Concerns abound about how the arrival of Amazon’s second headquarters might squeeze an already space-starved county — but could HQ2 merely speed up population growth in Arlington that would inevitably happen over time even if Amazon chooses another location?
The way Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol sees it, the D.C. region is already set to grow exponentially in the next few decades. For instance, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments projects that 1.5 million people will move to the area by 2045, an estimate worked up long before Amazon cast its eye towards the region.
Accordingly, Cristol reasons that Amazon’s arrival in Arlington would indeed prompt a sudden surge in growth in the county, but not substantially change how officials are preparing to handle an ever-growing population.
“It’s not as though we are in this perfect equilibrium now and Amazon will upset the apple cart,” Cristol told ARLnow. “Growth is coming to this region… but I think Amazon could really force the issue by probably condensing how fast that growth could happen, maybe we’re talking 10 years over 20.”
That’s why she says county officials are already putting such an intense focus on issues like affordable housing and transportation, and encouraging residents to do the same. She sees the “Big Idea Roundtables” the county is convening this month as a key step in the process, designing them as forums for people to have frank discussions about all of the problems and opportunities associated with the county’s growth in the coming years.
Cristol fully expects many of those conversations to center around the arrival of huge companies like Amazon, or perhaps Apple. But, as she tries to take a long view of the region’s future, she expects they’ll be helpful no matter what Jeff Bezos decides.
“Whether Amazon comes and hastens that [growth] or whether Amazon doesn’t come and the general projected job growth and population growth comes over a longer period of time, the questions and the need for the community conversation are the same,” Cristol said.
Amazon critics, however, are less convinced that leaders like Cristol should accept such growth as unavoidable. Margaret McLaughlin, chair of the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America, says her group has led a campaign highlighting HQ2’s potentially negative impacts on marginalized communities in order to get officials thinking differently about the region’s future.
“By them saying that growth is coming inevitably, they’re taking their own agency out of the economic decisions they’re making,” McLaughlin said. “Rents are going to go up, and that ends up pushing out renters, people of color, people working in the service industry… so they’re ones making choices, they’re pushing families out. They’re making the economic situation better for the rich and worse for the poor.”
Other experts wonder if Cristol is even right in believing that Amazon might speed up growth in the area, but not fundamentally change it. Yolanda Cole, owner of a D.C. architecture firm and chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Washington District Council, thinks that sort of assumption is “unrealistic.”
“If they come here, it’s not just Amazon on the way,” Cole said. “It’s going to be all the companies and people who serve Amazon.”
Jenny Schuetz, who studies housing policy as part of the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program, cautioned that it’s likely too early to tell if Cristol is right until Amazon reveals more about their hiring plans at any future HQ2 in Arlington. However, she does agree with Cristol’s broad point about the region, noting that the arrival of the second headquarters would still have “localized impacts as it grows.”
“Someplace like Crystal City could absorb it easily, since there’s a lot vacant office space, but the question is whether workers would live close by,” Schuetz said. “Somewhere like Ballston would have a lot more of the residential infrastructure and amenities nearby… but housing there is already in such high demand.”
Cristol stresses that those neighborhoods are likely to wrestle with those same issues in the coming years, regardless of whether Amazon shows up one day.
“The pressures are coming,” she said. “So how do we deal with them?”
Arlington Population Up in Latest Estimate — The new annual U.S. Census population estimates are out and Arlington County has added nearly 5,000 people. The estimate of Arlington’s population on July 1, 2017 is is 234,965, according to the Census Bureau website. That’s considerably higher than a recent UVA estimate. The previous Census Bureau estimate was 230,050 on July 1, 2016. [U.S. Census Bureau]
Festival of the Arts to Return — The annual Arlington Festival of the Arts is returning to Clarendon from April 21-22. The outdoor event features more than 100 artists showcasing — and selling — their work. [Facebook]
Standout Athletes of YHS — A recently-completed webpage highlights more than 50 years worth of standout athletes from Yorktown High School. [Yorktown Alums]
Photo courtesy of our local tech guru, Alex Chamandy
A new estimate from the University of Virginia’s Cooper Center pegs Arlington’s population at 239,074 as of mid-2017.
That would make Arlington the fourth fastest-growing locality in Virginia since the 2010 U.S. Census, when Arlington’s population was 207,627. Of the top seven fastest-growing Virginia localities, according to UVA demographers, most are in Northern Virginia.
The following lists the latest population estimate and percent change since 2010 of the top seven on the list.
- Loudoun County — 396,068 (26.8%)
- New Kent County — 21,709 (17.8%)
- Falls Church City — 14,269 (15.7%)
- Arlington County — 239,074 (15.1%)
- Alexandria City — 160,719 (14.8%)
- Fredericksburg City — 27,645 (13.8%)
- Prince William County — 455,990 (13.4%)
The estimate puts the year-over-year population growth in Arlington, from mid-2016 to mid-2017, at 2,383 — about 1 percent.
