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The District of Columbia, DC, Washington and Washington, DC are all
interchangeable terms for the capital city and administrative district of
the United States of America.
It is between Maryland to the northeast and Virginia to the southwest and
interrupts their common border. The city contains the historic Federal City
and is that part that was originally designed as the National Capitol. It is
part of the United States of America but not part of any state. The
population, as of the 2000 census, is 572,059. It is in area (but not in
population) smaller than the smallest state. It is part of a large
metropolitan area together with Baltimore, the Baltimore-Washington
For non-federal and historical geographical information on the District of
Columbia, go to the District of Columbia (geography) page.
Washington is the home of numerous national landmarks, sports teams and is a
popular tourist destination. The Washington area is also known for its
public transportation system known as the Washington Metro or Metro.
Washington serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States.
Residents of the District vote for the President but do not have voting
representation in Congress. Citizens of Washington are represented in the
House of Representatives by a non-voting Delegate, who sits on committees
and participates in debate, but cannot vote. DC does not have representation
in the Senate. Citizens of Washington, DC are thus unique in the world, as
citizens of the capital city of every other country have the same
representation rights as their fellow citizens.
There have been efforts to attain voting representation for many years.
These efforts are endorsed by the current Mayor, Anthony Williams and by the
current Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton. As part of the effort, the words
"Taxation Without Representation" were added to DC license plates in the
1990s, and the words "No Taxation Without Representation" were added to the
DC flag in 2003. Advocates of statehood who supported these changes have
said that they are intended as a protest and to raise awareness in the rest
of the country. These measures in particular were chosen because the DC flag
is one of the few things under direct local control without requiring
approval from Congress.
On a local level, the city is run by an elected Mayor and City Council. The
school board has both elected and appointed members. Congress has the right
to review and overrule laws created locally, if both houses of Congress
DC residents pay all federal taxes, such as income tax, as well as local
taxes. The Mayor and Council adopt a budget of local money with Congress
reserving the right to make any changes.
The signing of the Residence Bill on July 16, 1790 established a site along
the Potomac River as the District of Columbia (seat of government) of the
United States. Land for the district was given to the federal government by
the states of Virginia and Maryland and the city was named after George
Washington. On February 27, 1801 the district was placed under the
jurisdiction of the United States Congress. The town of Georgetown already
existed at the time.
In the 1840s, the area south of the Potomac was returned to Virginia and now
is incorporated in Arlington County and a part of the City of Alexandria.
US President Herbert Hoover ordered the United States Army on July 28, 1932
to forcibly evict the "Bonus Army" of World War I who veterans gathered in
Washington, DC to secure promised veteran's benefits early. US troops
dispersed the last of the "Bonus Army" the next day.
The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on
March 29, 1961 which allows residents of Washington, DC to vote for
president. It limits the District to three electoral votes, regardless of
The first 4.6 miles of the Washington, DC subway system opened on March 27, 1976.
Mayor Walter Washington became the first elected Mayor of the District in 1974.
Mayor Marion Barry was arrested for drug use in an FBI sting on January 18,
1990. He was acquitted of felony charges, but convicted of the misdemeanor
of marijuana use.
On January 2, 1991 Sharon Pratt Kelly (elected as Sharon Pratt Dixon but
married later that year) was sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC becoming
the first black woman to lead a city of that size and importance in the USA.
The current Mayor, Anthony Williams, a Yale educated lawyer, became Mayor in
1998. He was reelected in 2002. See List of mayors of Washington, D.C.
Washington is located at 38¡54'49" North, 77¡0'48" West (38.913611, -77.013222)1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of
177.0 km² (68.3 mi²). 159.0 km² (61.4 mi²) of it is land
and 18.0 km² (6.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 10.16%
As of the census of 2000, there are 572,059 people, 248,338 households, and
114,235 families residing in the city. The population density is
3,597.3/km² (9,316.4/mi²). There are 274,845 housing units at an
average density of 1,728.3/km² (4,476.1/mi²). The racial makeup of
the city is 30.78% White, 60.01% African American, 0.30% Native American,
2.66% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.84% from other races, and 2.35% from
two or more races. 7.86% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 248,338 households out of which 19.8% have children under the age
of 18 living with them, 22.8% are married couples living together, 18.9%
have a female householder with no husband present, and 54.0% are
non-families. 43.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.0%
have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average
household size is 2.16 and the average family size is 3.07.
In the city the population is spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18,
12.7% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who
are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100
females there are 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there
are 86.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $40,127, and the median
income for a family is $46,283. Males have a median income of $40,513 versus
$36,361 for females. The per capita income for the city is $28,659. 20.2% of
the population and 16.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the
total people living in poverty, 31.1% are under the age of 18 and 16.4% are
65 or older.
Colleges and Universities
* American University
* The Catholic University of America
* Corcoran College of Art and Design
* Gallaudet University
* George Washington University
o George Washington University Mount Vernon Campus
* Georgetown University
* Howard University
* National Defense University
* Southeastern University
* Strayer College
* Trinity College
* University of the District of Columbia
Professional Sports Teams
* D. C. United, Major League Soccer
* Washington Capitals, National Hockey League
* Washington Freedom, Women's United Soccer Association
* Washington Mystics, Women's National Basketball Association
* Washington Wizards, National Basketball Association
The Washington Redskins (National Football League) do not play in the
District of Columbia. They are based in Landover, Maryland. The closest
major league baseball team to Washington D.C. is the Baltimore Orioles of
Sites of Interest
Washington is the home of numerous national landmarks and is a popular
tourist destination. Landmarks include:
* Blair House
* Jefferson Memorial
* Korean War Veterans Memorial
* Library of Congress
* Lincoln Memorial
* National Mall
* National Gallery of Art
* Smithsonian Institution
* United States Capitol
* Vietnam Veterans Memorial
* Washington Monument
* White House (President's Park)
* Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) between Dulles, Virginia,
Herndon, Virginia, and Chantilly, Virginia
* Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia
* Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) near Baltimore,