If you think traffic in the D.C. area is bad now, just wait until 2030.

The region’s population could increase by 37.9 percent from 2010 to 2030, according to the Urban Institute, a think tank focusing on economic and social policy. That would be a total population of nearly 7.5 million people.

The new study out this week uses interactive maps to imagine what cities’ populations throughout the country might look like in 2030 by allowing users to toggle with birth, death and migration rates. The Urban Institute uses “reasonable assumptions” and historical trends to predict these possible rates for the next 15 years.


In the Washington region — when using the average birth, death and migration rates — the population is expected to increase from 5,381,333 people in 2010 to 7,420,927 people in 2030, a bump of 37.9 percent.

The maps also break down the population shifts by race and age. Like much of the nation, the Washington region is expected to get a bit older and more diverse. White residents constituted about 48 percent of the region’s population in 2010. In 2030, that percentage is expected to drop to about 42 percent. Black residents in 2010 made up 26.6 percent and that figure will decrease to 20 percent. In 2010, Hispanics constituted 14.3 percent of the population, although that is expected to rise to nearly 20 percent in 2030.

In 2010, people ages 25 to 29 made up 8 percent of the population — the largest share of the population when age groups are divided into five-year increments. Subsequently, in 2030, people ages 35 to 39 will be the largest group, accounting for 8.8 percent of the population. In 2010, those 65 and older accounted for 10 percent of the population. That will increase to 15.3 percent in 2030.

In the District, the population boom isn’t expected to be as drastic as the entire Washington region’s, but the population is still expected to grow 18.4 percent between 2010 to 2030, from 606,897 to 718,499 people.

Continuing along current trends, the population of white and Hispanic residents is expected to increase, while the number of black residents declines. In 2010, the white population in the District was 213,840 (35 percent of the population) and — when plugging in the Urban Institute’s averages of birth, death and migration rates — will increase to 257,706  in 2013 (about 36 percent of the population). The Hispanic population was 56,192 in 2010 (9.3 percent of the population) and will increase to 97,177 in 2030 (13.5 percent of the population); the black population was 309,722 in 2010 (51 percent of the population) and will decrease to 304,544 people in 2030 (42 percent of the population).

In 2030, people ages 40 to 44 will make up 12.9 percent of the city’s population — the largest percentage of the population when breaking down ages in five-year increments. Compare that with 2010, when people ages 25 to 29 held the largest share of the population at 11.7 percent.

Play around with the interactive graphics here to see population changes in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and the entire country. Have fun!