The boundaries of Ward 2 will be redrawn this year, as census data released at the end of March show the ward’s population has increased beyond its legal limits.
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and others will use 2010 Census data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to redistrict D.C.’s eight wards in the coming months, as other states also realign congressional and state districts across the country.
D.C.’s population grew 5.2 percent overall in the past decade, increasing the city’s population from 572,059 to 601,723. College students attending schools in D.C. were included in this count, when previously they were counted in their home states if they weren’t permanent D.C. residents.
Ward 2, where GW is located, saw the largest population increase among the wards, growing 16 percent to 79,915.
Because the D.C. Official Code requires that the wards have approximately equal population sizes, this population change will require the city to alter the ward boundaries.
Residents on the fringes of each ward may face the possibility of becoming part of another ward and having their representations changed.
Evans said he wasn’t surprised by Ward 2’s population increase due to the rise in popularity of neighborhoods like Chinatown, Dupont and Logan Circle.
“It’s the hotspot of the town and so people want to move in,” he said.
Evans said the process of redistricting is likely to be much easier than in 2001, when every ward in the District required changes due to population numbers.
“Last time the changes were much more dramatic,” he said.
The redistricting committee will develop plans in the coming months for boundary adjustments and then will present the plans to the D.C. Council and public.
Councilmembers will solicit feedback on the proposed plans through public hearings, and information will be posted online.
Once the committee reviews public input, it will draw up the legislation realigning the ward boundaries and will present it to the Council.
Each ward requires around one-eighth of the city’s population – or 75,215 people.
D.C. law allows for that figure to be plus or minus 5 percent, so any ward’s population could range from 71,455 to 78,976.
Wards 7 and 8 both fall below the minimum population, which means they will gain neighborhoods. Ward 8 was the only part of the city to lose residents between the census counts.
David Alpert, the founder and editor in chief of the website Greater Greater Washington, created a redistricting game for residents to redistrict D.C. themselves.
Alpert said 3,707 maps were submitted as of Saturday.
He said he plans to analyze the maps and will present the data to the public and the Council.
“I will probably pick out several maps that reflect most popular scenarios and provide statistics on how popular each is,” he said in an e-mail.
A schedule for public hearings hasn’t been set, but ward boundaries must be redrawn by July 14. After the ward boundaries are redrawn, the committee will begin work on altering the lines drawn within wards for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, single-member districts and voting precincts. That redistricting must be finished by Dec. 31.