Local: Education

Birth boom driven by real estate costs, crime rates

|
Local,DC,Education,Rachel Baye

The District has been experiencing a boom in births over the last decade thanks to a combination of dropping crime, a renewed interest in urban living and changing housing prices.

The number of babies born in the District each year rose from roughly 7,500 in 2002 and 2003 to slightly more than 9,000 in 2008, according to Peter Tatian, senior research associate at the Urban Institute's Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. Since 2008, the number has been between about 9,100 and 9,200, he said.

More than half of the births have been to black mothers, though the increase in births has been evenly divided among white, black and Hispanic mothers, he said.

The increase in babies has been caused by the large number of people younger than 35 who moved to the District over the last decade and have decided to stay to raise families.

Part of this stems from the crash of the suburban housing market, said Bill Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.

Real estate in the urban core is only slightly less expensive than houses in the suburbs, and the money families save on daily transportation costs makes up the difference, Tatian said.

Crime levels are also down, making the city feel safer than it was 10 or 15 years ago, Tatian added. "There's more things that are attracting people to live in the city and to remain here." - Rachel Baye

View article comments Leave a comment