The major population headline for the District last year was not a good one. U.S. Census estimates show that the city lost about 20,000 residents in 2021.
However, the second half of the year looks to tell a different story.
A new report finds evidence that the city's population recovered strongly in the second half of the year, a time period that the census numbers do not account for. The report, from District Measured, uses apartment vacancy and U.S Post Office (USPS) numbers to point to a rebound.
"Apartment vacancy data and change of address data from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) point to the city’s population reaching a low in the winter of 2020/2021, and then recovering to a large extent by the late summer/fall of 2021," the report stated.
The USPS data indicates that the recovery was driven by downtown-proximite neighborhoods along with the 20003 zip code that includes portions of Capitol Hill and Navy Yard, which had the strongest in-migration numbers in the latter half of 2021. The Upper northwest zip codes of 20015 and 20012, home to neighborhoods like Chevy Chase DC and Takoma, also appear to have contributed to the rebound.
The population gains for the city may have been short-lived, though.
"In November 2021, USPS data showed outmigration returning to 2019 levels, when D.C. had close to zero total migration and negative domestic migration, according to Census, meaning significant population gains could have ended," the report stated. "Other cities faced the same plight pre-pandemic: Boston, New York City, and San Francisco all had negative domestic migration in 2019, but places like Austin, Raleigh, Denver, and the D.C. exurbs were attracting people and continue to do so."
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a-population-rebound-in-dc/19257.
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