- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The District has lost thousands of non-Hispanic black and white residents since 2000, while the number of Hispanics, Asians and American Indians is on the rise in the city and its burgeoning suburbs, according to the latest census figures.

“The District is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, which is happening in the rest of the country, but there are some things happening there that are a little different,” said Katherine Condon, a demographic statistician for the U S. Census Bureau, which today made public the first population estimates since the 2000 census.

“There is a lot of movement in and out of D.C.,” said Ms. Condon.

The Census Bureau estimated that by July last year the city’s population dropped by 1,161 persons, from 572,059 in 2000 to 570,898. The District’s suburbs experienced population growth, and Montgomery County led the way, with 36,815 new residents bringing its population up to 910,156.

People of Hispanic origin, which the bureau tabulates separately from race, made the largest population gains in the District and its suburbs. The Asian race was the second fastest-growing segment of the population in the region.

Fairfax County had the largest numerical increase in Hispanics and Asians. The number of Hispanics in the county grew by 15,358 to 122,316, and the number of Asians rose by 20,034 to 146,072.

The growth of these populations in the county, especially among Hispanics, is a trend that began in the 1990s and is expected to continue, said Julia Martin, director of demographics at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center, an associate agency of Virginia State Data Center.

“Hispanics do have a very high birth rate, and it is very common once an ethnic enclave is established for more people of that ethnicity to join them,” Mrs. Martin said. “Hispanics also have a very high proportion of married-couple households, and a high proportion of those contain children.”

The Census Bureau also reported that Fairfax County had the nation’s largest percentage increase in American Indians or Alaska natives — a 45 percent rise, bringing that segment of the county’s population to 3,184.

The number of American Indians or Alaska natives increased in the District and all its neighboring counties, though by only a hundred or so in each locale. The pronounced population jumps were concentrated among Hispanics and Asians.

Prince William County’s Hispanic population grew 45 percent, from 27,338 to 39,824, the largest percentage rise in the area. Montgomery County recorded the largest percentage increase in Asians, with a 17 percent rise pushing the county’s Asian population to 115,640.

The District’s Hispanic population hit 52,456, an increase of 7,503 or 16 percent. The Asian population increased 10.9 percent, from 15,762 to 17,484.

Meanwhile, the number of non-Hispanic blacks in the District dropped 7,060 to 335,404, and the number of non-Hispanic whites fell by 2,788 to 158,472. The number of non-Hispanic blacks and whites generally increased in the suburbs, though Prince George’s County’s white population decreased by 5,030 to 189,806 and the non-Hispanic black population fell in Montgomery County by 593 to 128,778 and in Arlington County by 463 to 16,781.

Prince George’s County experienced the largest numerical increase in non-Hispanic blacks, up 29,974 to 528,275.

The increase, while numerically substantial, was not necessarily a big swing in terms of the county’s demographics, Ms. Condon said. “Remember, Prince George’s County is quite a large county, and there has been a lot of growth there,” she said.

The entire region experienced growth in the populations of native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.

Prince George’s County had the largest numerical increase of Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, with 251 more for a total of 698. Prince William County’s Pacific Islander population grew 223 to 591, and the District’s grew by 55 from 467.

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