Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some of the most "whitened" zip codes in the US are in Columbia Heights

The Post and DCist have an interesting story: according to a researcher at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, DC has 3 of the country's most whitened zip codes between 2000 and 2010 -- that is, the biggest growth in percentage of white people in those zip codes.

And two of those zip codes are in Columbia Heights: 20001 is 10th, going from 5.6% to 32.8%, and 20010 is 14th, going from 22% to 46.7% white. 20005 is on the list as well, which is Logan Circle, Shaw, and downtown. 20001 includes part of Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains, Shaw, Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park and Truxton Circle, while 20010 has parts of northern Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant and Park View. (You can see the zip codes in the map I made below, using DC GIS data from

So what does this mean? The researcher, Michael J. Petrilli, says it means those areas are gentrifying, which may be true, but to me isn't totally correct. I would argue that a lot of the people moving in are younger and don't make too much money -- think of the group house set. But it also depends on how you define the G-word, is it more white people, or more wealthy people, or a combination of factors?

In any case, it's an interesting analysis (though some geographer buddies point out the analysis doesn't account for spatial autocorrelation bias, which in general assumes that things, in this case white people, are spread evenly when in reality they may be clustered. You can read this lecture if you want to get into some hardcore geography.)

Anyway, here's the map. What do you think of this research?

1 comment:

  1. thanks for pointing out some of the potential flaws with this story!


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