Coat of Arms
Mayor Muriel Bowser
Washington DC, formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, “the District”, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast.
The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.
The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the preexisting settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.
Named in honor of George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington DC, had an estimated population of 658,893 in 2014, the 23rd-most populous city in the United States.
Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek.
The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.8 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court.
Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall.
The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations.
Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D.C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the U.S. Senate.
The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.
Washington has a growing, diversified economy with an increasing percentage of professional and business service jobs.
The gross product of the Washington Metropolitan Area was $425 billion in 2010, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
In 2012, the federal government accounted for about 29% of the jobs in Washington DC. This is thought to immunize Washington to national economic downturns because the federal government continues operations even during recessions.
Many organizations such as law firms, independent contractors (both defense and civilian), non-profit organizations, lobbying firms, trade unions, industry trade groups, and professional associations have their headquarters in or near D.C. to be close to the federal government.
Eastern Market on Capitol Hill houses food vendors and artisan stalls.
Tourism is Washington’s second largest industry. Approximately 18.9 million visitors contributed an estimated $4.8 billion to the local economy in 2012.
The District also hosts nearly 200 foreign embassies and international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization. I
n 2008, the foreign diplomatic corps in Washington employed about 10,000 people and contributed an estimated $400 million annually to the local economy.
The District has growing industries not directly related to government, especially in the areas of education, finance, public policy, and scientific research. Georgetown University, George Washington University, Washington Hospital Center, Children’s National Medical Center and Howard University are the top five non-government-related employers in the city as of 2009. According to statistics compiled in 2011, four of the largest 500 companies in the country were headquartered in the District.
The United States is ranked 12 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 1.55556
Top 5 Products exported by The United States
- Cars (4.4%),
- Refined Petroleum (4.2%),
- Planes, Helicopters, and/or Spacecraft(3.2%),
- Packaged Medicaments (3.1%),
- Gas Turbines (2.4%)
Top 5 Export destinations of The United States
Top 5 Products imported by The United States
- Cars (8.3%),
- Computers (5.4%),
- Crude Petroleum (5.3%),
- Packaged Medicaments (2.6%),
- Broadcasting Equipment (2.5%)
Top 5 Import origins of The United States
- China (22%),
- Mexico (14%),
- Canada (9.8%),
- Japan (7.8%),
It begins with the Mall. How cool is it to have a walkable strip of museums where you can see nuclear missiles, cursed diamonds and exquisite Asian ceramics in a peacock themed room – for free?
Further down the path the notes and photos people leave at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will break your heart, and the Lincoln Memorial just kills with its grandness and sweeping view. H St wins my affection for its pie-and-beer mix.
Thanks, James Smithson, you eccentric anti-monarchist Englishman. That $508,318 gift you willed to the USA back in 1826 to create a ‘diffusion of knowledge’ paid off big time.
There’s nothing quite like the Smithsonian Institution, a collection of 19 behemoths, artifact-stuffed museums, many lined up in a row along the Mall. The National Air and Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museum of American History, Museums of Asian Art – all here, all free, always.
Alongside the museums, Washington’s monuments bear tribute to both the beauty and the horror of years past.
They’re potent symbols of the American narrative, from the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial to the powerful Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the controversial Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.
Washington is the showcase of American arts, home to such prestigious venues as the National Theatre, the Kennedy Center and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre.
Jazz music has a storied history here. In the early 20th century, locals such as Duke Ellington climbed on stages along U St NW, where atmospheric clubs still operate.
- If you are sightseeing, chances are you are on the Mall. The National Mall is a unique National Park, filled with an intense concentration of monuments, memorials, museums, and monumental government buildings instantly recognizable to people all over the world. The White House, the US Capitol Building,
- the Washington Monument,
- the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial,
- the Vietnam War Memorial,
- the Korean War Veterans Memorial,
- the Jefferson Memorial,
- the National Gallery of Art,
- the National Air and Space Museum, the
- the National Natural History Museum, and
- the Holocaust Museum, are just a few of the top national attractions here, all within walking distance of each other. The tourist-designated sights are just half of the attraction, though—to walk down the National Mall is to thread the halls of world power in the modern era. Here powerful politicians and their staffs fill the grand neo-classical buildings of the three branches of US Government, making decisions that reverberate in the remotest corners of the world.