The voices of Urban Institute's researchers and staff
December 12, 2011

Sweeping Changes and a Persistent Foreclosure Crisis in Prince George’s County

December 12, 2011

In a growing and diversifying metropolitan area, Prince George’s may be the only county in metro Washington, D.C. that’s becoming more segregated even as its population grows. This Washington Post article identifies the factors behind increased segregation in this historically majority-African American county—an increasing number of affluent black families, an exodus of non-Hispanic whites, a growing Hispanic population mostly inside the Beltway, and minimal growth in the Asian population.

Our own analysis of recent Census and American Community Survey data zeroes in on population changes by race and ethnicity and confirms many of these patterns. The interactive map below shows the population density by race in Prince George’s in 2000 and 2010. Each dot represents 40 people of a given race in a particular census tract. (Drag the slider left and right to see how populations have grown and spread since 2000.)

Population Dot Density: Prince  George's County

Over the past decade, the black population rose by 10 percent (from nearly 500,000) and growth was scattered throughout much of the county. Meanwhile, the Hispanic population rose by 127 percent (from nearly 57,000) particularly inside the Beltway, and the non-Hispanic white population fell by 34 percent (from nearly 200,000 people), especially in  neighborhoods outside the Beltway.

We categorized the socio-economic changes in the county’s Council Districts.  After examining changes in race/ethnicity, income, and education levels between 2000 and 2010, we grouped districts into four categories:

  • Hispanic growth and decreasing African American population (group 1). Districts 2 and 3 experienced moderate to large increases in the Hispanic population and corresponding decreases in the African-American population. The white populations held steady. Districts 2 and 3 experienced small to moderate decreases in real income, and decreases in education levels.
  • Large decrease in white population(group 2). Districts 1, 4, and 6 saw large decreases in the white population and corresponding moderate increases among African-Americans, and big jumps in the Hispanic populations. Education levels rose for all while household incomes stayed steady.
  • Large increase in both Hispanic and African American populations and rises in household income(group 3). The Hispanic population made big gains in Districts 5 (blacks stayed steady), and the numbers of both Hispanics and blacks increased in District 9. Residents in these districts enjoyed increases in household income and education levels.·
  • Stagnant population growth(group 4). Unlike the other areas, District 7 and 8 experienced stagnant population growth. The white and African-American populations dropped moderately while the Hispanic population rose slightly. In these districts, real incomes fell moderately and educational levels rose slightly.

As we have pointed out in previous postings, Prince George’s County remains in the grip of the foreclosure crisis. With delinquency and foreclosure levels among the region’s highest, the county needs sound and creative policy solutions. Stay tuned for our comparison of socio-economic changes with the housing market and foreclosure crisis by Council District.

Prince George's District Groupings

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