The population of NoMa is booming, putting the neighborhood on track to be among Washington DC’s densest when it is all built out. New charts released by the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) highlight its growth.


Image by NoMa BID.



The number of people within the NoMa BID’s boundaries grew to more than 6,000 residents at the end of 2015, up from less than 1,000 seven years earlier. This represents a compound annual growth rate of at least 30%, far faster than the 2.13% annual growth rate for the District since 2010.


Image by NoMa BID.


NoMa BID covers 237 acres stretching from R Street NE in the north to Massachusetts Avenue in the south, west to New Jersey Avenue and east to 4th Street NE.

The near northeast neighborhood had 3,886 residential units in November. Another 967 were under construction and 6,843 were planned for total 11,696 units.

"What you’re going to have here… you’re going to get parks, shopping, retail and restaurants—it’s going to be quite an amazing place,” says BID president Robin-Eve Jasper following the news that it had acquired a two-acre lot for a new large park.

NoMa will likely be DC’s densest neighborhood

NoMa could boast a population of more than 17,500 residents when all of the BID’s forecast units are built out, assuming it continues to maintain the same number of residents-per-unit, about 1.5, as it had in November 2015. This equals a density of roughly 73.8 residents per acre.

This is denser than the Navy Yard neighborhood, which the Washington Post recently suggested would become the District’s densest.

The population of the Capital Riverfront BID, which includes Navy Yard, could increase to nearly 22,000 residents living in the 14,611 residential units that were open, under construction or planned at the end of 2015 under the same 1.5 residents-per-dwelling assumption as in NoMa. However, the neighborhood’s much larger 500 acres means the density would only be about 44 people per acre.

Even when not including the 41 acres in the undevelopable Washington Navy Yard, the Capital Riverfront would still have a density of only about 48 residents per acre.


Capital Riverfront BID housing units and estimated population at the end of 2015. Image by Capital Riverfront BID.


All the new housing is good for the region

The fact that the District continues to add a significant amount of new housing stock in under-developed neighborhoods like NoMa and Navy Yard is, in the end, more important than having the title of city’s densest neighborhood.


More development is planned for Navy Yard. Image by the author.


If DC’s population continues to follow current growth projections, it will need about 6,130 new residential units annually through 2030, the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis forecast in 2010. The rapid growth of both the NoMa and Navy Yard neighborhoods will go a long way towards meeting this need.

Each neighborhood boasts attractive amenities to new and old residents alike, including grocery stores, existing and planned parks, recreational trails and Metro stations. These amenities will anchor the neighborhoods — and serve the city — for years to come.

Correction: The original version of this post said NoMa’s population was up to 6,000 in 2015, up from less than 200 NoMa residents seven years earlier, and that the compound annual growth rate was more than 63%. It’s actually up from less than 1000, with the growth rate being at least 30%.

Edward Russell is an air transport reporter by day with a passion for all things transportation. He is a resident of Eckington and tweets frequently about planes, trains and bikes.