The UVA estimates are significantly higher than figures cited by Arlington County in its 2017 county profile. The profile says Arlington’s population was estimated at 222,800 as of Jan. 1, 2017, an increase of only 7.3 percent since 2010. The county’s estimates are “based on housing unit counts and residential construction activity.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Arlington’s population at 230,050 as of July 1, 2016. The next official decennial Census count will take place in 2020.
Arlington estimates that the county’s population will reach 278,100 by 2040.
Arlington County ranked number one among similar-sized counties in this year’s Fourth Economy Index, which recognized it for attracting talented people, supporting business growth and creating vibrancy.
The index, which was established in 2012, assesses counties in five areas: investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity. Arlington won for counties with 150,000-499,999 people, ahead of Chesapeake in Virginia (near Norfolk) and Shawnee County in Kansas (which includes the city of Topeka).
“A vibrant business community, lots of arts and entertainment and low unemployment all contribute to a higher quality of life for this No. 1 community,” the citation reads.
Arlington came in first because of its high scores in place, talent and diversity. The index said Arlington’s location across the river from D.C. makes it a perfect location for people who work there, while its seamless blend of urban areas and quiet, garden-lined streets, provide a fine balance between city life and “neighborhood charm.”
In addition, the index said Arlington’s talent base is high thanks to its many highly-educated residents while its diversity spreads across race, age and ethnicity. It also found that middle-income Arlingtonians spend less on transportation and housing than their national counterparts in most other counties.
“While job growth and investment are good indicators of a community’s progress, they are not enough,” the website reads. “Our continued experience has shown that our analysis must also look at factors that create a foundation for sustained success and resilience.”
The full top 10 for large-sized counties is as follows:
- Arlington County, Virginia
- Chesapeake, Virginia
- Shawnee County, Kansas
- Chittenden County, Vermont
- Pulaski County, Arkansas
- Albany County, New York
- Hampden County, Massachusetts
- Minnehaha County, South Dakota
- Peoria County, Illinois
- Champaign County, Illinois
To analyze counties, the index used data from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development among other sources. A total of 19 data areas are weighted and analyzed for the level of influence they have on a county.
Pupatella Expanding to Richmond — Beloved Bluemont pizzeria Pupatella is expanding via franchising. One of the first places getting new Pupatellas: Richmond, where a local franchisee is opening four new locations. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
McAuliffe to Talk Self-Driving Cars in Arlington — On Thursday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Arlington to “give remarks at [a] workshop hosted by the Secretary of Transportation on autonomous vehicles,” according to the governor’s public schedule. The workshop is taking place at 1776 in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive).
People Are Increasingly Leaving the D.C. Region — All of the D.C. region’s population growth in the latest U.S. Census estimates were from births and international immigration. The region’s domestic migration is negative and increasingly so, with more people moving from D.C. than to D.C. Writes the WBJ: “The challenge for Greater Washington is there are other metro areas that offer jobs and high quality of life, and are also far less expensive — driving people away for what they see as greener pastures.” [Washington Business Journal]
Does Our Site Seem Faster? — We were working Saturday, moving ARLnow and our sister site Reston Now to a powerful cloud-based server from a traditional dedicated server. Things should be faster today, but if you notice any glitches please let us know. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Erinn Shirley
Arlington Population Continues to Rise — The latest Census Bureau estimate of Arlington’s population is 230,050, a 0.9 percent rise over the previous year. [InsideNova]
LaHood to Review WMATA — Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been tapped by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to conduct an independent review of Metro’s “operating, governance, and financial conditions.” The review will “develop recommendations for potential WMATA reforms, including mitigating growth in annual operating costs and sustainable funding.” [Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington Post]
Private Investigators Set Up Shop in Arlington — A group of private investigators is trying to solve the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich last July. The group, which does not have the support of Rich’s family, is working out of a “war room” in Arlington as it tries to piece together clues about the fatal shooting in D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood. [DCist, WJLA]
County Board Hears Complaint About Poo — A resident’s complaint at a County Board meeting, about a homeless man “appropriating” a bus stop in Rosslyn, led to the following sentence in the Sun Gazette: “County-government spokesman Mary Curtius said it was ‘exceedingly rare’ to find human waste at bus stops.” [InsideNova]
Schaeffer’s Favorite Arlington Things — Eric Schaeffer, co-founder and artistic director of Shirlington’s Signature Theatre, recently shared some of his favorite local spots. Among them: French store Le Marche and Irish pub Samuel Beckett’s, both in Shirlington, along with Pupatella pizzeria in Bluemont and P.F. Chang’s in Ballston. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
The estimated percentage of the population ages 25-34 was 26.4 percent in 2015, compared to 28.5 percent in 2012
Meanwhile, a set of just-released census data from the American Community Survey has shed some light on other vital statistics for Arlington.
