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ENVIRONMENTAL INEQUALITY IN WASHINGTON, DC: A COMPARISON OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS ALONG THE ANACOSTIA AND POTOMAC RIVERS

A Research Paper Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Regional Planning

by Veronica O. Davis January 2004

© 2004 Veronica O. Davis

ABSTRACT

Two rivers are prominent in Washington, DC. Once, both were pristine, but with the city’s growth, they became badly polluted. The Potomac River has since been transformed from a “national disgrace” to “Washington’s best kept secret,” while the Anacostia River remains a “national embarrassment.” Events suggest that racial inequality and class differences shaped many of the decisions and policies that led to the current environmental inequality. One of the major influences has been uneven federal funding and efforts for restoration. I begin with a brief history of funding efforts for each river. I then show how unequal environmental burden is a national problem and give a brief history of environmental inequality, using three case studies from different parts of the country. Next, I review the history of neighborhood formation around each river, showing how historic preservation and city revitalization policies separated blacks and whites. By 1960, the areas around the Anacostia River had been turned into predominately communities of color, while the areas around the Potomac River had become predominately white communities. A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis supports these findings with maps that show a clustering of non-whites and poor around the Anacostia River for 1970 and 1980.

Lastly, a correlation analysis shows that there was a strong negative correlation between race and income by census tract in Washington, DC in 1950 and 1960, with Anacostia neighborhoods housing poor people of color.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Veronica O. Davis grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. As a little girl from the suburbs, she traveled through the inner city projects of Newark to run errands with her parents. Looking at broken windows on buildings and children playing in abandoned lots, she learned early that not everyone had the same opportunities in life. It was then that her passion to make a positive impact in communities of color was inspired. Only five days after graduating from high school, Veronica entered the University of Maryland, College Park. During her tenure, she was recognized for her leadership within the A. James Clark School of Engineering and academics in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She was initiated into Chi Epsilon, the National Civil Engineering Honor Society, as a sophomore. In May 2001, she graduated with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Citation in Science, Technology, and Society. She enrolled at Cornell University in the Department of City and Regional Planning in the fall of 2001. She received a Master of Engineering (Civil) in Engineering Management in May 2003. For her Master of Regional Planning, she has focused on land use planning and economic development. While in graduate school, she held several regional leadership positions within the National Society of Black Engineers.

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DEDICATION

I dedicate this research paper to Selena Smalls a dear friend who was a victim of a senseless act of violence. God called her home on October 11, 2002. I will fight for justice so her death will not be in vain.

“When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime” – Angela Davis

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Above all, I have to give praise and honor to God who has given me the strength, endurance, and wisdom needed to write this paper. Next, I would like to thank my family who has always been my biggest supporters and my ambassadors of assurance. My dad taught me discipline and focus; my mom taught me compassion and selflessness; my sister, Esa, taught me determination and the meaning of having passion in life. I have to thank my advisors Bill Goldsmith, Department of City and Regional Planning, and Mark Turnquist, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for their patience, council, and encouragement through the writing of this paper. I also appreciate the time they spent to help me develop both academically and personally. Ann-Margaret Esnard’s introduction to environmental planning class laid the foundation for the concepts in this paper. She asked me the questions that expanded this from a paper in her class to a larger-scale research project. In Michelle Thompson’s introduction to geographic information systems, I learned to explain what was occurring spatially through maps. In the wake of September 11th and increased national security, obtaining data for the nation’s capital was difficult. I would like to thank the following people for helping me procure data: • • Kathy Stroud, University of Maryland Libraries Alissa Berzen, Office of Planning for Washington, DC

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Jair Lynch, Jair Lynch Companies Jonathon Weinstein, Jair Lynch Companies

Throughout the writing of this paper, I experienced periods of frustration and self-doubt. I would like thank my friends for listening to my babble and providing positive reinforcement, particularly, Joe Banda, who would not let me abandon my dreams. In addition, Frank Trinity-Davies who constantly challenged my thought process to help me question if there was really ever a box in the first place (in reference to thinking outside of the box).

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH................................................................................................................ iii DEDICATION ........................................................................................................................................iv TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................................................vii LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................................... viii LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1: THE BREATHTAKING POTOMAC RIVER AND BEGRIMED ANACOSTIA RIVER ......................................................................................................................................................1 BREATHTAKING POTOMAC RIVER .........................................................................................................1 BEGRIMED ANACOSTIA RIVER ..............................................................................................................3 POTOMAC RIVER VERSUS THE ANACOSTIA RIVER .................................................................................4 CHAPTER 2: COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENT, COLOR AND CLASS .......................................6 NATIONAL AND REGIONAL LEVEL EVIDENCE .......................................................................................7 HEALTH AFFECTS ................................................................................................................................10 CASE STUDIES .....................................................................................................................................11 CHAPTER 3: NEIGHBORHOOD FORMATION IN WASHINGTON, DC THROUGH GENTRIFICATION, AND PUBLIC POLICY ..................................................................................15 GEORGETOWN AS AN EXAMPLE OF GENTRIFICATION IN NW DC .........................................................16 THE SW WATERFRONT EXAMPLE OF GENTRIFICATION ........................................................................18 ANACOSTIA: DUMPING AND NEGLECT OF PEOPLE ................................................................................19 POPULATION CHANGE 1950-1960 .......................................................................................................20 CHAPTER 4: SPATIAL COMPARISON OF RACE AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS USING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS 1970-1990 .................................................................21 POLARIZATION OF RACE IN 1970.........................................................................................................21 SPATIAL COMPARISON OF RACE 1980 .................................................................................................21 PERCENT OF POPULATION BELOW POVERTY, 1970..............................................................................22 PERCENT OF POPULATION BELOW POVERTY BY RACE, 1980...............................................................22 CHAPTER 5: CORRELATION OF RACE AND INCOME 1950 AND 1960.................................27 ANACOSTIA RIVER ..............................................................................................................................27 POTOMAC RIVER .................................................................................................................................28 CONCLUSION......................................................................................................................................30 APPENDIX A. USING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) TO INVETSIGATE ENVIRONMENTAL INEQUALITY ..................................................................................................31 APPENDIX B: USING MICROSOFT EXCEL TO PERFORM A CORRELATION ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................................................................33 BIBLIOGRPAHY .................................................................................................................................39

