Results (284)

Business Sentiments Survey 2024 Quarter 1 results 

The D.C. Policy Center launched the quarterly Business Sentiments Survey to provide a detailed, comprehensive picture of what the business community is experiencing to elected officials, the media, and the broader community. The inaugural survey, which was distributed in January 2024 covered businesses’ experiences during the last quarter of 2023 and expectations…

April 8, 2024 | Daniel Burge

Budget Spotlight: Looking forward to FY2025

The District’s budget season unofficially opened with the release of the FY 2023 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report on February 1st. This is the annual audit for the city, and it includes a trove of information on the city’s economic and fiscal performance during FY 2023. It is relevant to the FY 2025…

February 9, 2024 | Yesim Sayin

Where do we go from here?

Last week was truly difficult. The potential loss of the Capitals and the Wizards to Virginia’s suburbs is a disquieting turn of events for the District’s already struggling Downtown. This news, as wounding as it is, shines a bright light on how the policy discourse in the District of Columbia must reset…

December 17, 2023 | Yesim Sayin

D.C. Voices: Juvenile Justice

We asked individuals from multiple institutions that serve incarcerated youth to find out more about how D.C. can better serve its incarcerated youth.

November 1, 2023 | Hannah Mason

D.C.’s household growth is predominantly driven by singles aged 25 to 34

Recently, the main source of population growth in the District shifted from net in-migration to natural growth. During the same period, the city experienced slower growth in tax filers relative to taxable incomes and income tax revenue. Outmigration, net of those who moved into the city,  resulted in a loss of over…

October 3, 2023 | Bailey McConnell,

5 things we know about regional business migration trends

Business migration trends offer important insights on regional dynamics. While the Washington metropolitan area shares a labor force and many economic strengths, D.C. has, on net, lost businesses to elsewhere in the region. And, though D.C. is strongest at attracting small, young firms, it is still a net exporter of these businesses. This can be an indicator of what businesses are lacking in D.C. and feel that they can get elsewhere. Businesses move for a variety of reasons, but it is possible that these firms need to operate in different environments as they begin to mature, or that they grow out of the city as they hire more employees and increase sales. In the future, a better understanding of why businesses move will be central to D.C.’s future economic success, especially as economic activity has become more dispersed.

June 13, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Recommendations for out-of-school time programs in the District of Columbia

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. Based on our analyses of where students live and go to school, locations of OST programs, potential need for additional programs, proximity analyses, and issues faced by providers and parents, this article contains recommendations for the Deputy Mayor for Education on OST programming.

April 18, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

Out-of-school time programs in the District of Columbia: Parent and guardian experiences

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. The experience of families is important in understanding what kinds of out of school time (OST) programs and service levels are desired and needed, as well as barriers families face to accessing programs. To understand more about the experience of families with OST programs, the D.C. Policy Center administered a survey to parents and guardians of children who are eligible to participate in OST programs and conducted a listening session with parents who are members of Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE).

April 18, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

Who provides of out-of-school time programs in the District of Columbia?

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. In addition to the number of out of school time (OST) seats available, it is important for the types of programming and services offered by providers to meet the needs of students. To learn more about program characteristics, times programs are offered, and what kinds of services and staff programs have, the D.C. Policy Center administered two surveys to providers of OST programs. This article describes provider characteristics identified through the responses to the survey, and discusses issues frequently mentioned by providers as pressure points or points of concern.

April 18, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

How close are out-of-school time programs to where students live?

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. Where programs are located is an extremely important factor for access to out of school time (OST) programs in the District. For some families, having programs located close to where they live might be the most helpful, whereas for others it might be most helpful for programs to be located near where children go to school. This article presents analyses of current coverage, defined as the number of OST seats by ward compared to the total number of public school students who live in that ward as well as the number of students who attend school in that ward. It also develops metrics of exposure, which shows proximity of OST seats to children and youth weighted by the number of students.

April 18, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

D.C. Voices: Highlights from the release of State of D.C. Schools, 2021-22

In school year 2021-22, all students returned to in-person learning for the first time in almost two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began in spring 2020. The D.C. Policy Center’s State of D.C. Schools, 2021-22 report examines the transition back to in-person learning, measuring outcomes for the first time since the start…

April 13, 2023 | Julie Rubin

How many more out-of-school time seats does the District of Columbia need?

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. To determine what kind of out-of-school time (OST) programming and how many OST seats the city needs to invest in, the city must first determine policy goals and what populations need these services. Using the universe of children and youth attending D.C. public schools as the base (including both DCPS and public charter schools), this section identifies the potential need for subsidized out-of-school time programs based on the distribution of children and youth across two broad age groups and four broad policy targets, and identifies what gaps exist under each metric.

April 12, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

How many out-of-school time seats D.C. has, and where they’re located

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. Access to out-of-school time (OST) programming is dependent on many factors, including the availability of seats and location of programs. This article presents information on the number and location of subsidized OST programs in the District of Columbia, focusing on afterschool and summer programs by location and by two main age groups: prekindergarten (PK3) to 8th grade and grades 9 to 12.

April 12, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

Demand for out-of-school time programming shifts, based on where students live versus where they go to school

Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programs, are important to many families the District of Columbia. Policy decisions around OST programming, like where OST seat are located, and how the city invests funding, are highly dependent on where children live and where they go to school. To set the stage for a deeper analysis of out-of-school time programs, this article examines where students live, where they attend school, and how these vary both geographically across the city, and by various student characteristics.

April 12, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

D.C. students are exposed to more community violence

Rising community violence in the District is exacerbating the academic and socio-emotional issues students D.C. students face as they recover from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. How can schools, in collaboration with the broader D.C. community, be part of the solution and extend their reach in supporting students holistically?

March 21, 2023 | Jasmine Brann

How much would it cost to build and maintain a new D.C. prison?

Amid ongoing work toward D.C. statehood, an outstanding question is the cost of the District fully re-assuming responsibility for its criminal justice system. One of the most talked-about components of that re-assuming is that the District would need its own prison. Our research suggests that building a new prison for 4,000 to 6,000 inmates could cost between $400 million and $750 million. The annual operating costs for such a facility would range between $180 million and $230 million.

March 8, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

A look at who is incarcerated in D.C.’s criminal justice system

The District’s criminal justice system is largely federalized, and individuals may be held either locally by the District’s Department of Corrections (DOC). or federally by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP). What do we know about the individuals incarcerated within D.C.’s criminal justice system? How does D.C.’s uniquely federalized system impact D.C. Code offenders, and what does it mean for their access to rehabilitation programs during their incarceration?

March 6, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

Processing through D.C.’s criminal justice system: Agencies, roles, and jurisdiction

A long list of entities and agencies make up the District’s criminal justice system. Which ones are local, and which are federal? What are their individual responsibilities, and how are they funded? Finally, how does an individual D.C. Code offender process through this complicated stream of entities?

March 2, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

How D.C.’s criminal justice system has been shaped by the Revitalization Act

What does the history of D.C.’s criminal justice system look like, and what changes were enacted under the Revitalization Act? As part of Criminal Justice Week 2023, this introduction to the District’s criminal justice system outlines its current structure, analyzes Revitalization Act changes have impacted justice system operations, and evaluates outcomes for D.C. residents. 

March 1, 2023 | Emilia Calma,

In the second year of the pandemic, D.C. gained early-career workers, but lost high-income residents

Last year, we looked at migration data from 2020 to track demographic shifts in D.C. following the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found the ability to telework was driving some workers out, particularly those well-educated and aged 25 to 34. Recently, 2021 data was released, so we look again at migration across three key demographic groups—age, income, and education—to see if our observations from 2020 held in the second year of the pandemic.

February 17, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

D.C. Voices: Supporting students with disabilities

While virtual learning during school year 2020-21 presented challenges to all students, students with disabilities experienced significant impacts to their instruction because of obstacles with service delivery or difficulties identifying students who need additional interventions in the virtual format.[i] Students with disabilities were among those prioritized for an early return to physical…

December 15, 2022 | Julie Rubin

Increased transit delays in fall of 2021 and the potential impact on high school commutes

In the fall of 2021, students in DCPS and public charter schools returned in-person, after spending roughly a year and a half learning at home. Students returned to school at roughly the same time that most of Metro’s 7000-series trains were removed from service due to safety concerns. The reduction in service doubled wait times at Metro stations and put additional strain on the Metro’s bus network. This is concerning because transportation vulnerability, including increased commute times or unreliable service, has been linked to issues with school attendance—which may result in loss of academic achievement.

November 14, 2022 | Alexander Din

D.C. Voices: High-impact tutoring and strong student-tutor relationships

As high-impact tutoring (HIT) continues to scale in school year 2022-23, it is important to take stock of provider, tutor, and teacher experiences and challenges during the first year of HIT. We asked tutoring providers, tutors, and teachers involved with HIT to tell us about the day-to-day realities of HIT in D.C. last year. What changes are being implemented during this school year, and where do they see the program going forward?

October 18, 2022 | Julie Rubin

What do migration and labor force trends tell us about D.C. and other large, high-cost metro areas?

Many large cities, including D.C., have lost population due to out-migration through the pandemic. Researchers have found that (1) this exodus is pandemic-induced, and (2) many people are leaving behind large, high-cost cities in favor of less populated regions with a lower cost of living. Looking at labor market recovery, we find that lower-cost metro areas have emerged from the pandemic as more economically competitive than their high-cost peers, which may shift workforce dynamics to the D.C. region’s detriment.

October 5, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

D.C. Voices: Safe Passage program and student commutes

A recent increase in violent crimes across the District has amplified concerns about community safety, including for students on their commutes to school. To improve student safety on their way to and from school, the Safe Passage Program places trusted adults from the community along specific routes. Mayor Bowser’s office allocated more than $4.3 million to community organizations to hire 215 Safe Passage workers during Fiscal Year 2022. We asked students, businesses, and administrators about their perceptions of safety for students during their commutes, and what experiences they have had with the Safe Passage program.

September 28, 2022 | Aniyha Brown

The number of licensed health care clinicians in Washington D.C. increased during the early pandemic period 

To show how the pandemic and ensuing policies have affected the HCC supply in D.C., we submitted multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the D.C. Department of Health (DOH) to create a database of clinicians who are licensed to practice in D.C. This licensee database is a full census of licensed clinicians in D.C. at three points in time (April 2020, January 2021, and August 2021), presenting the clearest picture of who is available to provide care to the District’s residents.

August 2, 2022 | Igor Geyn,

D.C.’s changing public school enrollment: Trends by ward

How do and enrollment trends differ across different areas of D.C.? While the number of births decreased across all wards, some wards have seen larger declines than others. These declines have varying levels of significance for enrollment trends as the relationship between the number of births and where students live and where they enroll in school varies across the city. While we can look to births and cohort retention ratios to project future public school enrollment by grade, it is very challenging to do so by ward.

July 28, 2022 | Julie Rubin,

D.C.’s changing public school enrollment: Trends by race and grade band

in recent years, the share of students who are Black enrolled in D.C.’s public schools has declined across all grade bands – due in part to fewer births to mothers who are Black and weaker preferences for pre-kindergarten during the pandemic.

July 21, 2022 | Julie Rubin

Proximity to homicide exposure in Washington, D.C., 2021

When neighborhoods are exposed to crime, children are less likely to play outside, more likely to be stressed out or experience poor mental health. They worry about safe passage to their schools and fall behind in their schoolwork. The incidence of homicides has increased dramatically in the District of Columbia since 2017. And homicides are increasingly happening in parts of the city that are denser, exposing a larger number of people. But less dense neighborhoods tend have more children, so when adjusted for child population, many more neighborhoods start lighting up on our maps, showing the great toll these events take on the District’s children.

June 23, 2022 | Alexander Din

Updated: Database of D.C. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)

There have been hundreds of PUDs over the past two decades, but the data isn’t particularly well organized. It lives in a series of individual zoning orders and supporting documents — hundreds of PDFs buried within the zoning website. In 2019, contributor Nick Sementelli systematically combed through those documents to build a scannable, sortable database. We are publishing an update to that database to include 92 more recent PUDs.

June 1, 2022 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

D.C. Voices: D.C. schools ramped up mental health resources during the pandemic. How well do these services address student needs?

