Minority population in Washington area has surged in the past 5 years

The Washington region looks a lot different than it did only five years ago.

A new analysis of Census data from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis finds the area’s minority population has surged, while new white residents settled in D.C. and virtually nowhere else.

Per the report, the region’s Hispanic population rose by 32.7 percent between 2007 and 2012 — a staggering 51 percent in Loudoun County alone — and the population of “other” ethnic groups (American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, other Pacific, some other race, and two or more races) grew by 29.1 percent.

Over that same five year period, the region’s white population rose by a mere 1.5 percent, and the black population by 5.9 percent. Montgomery, Prince George’s and Fairfax counties, and the City of Alexandria all saw declines in their white population.

“The [Washington Metropolitan Area] is now a ‘majority minority’ region; as of 2012, just 48 percent of its total population is White, down from 51 percent in 2007,” wrote CRA researcher David Versel.

The data contains a few striking figures, such as the 17.2 percent growth of D.C.’s white population, its 3.3 percent decline in the black population and its 28 percent increase in Hispanic residents. The District, as has been previously reported, is no longer a black majority.

Bucking the trend was Arlington County, where the Hispanic population grew by only 4.9 percent, the “other” by 2.7 percent, but the black population soared by 30.2 percent — significantly more than any other jurisdiction.

As these changes occur, area jurisdictions must respond to the demands of their new residents (whether the influx of “millenials” in D.C. or Hispanics in Loudoun) while planning for the future — what they want to be decades from now, said Peter Tatian, senior research associate in the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center.

“You can’t ignore what’s happening right now,” Tatian said. “These are big changes and there’s lots of needs for these new residents that need to be met. But I think it doesn’t make sense to assume the changes we see today will be the same as what we’ll see five years from now, 10 years from now. You need to look ahead at what’s coming later.”

The region’s latest population estimate was 5.8 million, up from 5.31 million in 2007.

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.

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