Jasmine Ali, Madison Guare, Nicholas Kram Mendelsohn, Rachel Scalzo


Figure 1

In figure 1, green dots are service facilities for homeless people. The amount of facilities near Chinatown is a possible explanation for the presence of the homeless population during the day. This map shows the centrality and accessibility of Chinatown for people staying in homeless shelters or receiving services there.

Figure 2

Figure 2: The poverty rate in Chinatown and most of the surrounding neighborhoods is close to the highest in the District. Strikingly close to K St., Chinatown remains settled in a decidedly economically disadvantaged area. But as Fig. 6 shows, Chinatown’s economic disadvantages do not extend as far as developers, or businesses hoping to enter the area.

Residents on the area remember the beginning of Chinatown’s economic decline. DCentric said in 2011, “The riots marked the commercial decline of the street, beginning decades of empty storefronts.” Similarly, The Washington Post said, “That was in 1997, when she arrived from southern China. Tang, now 44, didn’t realize that the neighborhood was already no longer the Chinatown that had earned its name. The construction that year of the future Verizon Center was a turning point. An ethnic enclave of mom-and-pop storefronts would be transformed into a kitschy block where Chipotle is written in Chinese characters — and luxury condos and glittering nightspots now compete with the ornate Friendship Archway for the eye’s attention.”

Figure 3

Figure 3: Walking through Chinatown in 2015 is an opportunity to eat out, or shop at the plethora of American chain stores lining the streets. The limit of Chinatown formally put forth by D.C. is mapped in orange. The area which has the most Pedestrian traffic is light blue. The Business and Building permits are represented in purple and green respectively. This shows a huge growth of industry in the area in 2015. The growth also caters to the interests people leisurely exploring Chinatown on foot. The businesses and the building permits all center around the foot traffic and the visitors to the area who will patronize the new stores. The lack of a Chinese grocery store still has yet to be addressed while regulations continue to preserve Chinatown’s culture by requiring chain stores to label themselves with traditional Chinese characters.

Figure 4

Figure 4: After the riots in the 1960s, the young adult and adult Children of first generation Chinese immigrants in Chinatown left the city for the suburbs. They sought safer places to start and raise their families. The high asian population just outside the city today, alongside the declining the Asian population in Chinatown itself is an indication of the shift from city to suburbs for the children of immigrants. The remaining high Asian population in Chinatown itself is indicative of a population that is aging in place, and that will not last much longer. Without the needed funding from the section 8 vouchers that previously kept Chinatown’s older Chinese residents in Wah Luck, the Chinese population may soon be gone entirely.

Figure 5

Figure 5: The wards of D.C. vary greatly along demographic lines. Ward 2 , home of Chinatown in 2002 has the highest asian population.The Asian population of Ward 2 is 5,269. The ward with the lowest population is ward 8, home to only 301 people who self-identified as Asian in the 2000 census. Following the 2010 census and subsequent redistricting, Chinatown now falls in Ward 6.

Demographic Profile of Chinatown’s Residents

Race & Ethnicity

Ethnicity Population Demographics 2010 (%)
Black non-Hispanic 37
Hispanic 43
White non-Hispanic 5.9
Asian/Pacific Islander non-Hispanic 14
Table 1: Racial composition of Ward 6, 2010 census.


Age % of Residents
Children (0-18) 10
Adults (18-65) 79
Seniors (65+) 11
Table 2: Age composition of Ward 6, 2010 Census.