While schools invested in supports like hiring additional staff and providing social-emotional integration trainings during the 2020-21 school year, many students and families reported challenges when trying to access mental health resources. In this latest installment in our D.C. Voices series, we hear directly from students, researchers, and administrators to learn more about the barriers students may face when accessing services and how available mental health services currently meet needs.

April 20, 2022 | Julie Rubin

Do residential properties in D.C.’s historic districts outperform the rest of the city in value appreciation?

Residential properties in the District’s historic neighborhoods are generally more expensive than those outside these neighborhoods. But data show that these buildings have underperformed in value appreciation compared to the rest of the city.

April 13, 2022 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia,

Demographic shifts in the District of Columbia following the COVID-19 pandemic

Even prior to the pandemic, the District was experiencing decelerating population growth, particularly among the young, educated adults who have traditionally driven growth in the city. Now, the ability to telework may be driving some workers out, particularly those that are well-educated and aged 25 to 34. While it is uncertain whether these moves are temporary or permanent, maintaining and retaining a net inflow of young adult workers is crucial to any city’s ability to attract new businesses, as well as ensure strong fiscal health.

March 15, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

A new regional playing field: How can D.C. stay economically competitive with its suburban neighbors?

The District’s competitive position within the region has weakened in the past few years. As regional policies and dynamics has changed, the flow of people, businesses, and jobs has changed as well. The region’s suburbs have increased in importance as competing destinations, and this trend has only been amplified by the pandemic. Now, to reset the District’s economic growth trajectory, new approaches to policy may be required.

January 27, 2022 | Bailey McConnell,

D.C. Voices: Using information on early career outcomes

Survey data suggest that students with access during high school to career supports such as connections to employers, exposure to careers, and professional counseling tend to earn wages 20 percent higher than their peers—and such access could have lasting impacts. In this latest installment in our D.C. Voices series, we hear directly from students and counselors about the implications better early career outcomes data could have as students make their postsecondary education and career choices.

December 15, 2021 | Julie Rubin

Is mixed-use the future of downtown D.C.?

Introduction The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a lot of speculation about the future of cities, but many agree that cities, and especially downtowns, will experience some changes in use as people alter how and where they live and work.[1] At the onset of the pandemic, economic activity in…

November 23, 2021 | Bailey McConnell

D.C. high school alumni reflections on their early career outcomes

Introduction Data exist on D.C.’s public and public charter school students’ high school graduation rates and student’s enrollment in postsecondary education six months after graduation. But beyond that six-month mark, in terms of publicly available data the picture goes dark: there is very little qualitative or quantitative information on early career outcomes…

November 10, 2021 | Emilia Calma

How feeder patterns influence school decisions in D.C.

Many of D.C.’s public school students change schools at some point between pre-kindergarten and grade 12, transferring into a different feeder pattern. At the final transition point, which is between 8th and 9th grade, the most popular school-to-school feeder pattern in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) system is Wilson High…

November 4, 2021 | Chelsea Coffin

The D.C. region’s transition to clean energy

In April, President Biden set a national greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50-52 percent of 2005 emissions levels by 2030. Meeting this goal will require the U.S. electricity sector to source 80 percent of its generation from carbon-free energy sources by 2030, with President Biden setting a further target of 100…

October 14, 2021 | Evan Bennett,

Examining office to residential conversions in the District

Employment centers in the District of Columbia have long been a source of economic activity and city revenue. Office buildings not only bring in businesses that pay corporate franchise taxes, but they also bring in workers, create employment for those who staff these buildings, and support surrounding retail and restaurants. The historically…

October 7, 2021 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia,

Observed disparities between 911 calls and crash reports

In D.C., the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is responsible for planning and building the city’s transportation infrastructure, including where bicycle lanes, crosswalks, and safety features are installed. When making decisions about public infrastructure investments, DDOT relies on public crash data provided by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to understand where crashes happen in…

October 5, 2021 | Emilia Calma,

2021 State of Business: What risks and opportunities exist as the District builds back from COVID-19?

Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented burdens on the District’s residents, establishments, and economy. As businesses were forced to adjust to a new way of operating under a rapid shutdown of the city and the nation, the pandemic induced a historic spike in unemployment, with…

October 4, 2021 | D.C. Policy Center

The District’s business incentives should target its comparative advantages

Introduction Over the last four decades, deindustrialization, automation, trade with China, the rise of the tech economy, and industry concentration have all contributed to the country’s regional divergence in economic prosperity. A 2019 Brookings report found that 90 percent of growth in high-tech jobs happened in just five metropolitan areas–Boston, San Francisco,…

September 15, 2021 |

D.C. public schools’ plans for instruction in school year 2020-21

In October 2020, all 67 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the District submitted their Continuous Education and School Recovery Plans (CEPs), providing information on what changes they were aiming to implement during school year 2020-21 to best serve their students. The plans were mandated by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)…

July 27, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani

The declining importance of commute times

Housing prices—especially the price of single-family homes—in the Washington metro region have increased rapidly since COVID-related restrictions were first implemented in March of 2020. The House Price Index (data, methodology) compiled by Federal Housing Finance Agency, shows that single-family home prices (including the appraised values for both purchased and refinanced homes) in the…

July 23, 2021 | Yesim Sayin

Who is providing COVID-19 care in the Washington Metropolitan Area?

Since March 2020, over 33 million people have contracted COVID-19 in the United States.[1] Compared to the national average and many other large metropolitan areas, D.C. fared relatively well, with a case rate of 6,996 per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 10,140 per 100,000 people.[2],[3] While many elements contributed to D.C….

July 21, 2021 | Igor Geyn,

What is happening to the District’s personal income tax base?

The D.C. Council is considering various proposals to increase income taxes on high-income earners. Supporters argue that a tax hike is necessary to meet needs like childcare and reducing homelessness. But paying for a good cause and public support for higher taxes are only tangentially related to what constitutes good tax policy.

July 19, 2021 | Yesim Sayin

D.C. Voices: Social studies standards in D.C.’s public schools

In July 2020, the District of Columbia State Board of Education (DC SBOE), in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), created the Social Studies Standards Advisory Committee to review and update the District’s social studies curriculum. These standards were last revised in 2006. The goal of this…

July 14, 2021 | Ava Lundell

Landscape of student engagement during the pandemic

One year after schools physically closed on March 16, 2020,[1] an estimated 88 percent of students in the District of Columbia were still learning from home[2], as most programs for students in kindergarten to grade 12 remained virtual through the end of the fall 2020 semester and start of the spring 2021…

July 6, 2021 | Yanesia Norris

Births and international in-migration maintain the District’s population 15-year population growth

The U.S. Census Bureau’s recently-released estimates of components of population changes (April 2010 to July 2020) show that the District’s population total rose to 712,816 between 2019 and 2020—a gain 4,563 new residents. This gain is approximately a third of the average annual change seen in the first half of this decade….

June 24, 2021 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

D.C. Voices: Professional development for teachers in summer 2021

In focus groups conducted by the D.C. Policy Center in August 2020, some teachers reported that when D.C.’s public and public charter schools transitioned to distance learning in March, they didn’t have the tools they needed to design and deliver virtual lesson plans. They didn’t know how to best engage students in…

June 24, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani

D.C. Voices: Spending federal ESSER funds

To help schools and students cope with the extreme challenges created by COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Education awarded three rounds of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. These grants were given to states to assist schools and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on elementary…

May 27, 2021 | Chelsea Coffin

The long view for the District’s budget: What is awaiting the District in Fiscal Year 2022 and beyond

COVID-19 related federal legislation and administrative actions have provided an unprecedented amount of federal funding for the District of Columbia. The American Rescue Plan Act alone—the latest in a series of federal legislative initiatives—is delivering the District $2.2 billion in operating expenditure support, $107 million for COVID-19 related capital expenditures, $386 million…

May 13, 2021 | Yesim Sayin

Outcomes for high school students during the pandemic

High school students in D.C. have been especially impacted by the pandemic. In an EmpowerK12 survey of 2,500 public charter school students, high schoolers’ responses indicated that they were the least confident in their ability to succeed during distance learning compared to students in other grade bands.[i] Although some have thrived in…

May 12, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani

D.C. Voices: Summer 2021 programming to address learning loss and student well-being

For students at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), and many public charter schools, the 2020-21 school year will end on or around June 24, 2021.  After the academic year ends, many students will participate in summer programs to address reduced learning and socialization over the last year. In 2017, at least…

May 5, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani

D.C.’s adult learners during the pandemic: Results from a Fall 2020 survey

The disproportionate health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 health pandemic have been widely documented. In Washington, D.C., adult learners suddenly found themselves pivoting to virtual learning while simultaneously navigating heightened concerns about their employment, health, and housing. In May 2020, adult charter schools in D.C. conducted a survey of learners to…

May 4, 2021 | ,

The case for creating a local talent pipeline in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia and the greater Washington metropolitan area have always been great places to live and work. High wages, high quality of life, and a stable hiring environment with a depth of talent has attracted workers from all parts of the nation and all corners of the world. Data from…

April 29, 2021 | Emilia Calma,

D.C. Voices: Lessons learned after a year of virtual instruction

On March 24, 2020 – exactly one year ago – D.C. public schools and many public charter schools began their first day of distance learning. The D.C. Policy Center’s State of D.C. Schools report documents how students, parents, and teachers (representing the most directly impacted groups) experienced this transition to virtual instruction.[i]…

March 25, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani,

The establishment puzzle (and what it could mean for recovery) in the District of Columbia

The District has lost many jobs but added many businesses. Between September of 2019 and September of 2020, private sector employment in the District of Columbia declined by 12.6 percent (or 68,000 jobs lost), and wages earned in the third quarter of 2020 were 2.7 percent below where they were a year…

March 23, 2021 | Yesim Sayin

Challenges outside of school for D.C.’s students and families during the pandemic

Health The health impacts of the pandemic have been concentrated among Black and Latino residents, likely related to unequal access to healthcare and essential work status across race and ethnicity lines, among other factors. As of February 15, 2021, residents of Wards 7 and 8 accounted for 28 percent of the District’s…

March 9, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani,

Inequalities in health care need and demand across the District

The public health emergency caused by COVID-19 has increased scrutiny on the District of Columbia’s health care system. Does D.C. have adequate health care workforce capacity to handle the health care need and health care demand of its residents during this pandemic? If not, what supply gaps exist, and what impact do…

February 17, 2021 | Molloy Sheehan,

Economic characteristics across D.C., students, and COVID-19

Most students in the District of Columbia have been learning from home since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020. School closures have likely been more challenging for students living in low-income households than for those in higher income households – households in Wards 7 and 8 are less likely than…

February 11, 2021 | Yanesia Norris

D.C. Voices: School priorities for the District’s new research-practice partnership

What does a successful research-practice partnership look like? In 2018, the D.C. Council enacted legislation to create a research-practice partnership (RPP) in support of actionable, independent research for the District’s education sector. An education research-practice partnership is a collaborative engagement between researchers and education agencies that aims to identify paths for continued…

February 4, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani,

D.C. Voices: Data suggest a decline in routine vaccinations during COVID-19

In D.C., students are required to receive certain vaccines to attend school,[1] a practice that increases community protections against potentially life-threatening diseases. However, data show that routine vaccination rates among kindergarteners in D.C. are declining, and had been even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 school years, the…

January 14, 2021 | Tanaz Meghjani

Detailed data show the full picture of jobs retained by PPP loans in the District

In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, on December 1, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released additional details regarding the loans received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including recipient names as well as exact loan amounts. In contrast, the previous disclosure included only loan ranges for loans…

December 16, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

D.C. Voices: Transitioning to postsecondary school or the workforce during the pandemic

The public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19 have created additional challenges for students who are navigating the transition from high school to postsecondary school or to the workforce. High school seniors in spring 2020 found it difficult to visit schools, complete the necessary tests, apply for financial aid, and discuss…

December 3, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani

Executive Summary: How would the “Reclaim Rent Control” proposals change the District’s rental housing landscape?

