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D.C.’s population surpasses 700K for the first time since the 1970s: census data

“The change is due primarily to an influx of people from other parts of the country”

The D.C. flag
Igor Y Eros/Shutterstock

The District’s population has been steadily growing since the mid-2000s, after half a century of decline. Now, for the first time in more than 40 years, it officially exceeds 700,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released new population estimates on Thursday.

The bureau said D.C. had 702,455 residents as of July 2018, “surpassing 700,000 for the first time since 1975.” “The change is due primarily to an influx of people from other parts of the country that began early in the decade,” it added. “While the increase has begun to slow, the District of Columbia still grew by almost 1 percent last year.” The nation’s capital continues to have a larger population than do two states: Wyoming (577,737) and Vermont (626,299).

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration was quick to hail the news. In a statement, the mayor said the growth shows that recent investments in the District “are paying off,” and her office pointed out that D.C.’s population “has soared by more than 100,000 people since the 2010 Census.” Earlier this year, Bowser marked the 700,000 milestone based on calculations by D.C.’s Office of Planning (OP) and, in doing so, celebrated the birth of a baby named Kooper.

“Data from the State Data Center at OP show that the District added 6,764 people from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018,” according to the mayor’s office. “Population growth in the District during this year-long period was due to gains from net natural increase (births minus deaths; 4,104) and net migration (2,656).” More than 9,700 babies were born in D.C. in this period.

Overall, the U.S. population grew by 0.6 percent, to 327,167,434, between July 2017 and July 2018, the Census Bureau noted. The rise was “due to both natural increase and international migration.” Idaho and Nevada were the two fastest-growing states, with population gains of roughly 2.1 percent each. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico and nine states lost residents: New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut, and Wyoming.

“Many states have seen fewer births and more deaths in recent years,” said Sandra Johnson, a Census Bureau expert. “If those states are not gaining from either domestic or international migration they will experience either low population growth or outright decline.” Yet another nugget from the data: The voting-age population grew by 0.9 percent, to 253,768,092 people.

U.S. Census Bureau