It’s data time! In case you needed yet another reminder that our fair city is vastly divided economically, Housing Complex assembled some pie charts for your viewing pleasure.
On the right, population per ward (numbers via Neighborhood Info DC, as of 2000, the latest year for which figures are available) is fairly equal.Below that, registered vacant properties per ward, via Councilmember Muriel Bowser via DCRA, are a bit more imbalanced. Ward 7 has the most with 637, and Ward 3 has only got 66.
Meanwhile, the graph at the bottom charts the average and median income per ward (numbers via the Department of Planning and Economic Development, as of 2003—we know, things have changed since then, but the general outlines are similar). Unsurprisingly, there’s a few correlations: From highest to lowest income, it’s Ward 3, 2, 4, 6, 1, 5, 7, 8. From lowest number of vacant properties to highest, it’s Ward 3, 2, 4, 8, 1, 6, 5 and 7.
Why is this important?
Under the vacant property taxation changes made for the 2011 budget cycle, owners of unused properties will have to pay $250 to register them, and then pay $5 per $100 of assessed value in yearly property taxes, unless they qualify for one of a host of exemptions. The intention is to make it more expensive for delinquent landowners to keep their properties empty. That could mean that the lowest-income wards with the most vacant properties could benefit most from the legislation—even if organizations and individuals without the money to develop their properties wind up having to sell to avoid the tax.