The D.C. Council is considering six separate bills that would amend the District’s rent control laws. Among these six, B23-873, the Rent Stabilization Program Reform and Expansion Amendment Act of 2020, which reflects the policy proposals of the “Reclaim Rent Control” platform, offers the most comprehensive and sweeping changes, affecting every aspect…

November 8, 2020 | Yesim Sayin

D.C. Voices: How can we safely and successfully transition to in-person learning?

As the District takes steps to identify what changes need to be made to safely and successfully transition back to in-person learning, the D.C. Policy Center reached out to school leaders, parents, teachers, and students to ask: In short term, what changes would make students, teachers, and staff feel safe attending school in person? What academic and socio-emotional supports would ensure student success? What about in the medium and long-term?

November 5, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani,

COVID-era health care workforce capacity in Washington, D.C.

While D.C. has been successful in keeping its COVID-19 viral reproductive number low, it has nonetheless consistently had 20-80 daily new cases since July. This low-level, ongoing crisis begs the question, what kinds of challenges does COVID-19 bring to bear on the District of Columbia? Is the District equipped with the physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other providers needed to meet this public health crisis? Does D.C. have adequate health care workforce capacity to handle the health care need and demand of its residents during the pandemic? What supply gaps exist, and what impacts do those gaps have on residents?

November 2, 2020 | Molloy Sheehan,

The geography of environmental toxins in the District of Columbia

Living in a toxin-free environment is essential to people’s mental and physical health. Being exposed to chemicals from pollution in soil, air, and water has wide ranging health effects including acute asthma symptoms, hormone disruption, decreased mental ability, and cancer. A U.S. national environmental quality index determined that there are over 30…

October 15, 2020 | Emilia Calma

Road to recovery: What we have learned from other cities’ and states’ responses to COVID-19

Introduction October marks the seventh month of closures and job losses due to COVID-19. To combat the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, many jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, have implemented emergency measures; adopted short-term policies to cushion the initial shocks, and are now looking for longer-term policies to aid…

October 6, 2020 | Emilia Calma,

The impact of COVID-19 on D.C.’s adult learners: Results from a Spring 2020 survey

Washington, D.C. is one of the highest-earning, most educated cities in the country, yet almost 20 percent of families with children under 18 live below the poverty line and 45,000 adult residents do not have a high school diploma. Adult-serving public charter schools in D.C. reduce these disparities by working with adult learners to put them on a path toward economic prosperity.

September 30, 2020 |

D.C. Voices: Distance learning supports for students with disabilities and English learners

The shift to distance learning last spring created access and language barriers for some of D.C.’s most vulnerable students, including students with disabilities and English learners. In this installment of our D.C. Voices series, we asked, how are schools serving students with disabilities and English learners during distance learning this fall? What lessons were learned last spring?

September 23, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani

District residents are beginning to rejoin the labor force

New data released by the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) show that between May and July, D.C. saw a slight growth in its labor force and employment, as well as a marginal decrease in unemployment. Between May and July, labor force participation increased by 5,300 workers over age 16…

September 8, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

D.C. Voices: Rebooting distance learning

On July 30, 2020, Mayor Bowser announced that D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) would begin the 2020-21 school year entirely virtually. Most public charter schools have made similar decisions, including the city’s two largest charter networks: KIPP DC PCS and Friendship PCS. This virtual start will follow a shortened 2019-2020 school year that…

August 27, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani

Paycheck Protection Program in D.C.: Hard-hit industries receive a smaller share of loans

From its conception, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) attracted a lot of attention. The PPP loans were thought of as lifelines for small businesses that have taken large losses from the pandemic-induced economic shocks. By providing sums of money to cash-strapped businesses, PPP loans were intended to allow small businesses to keep their employees on the payroll. Importantly, it was advertised that businesses that could demonstrate need and spend the loans mainly on preserving they employees would be able to convert these loans into grants.

August 19, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia,

D.C. Voices: What factors are parents weighing as they make enrollment decisions for their children?

On July 30, 2020, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that public schools in the District would start the academic year virtually and remain that way until November 6, 2020. This announcement does not apply to the city’s public charter schools, which educate nearly half of the city’s public school students. While a…

August 11, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani

Racial Equity Evaluation of Residential Property Assessments in the District of Columbia

A recent working paper released by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth (WCEG) —and covered by the Washington Post on July 2—found that Black and Hispanic homeowners pay a higher effective tax on their homes when compared to what white homeowners pay on comparable homes, because Black- and Hispanic-owned homes are assessed…

August 11, 2020 | Yesim Sayin,

Update: Diversity in D.C.’s public schools, 2018-19

Within schools, student diversity is low in the District of Columbia. The 2018 D.C. Policy Center report, Landscape of Diversity in D.C.’s Public Schools, looked at data from the 2016-17 school year and found that there was less racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public…

July 30, 2020 | Chelsea Coffin

D.C. Voices: Sustainability of D.C. child care facilities during the pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, households with children are more likely to face loss of employment income than households without children nationwide. This is likely due to parents having to give up jobs or reduce their hours to shoulder the additional responsibilities of educating and caring for their children without outside help. Until…

July 15, 2020 | Chelsea Coffin

Labor force participation continues to decline in the District

According to preliminary data released by the D.C. Department Employment Services, the District’s labor force declined by 15,000 between April and May, in addition to a 18,000 decline between March and April, and now stands at 387,500. Between April and May, 2,300 residents lost their jobs, and employment fell to 353,200. The…

July 14, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

Tax policy under the District’s new “fiscal normal”

COVID-19 has dramatically altered the District of Columbia’s fiscal picture. The CFO’s updated revenue estimates tell us that it will take the city at least two years to gain back the deep losses incurred in a matter of two months. When these numbers are adjusted for inflation, we see that recovery will take even…

June 16, 2020 | Yesim Sayin

D.C. Voices: How will facilities and operations adapt when schools reopen?

On May 22, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that D.C. Public Schools would begin its next school year on August 31. Public charter schools are determining their start dates independently, but it’s likely that some will align their calendars with DCPS. It remains uncertain whether students will attend school in-person, learn virtually,…

June 11, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani,

Pandemic-induced unemployment has hit the District’s Hispanic, Latino, and younger workers more intensely

On Friday, May 22, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly data on employment and unemployment for states and metropolitan areas. These data show that unemployment rate in the District of Columbia now stands at 11.1 percent—the highest rate seen in recent history. The city reached this level of unemployment with…

May 26, 2020 | Yesim Sayin

Reopening and recovery will look different across the District of Columbia

Both during and after, the COVID-19 pandemic is going to widen existing inequities in Washington, D.C. Despite the heavily repeated mantra that pandemics are “a great equalizer” that we all must face together, mounting evidence confirms that infection and death rates are anything but equal. Per capita, the number of COVID-19 cases…

May 20, 2020 | Evan Bennett

D.C. Voices: Teacher retention and recruitment during the pandemic

Teacher quality is the most influential school-level contributor to student achievement,[i] which means retaining effective teachers is an essential component of improving student learning. Amid the challenges of distance learning during COVID-19, retaining teachers might also provide students with much-needed stability as teachers can build on their pre-existing relationships with students to…

May 19, 2020 | Chelsea Coffin,

2020 Census self-response rates in the Washington, D.C. region

About 95 percent of U.S. households will fill out their 2020 Census information using forms mailed to their house that they will reply to via the internet, phone or mail. In the Washington D.C. region, the self-response rate from these forms varies greatly depending on location, density, race, population and income. What…

May 18, 2020 |

How COVID-19 is affecting nonprofits in the D.C. area

The nonprofit and advocacy sector in the District of Columbia employs over 70,000 employees.[1] While some of these organizations are focused on national policy, local nonprofits play an important role in service delivery—from out-of-school time programs, to community collectives providing services to the most vulnerable residents. The D.C. Policy Center implemented a…

May 7, 2020 | Yesim Sayin

How many small businesses are in D.C.?

Recently, many people were surprised that much of the “small business relief” in the federal CARES Act was received by large publicly owned companies. While later guidance from the U.S. Treasury clarified that these types of businesses were not the intended target of the program, and many national chains have returned their…

May 5, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

D.C. Voices: Mental health supports during school closures

After declaring a public health emergency for the District of Columbia on March 11th, 2020, Mayor Bowser closed non-essential businesses and issued a stay at home order, requiring residents to socially distance from those outside their households. Schools closed two days later. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new health concerns for many,…

May 4, 2020 | Chelsea Coffin,

How COVID-19 is affecting small businesses in D.C.

The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been dramatic and unprecedented, as cities and countries shut down large swaths of their economies to control the spread of the virus, and consumer demand has fallen due to stay-at-home orders, rising unemployment, and general economic uncertainty. As previous recessions and other economic shocks…

April 30, 2020 | Kathryn Zickuhr

COVID-19: At-risk populations in the District

With the  novel coronavirus continuing to spread across the nation, the impacts have been uneven, both in terms of who is more likely to be exposed to the virus, and in terms of who is most likely to experience serious complications. These high-risk groups include adults over 65 years of age, as…

April 27, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia,

How D.C. is responding to COVID-19 (Updated)

Note: D.C. updates on the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 are available at This article was originally published on March 25, 2020. We will continue to update it as needed as the District’s response to the situation evolves. For more, see our frequently updated timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic and…

April 23, 2020 | D.C. Policy Center

D.C. Voices: The challenges of distance learning

In response to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, educators in D.C. have had to confront the daunting task of virtually teaching almost a hundred thousand students. It’s crucial to continue supporting schools in navigating this transition, but it’s also important to recognize that distance learning cannot provide the same experience as traditional schooling….

April 21, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani

The District’s population grows for the 14th year in a row, but at a weaker rate

According to the latest population estimates released by the Census Bureau, D.C.’s population grew by just 4,202 residents last year, which is only 37 percent of the average annual growth since 2010. Almost all of this net growth—91 percent—is due to natural growth, or the number of births minus the number of…

April 15, 2020 | Sunaina Bakshi Kathpalia

Initial national and state education policy changes in response to COVID-19

Across the country 46 states[1], including the District of Columbia, have closed schools. Beginning on March 16th, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) closed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and will remain closed through at least April 24th, following the Mayor’s declaration of a public health emergency. Public charter schools in…

March 30, 2020 | Chelsea Coffin,

These provisions of the federal COVID-19 legislation support and supplement state unemployment programs

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) is the latest round of federal relief packages to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Following on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provided sick leave and expanded FMLA for those affected by COVID-19, the CARES Act was passed by the Senate late…

March 26, 2020 | Yesim Sayin,

COVID-19 pandemic and the District of Columbia: What to expect?

For two weeks, we have been watching our lives, our economy, and our government dramatically change with the actions we need to take to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is increasing consensus on the possibility of a deep global recession as the reduced economic activity in the service sector…

March 24, 2020 |

A timeline of the D.C. region’s COVID-19 pandemic

This article was originally published on March 24, 2019. It was last updated April 22, 2020. The outbreak of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated COVID-19) has made tens of thousands of people worldwide (and counting) sick, with thousands dead and the crisis deepening daily. Officials have declared the disease a worldwide…

March 24, 2020 | Aimee Custis

Resources for the D.C. student and education community to stay informed and safe as COVID-19 spreads

Everyday life in Washington D.C. metropolitan area and beyond is on hold, including for students, educators, and their families and caregivers. Many are sharing guidance on how we can best adjust to the new normal. Below are resources compiled by our Education Policy Initiative that may be useful. The D.C. Policy Center…

March 18, 2020 | Chelsea Coffin,

New business formation and survival across the Washington metropolitan region

The Washington metropolitan area is one of the top regions in the country for entrepreneurship, but within the metropolitan area, jurisdictions experience different outcomes. The decisions they make affect the flow of businesses, workers, and residents across their borders, and these forces are constantly shifting: The District has seen significant economic and…

March 11, 2020 | Yesim Sayin

Student achievement is on the rise, but critical gaps persist

The D.C. Policy Center’s State of D.C. Schools, 2018-19 report highlighted where D.C.’s traditional public and public charter schools have made progress as well as where targeted improvements are still necessary. Learning outcomes can be examined in the same way – student achievement on D.C.’s state assessment is on the rise, but large…

March 5, 2020 | Tanaz Meghjani

When students don’t feel safe in the neighborhood: How can schools help?