The data shows the percentage of Arlington residents with health insurance rising, following a national trend attributed to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Here are some notable stats for Arlington included in the most recent census data:
- The median household income in Arlington was $106,768 in 2015, while the mean income was $137,484. Median income was down but mean income up compared to 2014.
- An estimated 94.0 percent of Arlington residents had health insurance in 2015, compared to 88.4 percent in 2012.
- The top three largest employment sectors in Arlington: professional, scientific, management and administrative (27.9 percent); public administration (17.6 percent); educational, healthcare and social services (15.1 percent).
- Total estimated housing units in Arlington was 112,517 in 2015, compared to 106,720 in 2011.
- Estimated number of women who have given birth within the past year: 3,626 in 2015 compared to 3,190 in 2012.
- Estimated percentage of those 18 and over with an income below the poverty level: 7.4 percent in 2015, compared to 9.3 percent in 2012.
Arlington County just released its 2016 Profile, which includes vital statistics like population, employment and demographics.
According to the county, Arlington’s estimated population on Jan. 1, 2016 was 220,400, up from 216,700 on Jan. 1, 2015 and up 6.1 percent compared to 2010.
Arlington’s population is projected to reach 283,000 by 2040. That projection is unchanged from last year.
The number of jobs in Arlington County, meanwhile, declined over the past year.
There were 211,000 employees working in Arlington on Jan. 1, compared to 221,700 in 2015. Much of that can be attributed to a shrinking government workforce in Arlington — 23 percent of the jobs in Arlington were government employees on Jan. 1, compared to 24.2 percent of the labor force last year. That’s a loss of more than 5,100 government jobs.
Still, the projected number of jobs in Arlington in 2040 remains steady at just over 300,000. The profile presents a picture of a county that remains a major employment center and a sought-after place to live.
“Arlington has more private office space than the downtowns of Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver,
Seattle, or Atlanta,” it says. “Arlington continues to grow with the addition of new development. In 2015,
2,161 residential units were completed.”
Photo courtesy James Mahony
Record No. of Arlington Runners in Boston — An “all-time record” of 116 Arlington runners are registered to participate in the 2015 Boston Marathon today. [InsideNova]
Vehicle Overturns in Ashton Heights — A vehicle “pinballed off two parked cars” and overturned near the intersection of 6th Street and N. Lincoln Street in Ashton Heights Sunday morning. [Twitter]
H-B No. 1 in Challenge Index — Three Arlington high schools have made the top 10 of the Washington Post’s 2015 Challenge Index of local public high schools. The H-B Woodlawn secondary program ranked No. 1, Yorktown ranked No. 6 and Washington-Lee ranked No. 10. [Washington Post]
Complaints Against Towing Co., Questions About Video — While ESPN reporter Britt McHenry serves out her suspension for berating an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington, there’s some push back against the towing company and the video it produced of McHenry’s mean-spirited remarks. NBC 4 notes that there have been 155 complaints to police against Advanced from 2012 to 2014. Us Weekly, meanwhile, gossips that “a source close to the situation” says the video was edited “to make it look like Britt has gone on a one-way tirade as opposed to being in a two-way verbal spat with someone.” [NBC Washington, Us Weekly]
Net Migration Negative for Arlington in 2014 — More people moved out of Arlington than moved in last year, according to new census estimates. Arlington’s net migration in 2014 was -1,520, compared to +2,004 in 2013. That follows a broader trend of slowing growth in the D.C. region, which is still growing thanks mostly to births. [Washington Post]
County Board to Pay School Delays Costs — The Arlington County Board, which in January put the brakes on a plan to build a new elementary school in South Arlington, pledged last week to “take the financial hit” for the project’s delay, which is expected to cost up to $2.1 million. The County Board rejected the plan to build a new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School after residents raised concerns about traffic and the school’s impact on a nearby park. [InsideNova]
‘Enhanced Risk’ of Severe Weather Today — The National Weather Service says there’s an enhanced risk of severe weather in the D.C. area this afternoon, including a 1-in-3 chance of damaging wind gusts and hail. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
DCA’s Growth Hurting Dulles — Arlington’s Reagan National Airport is growing fast — it set a new record for passengers on March 27, with 39,073. Congress has widened DCA’s flight perimeter three times and more and more airlines are scheduling flights. In the meantime, Dulles is more expensive to fly out of and won’t have a Metro line until 2018 at the earliest. Reagan now has more daily passengers than Dulles, and Dulles’ consumer base is shrinking. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Teacher Selected For Cuba Trip — Yorktown social studies teacher Tom Lenihan is raising funds to participate in Tulane University’s Cuban Culture & Society Teacher Institute. To ensure his place in Havana, Lenihan, also an adjunct professor at Marymount University, must raise $3,000. Lenihan says he will bring back knowledge and experience to share with fellow educators and his World Affairs class. He has set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money. The program is from June 20-July 4.
