White people fled the District of Columbia in disproportionately high numbers during the first year of the pandemic, reversing a nearly two-decade trajectory during which the city had been steadily adding White residents, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data.
In the four years preceding the pandemic, the city had been adding non-Hispanic White residents at a rate of around 4,000 to 5,000 each year. But between July 2020 and July 2021, it lost 10,285 people from that group, according to the bureau’s annual population estimates for the nation, states and counties by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, released Thursday.
Many of the region’s close-in suburbs also lost White residents at a much higher rate than previously, including Montgomery County, Md. as well as Fairfax and Arlington counties and the city of Alexandria in Virginia, according to an analysis of the estimates by William Frey, a senior demographer at the Brookings Institution.
Some losses, especially among the country’s rapidly aging White population, are due to deaths rather than people moving away, but the change in the District was too dramatic to be explained by natural decline alone, Frey said.
Frey said the numbers make it obvious that there was a significant White migration from D.C. and nearby counties from 2020 to 2021, similar to the national trend in urban cores. “Some suburban counties were recipients of White gains,” he said. “But this makes clear, both in D.C. and the U.S., White movement had much to do with city losses.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour