The Census has released its DC data which will be used for redistricting. Ward 2 will need to shrink, while wards 7 and 8 will need to grow slightly.



DC’s population grew from 572,060 in the 2000 Census to 601,723 in the 2010. If every ward were equal size, they’d be one-eighth of the 2010 total, or 75,215.

The redistricting law requires each ward to be within 5% of the average. That means a ward could be as large as 78,796 people, or as small as 71,455. The red dotted lines in the image above show the acceptable limits. The blue dotted lines represent the limits in the 2000 Census, and the blue bars the sizes of the wards after redistricting in 2001.

Ward 2, which finished

the 2000 Census the 2001 redistricting smaller in population than many other wards, grew 16%, putting it at 79.915, just a bit too large. Meanwhile, Wards 7 and 8 were about average after 2000

2001 and stayed roughly constant, with Ward 7 growing by about 0.7% and Ward 8 shrinking by about 0.3%.

Since DC grew overall, that means they’re now smaller than the average, and Ward 7’s population of 71,068 and Ward 8’s of 70,712 make them too small for the cutoff, meaning they will have to pick up territory. Currently, Ward 7 includes a small area west of the Anacostia (Kingman Park), meaning that one or both will have to add more territory west of the river.

Since we know the Census tends to undercount poorer and minority areas, there’s a good chance Wards 7 and 8 are actually larger than these numbers claim, but this is the official data which DC must use for its redistricting.

Ward 6 also grew rapidly, gaining 13% in population. However, it was the smallest ward after the last Census, and its gain wasn’t quite enough to put it over the cutoff.

Wards 1, 3, and 5 all grew about 4-5%, and yes, that means that our ACS-based estimate was not correct. That also didn’t show ward 2’s rapid growth at all.

Ward 2 doesn’t border 7 or 8, except at Hains Point. That means that it’s not possible to take people from 2 and add them to 7 and 8 directly, short of a bizarre scenario like Ward 8 grabbing most of the Mall and surrounding parks and some people from Foggy Bottom or Georgetown. Ward 5 may need to have its boundary adjusted, and ward 6 almost surely will move west in some fashion.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle.