Where Are DC’s Richest and Poorest Neighborhoods?

by Shilpi Paul

Where Are DC's Richest and Poorest Neighborhoods?: Figure 1
Courtesy of Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks.

Driving around DC, one can get a general sense of which blocks feel wealthier than others. Now, a new map provides a glimpse into the income breakdown of neighborhoods throughout the city.

Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks uses Census data from 2006-2010 to map out the median income of neighborhoods around the country. The scrollable, zoomable map fills in each area — bounded along Census tract lines — with a color scheme ranging from red to dark green to illustrate comparative wealth.

The greener an area, the higher its median income: the darkest green indicates a median income of at least $134,901, while the purest red means that the area is struggling with poverty, with a median income of $22,598 or less.

UrbanTurf spent quite a bit of time perusing DC’s map, and wanted a share a few observations about the income breakdown of the city, many of which fall in line with the changing face of DC over the last decade.

Where Are DC's Richest and Poorest Neighborhoods?: Figure 2
On either side of 16th Street NW.

16th Street is a dividing line.

The Northwest quadrant is generally greener than the rest of the city (no surprise there), but the starkest dividing line is 16th Street NW. To the west of the avenue, the greens are quite deep; to the east, the areas are often yellow, sometimes even tinged with red, indicating a lower median income.

Where Are DC's Richest and Poorest Neighborhoods?: Figure 3
Logan Circle stands out.

Logan Circle and the U Street Corridor stand out.

Zooming into the center of DC, the greenness of two areas pops out: Logan Circle and the U Street Corridor. People often talk about how development is moving east, but the increasing wealth in the two hip neighborhood make them stand out. All the surrounding tracts are lighter in color.

Where Are DC's Richest and Poorest Neighborhoods?: Figure 4

Capitol Hill’s wealth is spreading.

While the expected areas on Capitol Hill are solidly green, it’s interesting to note that even sections to the east and north of Capitol Hill proper are full of wealthy residents. Hill East, all the way to 19th Street and the Armory, is almost as green as the area around Lincoln Park, and the wealth seeps north to the H Street Corridor and just beyond.

Where Are DC's Richest and Poorest Neighborhoods?: Figure 5
Both dark red and bright green in Wards 7 and 8.

East of the river neighborhoods range widely.

While Wards 7 and 8 have the most red areas on the map, there is some variability. Red covers areas near Anacostia and Congress Heights, but Hillcrest is yellow, tinged towards the green, and Dupont Park is quite a bright green.

A few anomalous areas pop up on the map: the blocks surrounding universities, like Howard and George Washington, show up as starkly red, likely due to the lack of income of the students living there. Some non-residential areas — the Mall, the Capitol — are whited out, but others, like parkland, are not. Still, the map is pretty fascinating.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/where_are_dcs_richest_and_poorest_neighborhoods/6478


  1. Alex said at 9:05 pm on Friday January 4, 2013:
    Interesting that the LeDroit and Foggy Botttom areas are so red, as well as other university areas of the city. They must be taking into account student salaries/incomes which are often part-time if not below part-time in their employment. If that is the case, this is not really a useful indicator of incomes or useful tool when comparing income hot spots to the real estate market. It's interesting to see, but if someone is not familiar with the city and reviewed this data, they would be incorrect in identifying the trends of development in the city and where the income wealth of buyers is located.
  1. Mark said at 9:25 pm on Friday January 4, 2013:
    Alex, I agree that it would be interesting to know whether or not the study incorporates student incomes. Personally, I don't think it should. As a marketer, whenever we have done similar demographic studies, we typically haven't included students as they usually aren't considered permanent residents. Still, who knows. Assuming it doesn't, however, I think the map is pretty spot on as far as where you can find the wealth. I live in the U Street/Logan area, as do many of my friends, and I know what kind of income it now takes to live there. I also continue to see a drastic change in the people who are moving into the neighborhood. I think you will continue to see the wealth increase in the areas of hot development, and I would imagine that it will to some extent affect those regions with which they share their borders. Regardless of anyone's take on this, it is undeniable that there are major demographic changes happening in the District.
  1. mona said at 9:55 pm on Monday January 7, 2013:
    One area where there is a university and you don't see red is around American University. One can either assume that the students don't live in the area, which is likely considering the cost of renting or owning in the area, or the level of wealth is so high that even the combined students lack of wealth is only a blip on the radar
  1. Jay said at 10:21 pm on Wednesday January 9, 2013:
    I call BS on this. While it is probably somewhat legit, there are three scions of billionaires on my Ward 4 block. It is unlikely that their incomes and net worth are accurately reflected in this, or else we'd be painted a darker green than anywhere. (we're shown as a dark yellow). Then again, that's precisely why they all live on a nice, but unassuming block. They all prepped together, and generally shun the notariety.
  1. Jay said at 10:25 pm on Wednesday January 9, 2013:
    And just to add, our household income is over $600K. While we are by no means rich, there's something wrong when it says the average income on our block is $26K. There are only 14 households on our block, and no one on the block makes so little, that the numbers would play out that way.
  1. Hilary said at 1:22 pm on Friday August 30, 2013:
    Jay, did you all live there during the 2006-2010 Census?

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!