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Washington Population

The current 2007 US Census Bureau data estimates DC's population at 588,292 residents, continuing a trend of population growth in the city since the 2000 Census. The trend reverses what had been a 50-year decline in DC's population. During the work week, however, the number of commuters from the suburbs into the city swells DC's population by an estimated 71.8%, to a daytime population of over one million people. The Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia, is the eighth-largest in the United States with more than five million residents. When combined with Baltimore and its suburbs, the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area has a population exceeding eight million residents, the fourth-largest in the country.

The population distribution was 55.5% African American, 34.5% Caucasian, 8.2% Hispanic (of any race), 5.1% other (including Native Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders), 3.4% Asian and 1.5% mixed (two or more races) in 2006. Even though they comprise the city's largest ethnic group, Washington has a steadily declining black population, due to many African Americans leaving the city for suburbs. At the same time, the city's white population has steadily increased, in part due to effects of gentrification in many of Washington's traditionally black neighbourhoods. This is evident in a 4.6% decrease in the African American population, and a corresponding 3.7% increase in the Caucasian population since 2000.

The 2000 census revealed that there were an estimated 33,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans-sexual (LGBT) adults in DC, about 6% of the city's population; twice the national average of 2.9%. Despite the city's sizable LGBT population and liberal political climate, same-sex marriage is not legal in DC; due in part to opposition in Congress. However, Washington's domestic partnership law does provide same-sex couples legal recognition similar to civil unions offered in other jurisdictions.

A 2007 report found that about one-third of Washington residents are functionally illiterate, compared to a national rate of about one in five. This is attributed in part to Hispanic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean immigrants that make up 12.7% of the District's population but are not proficient in English. However, while one-third are functionally illiterate, 45% of DC residents have at least a four-year college degree, the fourth-highest rate in the nation, which further illustrates the social divide present in the city. A 2005 study shows that 85.16% of Washington DC residents age five and older speak only English at home and 8.78% speak Spanish. French is the third-most-spoken language at 1.35%. In 2000 more than half of DC residents identify themselves as Christian; 28% of residents are Catholic, 6.8% are Southern Baptist, 1.3% are Eastern Orthodox, and 21.8% are members of other Protestant denominations. Residents who practice Islam make up 10.6% of the population, and followers of Judaism comprise 4.5%. 26.8% of residents do not practice a religion.





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