Black Population Down to 50 Percent in D.C.

Census shows continued growth in D.C.

D.C. continues to reverse decades of population decline, according to new census figures.

The nation's capital has enjoyed extensive growth downtown and in its neighborhoods. Some long-neglected neighborhoods are starting to see more economic development, another sign of the city's improving image as a place to work and live, NBC Washington's Tom Sherwood reported.

The city's population is about 601,000 citizens, an increase of about 30,000 people since 2000. The city has gained about 50,000 white residents and lost about 39,000 black residents in the past 10 years.

African-Americans, who used to make up close to two-thirds of the city's population, now account for just more than 50 percent -- down from 59.4 percent in 2000 -- with whites close to 35 percent -- up from 27.8 percent -- and Hispanics and Asians making up most of the rest.

The last time D.C. did not have a black majority was 1950, the Associated Press reported.

In the near future, more details will be released, including data showing neighborhood changes that could affect how the city's eight political wards are divided. Seven of the eight wards grew, with only Ward 8 losing population.

The D.C. Council will begin redrawing ward lines in the summer, Sherwood reported. Those boundaries will be used in the 2012 elections. The wards must be roughly equal in population.

Census numbers also help define how cities and states qualify for federal programs, which means hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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