In D.C., a large share of children and youth up to age 17 are likely to be exposed to traumatic events: 21.3 percent have been exposed to an adverse childhood experience, including an estimated 9 percent who have been a victim or witness to neighborhood violence. Community violence often happens without warning, which can cause feelings of sudden, horrifying shock and loss of control and safety. It involves intentional acts to harm others, which can lead to feelings of extreme mistrust of others and powerlessness.

March 3, 2020 | Yunsoo Park

The regional transit proposals that predated Metro, from express buses to monorails

The Washington region today seems unimaginable without Metro, but the system we have today was hardly inevitable. Initial proposals for a subway system date back to the FDR administration, when the federal government’s expansion during the New Deal and World War II led to an increase in the District’s population. It still…

February 24, 2020 |

What is the impact of fare evasion in D.C.?

WMATA has estimated a consistent fare evasion rate of 5 percent on Metrorail based on peer systems and industry averages. Its estimates of fare evasion on Metrobuses, as reported by operators’ farebox reports, has risen sharply over the past four years. However, it is unclear if the increase in fare evasion reports on Metrobus reflects a rising number of unpaid trips, or is related to increasing implementation of fare evasion measurement methods or other issues.

February 20, 2020 | Kathryn Zickuhr

Where the Washington region achieves walkable density

Population density can say a lot about an urban environment, and it’s often used as a signal of how walkable a place is. But common density measures don’t truly capture how easy it is to walk from one location to another. Transit planners often approximate “walking distance” as half a mile. If…

February 19, 2020 |

What D.C. schools need to do to tackle chronic absenteeism

In the two years since a graduation controversy at Ballou High School exposed a serious student absenteeism problem across the city, D.C.’s traditional public schools and many of its public charter schools have deployed  numerous interventions to improve attendance. Extensive evidence suggests that absenteeism undermines learning, beginning in very early grades. National…

February 13, 2020 | Phyllis Jordan

How the spatial distribution of education levels in the region has changed since 1970

Previously: How the D.C. area’s population density has changed since 1970; How household incomes in the D.C. area have changed since 1980; How the region’s racial and ethnic demographics have changed since 1970 In November, I found that the spatial distribution of wealth in the D.C. area has remained relatively constant over…

January 14, 2020 |

How the region’s racial and ethnic demographics have changed since 1970

Previously: How the D.C. area’s population density has changed since 1970; How household incomes in the D.C. area have changed since 1980 Today, the Washington region is known for having very diverse suburbs, including Prince George’s County, the largest suburban county with a majority of Black residents in the country. However, 50…

January 13, 2020 |

New database of D.C. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)

D.C.’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) process allows developers to gain additional height and density for a project (beyond what they could build matter of right) in exchange for delivering additional public benefits back to the community. The specific level and types of benefits are driven by a conversation with the community, generally…

December 19, 2019 | Nick Sementelli

Roughly 36 percent of D.C.’s rental housing units are rent-stabilized

Over 35 years after the enactment of the Rental Housing Act of 1985, the number of rent-stabilized units in D.C. has held up relatively well. According to D.C. Policy Center estimates based on publicly available tax data and proprietary data from CoStar, D.C. currently has close to 75,000 rent-stabilized housing units spread…

December 4, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

How household incomes in the D.C. area have changed since 1980

Although the spatial distribution of wealth in the D.C. area has remained relatively constant over the past 40 years, with the richest neighborhoods stretching to the northwest on both banks of the Potomac and the poorest neighborhoods inside the Beltway east of 16th Street NW, the number of very rich and very…

November 13, 2019 |

The impact of occupational licensing requirements in D.C.

The District of Columbia has many factors in its favor making it attractive to workers: high average wages, a variety of employer benefits, strong worker protections, and relatively short commute times. At the same time, the concentration of D.C.’s employment opportunities in high-skill, high-paying jobs means that there are few opportunities for…

November 12, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

Hate Crimes in D.C.

2018 was a record setting year for hate crimes in the District of Columbia, and the number reported continues to rise this year: 108 hate crimes were reported to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) during the first half of 2019, 30 percent more than the same period for last year.[1] About half…

November 6, 2019 | Shirin Arslan

D.C. is hard to count. Here’s where officials could target efforts for the 2020 Census.

There’s a lot riding on the 2020 Census. The federal government uses census data to allocate more than $6 billion in annual funding to the District of Columbia for Medicaid, schools, food assistance and dozens of other programs. Across the Washington metropolitan area, the same population totals and decennial count results further…

November 4, 2019 | Mike Maciag

D.C. is behind the rest of metropolitan area in business ownership rates for women

October is National Women’s Small Business Month. Only 8 percent of business establishments in the District of Columbia with five or more employees are owned by women, as we wrote in the 2019 State of Business report. D.C. has lower shares of businesses owned by women than almost any other jurisdiction in…

October 30, 2019 | Kathryn Zickuhr,

New D.C. education data show how school choice plays out across wards

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s Greater DC blog.   D.C.’s school choice policies allow families to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood boundaries, and more than three-quarters of D.C. students attend a school that isn’t their in-boundary or neighborhood school. Some of those students go to school…

October 25, 2019 | Megan Gallagher,

Land Value Tax – Appendix

How did we use the zoning standards to determine where zoning is restrictive or permissive? D.C.’s zoning standards are complicated. Each zone under the standards allow for multiple types of buildings. Some of the distinctions in building type have to do with use (is it a church or a house?), some with…

October 21, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

Land Value Tax: Can it Work in the District?

The idea of imposing a “land value tax” in the District pops up from time to time. Rick Rybeck at Just Economics has been promoting land value taxes for as far as I could remember. Both the 2013 Tax Revision Commission (here) and the 1997 Tax Revision Commission (here) gave consideration to…

October 21, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

More difficult to get a spot at D.C.’s leveler schools

The recent D.C. Policy Center report, Access to schools that level the playing field for D.C.’s at-risk students, examined where in the city at-risk students have the shortest commutes to “leveler schools”—schools with the very highest growth for at-risk students.[1] About a third of the population under 18 lives within a typical…

October 17, 2019 | Chelsea Coffin

How can D.C. become more competitive within the Washington metropolitan area?

This article is adapted from the 2019 State of the Business Report, “Building a Competitive City: Strengths, weaknesses, and potential paths of growth for the District of Columbia,” prepared by the D.C. Policy Center for the DC Chamber of Commerce.     INTRODUCTION: INTRA-REGIONAL DYNAMICS IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria,…

October 4, 2019 | D.C. Policy Center

Access to schools that level the playing field for D.C.’s at-risk students

Test scores have improved for D.C. students in recent years, even taking into account demographic shifts in the city’s public school students.[1] However, achievement gaps persist by race and ethnicity, special education and English learner needs, and at-risk status. Access to high-quality schools—schools with strong academic outcomes and the student support systems…

September 30, 2019 | Chelsea Coffin

Even for early grades, there is a weak link between where families live and where students attend school

Since the mid-2000s, the District of Columbia has experienced a population boom accompanied by rising housing values—and, in recent years, more students in public schools. In most cities with similar population growth, housing prices rise in tandem with the number of school-age children in neighborhoods with schools that are perceived as high-quality….

September 26, 2019 | Chelsea Coffin

Building the ecosystem for Black women entrepreneurs in D.C.

Black women across the U.S. are starting businesses at six times the national average. According to a 2018 report commissioned by American Express, there are 2.4 million businesses owned by Black women nationally, and Black women actually have higher shares of business ownership than Black men.[1] Yet at the same time, Black…

September 5, 2019 | Shelly Bell

D.C.’s disconnect between enrollment growth and neighborhood change

The D.C. Policy Center report “D.C.’s disconnect between citywide enrollment growth and neighborhood change” examines changes in enrollment, school-age population, and housing values, finding that although these three are growing in parallel for the city, they are not linked neighborhood by neighborhood. Download the report as a PDF here. The District of…

August 26, 2019 | Chelsea Coffin

Transportation is more than traffic: Measuring the impact of development on walkability

D.C. has expanded the way it evaluates developments’ impact on walkability. What does that mean, why does it matter, and how could the evaluation be even more nuanced?   Major real estate developments change the walkability of a neighborhood. Not only do new developments create new destinations that people walk to, they…

August 15, 2019 | D. Taylor Reich

D.C. single family neighborhood density: Ward 3 versus Ward 6

Ward 3 and Ward 6 both include some of the most highly-valued residential neighborhoods in the District. Both are predominately composed of single-family homes, as shown in the maps above, yet the look and feel of each ward is strikingly different. Most of Ward 3 (shown in blue in the chart below)…

July 29, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

How the D.C. area’s population density has changed since 1970

Historical distributions of population in the D.C. metro area   D.C.’s population growth has slowed since the 2009 boom ten years ago, but the population still continues to climb. In December, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that D.C.’s population reached 702,455, officially passing the 700,000 mark. As District Measured has noted, D.C.’s…

July 24, 2019 |

Single-family zoning and neighborhood characteristics in the District of Columbia

Last December, Minneapolis did away with single-family zoning, permitting three-family homes in each lot, abolishing parking minimums, and allowing high-density buildings along transit corridors. In March, Seattle upzoned many of its neighborhoods, including eliminating single-family zoning in some areas. Then came Oregon, which, in late June, passed legislation to eliminate single-family zoning…

July 17, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

The history and evolution of Anacostia’s Barry Farm

In 1867, the federal government purchased a 375-acre site in Anacostia, later known as Hillsdale, and as Barry’s or Barry Farm (more recently as Barry Farms) for the settlement of African Americans after the Civil War. The isolated community was self-contained by design, requiring residents not only to demand the installation of…

July 9, 2019 | Sarah Shoenfeld

New survey data show D.C. employment is underperforming compared to the region

Last week, we published an analysis of employment trends in the region based on administrative data firms file with the Unemployment Insurance program, known as the Quarterly Survey of Employment and Wages (QSEW). This analysis showed that in 2018, the District outperformed the surrounding jurisdictions in employment. On June 21, the Bureau of…

June 28, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

Growing labor demand in D.C. is driving up wages

Recent reports increasingly point to a slowdown in the Washington regional economy, slower hiring in the District, and stronger private sector employment in the city. A deeper dive into jurisdictional differences across the metropolitan Washington area show that the District’s role in the region as an employment center is indeed growing. When…

June 19, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

Pharmacy access varies greatly across D.C.

The D.C. Council spent a significant amount of time discussing health access, especially access to hospitals, during budget deliberations this past month. We wondered: how does access to pharmacies—one of the simplest and most basic form of health care—vary across the city?   Pharmacies are an important link between hospitals, doctors, and patients. Pharmacies can expand the reach of preventative services in communities with less access to…

June 3, 2019 | Yesim Sayin,

Enrollment still expected to increase despite slower population growth in D.C.

Population growth in the District of Columbia is slowing and migration patterns are changing. Population growth in 2018 was 2,400 lower than the previous year (growth of 6,764 in 2018 compared to 9,116 in 2017).[1] While D.C.’s growth used to be driven in part by domestic migration, the District’s current population gains…

May 20, 2019 | Chelsea Coffin

The history of Deanwood’s local foodscape

In an excerpt from her new book Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ashanté M. Reese examines the history of the majority-Black Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. to unpack the structural forces that determine food access in urban areas. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, Reese not only documents racism and residential segregation in the nation’s capital but also tracks the ways transnational food corporations have shaped food availability.

May 20, 2019 |

The District’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget is a Harbinger of Great Fiscal Reckoning

The headlines from the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget for the District of Columbia include $127.9 million in net new revenue, largely—but not entirely—raised from commercial real property. The administration rationalized these new taxes as asking the real estate sector to share the “upside,” and pay for investments in housing affordability in…

April 24, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

Mapping segregation in D.C.

For the past several years, Mapping Segregation in Washington DC has been documenting the historic role of real estate developers, citizens associations (white homeowner groups), and the courts in segregating the city. Our work has been focused on documenting properties subject to racially restrictive deed covenants, which barred the sale or rental…

April 23, 2019 | Sarah Shoenfeld

Race and real estate in mid-century D.C.

