- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Washington, D.C., now has fewer residences, fewer 25- to 34-year-olds — in fact, fewer people — than in the past, but its crop of youngsters and teen-agers is blossoming. So is its population of 85-year-olds.

That´s part of the tale told by the new data the Census Bureau is releasing today.

A host of interesting facts are provided in what the Census Bureau calls the District´s "population, housing and relationship" data. The information is highly detailed, with figures down to the equivalent of city blocks. But it´s the city´s overall numbers that yield the clearest picture; they depict a town that in 10 years has changed subtly, in keeping with earlier trends.

Says Carl Haub of the Population Reference Bureau: "Actually, the city is essentially the same as it was 20 years ago. It has been predominately black since 1960, and remains so. The median age of the population (now 34.6 years) is low, but in 1980 it was 31 years, so the population hasn´t aged much, especially when you consider that the baby boomers are now aging out."

Because the bureau is releasing the new demographic data in stages, information about Maryland and Virginia that is comparable to the District´s data is not yet available.

What´s more, differences between the questions asked in 1990 and in 2000 often make it impossible to compare results from the latest census with the one taken in 1990.

That´s especially true of numbers relating to race, because the census taken last year was the first that allowed people to identify themselves by more than one race.

Consequently, the new census results contain 63 categories of racial data, and since each racial category was again divided by a census question asking respondents if they are Hispanic, the total of possible mixed-race combinations doubles to 126.

That said, the census numbers for the District describe a shrinking city, as they have for decades. The population has dropped from 606,900 in 1990 to 572,059.

The population of those who describe themselves as only black now numbers 343,312, and the number of persons identified as "non-Hispanic whites" is 159,178.

The total number of whites — which would include white Hispanics — is 176,101.

Hispanics may be of any race. Race aside, the number of D.C. residents describing themselves as Hispanic is 44,953. Asians now number 15,189.

There are 3,644 fewer housing units in the city now — 274,845 vs. 278,489 in 1990 — and the number of 25- to 34-year-olds has dropped to 101,762 from 121,276.

On the up side, the number of youngsters and youths from 5 to 17 years old jumped to 82,456 from 1990´s 79,741, a gain of 2,715.

And the number of persons 85 years old and older increased to 8,975, up from 7,847, a gain of 1,128.

Women predominate in the city. There are 302,693 female residents, compared with 269,366 men.

And just as they did 20 years ago, 19-year-olds make up the single biggest age group. There are 11,903 of them. Indeed, there are more 19-year-old women — 6,498 — than there are women in any other age group.

Among men, the dominant age is 30.

For young guys looking for a date, the data have a tip: Head for the campus of Georgetown University. More than half the population in that area is composed of women ages 18 to 24. But the competition may be fierce men between the ages of 18 and 24 constitute another 44 percent of the area´s population.

The city area with the highest population of males lies near RFK Stadium where the D.C. jail is located. More than 85 percent of the population in that area is male, and more than a quarter of the males are between 25 and 34 years old. The area with the highest concentration of men ages 35 to 49 includes St. Elizabeths Hospital.

Women make up a higher percent of the population in the Fort Lincoln area, on the Prince George´s County border, than anywhere else in the city.

More than 62 percent of the area´s population is composed of women and almost a quarter of the women are 65 or older.

The region with the lowest housing vacancy rate stretches from Tenleytown to Friendship Heights — fewer than 2 percent of units there are vacant.

The highest vacancy rate is in the area that runs southwest of Dupont Circle down to Pennsylvania Avenue. More than 50 percent of units are vacant there.

The region with the highest percent of renters — almost 99 percent of occupied units — lies just south of Thomas and Scott circles and north of Lafayette Park, while the area with the most owners occupying their homes stretches from Michigan Park to Fort Bunker Hill Park.

The census also cataloged unmarried domestic partners. They make up 14,886 of the city´s households, or about 6 percent. Of those, the great majority 11,208 are heterosexual couples, while 2,693 classified themselves as male-male couples and 985 as female-female couples.

More unmarried heterosexual couples live in the area bounded by South Capitol Street and the Prince George´s County line than anywhere else in the city.

The next largest concentration is in the area immediately east of Dupont Circle and Lanier Heights and between Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan.

The male couples have congregated east of Dupont Circle. The highest concentration of female couples was found in Lanier Heights and north, in Mount Pleasant.

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