News & Politics

DC’s Population Boom Continued In 2013

More than 646,000 people now call the District of Columbia home, according to the US Census Bureau.

The District’s population boom continued in 2013, according to figures released today by the US Census Bureau. An estimated 646,449 people now reside in DC, up more than 13,000 from 2012. Mayor Vince Gray and other city officials have frequently noted that the city is taking on about 1,100 new residents per month.

With a 2 percent annual growth rate, DC’s population is also increasing much more rapidly than the country at-large, which saw an overall growth rate of 0.72 percent. Only North Dakota, in the middle of an oil boom, is growing at a faster clip. The District now has more inhabitants than it has had at any point since the late 1970s.

Maryland added 43,946 new residents in the last year, while Virginia added 73,777, but because the Census Bureau reports only to the state level, it does not indicate which parts of those states experienced the most population growth.

Still, the figure for the District is promising for the city’s economic future. Because the city cannot tax the incomes of the majority of its workers, who commute from the suburbs, a rising population is essential to keeping the DC government’s coffers flush. The growth also affirms the ongoing need for more housing, transportation, and other infrastructure.

The Census report might also give a bit of confidence to people who want to see reforms to the 1910 Height Act. A proposal submitted in September by DC Planning Director Harriet Tregoning argue that changes are need to deal with the city’s expanding population, projecting that the District will add nearly 100,000 households by 2040. 

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.