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Ten Largest White Communities in Baton Rouge, LA, 1986 ............ 13 Table 2: Ten Largest Black Communities in Baton Rouge, LA, 1986............. 13 Table 3: Percent Change 1950-1960 ............................................................. 20 Table 4: Correlation of Race and Income, Anacostia River, 1950 .................. 27 Table 5: Correlation of Race and Income, Anacostia River, 1960 .................. 28 Table 6: Correlation of Race and Income, Potomac River, 1950.................... 28 Table 7: Correlation of Race and Income, Potomac River, 1960.................... 29 Table 8: Race and Income, Potomac & Anacostia River, 1950 ...................... 34 Table 9: Race and Income, Anacostia & Potomac River, 1960 ...................... 34

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: GIS Map Showing Geography of DC................................................. 2 Figure 2: Map of Southern States..................................................................... 9 Figure 3: GIS Map of Race, 1970................................................................... 23 Figure 4: GIS Map of Race, 1980................................................................... 24 Figure 5: GIS Map of Poverty, 1970 ............................................................... 25 Figure 6: GIS Map of Poverty by Race, 1980 ................................................. 26

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CHAPTER 1: THE BREATHTAKING POTOMAC RIVER AND BEGRIMED ANACOSTIA RIVER

The September 2003 edition of the US Airway’s Magazine, Attaché, heralded the Potomac River as “one of the most beautiful, historic, and exciting waterways in the world.”1 Within the same month, the Chesapeake Quarterly Online described the Anacostia River as a “’ruined river’ and a poster child for abused urban waterways.”2 A year earlier, the Natural Resources Defense Council alleged, “the Anacostia is now impoverished and underused.”3 The Potomac River and the Anacostia River are the defining elements of the geography of Washington, DC. As Figure 1 indicates, nowhere in the District are they more than ten miles apart. Yet, the Potomac River receives praises, while the Anacostia is “a national embarrassment.”4 Breathtaking Potomac River President Lyndon B Johnson called the algae infested Potomac River ‘a national disgrace’ in the 1960’s.”5 Shortly after, Potomac River communities began receiving federal funding for river restoration and redevelopment of the waterfront. Over four decades, agencies and municipalities on the Potomac River have received over five-billion dollars for environmental restoration.6

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Barefoot, Cody. Destination: Washington, DC. Attaché. September 2003. Wennersten, John R. 2003. The Anacostia: Restoring a Ruined River. The Chesapeake Quarterly Online. Vol 2. Num. 2. <http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/CQ/V02N2/main.html> [assessed 9 October 2003] 3 Natural Resources Defense Council. 2002. Cleaning Up the Anacostia River. <http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/fanacost.asp> [assessed 9 October 2003]. 4 Ibid 5 The Sustainable Washington Alliance. 2001. Do You Know? Healthy Rivers and You. <http://www.swampnet.org/swehag/c.html> [assessed 15 September 2003]. 6 Loeb, Vernon. Currents of Change. The Washington Post. 1 December 1996.

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Figure 1: GIS Map Showing Geography of DC

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The US Council on Environmental Quality designated the Potomac River as an American Heritage River in 1998. This gave the river protection under US Executive Order 13061 “Federal Support of Community Efforts along American Heritage Rivers.”7 Along with protection comes federal funding to support local efforts to preserve the history of the community and to restore the river. Only sixteen rivers in the US have the privilege of this designation and the benefits. Begrimed Anacostia River In 1998, the American Rivers Conservation Organization listed the Anacostia River as one of the twenty most polluted rivers in the United States.8 The DC Department of Health (DC DOH) has a health advisory against consuming fish from the river.9 According to the DC DOH, “the Anacostia River remains aesthetically and chemically polluted as action to clean up the sources of pollutants to the river has not taken place…Several studies sponsored by the District of Columbia have shown high levels of toxic pollutants in river bed sediments, particularly within the tidal Anacostia.” 10 In November of 2002, Earthjustice on behalf of Friends of the Earth brought a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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US Environmental Protection Agency. What is the American Heritage Initaitve? American Heritage Rivers. <http://www.epa.gov/rivers/eo13061.html>. cassessed 23 March 2003] 8 American Rivers. Most Endangered Rivers 1988-2001. <http://www.amrivers.org/mostendangered/riverlist.htm> [assessed 1 May 2002]. 9 District of Columbia Department of Health. Fisheries and Wildlife. Public Health Advisory. <http://dchealth.dc.gov/services/administration_offices/environmental/services2/fisheries_wildlife/licensin g_phealthadvisory.shtm> [assessed 25 March 2003]. 10 District of Columbia Department of Health. Environmental Health Administration, Water Quality Division, The District of Columbia Water Quality Assessment Executive Summary, 2000

4 over lenient enforcement of the Clean Water Act of 1972.11 They argue the Anacostia River does not meet EPA standards on the total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) of total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand, resulting in low amounts of dissolved oxygen, high murkiness, and low visibility. One source of pollution for the Anacostia River is an antiquated wastewater system along the basin. During heavy rains, the system is overwhelmed, so there are sanitary sewage overflows (SSO). According to Friends of the Earth, at least 1.5 billion gallons of sewage per year flows directly into the Anacostia.12 In addition, the construction of high-density housing and highway infrastructure has led to this degradation of the river and the environment surrounding it primarily through surface run-off. Most of the land adjacent to the river is industrial. Potomac River versus the Anacostia River Since the mid-sixties, there has been unequal treatment of the rivers in the nation’s capital. The federal government has given significant amounts of funding to restore the Potomac River, while the Anacostia River remains forgotten. Why does the federal government treat the rivers so differently? Why has the Potomac River received so much more funding than the Anacostia River?

