Just One Mile: Gentrification in Congress Heights, DC

The Real Ward 8

As soon as we would leave our neighborhood, the reality of Ward 8 was apparent. Like many of the other children in the neighborhood, our kids went to private schools in Maryland. We didn’t even consider one of the several elementary schools within walking distance of our house. At that time many of them were performing poorly. Almost 50% of the children were “below basic” for their grade level in math and reading. Ward 8’s unemployment rate was 14% for March 2015 (dc.gov), down from 25% in 2011 (dc.gov) – at that time, highest in US (Bloomberg). Ward 8 has the smallest labor force of any ward. As of the 2010 census, Ward 8 was 93% black, and as of 2012 1 in 3 Ward 8 residents lived below the poverty line.