DC losing taxpayer dollars due to pandemic-era exodus

A new report details a "pandemic-era exodus" in D.C.

Released by District officials, the report states that recent data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that approximately 31,000 people left the city between 2019 and 2021, during the height of the pandemic. The migration resulted in a net loss of more than $3 billion in taxable income, including more than $1.2 billion to the city's inner suburbs, officials found.

Researchers also found that tax filers who stayed in the city had higher average incomes than those who left; that the city lost taxpayers aged 26-44 with mid to high incomes while gaining younger, lower-income taxpayers; and that the District lost a net of about $600 million in taxable income to Montgomery County alone.

"I'm not surprised," Sheryl Katzin said Thursday in downtown D.C. when told of the roughly 31,000 people who'd left the city.

She and others gave their thoughts about why.

"You no longer have to be close to your job, so it makes a lot of sense that people would want to make D.C. salaries and not pay D.C. prices," Ethan Heilig said.

"The violence is getting very, very bad," Izayah Williams told FOX 5.


"You think about the period during the pandemic," Amit Thakkar said, "People are living in high-rise buildings like this, not a lot of space."

"I think our mayor is not amazing at her job," added Jada Gainer.

FOX 5 had hoped to ask Mayor Muriel Bowser about the report, but her office declined, instead sending a statement from the deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

"We know that D.C., like other big cities across the nation, saw demographic changes during the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement reads. "We are fortunate to have a strong tax base and continue to show economic resilience. Mayor Bowser and the District are focused on ensuring that, as part of D.C.’s comeback, we are working across government to ensure we have the right policies in place to grow our population and retain our residents."

As far as the report goes, the news wasn't all bad — with officials saying the most recent Census estimates show D.C. is now getting people back.

Read the full report here