This article is adapted from “Teachable Moment: ‘Blockbusting’ and Racial Turnover in Mid-Century D.C.,” which originally appeared in Washington History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Fall 2018), published by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and is reprinted and adapted with permission. Many of the documents discussed in this article can be viewed…

April 16, 2019 | Sarah Shoenfeld

The rise and demise of racially restrictive covenants in Bloomingdale

This article is adapted from “‘A Strictly White Residential Section’: The Rise and Demise of Racially Restrictive Covenants in Bloomingdale,” which originally appeared in Vol. 29, No. 1 (Spring 2017) of Washington History: Magazine of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and is reprinted and adapted here with permission. You can also…

April 3, 2019 | Sarah Shoenfeld,

Commentary: D.C.’s budget is growing at a faster pace than economic fundamentals can support

Relying on short-term revenue fixes to pay for spending increases doesn’t bode well for fair and competitive tax policy. Yet this is one of several troubling aspects of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s budget proposals now under review by the DC Council. The expenditure projections tell us a lot about the future shape of…

April 2, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

Funding sources and expenditure patterns of out-of-school time programs in D.C.

Out-of-school time programs in D.C. In 2016, an estimated 33,400 children and youth attended subsidized afterschool programs in the District of Columbia, and at least 15,000 children and youth participated in subsidized summer programs. These estimates are from a report the D.C. Policy Center published in October 2017, “Needs Assessment of Out-of-School Time…

March 29, 2019 | Yesim Sayin,

Trends in federal employment in D.C.

The evolving federal workforce and its changing role in the D.C. economy   It’s no secret that the federal government is a major employer in the Washington, D.C. area, and it likewise has an outsized effect on the District’s economy. The five-week partial federal government shutdown that ended earlier this year cost…

March 28, 2019 | Mike Maciag

Chart: Deed tax revenue in D.C.

Last night, Mayor Bowser announced that her budget proposal would increase deed recordation and transfer taxes on commercial property valued at $2 million or more, in order to generate an estimated $80 million for affordable housing in the District. The chart below shows the history of deed tax revenue in D.C. since…

March 19, 2019 | Yesim Sayin

For circumferential transit in the District, try crosstown bus lanes

This article is the seventh and final post in a series focusing on circumferential transit in the Washington, D.C. region. Read part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, and part six. While extensions to the Purple Line and rail transit along the Beltway are popular ideas for improving transit within and across the D.C….

March 19, 2019 |

Here’s where rapid bus service could best connect Maryland’s suburbs

This article is part six in a series focusing on circumferential transit in the Washington, D.C. region. Read part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five. Maryland’s suburban areas have a dearth of transit connections, but better rapid bus service could help link many parts of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. As I discussed in…

March 15, 2019 |

Northern Virginia needs better suburb-to-suburb transit. Here’s where rapid bus service could help.

This article is part four in a series focusing on circumferential transit in the Washington, D.C. region. Read part one, part two, part three, and part four. While Maryland’s Purple Line is the biggest suburb-to-suburb transit project in the region, Virginia also has a number of corridors that are good candidates for this kind of connection. Northern Virginia…

March 8, 2019 |

Why it makes sense to extend the Purple Line to Largo, but not National Harbor

This article is part four in a series focusing on circumferential transit in the Washington, D.C. region. Read part one, part two, and part three. While the idea of a Purple Line extension to Tysons Corner garners a lot of excitement among transit advocates and political leaders in the region, those in Prince George’s County tend to favor…

March 6, 2019 |

The best way to build a Purple Line link between Bethesda and Tysons Corner

This article is part three in a series focusing on circumferential transit in the Washington, D.C. region. This one deals with the possibility of extending Maryland’s Purple Line across the Potomac River to Tysons Corner. Read part one and part two. Although the Purple Line between Bethesda and New Carrollton isn’t expected to open…

March 1, 2019 |

Our region needs better suburb-to-suburb transit, but a Metro loop isn’t the best option

This post is part two in a series focusing on circumferential transit in the Washington, D.C. region. Read the first post here. The Washington region has a dearth of transit connecting its suburban areas, as I wrote in my first post in this series. Some people have latched onto the idea of extending the…

February 27, 2019 |

Beyond diversity to equitable, inclusive schools

By Laura Wilson Phelan and Lee Teitel   After centuries of exclusion and segregation within the American education system, major policy efforts in the last 60 years have focused on desegregating schools in terms of getting a diverse set of students into school buildings.  In some American cities today, desegregation also occurs…

February 26, 2019 | Guest Contributor

Why the Washington region needs better suburb-to-suburb transit

The Washington, D.C. region has one of the best transit systems in the U.S. But even when it’s working perfectly, its radial layout does a poor job connecting non-downtown destinations. In a series of posts beginning today, I’ll lay out the case for better suburb-to-suburb transit. Despite Metrorail’s recent ridership meltdown, our…

February 21, 2019 |

How can D.C. make bikesharing family-friendly?

D.C. is still a pioneer in bikesharing, but more must be done for it to be a part of families’ car-free transportation options Capital Bikeshare was one of the first successful bikesharing systems set up in the United States, and is still one of the largest systems in the country. Now the…

February 14, 2019 |

Racial and ethnic diversity over time in D.C.’s schools

One key finding of the recent D.C. Policy Center report “Landscape of Diversity in D.C. Public Schools: What Does School Diversity Look Like in D.C.?” was that racial and ethnic diversity is low in the city’s public schools,[1] even considering the composition of D.C.’s students – individual schools were less diverse than the public…

February 6, 2019 | Chelsea Coffin

Battling Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

On the surface, D.C.’s economy is thriving. But this is not the case for all residents. D.C. is among the most racially segregated cities in the country, which could be one reason why so much of the prosperity in the Northwest never seems to make it to the Southeast. Housing, education, and…

January 24, 2019 |

No Guarantee of a Seat at D.C.’s Most Racially Diverse Schools

How easy is it to get a seat at D.C.’s most diverse schools? This blog post examines the relationship between diversity scores and waitlists as a follow up to the D.C. Policy Center report, Landscape of Diversity in D.C. Public Schools. Racial and ethnic diversity in D.C.’s traditional public and public charter…

December 20, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

What does school diversity look like in D.C.?

The D.C. Policy Center report “Landscape of Diversity in D.C. Public Schools: What Does School Diversity Look Like in D.C.?” presents a snapshot of racial and ethnic diversity as well as economic diversity in D.C.’s public schools, characteristics of D.C.’s most diverse schools, and how diversity has changed in recent years. Only…

December 17, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

Made in D.C.: Which areas have the highest share of D.C.-born residents

The District has always been home to a large contingent of transplants. Some of these new residents never leave, while others remain here for only a short period of time. D.C.-born residents have never accounted for a large majority of the city’s population, but the past decade of sharp population growth has…

December 13, 2018 | Mike Maciag

How big of a deal is Amazon HQ2 for the D.C. Metropolitan Region?

On October 23, the Washingtonian published an alarmist article on what receiving Amazon HQ2 could mean for the region: a massive housing shortage. The underlying analysis is a brief one produced by the Urban Institute. Though striking a much more positive tone than the coverage by the Washingtonian suggests, the Urban Institute…

November 5, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

Tax practices that amplify racial inequities: Property tax treatment of owner-occupied housing

Housing is the great stage on which a city is built. Housing defines how residents share the wealth created by a city and how they access its assets and amenities. Population growth and demographic changes make their imprints through the housing market, shaped by how quickly supply responds to changes in demand….

October 24, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

Discriminatory housing practices in the District: A brief history

The landscape for today’s racial disparities in income, wealth, and home ownership, as well as the patterns of segregation and underinvestment, follow from a long history of public and private practices that have discriminated against Black communities and other communities of color. We take a brief look at this history in the 20th century through today in order to provide context for discussions of present-day practices.

October 24, 2018 | Kathryn Zickuhr

Racial Equity in D.C.: Introduction from The Consumer Health Foundation and the Meyer Foundation

By Yanique Redwood, PhD, MPH, and Nicky Goren The Consumer Health Foundation and the Meyer Foundation jointly commissioned papers on racial equity by the D.C. Policy Center, an independent policy think tank partially supported by the District’s business community. We took this step because the momentum around racial equity has been increasing…

October 18, 2018 | Guest Contributor

D.C.’s shadow rental market

When we discuss the District’s rental housing supply, those discussions usually center on units in apartment buildings, as opposed to units that are rented out by their owners. However, in the District of Columbia, units rented out by their owners—often referred to as the shadow rental market—account for a significant portion of the…

October 10, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

Synthetics: The next chapter in the D.C. region’s drug crisis

America’s drug problem continues to evolve in startling and dangerous ways, and the District of Columbia remains at the forefront of those changes. Drug overdose continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States; according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control, the national death toll…

October 3, 2018 | Matthew Pembleton

School-age population likely to grow most outside the Wilson High School boundary

Where is the school-age population likely to live? This post examines population forecasts and housing prices to highlight areas of the city that could see a growth in the population aged 3-17 as a follow up to the D.C. Policy Center report, Will Children of Millennials Become Future Public School Students?. If…

September 27, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

Future enrollment is likely to grow in upper grades

How will enrollment in D.C.’s public schools grow? This blog post examines which grade bands are expected to grow the most over the next ten years as a follow up to the D.C. Policy Center report, Will Children of Millennials Become Future Public School Students?. Public school enrollment in D.C. has been…

September 25, 2018 |

Two drivers of D.C.’s public school enrollment increase

Why has enrollment in D.C.’s public schools grown? This blog post examines births and cohorts staying in schools at higher rates over time as two drivers of enrollment growth to follow up on the D.C. Policy Center report, Will Children of Millennials Become Future Public School Students?. Enrollment in D.C. traditional public…

September 20, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

How D.C.’s Young Families May Shape Public School Enrollment

The D.C. Policy Center report “Will Children of Current Millennials Become Future Public School Students?: How D.C.’s Young Families May Shape Future Public School Enrollment” examines births and public school enrollment by cohort, and estimates that public school enrollment in the District of Columbia may grow by as many as 21,100 students…

September 18, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

Concentrated Poverty – The Critical Mass

Many sociologists have described the effects of concentrated poverty, but in speaking about concentrated poverty to audiences around the country, I’ve found it most helpful to use an analogy from nuclear physics. All of us go through life with a certain level of stress that produces a level of background “radiation.” Usually,…

September 13, 2018 | David Rusk

Rethinking the District’s Unemployment Taxes

The District ended 2017 with $434.1 million of reserves in its Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This is the highest level of reserves the city ever accumulated; and it is equivalent to 3.8 times the benefits paid out in the same year. Despite this large reserve, tax rates, which should decline as reserves…

September 10, 2018 |

D.C.’s Startup Scene, Part II: Opportunity Costs

Previously, in D.C.’s Startup Scene, I examined employment gains made by District startups[1] across industry sectors. I found that on average, startups in certain sectors—such as Accommodation and Food, Retail, and Wholesale Trade—were making relatively faster gains in employment compared to more established firms. However, startups within some of D.C.’s strongest industries—like…

August 29, 2018 | Shirin Arslan

Obstacles to employment for returning citizens in D.C.

At least 67,000 D.C. residents—about 10 percent of the population[1]—are estimated to have a criminal conviction record, [2] and approximately 2,800 are released from incarceration annually. Even after these returning citizens are released from prison,[3] however, the consequences of their crimes continue. These former offenders continue to face hardships and challenges upon…

August 17, 2018 | Robin Selwitz

Metro’s ridership crisis in focus: The Orange Line

This year, Metrorail lost its position as the nation’s second-busiest mass transit system, with ridership numbers for 2016 and 2017 displaying consistent declines. While the Greater Washington region is not alone among American metropolitan areas in experiencing declines in transit utilization in recent years – in 2016, only Seattle, Houston, and Milwaukee…

July 26, 2018 | Ethan Finlan

The Great Sort: Part III

In “The Great Sort: Part I” and “The Great Sort: Part II” I documented that over the past half century poor Black residents and affluent Black residents have increasingly sorted themselves out into different neighborhoods throughout Metro Washington. In short, the Black population has become more economically polarized geographically. Indeed, the second article…

July 18, 2018 | David Rusk

The Great Sort: Part II

In “The Great Sort: Part I,” I documented the increasing economic segregation within the Black community in the Metropolitan Washington region. I did so by showing the degree to which poor Black residents and affluent Black residents had increasingly come to live in different neighborhoods as measured by metro-wide statistics both in…

July 11, 2018 | David Rusk

Speed cameras in D.C.

