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Join Bernie McCain today at 5 pm eastern when he talks to PolicyLink President/CEO Angela Glover Blackwell about D.C.’s shrinking black population.


The District has continued to lose African American residents, according to new census estimates released Thursday, while the number of whites and every other census-tracked minority has risen.

The city remains a majority African American city, though the numbers and percentage slipped in every year between 2000 and 2008. About 54 percent of the city is African American and 40 percent is white, the census figures show. At the beginning of the decade, the city was 61 percent black and 34 percent white.

In raw numbers, the District lost about 27,000 black residents and gained about 40,000 whites. Asians now are 4 percent of the population, up from 3 percent in 2000, while Hispanics have risen from about 8 percent to 9 percent. There also were increases in the number of Native Americans and Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, through the actual numbers and the percentage increases were both very small.

If the trend continues, some demographers have predicted that the District could cease being a majority African American city by 2020. Its current population is now estimated to be about 600,000, a number that increased in almost every year of the past decade. Washington now has its highest population since 1991.

The population estimates are based on a number of government records, including income tax returns, Medicare, military service, deaths and births. A more precise figure will be available this year with the 2010 Census.