DC's economic challenges - an annotated briefing

Taxable Acres By Ward

Taxable Acres By Ward

It is informative to look at the availability of land for different uses in each of the city's eight wards. It should be noted, however, that the total population of each ward is very close to the same, although the population of adults or taxpayers is vastly different. Ward 1 is clearly the smallest (and one of the poorest), while Ward 3 is the largest (and has the richest residents). Ward 2 contains 'downtown' and provides the bulk of DC's commercial revenues. Note that Ward 7 and 8, two of the city's poorest wards also have the smallest share of commercial properties and the largest amount of vacant property.

Ward 3 and Ward 8 have the most tax-exempt property, Wards 2, 3, and 8 have the most federal property, although the acreage in Ward 8 is way under-utilized. Wards 2, 3, and 5 hold the most acreage for non-profits, ranging from hospitals and embassies, to large tracts for religious and veterans' needs.

For further details see:
distribution by ward of jobs and wealth

Household Wealth by Ward

The number of households is larger in the three northwest Wards, while the proportion of households in povery is higher in Wards 5 through 8.

There is more than a 2:1 variation in household income (darker bars, right-hand chart) with Ward 3 at the top, but of far greater interest to NARPAC is the variation in the lighte colored bars depicting median household income per child. While kids are certainly not the only household expense, nor even the largest, this measure may be a useful--if unusual--measure of the kids' standard of living, and possibly their aspirations for the future. From this aspect, the future is not promising for the kids of Wards 5, 7, and 8.

Median Household Income per Child

This NARPAC parameter of median household income per child is displayed again more graphically on a map of the District. It again points out the large disparity between the six wards west of the Anacostia River, and the two unfortunate wards to the west.

Development of Ward Productivity

From the foregoing charts, it is a small step to calculate the net productivity of each Ward both in total and by acre, based on the estimated revenues from each residents and commerce, and the expenditures from each DC's general fund, and from federal grants.

In short, only two Wards (2 and 3) take in significantly more in revenues than they spend in city services and federal aid. Wards 4 and 6 are essentially a wash within the accuracy of these estimates, but Wards 1, 5, 7, and 8 are in no small measure indebted to the productivity of Wards 2 and 3. It should be strongly in the interests of these two prosperous wards to encourage the economic development of their very poor cousins!

This page was updated on Oct 5, 2000




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