A new snapshot of U.S. population changes shows that the District of Columbia has been adding residents at a faster clip than any of the 50 states in recent months.
The population in the nation's capital grew by 2.7 percent between April 2010 and July 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. That outpaced Texas (2.10 percent), Utah (1.93 percent), Alaska (1.76 percent), Colorado (1.74 percent) and North Dakota (1.69 percent).
In its analysis of the study , The Washington Times points to the " acceleration of a trend in which largely skilled and educated workers have flocked to the city's resilient local economy and its well-paying jobs connected to the federal government." The paper notes that economic development in the District of Columbia has been strong, with improved city services and a sharp decline in homicides, which numbered 479 in 1991 and have dropped to 108 this year.
But while the trend is encouraging in the nation's capital, most of the rest of the country is still feeling the effects of the recession, the Census Bureau study suggests. Nationally, the population grew by 0.92 percent, to 311.6 million people. The nation's growth rate is "now at its lowest point since before the baby boom," Robert Groves, the bureau's director, said in a statement.
"We don't have that vibrancy that fuels the economy and people's sense of mobility," William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, tells The New York Times . "People are a bit aimless right now."
Only three states — Maine, Michigan and Rhode Island — saw a decline in their populations during the 15-month period the Census Bureau examined, with Rhode Island registering the biggest decline at 0.12 percent. Governor Lincoln Chafee did not express surprise at the news.
"We're traditionally first into a recession and last out," Chafee, an independent, tells Bloomberg Businessweek . "That's contributing to this. People are going elsewhere to work."