D.C. Area to Grow By 1.6 Million People? — The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments projects the D.C. area, including the outer suburbs, will grow from 5.05 people in 2010 to 6.62 million people in 2040. The core area, made up of D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, is projected to have a growth rate north of 40 percent. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington’s Population to Decline? — Contrary to the conventional wisdom that Arlington’s population will continue to rise over time, one University of Virginia forecast predicts that Arlington’s population will fall — from 229,302 people today to 197,065 by 2040 — as millenials grow up, have families and seek refuge from urban life and affordable single family homes in the exurbs. The forecast predicts a 56.8 percent increase in population for Loudoun County and a 141.4 percent increase in population for Stafford County. [Washingtonian]
DCA Name Disputes Continue –Many locals still cannot agree on what to call what Congress has named Ronald Reagan National Airport. Some people, particularly Democrats, prefer just to call it “National.” The name change happened 17 years ago. President Clinton didn’t veto the change, his press secretary recalls, in part because “in February 1998 we were rather occupied at the White House with a young lady named Monica.” [Washington Post]
Japanese Artist at DCA — As part of the National Cherry Blossom festival, local artist Yoshiko Oishi Weick will demonstrate the art of Japanese ink painting from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. today at Reagan National Airport’s B/C terminal.
Tenant At Last for National Gateway — The German discount grocer Lidl, which has its sights on the U.S. market, has purchased 217,500 square feet of office space in the National Gateway I building at 3500 S. Clark Street for $56.6 million. The office building, near Potomac Yard, has lacked an office tenant since it was built seven years ago. [Washington Business Journal]
Low-Key School Board Debate — The two candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement for School Board faced off at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. Reid Goldstein and Sharon Dorsey both said they would raise teacher salaries, but would not commit to specifics. They also both voiced support for additional art education. [InsideNova]
Arlington’s Population Rises — The latest population estimate for Arlington is 229,302, an increase of 21,675 residents in just four years. [InsideNova]
ACPD Detective Profiled — ABC 7 recently profiled Arlington police Sgt. Angela Comer as part of its Working Woman segment. The detective, who has been with ACPD for 17 years, decided to follow her father’s footsteps into law enforcement, leaving an early career in banking and business. [WJLA]
New Police Badges — The Arlington County Police Department has a new badge, in honor of its 75th anniversary this year. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Spokeo, an online white pages service, has released a list quantifying where Arlington transplants originally came from. It has done so by taking a look at out-of-town cell phone numbers associated with Arlington addresses.
According to Spokeo, the following are the top home cities for Arlington transplants — excluding locales around the D.C. and Baltimore metro area:
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- New York
The following are the top home states for Arlington transplants, excluding Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
- Colorado (4.0%)
- Pennsylvania (3.6%)
- Delaware (3.5%)
- Massachusetts (3.3%)
- Rhode Island (3.2%)
- New Jersey (3.0%)
- Connecticut (3.0%)
- Florida (2.9%)
- Georgia (2.5%)
- North Carolina (2.5%)
- Illinois (2.4%)
- New York (2.4%)
- California (2.3%)
Opinions Split at Tax Hearing — The Arlington County Board’s public tax hearing last night was relatively short, about 30 minutes. Among the fewer than 10 speakers, opinions were split between those who want taxes to remain the same and those who want the tax rate to be lowered. [InsideNoVa]
GMU Pepper Spray Suspect Identified — The man who pepper sprayed a George Mason University law professor at the school’s Arlington campus on Wednesday has been identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Pendleton of Alexandria. The professor has been identified as economist and blogger Tyler Cowen. Pendleton left threatening comments on Cowen’s blog before the attack. [Huffington Post]
Arlington’s Population Grows — New U.S. Census figures indicate that Arlington’s population increased 3,631 last fiscal year. The county’s population, according to the Census Bureau, stands at 224,906 as of July 1, 2013. The Washington region as a whole ranked fifth for population growth among U.S. metropolitan regions. [Washington Post]
James Schlesinger Dies — Former defense and energy secretary James Schlesinger has died at the age of 85. Schlesinger was an Arlington resident. [Bloomberg]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Arlington Population Still Growing — A University of Virginia estimate suggests Arlington’s population was 227,146 as of July 1, 2013. That’s a 9.4 percent increase over the county’s 207,627 population figure from the 2010 census. [Washington Post]
Moran to Speak at Health Care Forum — Rep. Jim Moran (D) will speak at a forum on the Affordable Care Act on Saturday morning at the Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church in Nauck. The event is open to the public. [Sun Gazette]
Spy Books and Movies at the Library — Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of books and movies about spies, the CIA and the Cold War. “Come in from the Cold with a good book!” the library quipped on its blog. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann