released Tuesday, the District’s rate of growth in the year ending July 1 was outstripped only by North Dakota, Nevada, Texas and Colorado.
The District has added more than 57,000 residents since the 2010 Census, the new figures show, adding up to growth of 9.5 percent in four years. Among states, only North Dakota, with its economy fueled by an oil and gas rush, grew faster — by 9.9 percent — since the 2010 count.
According to the most recent city-level estimates, for July 1, 2013, only three cities with populations over 500,000 have grown faster than the District since the 2010 Census: Austin (9.2 percent), Charlotte (7.8 percent) and Denver (8.2 percent).
Gray (D) said in a statement that he is “proud to have overseen continued growth of our great city’s population during each year of my administration.”
An analysis of the census data shared by the mayor’s office indicated that the past year’s growth was driven mainly by residents arriving from other countries, representing three-quarters of the city’s net migration. Natural population growth also drove the increase, with 9,647 births offset by 5,228 deaths recorded during the estimate period.
“The growing number of new residents from other nations shows that we compete successfully for new residents, new jobs and new industries not only with other U.S. cities but with other countries,” Gray said.
Maryland and Virginia also showed population growth, although at lower rates.
Maryland’s grew 0.6 percent to 5,976,407 residents — a rate ranking squarely in the middle among the 50 states. Virginia’s grew slightly faster, at 0.7 percent, making it 21st among states in growth.
The District’s growth heralds little relief in the city’s housing crunch, which was reflected in economic data that city finance officials released Tuesday.
The median sales price of a single-family house in October was $620,000, a 3.3 percent increase over the prior year.
The lack of affordable housing in the city has contributed to a rise in homelessness, which has filled the city’s main family shelter as well as most of a motel that the municipal government has rented.
In other statistics, federal government employment in the District fell by roughly 2,500 jobs in the past year, while private-sector employment increased by more than 11,000.
The city’s unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in November, according to preliminary data, matching the lowest rate since 2008.