Neighborhoods with a variety of public transit options represent a small portion of the nation’s metropolitan areas, but these neighborhoods have seen a disproportionate amount of growth over the past decade. And that’s no real surprise: Just look at the rising real estate prices, new condos and trendy restaurants around your favorite Metro stop.
Now, a new Census report examining the demographics of these Metro-accessible neighborhoods in the Washington region has found that the people living near rail stations are more likely to be young, educated and white than in other parts of the city.
The D.C. area has seen explosive growth of relatively young, educated residents. According to Census data, the percentage of people 25 and older living with a bachelor’s degree or more in D.C. increased from 39 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2013. Subsequently, the median income jumped from about $40,000 to $68,000 in that period. During these years, the city’s black population declined from 60 to 48.8 percent, while the white population jumped from 30.8 to 40.9 percent. At the same time, the 2000s saw an increase in the proportion of the region’s black and Hispanic populations living in the suburbs.
So where are these newcomers moving? Yep, near Metro stops.
According to Census data, from 2011 to 2013, 28.2 percent of all workers with rail access in D.C., as well as Alexandria and the counties of Fairfax, Arlington, Montgomery and Prince George’s, are considered recent movers, compared with 14.7 percent of workers without rail access.
The report by the Census Bureau’s Brian McKenzie considers workers with rail access to be those living in a census block located within a half-mile from a Metrorail stop.
Breaking down this data by race shows that white workers are disproportionately represented in neighborhoods near Metro stations. Between 2011 and 2013, 56 percent of workers living near Metro stops in D.C. were white, and 24 percent were black. Just 38.3 percent of workers who didn’t live near rail stops were white, according to the Census report.
In the suburbs, 55 percent of those who live in Metro-accessible areas were white and about 17 percent were black. Black and Hispanic workers are underrepresented in these neighborhoods.
From the Census:
Black workers are underrepresented near rail stops [in D.C.], relative to neighborhoods without rail access. Between 2006-2008 and 2011-2013, the proportion of black workers within rail-accessible neighborhoods declined from 32.9 percent to 24.1 percent, whereas the proportion of all other groups either increased or did not experience a statistically significant change. Unlike their counterparts in Washington, rail-accessible neighborhoods in the five-county surrounding area have a lower proportion of Hispanic workers than do neighborhoods without rail access.
This report does not account for buses and other transit options that may make commuting easier for people who do not live near Metro stations, but the report shows that, as the Washington metro area booms, the Metrorail system is becoming more inaccessible to minority workers.
Read the full report here.