Washington DC Overview

Figures, data, facts about Washington DC

  • Federal District: District of Columbia
  • Population: 702,455 (estimated 2018)
  • Area: 177 km²
  • Population density: 4,436 / km² (2018)
  • Founding year: 1790
  • Altitude difference: 125 meters
  • Time zone: Eastern (UTC-5 / -4)
  • Area code: + 102
  • Mayor: Muriel Bowser (D)

District between Maryland and Virginia

America’s capital Washington DC is located on the east coast of the USA in the District of Columbia, between the borders of the states of Maryland and Virginia. Geographically, the seat of government is about 35 kilometers west of Chesapeake Bay at the confluence of the Anacostia River with the Potomac River on the left bank of the Potomac.

The capital of America originated on a land that was ceded by the states of Maryland and Virginia to create an area that eluded the individual states. Originally the district was 100 square miles in square shape, with each corner pointing in one of the four cardinal directions. However, the area that had originally been given up by the state of Virginia was returned to them in 1846, as the city grew more slowly than expected. Today the district only covers an area of ​​177 square kilometers.

Washington DC is divided into the four quadrants Northwest (NW), Southwest (SW), Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE). The boundaries of the quadrants meet at the Capitol. In addition, the city is divided into eight districts. Since the city was planned on the drawing board, it is quite clear. The streets in the seat of government are mostly straight and numbered, the large diagonal streets are called avenues.

The streets that run from east to west are sorted alphabetically, those that run from north to south are numbered.

Did you know, that…

… there are no skyscrapers in Washington DC? This peculiarity is due to the fact that no building may be taller than the width of the adjacent street. Only three buildings do not fall under this special regulation that bans skyscrapers because they already existed or were in the planning stage before the law came into force. This is an exception Washington Monument who have favourited National Cathedral and the tower of the Old Post Office.

Weather and Climate in Washington DC

The capital of the United States of America is located in the subtropical climate zone with continental influences, with the temperature averaging 14 degrees Celsius per year. It gets warmest in July with up to 31.4 degrees Celsius. The coldest month is January. Precipitation falls mainly in July and August. The months with the lowest rainfall are February and April. Most rainy days are in May. Frost can occur in December and January. Spring and autumn are considered the best travel times.

Population of Washington DC

The population of the capital of America with the official residence of the president is relatively mixed. Over half of the population are African American, around 40 percent of the population are white. Asians, Indians, Pacific islanders and Hawaiians are also represented to a lesser extent among the residents.

Among the religious communities in Washington DC, the Roman Catholic Church ranks first, followed by the American Baptist Churches USA, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Anglican Episcopal Church. Over 60,000 residents are followers of the Islamic faith, over 25,000 are followers of the Jewish faith.

The Democrats are ahead in politics

DC has the status of a federal district and is therefore subject to its own administration and is the seat of the political representatives of the United States of America. The official seat of the President of the USA is located here. The city is subject to the United States Congress, which also has the power to make decisions. The delegates from the Senate and House of Representatives meet in the Capitol.

Voters can only elect the president, but cannot send voting members. There are no representatives of the district, but there is a delegate who takes part in the committees of the members House of Representatives may participate, but has no voting rights. In contrast to the House of Representatives, the Senate does not have this symbolic representation by a delegate who is not entitled to vote. The citizens cannot vote for a senator.

All in all, Washington DC is clearly part of the democratic electorate. The Democrats can usually win over 80 to 90 percent of the vote.

The fact that the residents of Washington DC are allowed to vote for the president was not always the case. For this, an amendment to the constitution was first necessary. This amendment, which allows residents to vote in the election of the president, did not come into force until 1961. However, the addition also states that only as many electors as in the most populous state may be cast. Thus, the District of Columbia currently has three electors.

Many employees work for the state, institutions and foundations

Washington DC is well positioned economically. This is mainly due to its status as the administrative and political center of the USA. The tourism, finance, education, health and research sectors play an important role in the economy. Much of the workforce in Washington is employed by the state and by diplomatic institutions and private foundations.

The unemployment rate in 2019 was between 5.4 and 5.6 percent, the gross domestic product in 2018 was 140,279.90 US dollars. Despite this good economic position, Washington is known for its social problems and is also one of the most dangerous cities in the United States of America due to its high crime rate.

Washington DC’s infrastructure is well developed. There are three airports with the Baltimore / Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport / BWI, the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport / DCA and the Washington Dulles International Airport / IAD. Dulles is controlled from Germany, for example from Frankfurt and Munich.

Numerous Amtrak trains stop at Union Station in Washington and offer the option of transferring to other trains on the Amtrak lines. Washington Union Station, where the trains stop, is in the center of the city.

The best way to get around Washington DC itself is on foot. But if you want, you can too use the metro to get from A to B. In addition to the metro, buses, taxis or bicycles are other ways to explore the city without having to rely on your own rental car.

Washington DC Overview