|What is it about this area that makes it such a great place to live? Well, one marvelous factor is that everyone here "belongs". No one ethnic or cultural group is so predominant that anyone not of that group feels like an "outsider". Compare other parts of DC, where the majority group is so numerous that anyone else feels self-conscious. You know what I mean. But here, everybody, white, black, Latino, or Asian, can feel "at home", not as if they're strangers in somebody else's neighborhood.|
|Demographic data -- from the 2000 census, so somewhat dated,
to be sure. These data are from the Neighborhood Information
What's remarkable, I think, is the balance evident in Mount Pleasant. Before 1968, this was a "white" neighborhood, popular for immigrants from Europe. The racial barriers had been broken in the mid-1950s, so there was a modest mix of African Americans. After the Martin Luther King assassination riots of 1968, this became a mainly-black neighborhood. Then the wave of Central American immigrants, many fleeing the troubles in El Salvador, arrived in the 1980s. In the late 80s and through the 90s, Mount Pleasant became a "gentrification" neighborhood, popular among whites moving back into the city. For them, a great advantage of Mount Pleasant was its proximity to the upscale shopping areas and schools west of Rock Creek Park. The result today is a roughly balanced mix of very different populations, none with a majority. I hope we can keep it that way, but that may be impossible.
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Mt Pleasant robbery rates
|Columbia Heights is on the same track as Mount Pleasant, but a decade or more behind. The Latino and white populations of Columbia Heights are growing, and the black proportion decreasing, due to these two influxes. The same stresses of class, ethnicity, and longevity in the neighborhood, which afflict Mount Pleasant today, will increasingly afflict Columbia Heights, too. I hope they can learn from our experience.|