On October 7, 2002, a 13-year old boy named Iran Brown was critically wounded by a sniper soon after he was dropped off at Tasker Middle School. His name was at first withheld, since he survived the incident, which was one in a string of murders and attempted murders that was called the Beltway sniper attacks. His name has since been revealed.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.8 km² (16.1 mi²). 41.7 km² (16.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.12% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 50,269 people, 18,188 households, and 13,568 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,205.5/km² (3,121.9/mi²). There are 18,718 housing units at an average density of 448.9/km² (1,162.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 62.65% White, 30.83% African American, 0.30% Native American, 2.95% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. 2.92% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 18,188 households out of which 37.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% are married couples living together, 11.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% are non-families. 19.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.74 and the average family size is 3.16.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 34.9% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $76,778, and the median income for a family is $82,403. Males have a median income of $52,284 versus $40,471 for females. The per capita income for the city is $30,703. 1.6% of the population and 0.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 1.0% are under the age of 18 and 1.8% are 65 or older.