Posted on July 18, 2011

A Population Changes, Uneasily

Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, July 17, 2011

This city, the country’s first to have an African-American majority and one of its earliest experiments in black self-government, is passing a milestone.

Washington’s black population slipped below 50 percent this year, possibly in February, about 51 years after it gained a majority, according to an estimate by William Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution.

The shift is passing without much debate, but it is leaving ripples of resentment in neighborhoods across the city, pitting some of the city’s long-term residents, often African-American, against affluent newcomers, most of whom are white, over issues as mundane as church parking and chicken wings.


But race and class issues often overlap, and as the city’s demographics shift–the white population jumped by 31 percent in the past decade, while the black population declined by 11 percent–many less affluent blacks say they are feeling left out of the city’s improving fortunes. {snip}