Census Data Profiles Arlington’s Growing Population

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2010 at 8:41 am 2,516 41 Comments

What does Arlington look like? The Census Bureau recently released the results of its 2009 American Community Survey, which provides a one-year estimate of various population trends.

According to the data, Arlington’s population is 217,483 and growing quickly: up 6 percent in just the past two years.

Arlington is slightly more male than female: 51 percent to 49 percent.

As mentioned before, the school-aged population in Arlington is relatively low. The percentage of the population that’s under the age of 18 is 16.4 percent, compared to the national average of 24.3 percent.

The married population is about 10 percent below the national average. Only 39.7 percent of women are married, while 41.5 percent of men are married. Among men, 49.2 percent have never married, compared to 44.2 percent of women.

Arlington’s population is 17.1 percent Hispanic, 7.7 percent black, 7.9 percent Asian, and 63.6 percent non-Hispanic white. Recent racial trends are all within the margin of error — too slight to accurately measure.

The percentage of people who said they were unemployed more than doubled between 2007 and 2009: 2.5 percent compared to 5.8 percent.

Asked about their commute to work, 53.8 percent of Arlingtonians said they drive alone, 8.2 percent said they carpooled, 26.0 percent took public transportation, 5.4 percent walked, 2.1 percent took “other means” (perhaps biking) and 3.5 percent worked from home. The mean commute time was 25 minutes.

Arlington is affluent. Just over 47 percent of the population is in a household that earns more than $100,000 per year. Nearly 15 percent earn more than $200,000. The mean household income is $121,820.

To see the data for yourself, click here.

Flickr pool photo by Amber Wilkie Photography.

  • Arlington2010

    Now we know: It’s a waste and inconveniences the majority when they take away travel lanes for the “2.1 percent took ‘other means’.”

    • SoArlRes

      Hey, not so fast. If you build it, they will come.

    • Frog

      I see cyclists everywhere, that percentage has to be low. Remember the American Community Survey is a sampling of the population, this is not the Census.

    • Nick

      I’ll echo SoArlRes and Frog, and add that the 2.1% regards commuting to work, not for exercise and sport. I bike long distances at least twice a week, but not to work. This survey is certainly not where one should derive an accurate measure of cycling frequency in Arlington.

      • RestonRunner86

        A personal plea to you and your fellow recreational cyclists: Can you PLEASE warn before passing we pedestrians when you’re traveling at high rates of speed? Only 1 out of 10 cyclists on my stretch of the W&OD Trail ever warn me that they are approaching from behind, and each time they zoom by me at 15-20 miles per hour while I’m running I nearly have a heart attack. A jogger in suburban Dallas, TX was just killed when she was run over by a cyclist on a trail. Granted she was apparently at fault here, though, because she was listening to her iPod and veered into the cyclist’s path, but I’ve had many other near-misses that were the fault of the cyclist, including one who almost hit me head on to avoid hitting another cyclist.

        What is the fascination with “zooming” through heavily-congested areas, anyways? As we just saw in TX a cyclist is just as capable of killing a pedestrian as a motor vehicle operator. I highly encourage cycling. I’m just sick of the apparent majority of them in this area who think they are “too good” to be courteous to others.

        • MikeyinCrystalC

          Well said! I encounter much the same issues when I run on the Mt. Vernon trail. It seems like at least half the bicyclists on the trail are training for the Tour de France or something!

          • CW

            “Granted she was apparently at fault here, though, because she was listening to her iPod and veered into the cyclist’s path”

            The reason why I don’t announce my presence when cycling on the W&OD and passing is just that – 99.9% of runners are using earphones. Cyclists do this too, which is especially moronic. When they’re using earphones and I go to pass, it’s quite dangerous. But when I run on the trail, I’m listening to my iPod myself, so I don’t expect to hear any warning from cyclists. You get what you give.

            “It seems like at least half the bicyclists on the trail are training for the Tour de France or something!”

            Well, I mean, sometimes people like to ride hard, you know, to get their heart rates up? What are you training for there smart aleck, the Boston Marathon?

          • CW

            And to clarify, I wasn’t condoning not providing a warning…I do it whenever I see that it won’t fall on deaf ears, or, uh, preoccupied ears I guess.

            While we’re singling out trail user subgroups, how about runners who like to run side-by-side? How about DOG OWNERS who think that little Precious can run in the left lane while they run in the right? How about rollerbladers and their eight-foot-wide swaths and unpredictable, chaotic paths of motion?

          • RestonRunner86

            CW: Not all of us wear earphones and listen to iPods. I agree that cyclists and runners/joggers alike who do so while on crowded trails are doing something very dangerous. I’m the only person in Reston I know who owns neither an iPod NOR Smartphone (yes, I’ve seen joggers trying to update their Facebook status, likely to say “Jane Doe is running”). I don’t own either purely by choice to try to keep my life somewhat less complicated.

            I hate to even suggest this, but if so many collisions and near-misses keep occurring as our trails become more congested we may need to turn trails like the Mt. Vernon Trail and W&OD Trail into “mini-streets” with two bike lanes in either direction (a slower outer lane and a quicker-paced left-hand lane) with ample room in the interior for people to run, roller-blade, jog, push a stroller, etc. The trails would have to be widened. I’m a very cautious runner myself, but my last near-miss (in which I hurt my ankle) was the final straw, and I now run at Burke Lake Park because the relatively rough terrain of the trail discourages speed-cycling.

            We’re the nation’s “fittest” city, and that’s something to be proud of. Unfortunately we’re also one of the nation’s fastest-growing areas due to the recession sending everyone rushing here looking for a job. This means our trails are becoming more and more congested.

          • david

            What’s wrong with running side by side? As long as both of us are on our side of the yellow line we’re not breaking any rules.

            I’m also not sure how a story about the census turned into a discussion about proper biking etiquette.

          • RestonRunner86

            Also, CW, I agree that we ALL share partial responsibility for the dangerous conditions on many local trails today; however, two people running side-by-side at 7 miles per hour (albeit annoying) aren’t going to risk killing anyone around them in a collision with, perhaps, a power-walker going at 4 miles per hour. A cyclist zooming by at 20 miles per hour will. I’ve run in many other areas, and this area has the highest proportion of self-centered trail users who, as you said, are disrespectful of others. At Burke Lake a couple of weeks ago I was running (on the right edge of the trail), and two 50-something people (a couple) were walking side-by-side towards me. I heard a cyclist approaching me from behind at the last-minute, and I walked into the woods to stop and let her pass. She thanked me and scowled at the couple. Why didn’t the oncoming couple, who could SEE the cyclist approaching, move to a single-file? I encounter the same issues driving where people will travel at the exact same speed for miles, side-by-side, on a four-lane divided highway, not letting anyone pass. I’ve lived here a year-and-a-half and still haven’t adjusted to the selfishness here. How do you people grow to accept this as “normal” behavior without going insane?

          • RestonRunner86

            David: You can blame Arlington2010’s snarky off-topic remark about cyclists for this.

        • Hey, I’m a runner and a cyclist… Runner first, but have been cycling more and more due to injury. SO YOU ALL NEED TO LISTEN TO ME.

          Having an announcement of your presence fall on deaf ears 99% of the time is far less a pain in the ass than being unexpectedly blown by 99% of the time.

          I give warning 95% of the time (sometimes you just forget) and use extra caution around everyone. Headphones aren’t a great excuse for blowing by someone without warning… What if they are actually deaf? Slow down when passing, use some sense… The effort to get your cadence back is an even better workout than had you kept on blazing.

          At the end of the day, we’re all out there trying to get our endurance kick in… Can’t we all just get along?

          • MikeyinCC

            Again, more good points.

  • James in EFC

    Looking at the linked census page, the most surprising stat to me is the “Educational Attainment” column for those of us 25 and over:

    < 9th Grade 5,526
    9-12 5,055
    HS Diploma 18,805
    Some College 14,431
    Associates 5,776
    Bachelor 54,456
    Graduate Deg 55,849

    It's amazing to me that more adult residents have a graduate or professional degree than have just a bachelor's degree. I knew Arlington had (by some accounts) the most educated population in the country, but I wouldn't have pegged the MOST common answer to be graduate degree.

    • Rover


      Foreign-born population

      Naturalized U.S. citizen

      Not a U.S. citizen

      • G

        And your point is….?

      • shirley

        if you want to stoke the flames of immigration, your out of line.
        most illegals are probably not captured by census takers.
        what you are seeing is the high number of international people — embassies, foreign service, state department, scientists, who are smart enough to make Arlington their home.
        in my neighborhood alone we have several dozen people who are here for professional reasons. at my old employer 75% of our staff were NOT US Citizens, mainly because we couldn’t find anyone to take those jobs.
        not all non-citizens are illegal. think.

    • RestonRunner86

      It’s amazing how I can’t ever seem to find my “niche.” I was OVEReducated with a Bachelor’s Degree in my native Scranton, PA and am now UNDEReducated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Northern Virginia. My $50,000 salary barely covers my expenses here but would in many other areas. Pittsburgh, here I come!

      • G

        Your $50k barely covers expenses here? I make $58k and pay $1000/month in student loans, was able to buy a condo in Arlington, have a brand new car and still have plenty of money to spare… Then again I’d probably have a much nicer place to live and possibly an actual house if I lived somewhere else with a lower cost of living, but my point is, you can do a lot more with $50k in Arlington than you may think.

        • RestonRunner86

          How did you manage to save for the down payment on your Arlington condo with a $58,000 gross salary (assuming $3,000/month NET, since my own take-home pay with a $50,000 salary is about $2,700/month NET)?

          $3,000 – $1,000 (student loans) = $2,000/month
          $2,000/month – rent (presuming you rented before buying) = ???
          Then deduct utilities, groceries, gasoline, car insurance, car maintenance, a car payment, clothing, occasionally “going out”, cell phone, etc. and, to me, it sounds like you’d have very little left over to buy your own Arlington condo with.

          $2,680/month NET
          ($230/month) student loans
          ($222/month) car payment
          ($105/month) car/renter’s insurance
          ($1,105/month) 1-BR rent
          ($30/month) water & trash
          ($100/month) gasoline
          ($100/month) credit card payments
          ($150/month) groceries
          ($120/month) Internet/cable
          ($120/month) Medical expenses
          ($65/month) Cell phone
          =$333/month left over

          $333/month x 12 months = $3,996
          When you deduct car maintenance, Christmas shopping, occasionally “going out”, etc. you’re left with very little. Excuse me for just being baffled as to how you managed to secure a sizable down payment while banking so little every month.

          • G

            $130k condo. FHA loan (3.5% down) = $4550 down payment. Closing costs paid by seller, got $8269 from the tax credit with interest. I was able to save up some money during the 6 month grace period out of grad school.

      • Bringmetheyuppies

        Please go already. You think they are less homophobic out there than here good luck.

        • RestonRunner86

          Where did I mention my homosexuality in this comment? I’m superior, anyways, to people who are homophobic, so I just don’t associate myself with those types of people.

  • Arlington2010

    One little clarification: The income you list is household not individual.

    • Thanks, I’ve updated the story to reflect that.

  • charlie

    i drive to work because the transportation network stinks. while my office(s) over the years has been served by METRO BUS and RAIL, the time, cost and quality of experience have made driving easier more enjoyable and saner. my employer pays my parking, as part of my annual contract, BUT, I would pay it myself if I had to because METRO not only SUCKS it no longer serves the primary employment centers.

    • david

      It no longer serves the primary employment centers? Huh?

      • charlie

        metro rail and bus were designed as a spoke commuter rail — to serve the central business district. downtown DC is no longer the center of the jobs.
        Tysons has no metro. Reston. Route 28. Ft. Belvoir. Baileys Crossroads. Alexandria waterfront
        lots of people. no trains. limited buses.
        maybe i should say it doesn’t serve ALL the primary employment centers, when it once served the ONLY primary employment center.

        • RestonRunner86

          Agreed. This area has grown and continues to grow with very little urban planning foresight. Reston becomes very congested at certain times of day. We have about 30% of the population of Arlington, yet our traffic is just as bad because everyone is forced to drive because Fairfax County let major employer after major employer come here BEFORE Metro. The Silver Line should have been completed ages ago, or, better yet, 100% of Dulles Tech Corridor employers should have located themselves inside the Beltway. Northrop Grumman is moving their headquarters to a car-dependent part of Fairfax County instead of a transit-oriented part of Arlington. Why? This area’s love affair with shameful urban sprawl is why I’ve finally decided to put in for a transfer to a better-planned metropolitan area. You CAN’T get there from here in many parts of this region, and that’s a shame, considering we’re also the nation’s wealthiest area that can’t fix its own infrastructural ailments.

        • david

          Of course it doesn’t cover all of the employment centers but it does cover downtown DC, Rosslyn – Ballston, Alexandria, Crystal City and Bethesda with Tysons and Reston to come. I’d say that covers off on a pretty large chunk of our work areas. You can’t hit every little office park – it’s just not economically feasible.

          • RestonRunner86

            The problem is that the Dulles Tech Corridor and Tysons combined probably employ 150,000 people. That’s a large centralized employment node to have been ignored so long for Metrorail connectivity. Drive Route 7 Eastbound sometime at 7:45 AM between Leesburg and Tysons Corner. It’s not fun. Ditto the Fairfax County Parkway southbound between Reston and Fairfax at, perhaps, 5:15 PM. Fairfax County was allowed to grow very irresponsibly, and there’s no excuse for it. The Silver Line has been “on its way” for decades it seems.

          • charlie

            i agree that it can’t go everywhere.
            my point is more about Arlingtons policy to get people out of their cars. It sounds great, but it has serious practical limitations.

    • el fat kid

      they should add a dual lane bike bridge near 14th street… and continue the route down 395 for 10 miles w/ spokes out to population centers.

    • Catoe No Mo’

      I live in Rosslyn and work in Crystal City, but I drive because I have to wait longer for a Blue Line train than the amount of time the trip itself takes.

  • Rob

    Wow, those income statistics really make me feel poor.

  • Chris

    I love my county and am thrilled at the census news. I, however, also help out at the Arlington Food Bank and get to see the other side of the of the coin. Arlington has a significant population (mainly working poor and elderly) that have a hard time putting food on the table and, although dedicated, the food bank is understaffed, underfunded and under donated to. It is a shame given our statistics.

    • V Dizzle

      Is this the Food Bank that you speak of, or is there another? http://afacinfo.org/

      • Chris


    • Jack

      i thought a sizable number of the people at the food bank (and the day labor sites) are actually from outside the county… but maybe that’s just a rumor

      • Chris

        I do not have information on that, but I do know when I have gone to drop off food around noon on weekdays, I almost always run into a bus carrying senior citizens from various assisted living facilities in Arlington. Plus, the nearest county/city, Fairfax and Alexandria (which have their own food pantries) are also very affluent areas so it is not like we are drawing in from a nearby poor area. There is hunger in Arlington, despite the affluence.


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