Greenbelt

Tseday Holley, Maura Mendes, and Laura Zartarian



Demographic Analysis

Year Percentage
1970 89.36%
1980 85.66%
1990 82.19%
2000 62.63%
2010 51.82%

When Greenbelt was established, only white families were allowed to move into the town. We wanted to track the movement of minorities into the area in order to determine if there has been any significant demographic change. This map tracks the movement of white individuals moving into and out of Greenbelt from the years of 1970 to 2010 by illustrating the percent of change in the number of white people living in the area. Inside of the red outline, Greenbelt is specifically the small green area towards to top, but we chose to highlight the areas surrounding Greenbelt, as well. It’s worth noting that the dark blue area sticking out at the top is where the metro area is located.

In figure 1, the area where central Greenbelt is located shows that there are 25%-49% fewer white people living in the area in 2010 than there were in 1970. The Greenbelt metro area shows that there are at least 75% less white people living in the area in 2010. This is indicative of the shift of the demographic from a white majority to a more diverse group. Central greenbelt does not show as substantial of a change as does the metro area.

When comparing Greenbelt to the DC area as a whole in figure 3, there is a noticeable larger change in the Greenbelt area than there is in the DC metro area. It is worth noting that this map does not show minorities moving into these areas, but white people moving out. When paying attention to this larger scale, it means that as more Black and other non-white families and residents are moving into Greenbelt and other DC areas, white residents are leaving.

When first built, Greenbelt was predominately white. However, as the years have progressed, Greenbelt has progressed and become a more diverse neighborhood. The chart above shows how Greenbelt has progressed tremendously. Greenbelt has gone from being an all-white neighborhood in 1930s to African Americans having majority of the housing in 2014. Some races have moved out, as can be shown from the graph. For instance, the American Indian ethnic group no longer lives in greenbelt and the ethnic group that consist of two or more races are slowly decreasing. Overall, from the graph and the data collected show that Greenbelt will continue to become more diverse; however, the population of whites seem to keep decreasing.

Since its creation, Greenbelt has primarily been comprised of white individuals with the rate of minorities always trailing behind.  Not only were there more white residents and householders in Greenbelt, a large majority of the resident were born within the United States. The quota system used by the Resettlement Administration made it so 80% of incoming residents were from DC and 10% were from Virginia and Maryland when initially creating the neighborhood (Knepper 32). With the population staying roughly consistent from the 1980s to 2014, the number of foreign born residents has increased as the number of native born residents has decreased over time. The biggest dip in population occurred in 2000 while the biggest increase in population occurred in 2010, as it continued to fall again in 2014. With this fluctuation in the population of residents, there has been progress in the sense that Greenbelt has become more diverse over the years due to the overall increase of foreign born residents in comparison to native born.

The community in Greenbelt was primarily white - blacks were not given housing, although they had been the ones to help with the building of the community (Peterson). Many blacks lived on farms that surrounded Greenbelt but had no associations with the town. The town program did nothing to help racial discrimination in housing or help blacks get better housing; the initial Greenbelt plan had a separate area that was to be built for African Americans, but that portion of the plan was discreetly abandoned because officials argued that Blacks had their own housing project in Northeast DC (Knepper 32). When the Resettlement Administration first interviewed families who could potentially live in Greenbelt, they were looking for families that would be involved and cooperate in the community, if they showed a need for good housing; the main focus was on the size of income, family size, credit data, age, and income stability (Knepper 34). There was even a quota system for religion, types of workers, and where they originally came from. Although the requirements to enter and live in Greenbelt were strict at first, over the years we see there is a growth in the number of Black and other minority populations owning houses in Greenbelt as the number of White households decreases.

Figure 7 displays the families in both central and metro areas, and how their incomes differ. The incomes taken into account were adjusted for the poverty level of a four-person family in the appropriate year. Evidence from the graph shows that there were more families in the central Greenbelt area earning below the poverty line until right after 2000. Total population needs to be taken into account, but 2015 data shows that there are now more metro area residents earning less than the central residents.

Figure 8 shows families living below poverty level in terms of race. According to the data, more white and black families have lived below the poverty level in the metro area, except for a slight drop in black families below in the line in 2014. Another important observation is that in the central area, significantly less white families live and have lived in poverty than black families. The metro area shows more white families in poverty, though the trend makes it appear as if this number is going down for whites, while it is climbing up for blacks.

With the quota system used by the Resettlement Administration to figure out who could live in Greenbelt when it first started up, they also used a quota system for workers where 50% were federal government workers, 5% DC government employees, and 45% nongovernment workers. With a large portion of the population working, the majority are either involved with the public or private sector instead of being self-employed, although the number has increased over the years. Although, the overall number of people working in Greenbelt has decreased since the seventies. With a large population working, there were many modes of transportation the residents would use. Throughout the year’s residents primarily drove whether it be by car, truck, or van, although most recently the number has decreased overall, but has still remained the transportation of choice by residents. Another portion took a form of public transportation, or either walked or worked from home. Walking was easy enough and common to do because of the setup of the town; since the town was comprised of pathways that connected each block, it was fairly easy to walk to the park, shopping center, and work. Homes were grouped in superblocks, and there were different interior walkways that allowed residents to travel from their homes to town. These walkways made it possible for them to not even have to cross the street

These charts show the age composition of Greenbelt from 1960 to 2014. There are no significant changes except for a drop in residents under the age of 18, and a slight increase in those aged 18 to 34.

These graphs show the differences in educational attainment between the metro and central areas of Greenbelt. The most notable change is that in the metro area, the number of people completing both high school and college has decreased pretty steadily. The number of people who completed high school in 2014 has dropped 26 percent since 1960. Meanwhile, the number of people completing high school and college has gradually increased since 1960, with the number of people who have completed high school having increased by the same amount as the metro area has decreased. The differences of data in these two areas could possibly be explained by differing qualities of implemented education systems, but why there are different education systems is what is then brought into question. The racial composition of the different areas could definitely play a part in the dissonance.

Figure 13 shows that there were more thefts in Greenbelt, MD than any other crime in the last 14 years. The graph goes in order from murders until auto thefts. As we can see murders have been very low and so have rapes. Robberies have been pretty consistent over the last 14 years and assaults have gone down. Thefts have also gone down by 400; however, the number is still very high. Overall, it looks like thefts have been the leading crime since 2000.