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D.C. is not quite like the rest of America. There’s the lack of statehood and voting rights, of course. There’s the wild Democratic tilt, which gave Barack Obama‘s a margin of victory in the 2012 presidential race that was twice as large as in any state. There’s the strong weathering of the recession, and the wilting thereafter; the peculiar amount of power held by the National Park Service; the precarious legalization of marijuana; and the presence of things like cat cafes and $30 cups of coffee.
And then there’s the simple demographics. We all know D.C.’s population is changing: It’s getting whiter and wealthier and increasingly concentrating in once-rough areas near the center of the city. But new data from the Office of Revenue Analysis show just how strikingly the face of D.C. is changing—and in sharp contrast to the rest of the country.
Take a look at the chart above. The share of D.C.’s white and non-Hispanic population between ages 18 and 34 has been much lower than the U.S. average for decades, and it remains so. But the gap is closing fast. Whereas the total national share in 1980 was 2.5 times that of D.C., it’s now down to just 1.2 times higher. The numbers have moved in opposite directions: The white non-Hispanic share nationally among young adults has declined by more that 20 percentage points since 1980, while in D.C. it’s climbed by nearly an equal amount.
Incomes for people age 18 to 34 follow the same trend. In D.C., they’ve risen sharply each decade and now stand 43 percent higher than in 1980. Nationally, they’re 5 percent lower:
By other measures, the trend isn’t quite as clear cut, though it still diverges from the national average. Here’s the share of the young-adult population living with a parent, which has fallen sharply in D.C. while rising nationally:
And here’s the share of the young-adult population that drives to work, which is slightly higher nationally than in 1980 but much lower in D.C.:
Charts from the Office of Revenue Analysis