Friends of the Earth. 2002. Environmentalist Seek Court’s Help to Clean Up Anacostia River. 1 November. <http://www.foe.org/new/releases/1102anacostpr.html> [assessed 25 March 2003].
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Friends of the Earth. Anacostia River TMDL Briefs: Friends of the Earth v. USEPA, D.C. Cir. 02-1123 and 02-1124

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I suspect the answer is racial inequality reinforced by class differences. There is an unequal treatment in restoration efforts because the neighborhoods along the Anacostia River are predominately communities of color and low socioeconomic status, while the neighborhoods along the Potomac River are predominately white and high socioeconomic status. This paper investigates this hypothesis.

CHAPTER 2: COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENT, COLOR AND CLASS

I believe there is an unequal treatment between the Anacostia River and the Potomac River, because there are higher percentages of non-white, poor residents around the Anacostia River. Such environmental inequality is not unique to the DC area. In the dawning of a new era, environmental justice is a growing concern across the US. It is important to examine the idea of environmental inequality, evidence of its existence, health affects, and case studies from other municipalities. This chapter presents only a small sampling of the evidence. The Civil Rights Movement began in the 1960s and the Environmental Movement began shortly after. Since their inception, laws have been passed and regulations have been implemented to protect the rights of all people and protect the natural environment. There is a disproportionate environmental burden of exposure to toxic wastes sites and polluted air and water carried by African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities. This is environmental racism. The Reverend Benjamin Chavis, then the Executive Director of the Commission for Racial Justice, coined the term environmental racism in 1987. He defines it as: racial discrimination in environmental policymaking and the enforcement of regulation and laws, the deliberate targeting of people of color communities for toxic and hazardous waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the life-threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in our communities and the 6

7 history of excluding people of color from leadership in the environmental movement.13 Sometimes discriminatory practices in housing and employment of minorities cause them to live in hazardous environments, and racism may be the underlying cause in the variation in distribution of environmental burdens. Some argue that environmental burden is not a function of race, but rather socioeconomic status. For example, lower status people move in the proximity of toxic sites where there is inexpensive housing. The “implementation of environmental policy creates intended or unintended consequences which have disproportionate impacts (adverse or beneficial) on lower income persons, populations, or communities.”14 The Environmental Movement concentrated on the ecological concerns of white, high socioeconomic status Americans. Urban planners assumed that because whites were wealthier harming their environment would be a greater financial burden than it would be in communities of color and poverty. The joint examination of race and socioeconomic status together is called environmental inequality. National and Regional Level Evidence Studies show there is a high correlation between the geographical distribution of both people of color and low socioeconomic status and the distribution of pollution, landfills incinerators, toxic waste dumps, lead
13 Williams, Christopher. 1998. Environmental Victims. (London, England: Earthscan Publications Ltd), 53 14 Land Loss Prevention Project. September 2003. <http://www.landloss.org/Commonly%20Used%20Environmental%20Justice%20Definitions.htm> [assessed 12 March 2000].

8 poisoning in children and contaminated waters. The National Wildlife Federation reviewed sixty-four studies and found disparities separating race were more numerous than disparities separating social class.15 African American and Hispanic communities are over-represented in areas with toxic waste dumps.16 Approximately half of African Americans and Hispanics live in communities with one or more toxic wastes sites.17 A 1990 report by the Greenpeace found that communities with existing incinerators have 89% more people of color than the national average.18 In 1987, a study by the Commission for Racial Justice found that 60% of African Americans and Hispanics and greater than 50% of Asians and Native Americans live in areas of one or more toxic wastes sites.19 This means that three out of five African Americans and Hispanics live in ‘uncontrolled environments’. The report also found that there was an uneven distribution in the penalties for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In areas where the residents were mostly white, the penalties were 500% higher than areas where people of color are the greater percentage of the population. The Southern states of the US, as shown in Figure 2, are a good regional example of environmental inequality. This region is associated with a
Westra, Laura and Peter S. Wenz. 1995. Faces of Environmental Racism. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.), 4. 16 Miller, Char and Hal Rothman.1997. Out of the Woods. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), 201. 17 Bryant, Bunyan and Paul Mohai.1992. Race and Incidence of Environmental Hazards. (San Francisco, CA: Westview Press),15. 18 Westra, Laura and Peter S. Wenz. 1995. Faces of Environmental Racism. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.), 6. 19 Williams, Christopher.1998. Environmental Victims. (London, England: Earthscan Publications Ltd.), 53.
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9 history of blatant racism and discrimination. These states are home to approximately fourteen million African Americans (1/5 of this region’s population). Figure 2: Map of Southern States

Source: Mapquest

Four landfills in zip codes in communities of color represent 63% of the South’s total hazardous waste disposal capacity.20 In 1983, a study conducted in the Environmental Protection Agency’s South Region 4, which encompasses eight states, identified that three out of four landfills were in areas where African Americans were the majority.21 The nation’s largest toxic waste landfill, with waste from 45 states and foreign countries, is located in Sumter County, Alabama in a predominately African American neighborhood. In Houston, six of eight municipal incinerators and all five landfills are in

Bullard, Robert. 1990. Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press), 40. 21 Foreman, Christopher Jr. 1998. The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice. (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press), 18-19.

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10 African American communities. Another incinerator is in a majority Mexican American community.22 Health Affects Environmental deterioration is a hazard to human health, particularly to people of color living in toxic areas. People of color and lower socioeconomic status have greater health problems and lower life expectancies than well-off white populations. Given the EPA calculates air toxins alone account for greater than 2,000 cases of cancer each year, then surely this burden unfairly hurts poor people of color.23 One of the more detrimental toxins in predominately African-American and Hispanic communities is lead. Lead poisoning affects four million children each year. It is three times more likely to affect African American children than white children.24 A 1988 report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that greater than 67% of urban children living in households with an income of less than $6,000 had a blood lead level greater than 15 µg/deciliter. It is a safe guess that the great majority of children in these areas are children of color. For white children living in households with the same income level the percentage was only 36%.25 The primary sources of lead in minority communities are paint, urban soil, dust, and contaminated drinking water.
22 Bryant, Bunyan and Paul Mohai. 1992. Race and Incidence of Environmental Hazards. (San Francisco, CA: Westview Press), 13. 23 Ibid, 126. 24 Williams, Christopher. 1998. Environmental Victims. (London, England: Earthscan Publications Ltd.), 54. 25 Foreman, Christopher Jr. 1998. The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice. (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press), 79.

11 Another condition the environment strongly influences is asthma. Asthma affects fourteen million people each year according to the American Lung Association.26 African Americans account for 22.1% of asthma related deaths, but are only 12% of the total population. The primary causes of asthma in African Americans are lung toxicities of metals (lead, mercury, and hard metals), carcinogens (asbestos, nickel, and hydrocarbons), and dust.27 Case Studies Several independent case studies have been performed across the United States. They have all had similar findings that African American, Hispanics, and Native Americans disproportionately carry the burden of the degraded environment. Below are three that have been adapted from their original text. Chestertown, PA Chestertown, PA is located about 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia. In 2000, the population was about 4600 people of which African Americans are about 65% of the population. However, they account for the 95% of the residents living near waste facilities. Chestertown is also home to the fourth largest garbage-burning incinerator in the nation. This incinerator is across from an African American residential neighborhood. Next to this facility is the largest chemotherapeutic medical waster center, Thermal Pure Systems. Next to that is DELCORA, which is a sewage treatment facility. Chestertown
Ibid, 83. Committee on Environmental Justice. 1999. Toward Environmental Justice. (Washington, DC: National Academy Press),15.
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12 is also home to chemical companies, hospital incinerators, trash transfer stations, and hazardous waste sites. The African American children of this area receive lead exposure higher than the national average. Chestertown also has the highest percentage of low birth rate; and the infant mortality rate is double the rate of the whole county.28 Chicago, IL In Chicago’s Southside lies a community of 150,000 residents known as Altgeld Greens. The community is 70% African American and 11% Hispanic. Hazardous wastes facilities, smelters, seven chemical plants, and five steel plants encircle the community.29 There are also over one hundred industrial plants, fifty active or closed waste dumps and 90% of the city’s landfills. In the well water, there are traces of cyanide, benzene, toluene, and a high concentration of lead. The community is also plagued with “childhood cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, hypertension, infant mortality, and asthma.” 30 Baton Rouge, LA A study in 1986 of the ten largest white communities and the ten largest black communities in Baton Rouge showed discrepancies in the location of hazardous waste sites. The following tables show the racial differences in

Pennsylvania Environmental Network. Environmental Racism in Chestertown. [assessed 25 March 2000]. Available from World Wide Web: <http://penweb.org/Chester>. 29 Westra, Laura and Peter S. Wenz. 1995. Faces of Environmental Racism. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.), 6. 30 Committee on Environmental Justice. 1999. Toward Environmental Justice. (Washington, DC: National Academy Press), 29.

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13 wastes sites and waste per capita. Only five hazardous waste sites exist in communities where the population is predominately white, but there are fifteen in predominately black communities. The zip code that has the most toxic waste sites is 95% black. The number of residents per waste site in the largest white communities is 24,800. Meanwhile in the largest black communities there are 7340 residents per waste site. Table 1: Ten Largest White Communities in Baton Rouge, LA, 1986
Area by Zip Code 70739 70744 70749 70754 70770 70774 70809 70814 70815 70816 Total Size of Population 7,500 2,900 1,400 5,200 3,400 4,200 13,900 14,300 37,400 34,200 124,000 Percent White Pop. 95 97 95 98 90 100 95 97 97 97 Percent Minority Pop. 5 3 5 2 10 0 5 3 3 3 No. of Wastes Sites* 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3 5

* Sites in communities with population under 1,000 were not considered

Table 2: Ten Largest Black Communities in Baton Rouge, LA, 1986
Area by Zip Code 70722 70723 70725 70757 70760 70776 70788 70802 70807 70812 Total Size of Population 5,300 2,400 1,100 2,400 7,900 2,100 4,600 46,00 26,500 1,800 110,100 Percent White Pop. 0 33 29 40 0 0 49 17 5 47 Percent Minority Pop. 100 77 79 60 100 100 51 83 95 53 No. of Waste Sites* 0 1 2 0 1 3 1 1 6 0 15

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* Sites in communities with population under 1,000 were not considered Adapted from Source: Bryant, Bunyan and Paul Mohai. 1992. Race and Incidence of Environmental Hazards. (San Francisco, CA: Westview Press), 133.

These case studies show that people of color bear the environmental burden. Poor people also live in environmentally degraded areas because of lower property values. How do racism and class differences factor into neighborhood formation? This question is treated in the next chapter.

CHAPTER 3: NEIGHBORHOOD FORMATION IN WASHINGTON, DC THROUGH GENTRIFICATION, AND PUBLIC POLICY

Neighborhoods form for many reasons. Street layout, zoning, or settlement by cultures all contribute to neighborhood boundary definitions. Public policy, redlining by mortgage companies and banks, bias of realtors, and gentrification probably strongly influenced many of the neighborhoods in the District of Columbia. Between 1920 and 1960, revitalization, historic preservation and a slew of public and private policies transformed many of the areas along the Potomac River into high socioeconomic status, white communities. By the late 1950’s, if Wesley Heights, Cleveland Park, Glover Park, Foxhall, Burleith, and Georgetown had been combined as a county they would have been one of the richest municipalities in the US. 31 During this same period, neighborhoods along the Anacostia River were moving in the opposite direction, becoming increasingly communities of color and lower socioeconomic status. In the late sixties, an article in The Washington Post revealed discriminatory real estate practices in the city’s northwest quadrant. It found that real estate agents offered white customers better mortgage rates, lower purchase prices, and lower down payments, compared to minority

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Lewis, Davis L. 1976. District of Columbia: A Bicentennial History. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.), 167.

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16 customers.32 In addition to their higher incomes, these mechanisms made it easier for whites to become homeowners. Georgetown as an example of gentrification in NW DC One example of a NW neighborhood transformed from a blend of race and income levels to one that is uniform with majority high economic status and white residents, is Georgetown. At the beginning part of the twentieth century, Georgetown was home to former slaves and whites who worked in the industries along the river. Today, it encompasses prime real estate along the Potomac River. The waterfront is luxury apartments, high-end retail, upscale restaurants, and a marina for yachts. It is home to Georgetown University, which is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the US. It is also one of the most expensive areas to live within the district. Like other cities in the US, Washington had a transitioning period from rural to urban. Starting in the 1920’s many residents of the Georgetown area realized the potential value of the real estate, particularly along the waterfront. By 1924, they were able to control the development of the community by successfully lobbying Congress to change the zoning ordinance. The goal was to prohibit developers from building high-risers.33 During this time, realtors started marketing Georgetown as the upcoming neighborhood to

Ibid, 123 Gale, Dennis E. 1987. Washington, D.C.: Inner-City Revitalization and Minority Suburbanization. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press), 52
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17 wealthy whites.34 This was the catalyst for redevelopment of the once industrial community. Between the late 1930’s and the early 1950’s, developers continued to invade and develop the area. This influx of investment in Georgetown began increasing property values, which in turn increased the property taxes and prompted early instances of gentrification. The lower income residents could no longer afford the taxes and tenants could no longer afford the higher rent. Public policy continued to stimulate gentrification into the 1960’s. The Old Georgetown Act of 1950 continued to fuel the out-migration of people of color and lower socioeconomic status. The House Committee on the District of Columbia initiated the act and Congress passed the act. It placed Georgetown under the jurisdiction of the US Department of the Interior with the objectives of preservation and protection of the architecture of places of historic interest.35 This meant strict regulations and zoning restrictions regarding building maintenance, which was costly to homeowners. These policies and regulations forced out families, mostly black, who did not have the means to comply with the policies.36 The black population declined from 30% in 1930 to 9% in 1960.37 Similar policies transformed many of the other neighborhoods along the Potomac River.

34 Lesko, Kathhleen, Valerie Babb and Carroll Gibbs. 1991. Black Georgetown Remembered. (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press), 79 35 US Congress House, H.R. 7670 Hearing Before the House. Committee on the District of Columbia. 22 June 1950. Record Group #233 Civil Archives Division, National Archives, Washington, DC. 36 Lesko, Kathhleen, Valerie Babb and Carroll Gibbs. 1991. Black Georgetown Remembered. (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press), 97 37 Ibid

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The SW waterfront example of gentrification The Potomac River also runs along the SW quadrant of DC. Like Georgetown, the SW area attracted freed slaves at the end of slavery. Starting in the 1940’s, revitalization policies and master plans transformed this neighborhood into the cultural center for DC. These policies come at the price of relocating residents. In 1946, the federal government established the Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). This agency was primarily responsible for the redevelopment of the SW waterfront under the Urban Renewal Program. RLA proposed a master plan to Congress that would effectively force out blacks from the SW neighborhoods to the Anacostia area.38 The goal was to revitalize the waterfront. The method was clearance and rebuilding. In 1954, a development firm presented a plan to turn Southwest in to a high socioeconomic status residential area surrounded by cultural venues. They sought to redevelop 330 of 427 acres of land into opera houses, malls, music halls, and monuments. Private companies in addition to the federal and district governments financed the $185 million, five-year project.39 The federal government was heavily involved in land acquisition in order to implement the plan.40

Lewis, Davis L. 1976. District of Columbia: A Bicentennial History. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.),135 39 Ibid p. 135-136 40 Gale, Dennis E. 1987. Washington, DC: Inner-City revitalization and Minority Suburbanization. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press), 58

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Anacostia: Dumping and neglect of people Starting as early as 1930, revitalization in other parts of the city expelled people of color and low socioeconomic status to neighborhoods along the Anacostia River. This whole area, including several sub-districts, is generally called Anacostia. This mass resettlement rapidly transformed this rural area to into one with high-density housing projects. Through the seventies, the neighborhoods along the Anacostia River had some of the fastest growing populations of DC. When investors began developing along the Potomac River starting as early as 1920, they blatantly neglected the Anacostia neighborhoods. The Herald quotes a senator in 1935, stating that there are no millionaires in Southeast, so it remains neglected. In 1930, an article in The STAR states that the neglect of Anacostia neighborhoods caused slum conditions.41 In the 1960’s there were as many as seven landfills in the area.42 In the 1950’s, the government changed the zoning laws for Anacostia to multi-family units only.43 This created new high-density areas along the Anacostia River, primarily in the form of public housing. As the population grew, the government did little to upgrade the infrastructure to sustain the new development.

41 Lewis, Davis L.1976. District of Columbia: A Bicentennial History. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.), 134 42 Williams, Brett. Gentrifying Water and Selling Jim Crow. Urban Anthropology. 2002. Vol 31 num. 1 p.96. 43 Ibid, 96-97

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Population Change 1950-1960 There was a significant change in the demographics of the population around each of the rivers between 1950 and 1960. The table shows the percent change between in this decade for the percent of the non-white population and the median income. Table 3: Percent Change 1950-1960
Anacostia Potomac DC Percent Non-White 150.5 -57.0 54.6 Median Income44 35.9 96.7 24.5

The percent of the non-white residents increased around the Anacostia River almost three times the percentage it decreased around the Potomac River. The non-white population in DC increased by 54.6%, while around the Anacostia River this population increased by 150.5%. In addition, the median income increased around the Anacostia only about third of what it increased around the Potomac. The result after one decade is the Anacostia River area has a large portion of non-white residents, while the Potomac River area has a significantly smaller portion of non-white residents. Is this polarization of race and income evident in the decades that follow?

I translated the median income for 1950 into 1960 dollars in order to determine the percent change between 1950 and 1960.

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CHAPTER 4: SPATIAL COMPARISON OF RACE AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS USING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS 1970-1990

Did the polarization of race and class created by public policy continue in the latter decades? Using the 1970 and 1980 census, I examined the areas within one-mile of each river based on race and poverty.45 The one-mile buffer roughly translates into a 20-minute walk (see Appendix A for the methodology). The maps are located at the end of this chapter. Polarization of Race in 1970 In 1970, there is clear polarization of race around each of the rivers. The majority of the census tracts within one-mile of the Anacostia River are communities of color. The only tract that is not community of color is the Boeing Air Force Base census tract. Along the Potomac River, all of the communities are white. Spatial Comparison of Race 1980 The polarization of race observed in earlier years still existed in 1980. Many of the tracts around the Anacostia River retained a significant percentage of people of color. Even the Boeing Air Force Base increased in percentage of non-white residents. One tract was majority white in 1970 shows as having no white population in 1980. This tract is federal parkland so there is no longer a population living there. There are two other census tracts

In 1970 and 1980, I use percent of population below poverty as the socioeconomic indicator for each track

45

21

22

identified as having a negligible population. The Potomac River neighborhoods remained predominately white between the 1970 and 1980 census. Percent of Population below Poverty, 1970 One indicator of socioeconomic status is percent of the population below the poverty level. The communities around the Potomac have a negligible population below poverty. Overall approximately 20% of population around the Anacostia River is below poverty. Three tracts at the southernmost part of the river have between 39 and 69% of the population below poverty. Three tracts at the northern end have 22 - 38% of the total population living below poverty. Percent of Population below Poverty by Race, 1980 The 1980 census gave detailed information about population below poverty based on race. In the areas surrounding both rivers, there is a negligible amount of white residents below poverty. Around the Anacostia River, 6 - 10% and 21 - 50% of total population are non-white residents below poverty for most of the tracts. There are four tracts where the majority of the residents are poor people of color.

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Figure 3: GIS Map of Race, 1970

24

Figure 4: GIS Map of Race, 1980

25

Figure 5: GIS Map of Poverty, 1970

26

Figure 6: GIS Map of Poverty by Race, 1980

CHAPTER 5: CORRELATION OF RACE AND INCOME 1950 AND 1960

As mentioned previously, during the years of 1950 and 1960, public policy transformed many of the neighborhoods around each of the rivers. The areas around the Anacostia became increasing people of color and poor. As this transformation occurs, one has to ask if race or income was driving these policy decisions. I believe there is a negative correlation between race and income in neighborhoods in Washington, DC. My hypothesis is as the proportion of people of color increases the median income decreases. Therefore, the decisions are harming people because they are poor people of color. Anacostia River In 1950 and 1960, I found there is a negative correlation between race and income in the census tracts around the Anacostia River. As the percent of non-white residents increases, the median household income decreases. Tables 4 and 5 below show the correlation. Table 4: Correlation of Race and Income, Anacostia River, 195046
% Non-White Median Income N=15 % Non-White 1 -0.756 Median Income 1

46

See Appendix B for data tables

27

28

Table 5: Correlation of Race and Income, Anacostia River, 196047
% Non-White Median Income
N=35

% Non-White 1 -0.514

Median Income 1

Is this correlation statistically significant? The calculated correlation coefficient (rcalc) for 1950 is -0.756. The critical value (rcrit) is 0.553, based on a two-tailed p-value and a 95% confidence interval. For 1960, rcrit is less than 0.361. Since the absolute value of rcalc is greater than rcrit, the null hypothesis is rejected for 1950 and 1960. Therefore, rcalc is statistically significant for both years. The next question to answer is whether total population is driving the model. After doing a correlation analysis for 1950 and 1960, I found there is not a statistically significant correlation (see Appendix B). Potomac River In 1950, I also found a significant negative correlation between race and income in the census tracts around the Potomac River. For 1960, the estimated correlation is not significantly different from zero. Table 6: Correlation of Race and Income, Potomac River, 195048
% Non-white Median Income
N=14

% Non-white 1 -0.656

Median Income 1

47 48

See Appendix B for data tables See Appendix B for data tables

29 Table 7: Correlation of Race and Income, Potomac River, 196049
% Non-White % Non-White Median Income
N=16

Median Income 1

1 -0.514

The rcrit is 0.532 and 0.576 for 1950 and 1960 respectively. In 1950, the rcalc is greater than the rcrit. Therefore, it is statistically significant. In 1960, the rcalc is less than the rcrit, which means the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. For 1960, the correlation coefficient is not statistically significant. For the Potomac River neighborhoods, I also examined the correlation of total population and median income. For both years, I found there was no statistical significance. The rcalc was less than the rcrit, which mean the null hypothesis cannot be rejected.

49

See Appendix B for data tables

CONCLUSION

This paper resolves around three loosely stated hypotheses: (1) that environmental inequality lies at the base of some forms of urban development, (2) that class and race are closely intercorrelated, and (3) that Washington, DC, with its two prominent rivers, provides a vivid example. Race and income associate closely in the neighborhoods around each of the rivers. One cannot isolate race or class when looking at the causes of environmental burden. The populations harmed by public policy are poor people of color. Neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation policies both contributed to the polarization by race and poverty around each river. Neighborhoods of poverty and color were degraded environmentally. Poor people moved into the degraded neighborhoods. Poor people and people of color were excluded from well-tended neighborhoods. River restoration efforts have been unequal. The federal government has given significantly greater funding for Potomac River restoration than to the Anacostia River restoration. The Potomac River is now home to yacht clubs and high-end restaurants and retail. The Anacostia River remains begrimed and forgotten.

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APPENDIX A. USING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) TO INVETSIGATE ENVIRONMENTAL INEQUALITY

GIS allows for visual representation of the inequalities that exist. This paper examines spatially the polarization of race and poverty. There were three basic steps taken to create map layouts to show DC in 1970 and 1980. 1. Data collection 2. Data analysis 3. Map creation and manipulation Data Collection Most of the data used on this project is from the US Department of Commerce Census Bureau Geography Division. All of the base maps are from the Census Bureau. I downloaded the rivers and military base data from the US Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics Data Analysis After obtaining the demographic data for 1970 and 1980, it required some analysis. My analysis looks at race and percent of the population below poverty level. I only considered these two variables in order to see a change over time between 1970 and 1980. I analyzed race as a dichotomy; white versus non-white. I did this for several reasons. The 1970 census identified the population as non-white, black, or white. While in the 1980, the census defined race as white, black, Native American, Asian, Eskimo, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Asian

31

32

Indian, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Guam, and Samoan. In order to establish consistency, I defined residents as either white or non-white. The second reason for this identification system is that the number of non-whites who are also non-black is a small portion of the population in 1970 and 1980. In addition, the issue of environmental racism is not exclusive to black communities. As defined earlier, it plagues all communities of color. In order to create maps that look at non-white versus white, I had to analyze the data. For each of the categories looking at race, I added a column for the total non-white population, which was a summation of the Black, Asian, Native American, and Other populations. I then divided this number by the total population in order to find the percent non-white. Map Creation DC is not a state; therefore, it has no counties per se. I used the 1970 and 1980 census tracts shapefiles from the US Census for the base map for each respective year. Instead of analyzing all of DC, I used a one-mile buffer around each river. I chose one-mile buffer, because it roughly translates into a twenty-minute walk. After the buffer was created, the census tract layer was clipped based on this buffer using the geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS. I used the new clipped layer to examine race and poverty.

APPENDIX B: USING MICROSOFT EXCEL TO PERFORM A CORRELATION ANALYSIS

Unfortunately, 1950 and 1960 data is not available digitally. In order to create a buffer, I printed the map for 1950 and selected the census tracts that were approximately one-mile from each river. For the 1960 data, I used the same tracts as 1950, which includes the tract changes from 1950 to 1960. This is why there are more census tracts in the 1960 data tables. In order to perform the correlation analysis, I used the data analysis tool in Microsoft Excel. I used a 95% confidence interval and a two-tailed p-value for all the correlations. In 1960, the area around the Potomac River had three census tracts without any data for median income. For the correlation analysis, these data points were not included. In order to determine the rcrit, I had to determine the degrees of freedom (df). This is equal to the number of data points minus 2. Data Points Anacostia 1950 Anacostia 1960 Potomac 1950 Potomac 1960 15 35 14 13 Degrees of Freedom (df) 13 33 12 11 Critical r (rcirt)50 0.553 <0.361 0.576 0.602

50

Kachigan, Sam Kash. 1991. Multivariate Statistical Analysis. (New York: Radius Press).

33

34

For the correlation analysis, I used median income and the non-white population as a percent of the total population. To ensure that total population did not drive the model, I also did a correlation analysis using total population and median income. I found the correlation of total population and median income is not statistically significant.

Potomac and the Anacostia Rivers, 1950 and 1960 For the final analysis I examined the dataset for the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers together for 1950 and 1960. In 1950, there is a statistically significant negative correlation between percent non-white and income. For 1960, there is a weak negative correlation that is statistically significant. Table 8: Race and Income, Potomac & Anacostia River, 1950
Non-White* Non-White* Median Income N=29 rcric=0.361 1 -0.647 Median Income 1

Table 9: Race and Income, Anacostia & Potomac River, 1960
Non-White Median Income N=48 rcric <0.288 Non-White 1 -0.451 Median Income 1

35

1950 Data for the Census Tracts around the Anacostia River51 Census Tract 63 64 68 69 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 89 90 Total Nonwhite* 3205 4413 3971 2196 1012 6062 2721 10210 868 99 8861 27838 6046 7929 581 86012 Total Residents 5455 4592 10361 5187 4215 6758 36626 15267 8272 19005 29546 36623 10994 10811 2832 206544 Median Income 1924 2506 3039 2924 2935 2234 3385 2489 3941 4435 3946 3011 2995 3218 3765 3116 Percent of Total NonWhite White* Black 41.2 3.9 61.7 57.7 76.0 10.3 92.6 33.1 89.5 99.5 70.0 24.0 45.0 26.7 79.5 58.4 58.8 96.1 38.3 42.3 24.0 89.7 7.4 66.9 10.5 0.5 30.0 76.0 55.0 73.3 20.5 41.6 58.19 96.04 37.98 41.89 23.65 89.36 6.96 66.68 10.49 0.32 29.89 75.86 54.78 73.26 20.20 41.40

White 2250 179 6390 2991 3203 696 33905 5057 7404 18906 20685 8785 4948 2882 2251 120532

Black 3174 4410 3935 2173 997 6039 2550 10180 868 61 8832 27781 6022 7920 572 85514

