Who stays in the District? Who leaves?

Recently we released a study by my colleagues Ginger Moored and Lori Metcalf on whether first-time parents leave the city at rates faster than the rest of D.C. residents, and if this behavior has changed over time. Today, we are releasing another study on what kind of economic or demographic characteristics play a role in residents’ decisions to leave or stay.

We tracked the behavior of D.C. residents who filed income taxes for the first time in 2004. We found the following:

  • The District’s population is transient. Only 23 percent of the tax filers who first filed in 2004 remained on the tax rolls in 2012.
  • People tend to stay if there is a change in the family structure. Singles tend to leave and those who change their filing status, for example, because of a marriage, tend to stay.
  • Family dynamics matter beyond marriage. We have shown elsewhere that the first child plays an important role in the decision to move out of the city. A second or a third child increases the probability that families will stay.
  • The District attracts high-income residents. Among those who were in the highest income quintile when they arrived in the city in 2004, 41 percent were still found on the tax rolls. Only a quarter of filers who were in the lowest income quintile, however, were still on the tax rolls in 2012.

Read the paper for more...


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