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DC’s Failing Score on Inclusivity

by Nena Perry-Brown

As DC continues to develop and become more prosperous, issues like affordable housing and homelessness and have only grown more dire, showing how far the city has to go to ensure that prosperity is more inclusive. Now, a new study from the Urban Institute attempts to quantify where DC and other cities rank when it comes to inclusivity.

DC's Failing Score on Inclusivity: Figure 1
Inclusivity measures in DC vs. an average across large cities. Click to enlarge.

The study examines data from 274 U.S. cities from 1980 onward, and although the data doesn't go past 2013, it highlights several points of increasing concern for the District. 

Out of 274 cities, DC ranked #184 on overall inclusion, #193 on economic inclusion, and #159 on racial inclusion. The overall inclusion ranking actually improved from #198 in 2000. On economic health, meanwhile, the city went from ranked #243 in 2000 to ranked #77 in 2013.

The percent of rent-burdened residents has followed the same path as the nationwide average, but although DC has historically had a smaller percentage of rent-burdened residents than seen nationwide, that share shot up dramatically, going from roughly one quarter of residents in 1980 to 40 percent in 2013.

While other cities have seen people of color become a larger share of the population, DC unsurprisingly saw people of color drop as a share of the population by about 8 percentage points from 2000 to 2013; the racial homeownership gap also increased over that time.

2013 was the first year that the housing vacancy rate in DC was the same as the nationwide average after decades of exceeding that average; that year was also the first time DC's unemployment rate was the same as the nationwide average since 1990, when it shot up 4 percentage points.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs-failing-score-on-inclusivity/13913

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