How's Life in Prince George's? Pretty Good — With Only a Few Exceptions

Monaem Mabrouki has lived in D.C. for 17 years, but after he started managing the Hyattsville Bus Boys and Poets, he realized he was missing out on Prince George's County.

"My wife and I said, what a hidden gem," Mabrouki said.

So Mabrouki decided to leave D.C., skip over the 'burbs in Virginia and Montgomery County and head to Prince George's, where he's in the process of closing on a new house.

It's that kind of growth that led Busboys and Poets to open a location in Hyattsville in the first place -- growth that's quantified in a new report from Prince George's County leadership on the county's quality of life.

Using data from various government agencies, the report examines everything from median income to life expectancy.

It found improvements in most areas, with a historic drop in crime, improved health outcomes and a development boom.

"We decided we’d do an independent review of how well the county is doing, and Prince George’s County is doing great," said Jim Estep, president of the Prince George's Business Roundtable.

Among the report's findings:

  • Unemployment has fallen to 6.8 percent last year from a high of 7.7 percent in 2010
  • Median household income is trending up, though it isn't as high as in 2008
  • The percentage of seventh-graders who are reading at an advanced or proficient level is at its highest level since 2005
  • There were 56 homicides in the county last year, well below the 151 the county saw in 2005

But the news is not all good: the report also revealed education and unemployment levels must improve.

  • The high-school dropout rate is ticking up, and is at its highest level since 2005
  • New housing construction in the county dipped sharply in 2009 and has not recovered, and the median home sale price is at its lowest level since 2004
  • Despite the improvement in the county's unemployment rate, it's still well above the levels seen in 2007 and 2008, and above the levels of neighboring Montgomery County.

Still, Mabrouki says he sees the county headed in the right direction. "It’s great," he said. "The people we meet are really happy to be in this area."

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