• Young, white, six-figure earners are scooping up housing within a half-mile of Metro stops.
  • A Census Bureau study shows that the imbalance is making housing near public transportation inaccessible for some groups.
  • Moving closer to a Metro stop does not result in enough savings to offset high housing costs for the less well-off.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, young, white, highly educated workers cluster in high numbers around Metro subway stops, which drives up the cost of homes on that prime real estate.

The result is a lack of affordable housing near the rail stops, and price hikes on land that makes building more housing that’s within reach of lower income people nearly impossible without intervention.

Access to public transportation is not merely convenient for people who live and work in high-density areas, but it is a lifeline for those who don’t make much money. Long commutes to low-paying jobs mean another big expense on a constrained budget. And, the report indicates that living close in to save transit costs won’t help: The two don’t balance each other out.

Fifty-six percent of whites who live in the District of Columbia are within a half-mile of a Metro stop. Half a mile is the established criteria to determine whether the rail stop is accessible.

[graphiq id=”aKc6QQ2XIjj” title=”Transportation in Washington D.C.” width=”600″ height=”527″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/aKc6QQ2XIjj” link=”http://places.findthehome.com/l/294012/Washington-D-C” link_text=”Transportation in Washington D.C. | FindTheHome”]

For comparison’s sake: the Census Bureau computed that 24 percent of blacks and 12 percent of Hispanics are within the same distance to a Metro stop.

To further illustrate the problem, the percentage of workers earning between $25,000 and $49,999 annually who have Metro access declined by eight percent from 2006 to 2013. Just 22 percent of people in that income bracket have the Metro stop access that the Census Bureau said made a difference.

Apparently, the influx of people in the six-figure income range is making a difference. Now, people who earn $100,000 or more each year make up 23 percent of people who live near rail stops, a five percent jump in the same time frame.

A spokesman for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office told The Washington Times that the mayor has taken action on this issue, with the District’s Housing Production Trust Fund, meant to preserve and expand affordable housing units, showing a $100 million balance.

He added that the mayor is working to increase the number of affordable units in buildings owned by the District. The city-owned 965 Florida Ave. NW property, he said, is a good example of those efforts, and is less than a half-mile from the Shaw Metro station.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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