D.C. has a complicated relationship with speed cameras. Research shows that speed cameras are an important tool to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities, especially as a complement to underlying road design improvements, and neighborhood residents frequently request them to slow traffic in dangerous areas. Automated cameras can also help reduce racially biased…

June 28, 2018 | Simone Roy

Predominately black neighborhoods in D.C. bear the brunt of automated traffic enforcement

In late 2015, Washington, D.C. joined the international Vision Zero movement by committing to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024. The Vision Zero movement recognizes traffic collisions as a public health epidemic with identifiable causes and solutions, rather than accidental and immutable forces of nature beyond reach of safety interventions;…

June 28, 2018 | William Farrell

The Great Sort: Part I

I spent much of the 1960s as a full-time civil rights worker. From shortly after the great March on Washington of August 1963 through the Poor People’s Campaign of May-June 1968, I worked for the Washington Urban League, rising to assistant director under Sterling Tucker, our executive director. I remember well the…

June 26, 2018 | David Rusk

A portrait of D.C.’s older adults

D.C. has a reputation as a relatively young city; TIME magazine even recently declared that it the District is approaching “peak Millennial.” It is true that D.C. has a proportionally larger young population than the country as a whole—nearly 12 percent of D.C.’s population in 2016 was between 25 and 29 years…

June 22, 2018 | Guest Contributor

Primer on research-practice partnerships

As an addendum to D.C. needs research for school improvement and audits for oversight, but not from the same source, the D.C. Policy Center produced a research-practice partnerships primer to explain the basics of successful arrangements and highlight the extent to which the proposed D.C. education research collaborative aligns with existing partnerships. Access the primer…

June 18, 2018 | D.C. Policy Center

The carbon tax is not a freebie

Some might see the revenue from a carbon tax a boon, but this tax will undermine the District’s economy and fiscal strengths. All taxes impose some economic costs, but costs of a carbon tax imposed on the District businesses and residents only, and not the rest of the metro area, will be…

June 18, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

D.C. needs research for school improvement and audit for oversight, but not from the same source

The D.C. Council is considering an education research collaborative that would carry out priority research on education in D.C. However, its current approach has one major flaw: the Council plans to place this entity under the Office of the D.C. Auditor, where it will also carry out an audit of D.C.’s education…

June 13, 2018 | Steven Glazerman,

D.C.’s Startup Scene

On the surface, the District’s startup scene appears to be more lively than ever before. The city has received numerous accolades from the Washington Post and WAMU to VentureBeat and Entrepreneur for fostering a vibrant startup ecosystem that is both supportive and diverse, making it a popular destination for determined entrepreneurs looking to set up shop. Pulling back, however,…

June 1, 2018 | Shirin Arslan

Reducing barriers for job-seekers

If you follow the latest articles on workforce development, you might be forgiven for thinking that the big question today is whether a robot will take your job, or which specific skills workers should learn in order to survive this automation apocalypse. It is true that technology is transforming the nature of…

May 23, 2018 |

The District’s tax policy is moving away from first principles

January 1, 2018 was the day the District fully implemented its tax reform that began in 2015. January 1 was also the day of its undoing. January 1, 2018 was the day the District fully implemented its tax reform that began in 2015. The Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2018,…

May 21, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

FIRST TAKE: Don’t Decouple D.C. from the Federal Estate Tax

First Take is a regular opinion column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. Some folks in the District of Columbia, including some folks on the D.C. Council, would like to decouple D.C. from the new federal estate tax law. That would be a mistake. I say that not because I…

May 17, 2018 |

FIRST TAKE: Targeted property taxes are not sound policy choices

First Take is a regular opinion column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. I have long been a fan of the property tax. I think it is the ideal way to fund local general fund spending. But the property tax is rarely a sound vehicle for targeted spending or redistributing…

May 16, 2018 |

Where telework is headed, and what it could mean for D.C.

After years of encouraging its employees to work from home, the U.S. Agriculture Department recently scaled back its policy significantly, now permitting employees to telework just one day a week instead of up to four. The Education Department, too, implemented a new collective bargaining agreement earlier this year without any provisions on…

May 15, 2018 | Mike Maciag

Public charter schools in the neighborhood

How do public charter school participation rates vary across the city, and which public charter schools enroll many students from the surrounding area? This blog post examines public charter school outcomes as a follow up to the D.C. Policy Center report, Schools in the Neighborhood: Can Neighborhood Characteristics Explain Enrollment at In-boundary…

May 3, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

The Case for the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola

By Will Handsfield, Transportation Director, Georgetown BID   The D.C. Policy Center recently published an analysis of the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola by independent research fellow Alon Levy. The Georgetown BID, along with other partners, serves on the Executive Committee of the group exploring this project. And we disagree with certain arguments raised in…

May 2, 2018 | Guest Contributor

Could gondolas and water taxis improve intraregional transportation?

Public transportation in the national capital region consists of Metrorail, buses, and some commuter trains. In between, there are substantial gaps in coverage: some in-demand neighborhoods have no rail service at all, especially Georgetown, whereas the service that does exist is often overcrowded, especially the Orange Crush in the morning from Arlington…

April 26, 2018 | Alon Levy

Schools in the Neighborhood: Exploring the Data

Three-quarters of public school students in the District attend a school other than the in-boundary school in their neighborhood, where they have a right to attend. But boundary participation rates, or the percent of public school students who attend their in-boundary school, vary widely across the city and are extremely high in…

April 19, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin,

Can Neighborhood Characteristics Explain Enrollment at In-Boundary Schools?

The D.C. Policy Center report “Schools in the Neighborhood: Can Neighborhood Characteristics Explain Enrollment at In-Boundary Schools?” examines the connections between neighborhood characteristics and boundary school enrollment rates among the District of Columbia’s public school students, and finds there’s only one pocket of the city where a majority of families in public…

April 17, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin

Taking Stock of the District’s Housing Stock: Capacity, Affordability, and Pressures on Family Housing

The D.C. Policy Center report “Taking Stock of the District’s Housing Stock: Capacity, Affordability and Pressures on Family Housing” provides a comprehensive picture of the District’s housing stock to explore a longer-term view of housing affordability, especially for low and middle-income families in the District of Columbia. Taking Stock creates a new dataset…

March 27, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

Is maglev right for D.C.?

Last decade’s excitement about the prospect of high-speed rail in the United States gave way to disappointment over project cancellations and mounting costs. Instead of conventional high-speed rail (where trains run at 200 miles per hour), several ventures have come forth with proposals to build new, even faster technologies, such as magnetic…

March 22, 2018 | Alon Levy

D.C. Government just released a list of (nearly) all of its data

This week, in celebration of Sunshine Week and as stipulated in D.C.’s Data Policy, the Chief Data Officer released the first Enterprise Dataset Inventory. The inventory is a near comprehensive list of enterprise datasets within government—all the spreadsheets, records, and databases that government agencies create and use internally to make decisions. Its…

March 15, 2018 | Kate Rabinowitz

How military employment in D.C. has changed over time

Defense spending and employment play a key role in the role in D.C.’s local economy, as well as the broader metropolitan region. Nearly 27,000 active duty, reserve and civilian personnel were based in D.C. as of late last year, according to Department of Defense (DoD) figures. The federal government also typically awards…

March 12, 2018 | Mike Maciag

The knowns and unknowns of Airbnb in D.C.

Last month, researchers from McGill University released a report on the outsized role of commercial Airbnb operators, and the impact of Airbnb rentals on New York City’s housing supply.[1] Commercial operators are hosts who list multiple whole-units or at least three private rooms—in other words, hosts who are not simply renting out…

March 1, 2018 | Kate Rabinowitz

Characteristics of neighborhoods with high in-boundary school enrollment

Chelsea Coffin, Director of the D.C. Policy Center’s Education Policy Initiative, spoke at a poster session at a conference organized by The Lab @ DC on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.  Her presentation previewed new findings from a study of D.C. students’ enrollment patterns at in-boundary and out-of-boundary public schools and public charter schools that will be published…

February 27, 2018 | Chelsea Coffin,

How to build bus lanes and bike lanes—faster

D.C. wants more people on buses and bicycles. But it needs to pick up the pace on its projects to get there.   Washington, D.C. needs to improve its planning to build bus and bike lanes faster. The benefits of bus and bike lanes are realized only when the network of bus…

February 20, 2018 |

The loss of DC TAG could disrupt college attendance among the children of low-income families

On February 12, 2018, the Trump Administration announced it had eliminated funding for the DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG) program in its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request to Congress. If the Congress follows through—and this is still a big if —District families will lose $40 million in federal funding that helps…

February 14, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

Confronting the opioid—and fentanyl—crisis in the District

Washington, D.C. is now on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. Although the District has always been an important site for the nation’s collective struggle with drugs and contests over policy and enforcement, this is a relatively new development. Deaths attributable to opioids (a category that includes prescription pain medications and…

February 8, 2018 | Matthew Pembleton

Metrorail is no longer the second-busiest rapid transit system in the country

Discussion of Metrorail’s fall in ridership has become commonplace over the past several years.  However, since transit ridership has been falling nationwide, it is worthwhile to note that its ridership has fallen significantly even compared to other systems.  Furthermore, by the possibly-more-useful statistic of ridership per route mile, Metrorail’s ridership is clearly…

February 7, 2018 |

Sexual assaults in D.C.: What the data can (and can’t) tell us

In many ways, Washington, D.C. has become a much safer city in recent years. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a slow but steady reduction in violent crime, which further dropped by 22 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. However, one type of violent crime – sexual abuse—has followed…

January 31, 2018 | Shirin Arslan

Proposed Partial Suspension Ban Requires Shift in Mindsets

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Councilmember David Grosso, the chairperson of the Committee on Education, introduced the “Student Fair Access to School Act of 2017” with three co-sponsors. The bill would severely limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and instead ask educators to create a positive school climate through restorative practices…

January 25, 2018 | Guest Contributor

Making room for Millennial families

Will Millennials stay in the District when they start a family?   D.C. policymakers have been fighting for decades to get young people to move downtown. They sure did come, and more of them than policymakers ever expected. But the long-term growth of D.C.’s population and tax base depends on them staying…

January 24, 2018 |

The federal tax law changes will increase District revenue, but this is no “windfall”

January marks the beginning of the preparations for the District’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget—the budget that would go into effect in October of 2018. The Mayor will send her budget bills to the Council at the end of March; the Council will hold hearings in April and pass the budget, with its own…

January 17, 2018 | Yesim Sayin

Improving bus service east of the Anacostia River

The neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River have some of the longest commute times in D.C.—at or above 35 minutes on average (compared with 29 minutes District-wide), and over 45 minutes for those who use public transportation.[1] There is some Metrorail access, as the Green Line serves Anacostia and Congress Heights, and…

January 4, 2018 | Alon Levy

What type of CTO does D.C. need?

D.C.’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Archana Vemulapalli, recently announced that she will step down in January 2018. In her 21 months of service to this city, Vemulapalli has led the development of a new data policy; hired D.C.’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO); and brought the city into the forefront of east…

December 21, 2017 | Michael Watson

Twenty years after the Revitalization Act, the District of Columbia is a different city

This article is adapted from “The 2017 State of Business in the District of Columbia: Twenty Years of Change Since the Revitalization Act,” a report D.C. Policy Center prepared for the DC Chamber of Commerce. The 1990s were not a good decade for the District of Columbia. The nation was rocked by…

December 19, 2017 | Yesim Sayin

The most underrepresented industries in D.C.’s economy

Manufacturing facilities, department stores and car dealerships all employ sizable numbers of workers in many parts of the country. But in the District of Columbia, they’re not so common. These and other types of industries are underrepresented locally, providing fewer jobs given the size of the economy than most other places. D.C.’s…

December 13, 2017 | Mike Maciag

FIRST TAKE: The SALT deduction is a good thing—for rich folks

First Take is a regular opinion column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. I must admit I am astonished by the strong opposition to ending the federal deduction of state and local taxes. More astonishingly, much of that opposition comes from liberal political leaders.  On Monday, November 13, 2017 area…

December 7, 2017 |

Elimination of SALT deduction is trouble for DC’s future population growth

Elimination of SALT deduction would make D.C. less desirable relative to several other counties in the metro area, making the city less attractive for future residents. Many have written on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, including our own David Brunori, who points out that SALT deduction is regressive (although the…

December 7, 2017 | Yesim Sayin

How fertility rates in D.C. have changed over the past decade

While much of D.C.’s recent population boom has been driven by an influx of new residents, the overall number of children born in the District has also been rising since the early 2000s. However, the actual fertility rate among D.C. residents—the number of births per 1,000 women—was actually declining during much of…

December 1, 2017 | Randy Smith

How many people commute between Baltimore and D.C.?

D.C.’s population has grown significantly over the past decade, surpassing the population of Baltimore for the first time in history. Baltimore’s population, however, has stayed roughly the same during this same period of time, with a population decrease between 2015 and 2016.     As D.C.’s housing prices have continued to rise…

November 20, 2017 | Simone Roy

Is D.C. on pace to meet its graduation rate targets?

Update 11/30/2017 To provide context for this analysis in light of recent reporting by WAMU questioning the validity of Ballou High School’s graduation rates in 2016-2017, the state Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) would decrease to an estimated 70.6 percent if Ballou High School seniors who missed at least 60 days of…

November 10, 2017 | Chelsea Coffin

Sales Tax Holiday—Great Politics, Poor Policy

First Take is a regular opinion column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. Sales tax holidays are good politics. A legislator from Maryland once told me that they were the easiest things to vote for. And politically useful arguments are plenty: Hard working families get to buy tax free right…

November 2, 2017 |

Equitable bike share systems: Removing barriers to access

D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare was one of the first big bike share systems in the United States, on the heels of similar systems installed in Paris and Montreal.[1] Offering docks full of bikes all over the central part of the District, with some additional service in outlying neighborhoods and in the suburbs, it…

November 1, 2017 | Alon Levy

Where it’s easiest to live car-free in D.C.

D.C. is often referred to as a city where a car-free lifestyle is a distinct possibility. The real estate service Redfin recently rated D.C. as the fourth best U.S. city to live in without a car. Several organized citywide initiatives, such as Car-free Day and Bike to Work Day, promote car-free commutes….

October 31, 2017 | Randy Smith

Out-of-School Time Programs in D.C.: Mismatches in capacity and need

Today, the D.C. Policy Center is releasing a new report, “Needs Assessment of Out-of-School Time Programs in the District of Columbia,” which examines the extent to which out-of-school time programs—offered after school and during the summer—are meeting the needs of children and youth attending D.C. public and public charter schools. We worked…

October 24, 2017 | Yesim Sayin,

Making D.C. a Fashion Hub: A Pattern for Success

Fashion is a multi-trillion-dollar industry that can be the foundation for a local economy. As the momentum for locally designed and manufactured products continues to grow nationwide, D.C. is poised to be a leader.  There is amazing energy and sense of purpose among fashion entrepreneurs in the District. The key players – educational institutions,…

October 19, 2017 | Hilary Jochmans

Economic segregation is replacing racial segregation in large U.S. metro areas

Over the past several decades, Black residential segregation in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. has slowly but steadily decreased, dropping from a segregation index of 81 (hyper-segregation) in 1970 to 61 (nearing medium segregation) in 2014. Over roughly that same period, however, the level of economic residential polarization in the metropolitan…

October 12, 2017 | David Rusk

Four ways to build a better bus system

Public transportation in the District of Columbia has been in meltdown for several years. The Post has a page aggregating Metrorail breakdown stories; in 2016, Metrorail ridership fell by about 6%. The buses have not fared any better. Where Metrorail’s problems are about breakdowns and safety, the buses’ are about network design….

September 29, 2017 | Alon Levy

Who has the longest commute in the D.C. area?

A new analysis of recently-released American Community Survey data shows that commute times have increased gradually nationwide and in the D.C. metropolitan area in recent years. Among the 100 largest metro areas, the D.C. metro area has a longer average commute time in 2016 than every metro area except for New York…

September 27, 2017 | Simone Roy

Hispanic Segregation – Immigrant Ponding or Perpetual Barrios?

Over the past half century, the level of Black residential segregation in metropolitan Washington declined steadily, decade by decade. The Black segregation index (see an explanation of it here) dropped from 81 (hyper-segregation) to 61 (the threshold of medium segregation). Residential segregation of Hispanics in metropolitan Washington has followed a reverse trend….

September 21, 2017 | David Rusk

D.C. police staffing has declined, but service demands haven’t subsided

A crack cocaine epidemic and soaring homicide rates plagued the District of Columbia for a span of several years beginning in the late 1980s. In response, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) ramped up hiring in 1989, adding more than 1,000 police officers over only about a year and a half in an…

September 14, 2017 | Mike Maciag

Planning for self-driving cars with Harriet Tregoning

Harriet Tregoning has been a force in planning and policy locally and nationally for quite some time. After founding the Smart Growth Network during the early phase of her career at the Environmental Protection Agency, she served as Secretary of Planning for the state of Maryland. This was followed by her appointment…

September 6, 2017 | Will Leimenstoll

FIRST TAKE: Metro funding is about commitment, not fairness

First Take is a regular opinion column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. Jumping into the debate over funding Metro, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute released a report about on how a regional sales tax would be unfair to “working families,” particularly black and Latino families. That concern has some…

September 1, 2017 |

Diving into D.C.’s data policy

Data policy history in D.C. The District recently established a comprehensive data policy, but it took many years to get there. We hardly think of governments as entities at the forefront of technological innovation, but government data policies can have a big impact by changing perceptions and expectations, invigorating (or stifling) innovation,…

August 31, 2017 | Michael Watson

Greenhouse gas emissions in D.C. [Updated]

Update: WAMU explored the data reported to DOEE by the Watergate East, reporting on where the data is wrong and why it matters (“Is The Watergate Actually D.C.’s Biggest Polluter?“) The text has been updated to include this information and to link to the article. (9/5/5017) In addition, the text and figures in…

August 23, 2017 | Randy Smith

Suburbia: The Promised Land?

In 1970, metropolitan Washington was more residentially segregated than DC proper. The 10-jurisdiction region had a black/white segregation index of 81 (hyper-segregation) compared its central city’s segregation index of 72 (high segregation). Almost a half century later, in 2015, the now 22-jurisdiction region’s Black/Anglo segregation index was 61 compared to the central city’s 70…

August 16, 2017 | David Rusk

D.C. nightlife is booming, but not necessarily for much longer

Higher closure rates in 2015-16 suggest the biggest of the nightlife boom may be behind us.    Nightlife in D.C. has grown dramatically in recent years, from just over 800 bars, restaurants, and nightclubs in 2008 to just under 1,300 in 2016. While the conventional wisdom that most restaurants don’t survive their first year is far from…

August 14, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

D.C.’s heat islands

Summers in D.C. are infamously muggy, a wretched heat that’s compounded by oppressive humidity. Even within the District’s borders, however, the actual temperature and level of sun exposure can vary greatly. This article will look at where you can hide from the heat when the temperatures start to climb, and which neighborhoods…

August 8, 2017 | Randy Smith

Do “Complete Streets” lead to more enjoyable, greener, and safer streets too?

D.C. has added tens thousands of new residents in recent years, but what impact have these new residents had on local travel conditions? Fellow Will Leimenstoll looks at the District’s “Complete Streets” policy and how D.C.’s drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians have fared since the policy was enacted in 2010.   There are plenty…

August 4, 2017 | Will Leimenstoll

As D.C. nightlife grows, it’s becoming more of a bar town

Restaurants still dominate D.C. nightlife, but bars are quickly growing.   D.C.’s nightlife boom since 2008 has increased the number of liquor licenses for bars, restaurants, and nightclubs by nearly 50 percent. But it hasn’t been an even gain across each category. From 2008 to 2016, the number of liquor licenses for…

July 26, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

Goodbye to Chocolate City

D.C. is no longer “Chocolate City.” In fact, the District of Columbia now joins New Mexico, California and Texas as states without any one racial group forming a majority of the population [1]. (Of course, unlike those three, our “state” doesn’t have a vote in Congress.) Our case is unique in that, in…

July 20, 2017 | David Rusk

FIRST TAKE – Funding Metro? Let the Market Help

First Take is a regular opinion column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. There are a lot of ideas being tossed around for raising money for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  The revenue needs are large $25 billion in capital needs and a nearly $300 million operating shortfall. Indeed,…

July 14, 2017 |

Physical activity and gym access by neighborhood in D.C.

Various calculations, surveys, and reports frequently place D.C. among the top 10 healthiest cities in the nation, in no small part due to the high rate of physical activity among its residents. Using data from the 500 Cities Project, which collects local data in an effort to improve health in the 500…

July 7, 2017 | Randy Smith

Mapping D.C.’s nightlife boom

Liquor licenses for bars, clubs, and restaurants in D.C. have increased by over 50 percent since 2008 and expanded the footprint of the District’s nightlife, broadly in step with gentrification patterns. In 2008, D.C. had just over 800 bars, clubs, and restaurants. In 2016, there were nearly 1,300. Over this general time…

June 29, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

D.C. is better at nabbing murderers than a generation ago

The District’s crime rates have come a long way from the “murder capital” days of the 1990s, when its per-capita murder rate was the highest in the nation. D.C.’s murder rate began plummeting in the late 1990s, as it did in cities across America, and is now one third what it was…

June 25, 2017 |

Four ways to engage with employers in workforce development

Employers often complain that they have difficulty finding qualified candidates for open positions, particularly when they turn to the public workforce system to address their need. Yet while the public workforce system is intended to be a resource for employers to list their vacancies and to provide a potential candidate pool, DOES…

June 23, 2017 |

Migration to D.C. remains stable, but plummets for rest of region

Since 2012, D.C.’s net domestic migration has remained positive, but the rest of the metro region has seen more people leave for other parts of the U.S. than move into those jurisdictions. Over much of the past decade, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region has enjoyed relatively strong population gains, and the latest…

June 20, 2017 | Mike Maciag

Once Upon A Time In NoMa: Part II

In Part I, I didn’t note the most visible change in the old Urban League Neighborhood Development Program area – a gaping trench that holds I-395, emerging from its tunnel under the Mall, filling a vanished Second Street widened to the alleyway between Second and Third, then jogging slightly west under the…

June 14, 2017 | David Rusk

The President’s proposed budget could increase air pollution and congestion in the District

The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program has provided federal funds to help cities reduce air pollution and improve congestion. Now under threat from the President’s budget, how has the program helped the District to achieve these goals? President Trump’s recently-released budget proposal proposes cutting the Department of Transportation by 13 percent,…

June 13, 2017 | Richard Ezike

A timeline of LGBT places and spaces in D.C.

