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Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States and the seat of the federal government. D.C. stands for District of Columbia, and sometimes the city is referred to simply as the District.
It was founded in 1790 and these days has an estimated population of more than 700,000 people.
Bordered by Maryland on the northeast, northwest, and southwest sides and by Virginia to the southeast, the district covers 68.34 square miles.
The Washington Metropolitan Area has more than 6 million inhabitants and is the sixth-largest in the country.
The city was named after George Washington and is situated along the Potomac River. The elevation increases slowly towards rolling land to the south and low hills to the north.
Transit infrastructure is well developed and 37% of commuters in the area use public transport, which is the second-highest figure in the nation. Three airports ensure that the city is well connected with the world.
With a four-season climate, the area receives 39 inches of rain and 15.4 inches of snow annually.
There is plenty of high quality real estate available for the politicians, diplomats and business people who live here. The District is also home to middle- and low-income residents and steps are being taken to construct more affordable housing. Read more
State: District of Columbia
Nickname(s): "The District"
Population: 702,445 (2018 estimated)
Land: 61.05 sq. miles
Urban: 68.34 sq. miles
Metro: 5,564.6 sq. miles
Change can happen quickly in the District, and it generally has quite a fast-paced lifestyle. Washington D.C. is proud of its position at the center of political life, and many of the restaurants, bars and shops are themed to reflect this fact. Diversity in the city’s people, religions, cultures, and languages adds to a mix that makes this place unique. Residents and tourists alike are treated to authentic cuisine of many different kinds, served both in upscale restaurants and from food trucks.
Cars are not always necessary as the public transportation system is excellent, and includes the Metro, the third-busiest rapid transit system in the U.S. Walking to work or for recreation is increasingly popular here, and Washington D.C. is considered to be a walker’s and biker’s paradise. Fine buildings such as the Library of Congress, Capitol Building and Washington Union Station lend the city considerable grandeur.
The nation’s capital has an unparalleled variety of attractions. Over 20 museums—many run by the Smithsonian Institution, which doesn’t charge an entrance fee—showcase history, nature, art, inventions, and technology. These include the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum, and there are several art galleries as well. There are many theaters here and for music lovers there are the Washington National Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra.
For those who prefer the outdoors there are 14 parks around the district. The National Mall receives about 24 million visitors annually. Other popular spots include the Smithsonian Zoo, with 300 species of animal, and the National Bonsai Museum. Sport is big in Washington, with teams competing in all the four major league sports. These are the Nationals, the Wizards, the Capitals, and the Redskins, who play baseball, basketball, ice hockey and American football respectively.
Washington D.C. has 131 recognized neighborhoods. The city can also be divided into eight wards or into four (very unequal) quadrants. Below you will find some of the well-known neighborhoods in the District.
National retail stores, high-end shopping, fine dining, and museums fill this area in the northeast quadrant of the city, and there are many businesses located here also. In recent years the population has doubled, but the numbers are still not so large due to the building-height restrictions in operation. A number of parks give residents somewhere to relax.
One of the smallest Chinatowns in the country with only about 300 Chinese American residents—down from 3,000 in 1970—his area was impacted by the 1968 riots. But revitalization created new opportunities for business, and the area now has trendy restaurants, locally owned shops and the Capital One Arena, host to professional sports, concerts, live theater, and special events.
Known for the House and Senate, the Capitol, the Supreme Court buildings, galleries, museums, and historic sites, Capitol Hill is also a favorite residential neighborhood with some classic 19th century rowhouses. It is in fact the city’s largest historic residential neighborhood.
This neighborhood has been named the most walkable and bike-friendly in Washington D.C., and is full of culture and authentic ethnic restaurants. It has historical roots, and distinguished mansions can still be seen along Massachusetts Avenue, but in recent decades it has become better known for its bohemian atmosphere.
In early 2019 there was a lack of affordable and mid-level housing, but no shortage for those that could afford the average $532 per square foot. As of November 30, 2018, it was reckoned that the average house was listed on the market for roughly a couple of months before selling. Neighborhoods considered hot for investors at this time included Marshall Heights in the southeast, Petworth in the northwest, and Woodbridge in the northeast.
Although some forecasters predict the housing market will cool down, other sources reckon that prices will continue to rise. The economy in the nation’s capital continues to support increases in rentals and home sales. Housing market trends in the district are considered very competitive with typically two offers on a home before it is sold at quite near the asking price.
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Property sales figures source: the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, January 2019.
In the school year 2017-2018, D.C.’s public schools had 48,439 students in 115 schools. Religious-affiliated schools include the 93 Catholic schools providing kindergarten through 8th grade. Poverty is considered to be an ongoing issue, with more than three-quarters of all children in the public school system considered economically disadvantaged. All students in the district receive a free breakfast.
Washington D.C. consistently has one of the highest rates of advanced education in the country. Over 20 colleges and universities provide higher education in area. The Jesuit-run Georgetown University is the oldest in town, George Washington University is the largest in terms of enrollment, and Johns Hopkins University—which has its School of Advanced International Studies branch in D.C.—is one of the best regarded.
The federal government is the largest single employer, accounting for 25% of the workforce at the end of 2017. Local government also employs large numbers. The city is regularly at the very top of the ranking of U.S. states by GDP per capita. Because of the government, government-related, and government contract employers, the job market is consistently active and relatively immune to economic downturns.
The unemployment rate here was a high 5.9% in the middle of 2018, but it appears that this fell quite considerably during the latter part of that year. Median household income was $82,372 in 2017. All things considered, Washington DC’s economy is still reckoned to be one of the strongest in the nation. Fifteen Fortune 500 companies currently call the District home.