City Lit Up At Night

Source: Joseph Gruber / EyeEm / Getty

A new poll conducted by The Washington Post concluded wealthy D.C. residents blame their own demographic (wealthy D.C. residents) for the city’s astronomically rising housing costs. Almost 1 in 5 D.C. residents named housing as the biggest issue facing the city, above crime, education and the Metro system.

So of course, when displacement occurs, who does this typically affect the most? Low-income Black folks.

“As an African American, it’s been painful to watch the exit of other African Americans,” Jacque Perry, who has seen her native neighborhood of Capitol Hill alter drastically since she was younger, told Washington Post.

The median home value in D.C. has tripled from 2000 to 2016, from $136,200 to $484,000, according to Zillow. And the median household income in D.C. is estimated to be $75,628 according to the US Census Bureau, ranking DC as the city with the highest median household income rate in the nation. Another recent study from The Urban Institute, however, shows white families are on average are 81 times richer than Black families in the DC area, landing it second only to Los Angeles, where white folks are 89 times richer.

The report continues by referencing laws that go back over a hundred years ago like the Black Codes of the 1840s that prohibited “free” Black people from owning restaurants and bars.

“Black people in D.C. have faced more than two centuries of deliberately constructed barriers to wealth building, and some of the highest barriers were embedded by design in the law,” writers of the study assert.

The numbers and critical analysis provided in these studies provide abundant (and arguable redundant) proof of the fact that gentrification has historically decimated Black cities and neighborhoods. While many know it as “Chocolate City,” if the Black people continue to be pushed out of the communities that built Washington D.C. out, they might be needing a new nickname soon.