The Greater Washington Research Center

Our Mission

The Greater Washington Research Center was established through the consolidation of the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies (est. 1960) and the D.C. Municipal Research Bureau (est. 1974).

During its 40 years of existence, the Research Center has engaged continuously in policy-oriented research and in data collection and analysis designed to help local businesses, non-profit organizations, and governments. From the beginning, it has focused the bulk of its attention on the area's changing economy, population change, labor force characteristics, social conditions, physical development needs, and public policy issues.

The Greater Washington Research Center helps the metropolitan area’s businesses, governments, civic groups, and general public prepare for the future — imaginatively, realistically, and effectively. By asking the right questions, the nonpartisan Center serves as an information source, watchdog, and catalyst for constructive change.

Since 1960, the Center’s independent research reports —— on topics such as the economy, demographic shifts, and local government finances —— have punctured myths, uncovered new facts, and identified trends. The Center has helped its members and constituents recognize problems, correct them before they became irreversible, and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

In the mid-1980s, local leaders were cheering the Washington region’s declining dependence on the federal government because federal employment, relative to total employment, was decreasing. The Center looked beneath the surface and pointed out that the local economy was still tied to the federal government through its massive purchases of local goods and services. The dependence did not decrease; instead, it changed in ways that encouraged economic growth.

The Center was the first to study the growth and future role of technology industries in the Washington area.

The Center was the first to identify the Beltway as the region’s new "main street" and forecast that the Beltway and major radial highways (I-270, I-66, and I-95) would create a regional economy with multiple economic centers.

Again and again, the Center has challenged conventional wisdom. Today, it is poised to help the Washington area capitalize on new opportunities. The Center welcomes your participation as it conducts research that helps improve the quality of life in the region.