1950 Data for the Census Tracts around the Potomac River52 Census Tract 1 2 3 4 7 8 9 10 41 54 55 56 57 62 Total Nonwhite* 1292 623 65 142 142 209 283 78 256 1798 3457 4130 1350 1770 15595 Total Residents 7658 6871 7152 1554 6855 5413 5578 11456 4527 7055 8698 5865 9885 4440 93007 Median Income 3869 1495 4131 3833 4858 4472 5065 4902 3210 3000 2516 2053 3053 2490 3496 Percent of Total Nonwhite* White Black 83.1 16.9 16.5 90.9 9.1 8.4 99.1 0.9 0.7 90.9 9.1 6.0 97.9 2.1 1.5 96.1 3.9 3.3 94.9 5.1 4.9 99.3 0.7 0.4 94.3 5.7 5.1 74.5 25.5 24.8 60.3 39.7 39.2 29.6 70.4 69.6 86.3 13.7 13.1 60.1 39.9 39.5 83.2 16.8 16.2

White 6366 6248 7087 1412 6713 5204 5295 11378 4271 5257 5241 1735 8535 2670 77412

Black 1265 576 53 93 105 177 276 47 232 1752 3409 4083 1291 1752 15111

U.S. Census Bureau. 1952. 1950 Census of Population and Housing, Census Tracts, Washington, DC. HA 201-P82 Chapter 59 Washington: The Bureau. 52 Ibid

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1960 Data for the Census Tracts around the Anacostia River53 Census Tract 63 64 68 69 71 72 73.1 73.2 73.3 73.4 73.5 73.6 73.7 73.8 74.1 74.2 74.3 75 76.1 76.2 76.3 77.1 77.2 77.3 77.4 77.5 78.1 78.2 78.3 78.4 78.5 78.6 79 89 90 Total NonWhite* 17 2 47 12 32 29 281 46 76 111 141 76 48 6 42 15 15 68 46 24 20 8 34 54 55 9 5 19 8 5 8 8 17 3 83 1470 Median Income 3484 2912 5114 4459 4731 2998 5250 5902 6138 5246 5100 6386 6474 0 3430 5238 5214 5583 6467 7777 7955 5794 7992 5227 5685 5150 3937 6597 4570 4538 5348 4322 4718 4944 6618 5180 Percent of Total NonWhite white* Black 35.1 0.7 64.2 1.3 0.1 98.7 19.7 0.5 79.8 18.7 0.2 81.1 26.3 0.8 72.9 9.2 0.5 90.2 87.2 5.8 7.0 98.5 0.8 0.7 96.9 1.7 1.4 88.4 2.1 9.5 77.4 1.6 21.0 97.9 1.1 0.9 98.6 0.8 0.6 34.3 0.6 65.1 21.7 0.7 77.6 15.3 0.2 84.4 1.3 0.1 98.6 70.0 0.7 29.3 98.8 0.8 0.4 99.2 0.4 0.4 99.5 0.4 0.1 83.1 0.1 16.8 76.0 0.5 23.4 45.3 0.8 53.8 5.4 0.5 94.1 0.3 0.1 99.6 1.9 0.1 98.0 4.6 0.3 95.2 0.2 0.1 99.7 0.1 0.1 99.8 0.2 0.1 99.7 0.1 0.1 99.8 2.6 0.2 97.2 0.9 0.0 99.0 19.7 1.2 79.1 37.1 0.6 62.3

White 829 42 2010 914 1061 513 4195 5461 4342 4652 7007 6511 6285 358 1391 949 166 6449 5865 6515 5314 5165 4741 2910 619 18 155 303 10 3 16 11 252 101 1321 86454

Black 1514 3218 8131 3971 2936 5009 337 38 63 498 1901 63 39 680 4963 5228 12405 2700 23 28 7 1045 1462 3456 10727 6311 7951 6329 6011 4726 8256 10036 9292 10617 5305 145276

Total 2360 3262 10188 4897 4029 5551 4813 5545 4481 5261 9049 6650 6372 1044 6396 6192 12586 9217 5934 6567 5341 6218 6237 6420 11401 6338 8111 6651 6029 4734 8280 10055 9561 10721 6709 233200

U.S. Census Bureau. 1962. 1960 Census of Population and Housing, Census Tracts, Washington, DC. HA 201-P822. Washington: The Bureau.

53

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1960 Data for the Census Tracts around the Potomac River54 Census Tract 1 2 3 4 7 8 9 10 41 54.001 54.002 55 56 57.001 57.002 62 Total Nonwhite* 59 69 78 30 97 53 53 95 80 76 11 115 63 57 11 0 947 Median Income 11384 9780 8649 19815 10835 13756 14269 11096 11967 5629 0 4804 7855 0 4786 0 8414 Percent of Total NonWhite white* Black 93.6 1.0 5.4 97.7 1.2 1.0 98.3 1.2 0.5 93.1 2.3 4.5 97.4 1.1 1.4 97.4 0.9 1.7 97.3 0.8 1.9 98.8 0.8 0.4 93.6 2.3 4.1 77.4 2.9 19.7 91.2 1.3 7.5 65.4 1.9 32.7 81.2 1.7 17.1 94.8 1.1 4.1 98.0 0.8 1.2 49.5 0.0 50.5 92.8 1.2 6.0

White 5583 5594 6303 1192 8330 6073 6533 11554 3209 2030 758 4046 3082 5102 1376 49 70814

Black 321 60 34 58 121 109 129 49 141 518 62 2021 651 221 17 50 4562

Total 5963 5723 6415 1280 8548 6235 6715 11698 3430 2624 831 6182 3796 5380 1404 99 76323

54

Ibid

38

Total Population versus Median Income

1950 Anacostia River
Median Income Median Income Total Residents 1 0.327117122 Total Residents 1

rcrit =0.553, the null hypothesis is accepted.

1950 Potomac River
Median Income Median Income Total Residents 1 0.083823643 Total Residents 1

rcrit =0.576, the null hypothesis is accepted.

1960 Anacostia River
Median Income Median Income Total Residents 1 0.287371171 Total Residents 1

rcrit < 0.361, the null hypothesis is accepted.

1960 Potomac River
Median Income Median Income Total Residents 1 0.338585586 Total Residents 1

rcrit = 0.497, the null hypothesis is accepted.

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