Georgetown Unlikely to Leave Ward Two

DC is currently in the process of re-drawing the eight ward boundaries as a result of the 2020 Census. GM had previously theorized about the possibility that Georgetown and/or Burleith could be returned to Ward Three, that result now appears extremely unlikely.

DC needs to redraw the ward boundaries every ten years. The law mandates that each of the wards’ populations must be within 5% of the city average. So, for example, if the city had 800,000 residents, the average for the wards would be 100,000. And the maps would have to be drawn to ensure that no ward had fewer than 95,000 or more than 105,000 residents.

Early estimates put Ward Two slightly above the average, although within the 5% buffer. If that were the case, there would not be any need to grow or reduce the physical size of Ward Two. But it might have lead to changes nonetheless since some wards definitely have to grow or shrink, and to make that possible Ward Two might have needed to change.

As it turns out the average is 86,193 from last year’s count, with the lower threshold at 81,883 and the upper threshold at 90,503. And Ward Two is actually on the lower side at 81,904. So theoretically it could simply not change anything and be in compliance. But neighboring Ward Six grew spectacularly to 108,202 (mostly due to growth in around the Navy Yard). So it needs to shed almost 20,000 residents. Some portion will likely go to Ward Eight, bringing that ward across the Anacostia River. But some will surely also go to Ward Two. Likely portions of Shaw that went from Ward Two to Ward Six ten years ago will be returned.

Ward Three is at 85,301; just about exactly where it should be. But it could absorb another 5,000 people. So theoretically in some complicated form of musical chairs, part or all of ANC2E could be moved to Ward Three. But it’s exceedingly difficult to see why that would ever be necessary. And there would be plenty of pressure against such a move. (Ironically there was just that sort of pressure that fought against Georgetown going from Ward Three to Two in 1980. It failed.)

An yesterday, the Council held a hearing on the question of Ward Two’s boundaries. During that hearing Ward Two Councilmember Brooke Pinto stated that in her opinion Ward Two would grow. So it’s an extremely safe bet that once the final maps are released, Georgetown (and Burleith) will remain in Ward Two.

(Of course, if life were more fun, Pinto would see that Jack Evans is planning to run against her next year and would resurrect the Shackleton Sliver, seen above, and move Jack’s P St. house to Ward Three. Alas…)

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