- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

If you thought lines at the grocery store were growing longer, elbow room at your favorite bar was shrinking and Metro subway cars were getting more stiflingly packed, you weren’t imagining it. The District is getting more crowded.

The city continued to grow rapidly, as 12,392 new residents were added to its population over the past year. The uptick is attributed to a boom in births as well as more people moving into the city from other states and abroad.

Between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, the District’s population jumped nearly 1.9 percent from 659,836 residents to 672,228, according to recently released Census Bureau statistics. That means the city achieved a net population gain of more than 1,000 residents a month, after factoring in the number of residents who died or left the city over that time period.

The new statistics follow a trend. The District gained about 10,000 residents in 2014 and about 15,000 residents in 2013 and 2012.

Since 2010, the District has added more than 70,000 dwellers, an 11 percent increase, and just over 100,000 new residents since 2000, statistics show.

That puts the District on track to surpass its previous peak population of 802,000 in 1950 within the next 20 years, according to the Census Bureau.

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Much of the population growth came from new residents moving into the city, both from other states and abroad.

Over the period examined by the Census Bureau, a total of 8,282 more people moved into the District than moved out, with 3,731 coming from other states and 4,551 moving from another country.

The District also has experienced a baby boom in the last few years, with more than 9,400 babies being born to D.C. residents each year since 2013. That includes 9,593 births in the city between July 2014 and July 2015.

Eric D. Shaw, who heads the D.C. Office of Planning, which plans neighborhoods and public facilities as well as analyzes Census Bureau data, said the District has been preparing for growth.

“We continue to plan for not the just the overall growth, but recognize that we need to be responsive to the changing characteristics of the population, more specifically children and families,” Mr. Shaw said.

The uptick also caught the eye of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said she is encouraged by the development.

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“More and more people are choosing to call the District of Columbia home, and my administration is working hard to sustain our growth and to ensure that residents in all eight wards share in our prosperity,” Ms. Bowser said in a statement.

She also used the new statistics as an opportunity to tout her office’s accomplishments, saying she has been able to expand affordable housing and create pathways for lower income residents to move up to the middle class.

“We are making the District of Columbia a great place to reside, work and play, whether you have lived here five minutes or five generations,” Ms. Bowser said.

• Ryan M. McDermott can be reached at rmcdermott@washingtontimes.com.

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