Washington, D.C. is home to one of the largest pride celebrations in the country. Started in 1975, the celebration now referred to as Capital Pride is just one piece of a larger LGBT movement in D.C. over the past six decades that sought, and continues to seek, equal treatment and acceptance. Bars,…

June 8, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

Autonomous vehicles could have a big impact on D.C.’s budget

The arrival of autonomous vehicles could cost the District anywhere between $373 and $546 million per year due to reductions in car-related revenue. Many have written about the ways autonomous vehicles (AVs) will reshape the physical landscape of American cities, but less of the discussion has considered how AVs could reshape municipal…

June 7, 2017 | Will Leimenstoll

The demographics of walking and biking to work tell yet another story of gentrification

Urban planners and local governments attach great value to cultivating neighborhoods where residents are close to public transportation or can walk or bike to work. D.C. has also adopted this approach. The city has built over 70 miles of bike lanes, passed a rigorous law to protect bicyclist and improve pedestrian safety, implemented the Vision Zero program…

June 6, 2017 | Yesim Sayin

Once Upon A Time In NoMa

With a pang of nostalgia, in my previous article I called attention to “all the high-rise apartments and condominiums that have sprung up in NoMA in the past two decades.” More than a half century ago I worked in that very neighborhood long before NoMa was ever imagined by city planners and…

June 5, 2017 | David Rusk

Perusing D.C.’s small stock of multi-bedroom rentals

This is the fourth part in a series chronicling the author’s family’s move back to D.C.  Previously: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. Can we shoehorn our family of five into a two-bedroom apartment? The question was first posed as a joke, responding to my perceived lack of enthusiasm for yard work. But as…

June 2, 2017 |

Thermometer of City Health: Count Households, Not Noses

In my inaugural article for the D.C. Policy Center  I noted that from 1950 to 2010, as the region’s central city, Washington DC had lost 25 percent of its population “by nose count but [that was] offset by a 19 percent increase to total households.” How can that be? You can discover…

May 30, 2017 | David Rusk

FIRST TAKE—Stay the course on business tax reform

First Take is a regular column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. It is odd that there is even a debate over whether to let the rest of the District’s 2014 tax reforms to take place.  I say that because the changes to the tax system are working. Both investment and…

May 29, 2017 |

Implementing the NEAR Act to reduce violence in D.C.

The Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act was passed by the Council of the District of Columbia in March 2016 in response to an increase in homicides the previous year.  Its goal was to reduce violence in the District, but instead of perpetuating broken and ineffective “war on drugs”-style methods, it uses…

May 25, 2017 | Brent J. Cohen

From employment to “employability”: A new way to look at workforce development

Workforce development is often characterized as an economic development strategy, of which education and training is a crucial component to connect a job seeker with a job.  As a result, we often measure the performance of workforce development entities, such as the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES), on the basis of…

May 23, 2017 |

FIRST TAKE – The Estate Tax Doesn’t Work. Don’t make it worse.

First Take is a regular column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. Next January, the District’s estate tax exemption will increase from the current $2 million to match the federal exemption of $5.49 million. Short of repealing what is a bad tax, increasing the exemption is the next best thing. Yet,…

May 19, 2017 |

Pushing through complacency to fight health disparities in D.C.’s African American communities

Why does the city that’s frequently ranked the “Healthiest City in America” still have such disparities in health outcomes for its African American residents? When talking about health disparities in the District, the narrative is usually the same: African American residents in Wards 7 and 8 are either at risk or are…

May 18, 2017 | Tiffany E. Browne

Prince George’s County a Popular Home for Many Former D.C. Residents

While D.C. is an international city, with residents arriving from and departing to places all over the world, most of its domestic migration is very local: Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Alexandria are the top five places within the U.S. that D.C. residents move to and from….

May 11, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

FIRST TAKE – Virginia Really Should Pay More for Metro

First Take is a regular column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. At the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission meeting on May 4, there was much angst and anger over the idea of a regional sales tax to fund Metro.  Some Northern Virginia political leaders are apparently dead set against a regional…

May 10, 2017 |

Where, When, and Why: A Guide to Burglaries in 2016

Burglary is often a crime people don’t think about until it happens to them. Jewelry, cash, and electronics are the high-value items that are most frequently targeted. However, these items are often not the biggest loss. It is a shattered sense of security, the thought that you may not be as safe…

May 5, 2017 | Randy Smith

D.C. could roll back the coming Metrorail fare increase for residents at a relatively low cost

One topic that came up in the recent fight over the fiscal year 2018 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) budget—and that tends to come up whenever subsidies for WMATA are discussed—is that the District of Columbia’s government is generally more eager to pay for Metro than the governments of Maryland and…

May 3, 2017 |

The health wealth gap in D.C.

Recent research from a team headed by Stanford economist Raj Chetty made headlines last year when it outlined the stark divide in health outcomes between high- and low-income Americans. As the New York Times reports, the Health Inequality Project found that longevity has steadily increased across the nation for the richest Americans,…

May 2, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

From Pilot Small’s to Washington Dulles: Measuring Urban Sprawl

Bird’s-eye view of DC metro area then and now My father took me on my first airplane ride in 1950. It was on a DC-3 that took off from Washington National for a half-hour sightseeing flight over Washington, DC.  (That’s a measure of how uncommon air travel was almost 70 years ago.)…

April 27, 2017 | David Rusk

FIRST TAKE—Metro needs money. Who is going to pay?

First Take is a regular column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. One thing seems clear. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority needs money. It says it has $25 billion in capital needs. And it needs $15 billion of that over the next ten years. Oh, and it cannot meet its…

April 26, 2017 |

The compelling, autonomous case for an end to D.C.’s parking minimum requirements

Even to a transportation nerd, the future of autonomous vehicles (AVs)—also known as “self-driving” cars—can seem shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. Predictions about the technology vary widely, with some thinkers holding AVs up as the solution to car-dominated streets, while others fear an autonomous dystopia is on the horizon. The diverging visions…

April 25, 2017 | Will Leimenstoll

How distance to the White House is related to D.C.’s economic environment

Where people live in an urban area reflects economic opportunity and wellbeing. To anyone who has felt the awful crawl of traffic on K Street during rush hour or tried to order a sandwich at noon during the lunch rush, it becomes very evident that downtown Washington – an area of no…

April 21, 2017 | Grant Gregory

Metrorail changes mean even shorter hours than other transit systems

WMATA claims that reduced hours are necessary to properly maintain the system, but most other cities’ rapid transit systems manage with longer operating hours and later closing times. Along with fare hikes, bus service reductions, and reductions to Metrorail’s frequency, the new budget that the WMATA Board approved on March 23rd and…

April 19, 2017 |

Money for nothing: D.C. businesses pay a technology fee but get very little in return

Businesses need to do a lot to operate in the District, such as filing permits, getting licenses, and accommodating inspectors. For instance, a typical grocery store may need a grocery store license, a deli license, a cigarette retail license, a patent medicine license, plus health inspections and perhaps a liquor license. Each…

April 17, 2017 | David Bishop

Threading the needle between housing costs and school value

This is the third part in a series. Read part 1 and part 2. When considering houses for sale in Washington D.C.’s Ward 4, my wife and I see tree-lined streets, great parks, and neighborhoods still affordable for middle-income buyers. Filling the District’s northern point, most of Ward 4 is wedged between Rock…

April 13, 2017 |

D.C. leads in anti-poverty policies

D.C.’s story is frequently told through income inequality and poverty. But there is also a part that is seldom explored—that D.C.’s poor have access to stronger social support programs than in many other large American cities. Economic growth has certainly helped with D.C.’s policy regime, which has generally increased resources and programs available to its…

April 10, 2017 |

Can fiscal risks be eliminated with more taxing and more spending?

The District’s progressive advocacy organizations have put together an impressive coalition, urging the Mayor and the Council to reverse the tax cuts that are current law, remove local reserve requirements the District imposed on itself in 2011, and use this money to increase spending. This coalition says potential federal budget cuts will…

April 10, 2017 | Yesim Sayin

FIRST TAKE—Pull the trigger, the tax cuts are working

First Take is a regular column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. The District of Columbia is going to see another round of tax cuts as a result of hitting revenue targets for the next four years, as recommended by the D.C. Tax Revision Commission in 2014. Allowing these tax cuts…

April 5, 2017 |

Why visualizing open data isn’t enough

With a new proposed Data Policy, release of high profile datasets on topics like 311 and taxicabs, and Open Government Advisory Group, the D.C. Government looks interested in moving up the ranks of open data cities. This is good news for policymakers, businesses, and citizens. But with open data comes the duty…

April 3, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

Who will be most affected by planned Metrobus service cuts

WMATA has an impending budget shortfall of $290 million. To reduce this shortfall, the agency has proposed service cuts to multiple bus routes in the region beginning July 1 of this year. These cuts could mean a decrease in bus frequency, route modification, or the full elimination of bus routes. Almost all routes…

March 28, 2017 | Randy Smith

Metro should carefully consider the costs of further off-peak service cuts

Along with fare increases, WMATA’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget includes cuts to Metrorail and Metrobus service as a way to close the authority’s budget gap. Reducing the total number of vehicle trips per day is an effective way to cut operating costs for a transit system. However, doing so also reduces the…

March 27, 2017 |

Commute times for District residents are linked to income and method of transportation

Commuting to work can be a grueling affair. On average, D.C. residents spend 28.85 minutes commuting to work. This is only slightly longer than the 27.2 minute average commute endured by the 50 largest metro regions in the U.S. and much shorter than the 33 minute average commute of suburbanites travelling into…

March 23, 2017 | Randy Smith

Income inequality and economic mobility in D.C.

In recent years, researchers have become more interested in the ways that an individual’s environment shapes their ability to climb the socioeconomic ladder. In a famous recent study, Stanford economist Raj Chetty and his coauthors looked at upward mobility, as measured by the proportion of children who went on to make more…

March 21, 2017 | Grant Gregory

Lowering fares on MARC and VRE could increase commuter rail ridership and decrease Metrorail overcrowding

Although Metrorail has been losing ridership in recent years due to poor service and SafeTrack-related disruptions, it still has the second-highest ridership in the country among rapid transit systems. In fact, population growth trends suggest that ridership is likely to grow on the western branch of the red line and in Northern…

March 16, 2017 |

Food access in D.C is deeply connected to poverty and transportation

The term “food desert” which refers to geographic areas where people have limited access to healthy food, a problem that affects millions of Americans every year. These areas tend to have concentrations of low-income and minority residents, invoking socioeconomic and racial divides. This is especially true in Washington, D.C., a city with…

March 13, 2017 | Randy Smith

Five maps that explain the Washington region’s economy

Our region is unique in that it spans two states plus D.C., and at times accounting for its breadth can be difficult. But to understand the economy on a macro level, we have to look beyond borders. These maps show some of the key features of the massive unit that is the…

March 13, 2017 | Yesim Sayin

Food access in D.C is deeply connected to poverty and transportation

The term “food desert” which refers to geographic areas where people have limited access to healthy food, a problem that affects millions of Americans every year. These areas tend to have concentrations of low-income and minority residents, invoking socioeconomic and racial divides. This is especially true in Washington, D.C., a city with…

March 13, 2017 | Randy Smith

Searching for a dream home in D.C., and waking up to reality

This is the second part in a series. Click here to read part 1. At first glance, the grainy thumbnail photo embedded in the email didn’t tell us much, but the price and address said enough: Click now! This could be your dream home! Specifically, they described a three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom row house…

March 9, 2017 |

FIRST TAKE – A look at D.C. tax policy proposals

First Take is a regular column by D.C. Policy Center Senior Fellow David Brunori. “The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away.” – John S. Coleman I have been teaching, writing, and, practicing state and local tax law for more than a quarter century.  And, I am…

March 2, 2017 |

A decade of demographic change in D.C.: Which neighborhoods have changed the most?

The Census Bureau recently announced that D.C.’s population has risen to a four-decade high of almost 700,000, a boom driven largely by an influx of new residents. These new District residents have undeniably changed the demographic makeup of D.C., which on the whole has become whiter, wealthier, and younger over the past…

March 2, 2017 | Kate Rabinowitz

WMATA plans to raise rates, but Metrorail’s fares already among highest in the country

In what has become a yearly ritual, WMATA’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposes Metrorail service cuts and fare increases: up to $0.10 for rush-hour trips and $0.25 for non-rush-hour trips. Determining the “right” level for transit fares is a complicated and, ultimately, political question: it depends on governments’ willingness to provide tax…

March 1, 2017 |

From South Korea to Washington, D.C: Our journey (and house-hunt) begins

The news arrived overnight here in Busan, South Korea – we’re returning to the U.S. in July. My wife, a Navy Lieutenant Commander, was assigned a billet at the Pentagon. The excitement was enough for us to overlook the pre-dawn hour in Korea as we instantly brainstormed about where to live and…

February 25, 2017 |

Where, when, and why: A guide to homicides in 2016

At the close of 2016, Washington, D.C. ended its year in crime. Homicides capped at 135, a 17 percent decrease from the previous year. 2015 was a markedly bad year for homicides in the District, with a homicide total of 162, the highest total homicides since 2008 and a significant increase after several…

February 20, 2017 | Randy Smith