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DC's population hits 700,000

As DC's population reaches 700,000 people, a few residents, including the mayor, reflect on how this milestone, and future population growth, will affect this bustling metropolis.
Washington, DC (Photo:Flickr)

DC’s population is growing.

"That’s cause for celebration." Said Mayor Muriel Bowser.

On Friday, she was at MedStar Washington Hospital Center along with DC’s newest residents: Kooper and Leah. Both babies were born this week, helping the city hit its own population milestone of 700,000 people.

Baby Kooper’s mother, Janille Thompson, grew up in the district and has no plans to leave.

“I’m planning to stay. I will not move out of this city. I love my city," said Thompson.

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“It’s changing, but it’s changing for the good. It’s changing for the better. There’s so many opportunities. From education to arts to restaurants. There’s so many things to go out and explore," she said.

And places to explore keep springing up.

Developers have been investing a lot of money to keep up with the demand from those who want to live in the city. In the past eight years, they spent 28.8 billion dollars on hundreds of projects around the city.

Local historian Robert Malesky writes a blog called Bygone Brookland.

“Those changes we all like to see. It’s the other changes, the over-growth that we’re worried about. And yes gentrification. We do not want to lose the people who live here," said Malesky.

Just down the street from the hospital, the northeast neighborhood of Brookland is a case in point.

As of the last census the population, unlike the city as a whole, is still a black majority at 72 percent.

“We like the neighborhood character that Brookland has always had. It’s like a suburb within the city.”

But on one corner near the Brookland Metro station, Malesky can point in each direction at a newly built or planned development.

“They wanted to develop that, but the original plans called for it to be very tall. And some neighbors took them to court," Malesky said.

Years later, a property adjacent to the metro is still empty.

Malesky said the mayor’s new comprehensive plan may make it easier for developers to get their projects built. He worries there has not been enough public consultation.

“People want development, they want it here in Brookland. They just want it to be smart development.”

As for what the future holds for these babies, one thing is certain for DC’s newest residents: their college is free. The mayor surprised both sets of parents with scholarships at UDC for baby Leah and Kooper.

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