The Line that Divides DC

No it’s not a party line.  It’s an almost perfectly straight line running north-south along 16th Street, passing through the White House, and then continuing along the Potomac River to the south.  It divides two very different sides of the DC area.

These graphs are a cross-section of the DC area that looks at how the city changes as you travel from the center to the periphery.  I’ve split the graphs into two sides based on the east-west dividing line.  You’ll notice the first one or two miles to the east are much like their western counterparts (this is essentially the area around Capitol Hill and the National Mall).  After that, the two sides diverge pretty dramatically.DCEW Continue reading

Children living with married parents can be poor, too

Drawing on our recent report, New Insights on Childhood Poverty, Annie and I published an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch over the weekend. In it we discussed the consequences of limiting the conversation about childhood poverty to children with single parents:

…focusing the conversation about childhood poverty exclusively on children of single parents renders invisible the largest group of children in economic insecurity: those whose parents have already taken a trip down the aisle. It turns out that the face of economic insecurity may, in contrast to the broader narrative, be a child supported by married parents.

As detailed in our report, one in three Virginia children live in economic insecurity. Almost half, the largest group, live with married parents.

Read the full op-ed here.

Metropolitan Cross-Sections: College Graduates

With input from Hamilton, I’ve been looking recently at how metropolitan areas change as one travels from the center to the periphery.  The following charts show the percent of the population 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees.  The graphs are based on concentric rings coming out from the center of downtown.  I’ve included reference maps with distances and put lines on the graphs to correspond to the circles on the map.

It’s important to note that this is for adults who are 25 and older.  While college towns have high numbers of educated residents and that shows up on the graphs, these numbers do not include actual undergraduate students or recent graduates.

Data for 1990 and 2000 comes from the long-form census.  Data for 2012 is from the American Community Survey’s 2008-2012 5-year estimates.  The census long form survey disappeared after the 2000 census, so questions that would have been on the long form (like education level) are now collected as part of the American Community Survey.

Washington, D.C.

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Home Construction: Running to Stand Still

New home construction rose over 23 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2013, according to building permit data collected by the Census Bureau and the Weldon Cooper Center. In suburban counties, the number of new homes built during the past year increased much more than in urban localities, but construction levels still remain a fraction of those seen during the early 2000s housing boom.

 Homes Built Annually in the Mid Atlantic

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Click on arrows at bottom of slideshow to scroll through years

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Fostering a Better Future

Presentation1May 2014 is National Foster Care Month and provides an excellent opportunity to recognize the important role of foster care in the lives of so many children and youth across the country as well as in the Commonwealth. In 2013, Governor Bob McDonnell launched his “Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000” initiative to match 1,000 children in foster care to 1,000 adoptive families, the target was successfully exceeded by finding permanent homes for 1,008 children. This year, Governor Terry McAuliffe also recognized May as Foster Care Month for the Commonwealth of Virginia and emphasized that “every child and youth in foster care deserves the security and opportunity for growth that a family can provide”.

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As more families choose cities, governments are returning to the drawing board

Urban areas import the young and export the old, the theory goes, or went. For decades, young people have come to Virginia’s urban areas to go to university or work, often moving out again when their children require more space or education, or when they retire. But, since the mid 2000s, a demographic change has slowed the conveyor belt of movement in and out of cities. More young families are staying in Virginia’s urban areas to raise their children and enroll them in local schools, fueling the strongest population growth many of Virginia’s urban areas have experienced since the 1950s.

Though many young couples in the past have started families while they lived in urban areas, a good number would move to suburban counties before enrolling their children in school. In urban school divisions such as Arlington County and Fredericksburg, fewer than 60 percent of children born in 1999 showed up in first grade in 2005. The large number of young families moving into suburban school divisions caused many more children to enroll in first grade in counties such as Spotsylvania and Chesterfield than were born there six years earlier.2005 Ratio

Source: Virginia Department of Education Fall Count, Virginia Department of Health Live Births, tabulated by the Weldon Cooper Center

Today, many parents are staying put in urban areas, thanks to stricter mortgage regulations that make it hard for buyers to get a loan, and a difficult labor market that makes it hard for anyone to be sure of a job. One-third as many homes were sold in 2012 as in 2005 in Virginia. During the same period, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that the number of Virginia families with children who live in a rented  residence has increased 15 percent.

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Predicting Sprawl

The Weldon Cooper Center, under contract with the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), developed and released in 2012 the most recent round of official state population projections for Virginia.  These projections, consistent with others commissioned or developed in the past by the VEC, focus primarily on trends in the number of people currently living in Virginia and expected to live in Virginia ten, twenty, and thirty years from now

It’s one thing to think about growth in terms of numbers of people, but another to think about it in spatial terms – as the growth of physical urbanized areas.  For a while now, I’ve been working on a GIS model that will do that.  I’ve posted it before on my own blog, but since then I’ve cleaned it up and made it follow our regional population projections more rigidly.

Today

Here’s a land cover raster (an image showing what primarily covers each 15Mx15M square of land) of Virginia in 2006.  All developed land is in red.  It’s a great image of the shape of our metro areas.

Current

25 Years From Now

Here is a map of what that might look like in 2040 if: Continue reading

A Closer Look at MSA’s and Commuting

As Hamilton noted when posting the map of updated Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the MSA’s are calculated with commuting statistics.  If more than 25% of workers in a locality commute to a nearby metropolitan area, that county is considered to be closely linked to it.  This is a useful cutoff point, but like all cutoffs, it is completely arbitrary.  I mapped five of the state’s largest MSA’s to show the degree to which their surrounding counties are dependent on them.  This is important to understand since a significant part of Virginia’s “rural” areas are becoming increasingly exurban – dependent on nearby urban economies rather than agriculture or local industries.  Again, 25% is the cutoff for inclusion in the MSA (see Hamilton’s map linked above).  That includes all workers commuting to one of the core counties of the MSA.  The “core counties” are not explicitly listed anywhere that we’ve been able to find, but there is a definition and by working backwards from the commuting numbers it’s not too hard to figure out.

DC-Nova:

DC

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