Washington, DC, research initiative
We work with community members, local governments, nonprofits, and the private sector. We build knowledge that empowers our partners to build on the region’s assets to confront inequities and create a region of shared prosperity. 

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  • Research Report 2020 Census Overview for the Greater DC Region: Redistricting Data

    This report summarizes the latest decennial census data for the greater Washington, DC, (Greater DC) region, including the District of Columbia’s eight wards and 24 cities and counties in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The region grew from 5.6 to 6.4 million people between 2010 and 2020, an increase of 13.0 percent.

    Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
    Research Areas Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
    Cities Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

    Featured Experts
    Media Name: hendey-leah.jpg
    Principal Research Associate
    Codirector, National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership


    Our Issues

    In the Washington, DC region, jobs and population are on the rise, the housing market is booming, and long-distressed neighborhoods are experiencing a renaissance. The turnaround in DC’s fortunes over nearly two decades is remarkable.

    But the region’s prosperity and growth have not reached every neighborhood and county or benefited all its residents. Poverty, hardship, and isolation persist—and in some cases may have worsened. Some long-time residents feel excluded from the new economic, social, and cultural opportunities springing up around them. Some neighborhoods and counties remain severely distressed, dangerous, and disinvested. And the disparities between rich and poor are widening.

    Many of the region’s civic and political leaders are seeking to spread the benefits of prosperity more broadly and equitably. They are exploring strategies for reducing unemployment, preserving affordable housing, improving educational success, and further reducing crime and violence. To do so, they need reliable evidence and independent analysis to support fruitful debate and effective policymaking.

    Our Approach

    The Urban Institute has built a multidisciplinary program of evidence and policy analysis focused on the District of Columbia and its region. This work draws from the breadth of Urban’s substantive expertise, including child well-being, education reform, workforce development, foreclosure mitigation, affordable housing, crime prevention, performance management and nonprofit management, the social safety net, and health care. We provide current and reliable data at multiple geographic levels (including city, ward, and neighborhood) to inform the decisions of nonprofits and city agencies. 

    This work is supported and informed by NeighborhoodInfo DC, our civic engagement tool and online resource of indicators for the District of Columbia and the Washington region. NeighborhoodInfo DC assembles the most current available data from a broad array of local and national sources and makes it easily accessible to citizens, community groups, media, and policymakers. For example, from the start of the national foreclosure crisis, Urban has assembled detailed, real-time information about the DC households and neighborhoods affected. We then share this data with public and nonprofit partners, enabling them to target their efforts to reduce negative impacts and help more families stay in their homes.

    Our Impact

    We have been actively engaged in the civic and policy challenges of our home city, providing analysis and assistance to the DC government and to local service providers and community organizations. For example, when public school officials were making decisions about closing elementary schools and redefining enrollment boundaries, Urban helped develop and apply criteria for deciding which schools to close and analyzed potential effects on travel distances for students and enrollment by school. Urban also recently developed a model bullying prevention policy for youth-serving agencies in the city, in partnership with the 42 members of the District of Columbia Mayor's Bullying Prevention Task Force and Office of Human Rights. And, in collaboration with the World Bank Group, Urban is building the performance measurement capacity of Washington, DC-area nonprofits through Measure4Change, a multiyear initiative that provides grant support and one-on-one technical assistance for grantees and facilitates a regional community of practice.


    • Senior Fellow
    • Vice President, Income and Benefits Policy
    • Senior Fellow
    • Principal Research Associate
    • Vice President, Education Data and Policy
    • Principal Research Associate
    • Principal Research Associate
    • Principal Research Associate
      Codirector, National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership
    • Associate Vice President, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy
    • Chief Information Officer
      Vice President for Technology and Data Science
    • Interim Vice President
      Principal Research Associate
      and Director, National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership
    • Principal Research Associate
    • Institute Fellow
      Director, HOST Initiative
    • Executive Director, District of Columbia Education Research Collaborative
    • Sol Price Fellow
      Project director, State and Local Finance Initiative
    • Senior Fellow
    • Senior Fellow
      Research Director, Urban–Greater DC
    • Senior Fellow