Community Focus Areas
The number of high school students who graduated from DC Public Schools in 2015 reached 64%. While an improvement over recent years, it is still well below the national average of 81%. Across the region, many children fall behind academically at an early age. In 2015, 49% of DC eighth graders, 29% of Maryland eighth graders, and 30% of Virginia eighth graders scored below even basic proficiency in math. In reading, 44% of DC fourth graders, 32% of Maryland fourth graders, and 32% of Virginia fourth graders scored below the basic level.
In the region, 47,200 families with children under age 18 live in poverty. In 2008-2012, 30% of households with children in the District of Columbia said they were unable to afford enough food. This is the second worst rate in the nation, exceeded only by Mississippi. Further, though it's improving, DC still has the nation's highest rate of HIV infection, almost twice that of Louisiana, which has the next highest rate. Nearly 4% of black residents are infected, and as of 2014, over 4,300 women in the District were living with HIV.
The number of homeless families in the District rose by more than 30% since 2015, and homeless families now outnumber homeless adults for the first time since 2001. Children, according to the regional Council on Governments, now make up 29% of our area's homeless population. Some 3,417 children in the Metro area were homeless last year. Family homelessness is rising due to a shortage of both affordable housing units and living wage jobs.
The region’s economic recovery is leaving many workers behind. According to the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, as of 2014, the gap between the lowest and highest income households in DC is the third-highest of the 50 largest cities in the nation. As of 2013, 8.8% of women over 16 in our region with full-time, year-round jobs lived on less than twice the official poverty rate. In 2015, 80,000 women in our region were unemployed, and over 170,000 women were employed in low-wage jobs. It's estimated that fewer than half of these women have the education or training needed to obtain good jobs.