Nicknames for Washington, D.C. range from the Nation’s Capital, American Rome, Capital of the World to simply DC.
Research website numbeo ranks Washington, D.C. in the top third compared to the 250 cities evaluated on its overall quality of life index at June 2020. Washington, D.C. scored well on index factors such as purchasing power (strongest 10%), property price to income ratio (lowest 20%), health care (best 33%) and pollution (cleanest 35%). However, Washington, D.C. rates relatively poorly on cost of living (highest 7%), safety (bottom 17%), traffic commute time (slowest 26%).
Washington, D.C. was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the location for the United States Library of Congress which holds the world’s biggest collection of maps. The map collection boasts 5.5 million catalogued items, including a 1507 map which was the first to show America as a separate continent. The mega-library paid US$10 million for the map in 2001, thus recording the costliest map ever.
Other Guinness World Records relate to D.C. museums. These include the world’s biggest set of philatelic and postal history memorabilia with over 13.2 million items such as stamps and greeting cards at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum. Washington, D.C. is home to the largest espionage museum–International Spy Museum–storing a collection of espionage-related items encompassing 9,281 catalogued pieces.
Washington’s most-visited museum is its Natural Museum of Natural History found in the National Mall. Similarly, its National Air and Space Museum is one of the world’s most-visited museums.
Yet another Guinness World Record was set by the Washington Monument, which measures 555 feet (169 meters) high and is the world’s tallest stone pillar monument (technically called an obelisk). The Washington Monument was finished in 1884 to honor America’s first president George Washington.
The U.S. federal government accounts for roughly 30% of all jobs in Washington, D.C. The district is also home to almost 200 foreign embassies and global organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Industrial and medical conglomerate Danaher is the largest private business headquartered in America’s capital.
From an international trade perspective, the District of Columbia exported US$3.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Its most valuable exports include parts of airplanes and helicopters (16.5% of District of Columbia’s global total), electrical machinery parts (14.8%), larger helicopters (13.9%), radar apparatus (11.9%), weaponry including bombs, mines and missiles (10.3%), miscellaneous military equipment (6.9%), rocket or grenade launchers and flamethrowers (4.5%), larger airplanes (3.8%), handmade paintings and drawings (3.5%), and armored fighting vehicles (3%) according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the District of Columbia was 8.4% in July 2020, up from 5.4% one year earlier.
Capital Facts for Washington, D.C.: Quick Reference
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Washington D.C.
- Goldie Hawn, actress & producer (born Nov. 21, 1945)
- Dave Chappelle, comedian (born Aug. 24, 1973)
- Samuel L. Jackson, actor & producer (born Dec. 21, 1948)
- Al Gore, environmentalist & former U.S. Vice-President (born Mar. 31, 1948)
- Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive (born Aug. 28, 1969)
- Marvin Gaye, singer-songwriter & producer (born Apr. 2, 1939)
- Patch Adams, physician & comedian (born May. 28, 1945)
- Pete Sampras, tennis great (born Oct. 12, 1971)
- Kevin Durant, basketball player (born Sep. 29, 1988)
- Winky Wright, boxer (born Nov. 26, 1971)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches of published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Washington, D.C. resident: Washingtonian
Population: 720,687 (Washington, D.C.) at August 22, 2020
Density: 11,805 people per square mile (4,558 per square kilometer)
Population: 331,286,740 (United States) at August 22, 2020
Density: 94 people per square mile (36 per square kilometer)
Real GDP: US$125.94 billion in 2019 (District of Columbia)
Real GDP per person: $178,442
Note: The above GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in chained 2012 U.S. dollars.
Official currency used in Washington, D.C.: U.S. dollars
Capital landmarks: White House, Washington monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Smithsonian museum and research complex
Brookings Institution, Export Monitor 2016: Large metro areas expand exports amid national decline.
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, North America: United States.
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Real Total Gross Domestic Product for the District of Columbia.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Unemployment Rate in the District of Columbia.
Guinness World Records, Largest collection of maps.
Guinness World Records, Largest espionage museum.
Guinness World Records, Largest collection of postal history memorabilia (museum).
Guinness World Records, Tallest obelisk.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, Washington, DC.
Tampa Bay Business Journal, See where Tampa Bay ranks among the largest metros for exports.
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade: State by 6-Digit HS Code and Top Countries.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.
Wikipedia, Capital Districts and Territories.
Wikipedia, United States.
Wikipedia, Washington, D.C..
Wikipedia, Washington metropolitan area.
WorldOMeter, United States Population.
World Population Review, Washington District of Columbia Population.
United States won its independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Americans celebrate Independence Day as a public holiday each July 4.
Washington, D.C. covers a land area measuring 61.05 square miles (158.1 square kilometers) in which 720,687 people live.
At the country level, America’s land area covers 3,531,837 square miles (9,147,420 square kilometers). The nation’s population count was 331.3 million inhabitants as of August 22, 2020.
Population density is more concentrated within Washington, D.C. averaging 11,805 Washingtonians per square mile (4,558 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to U.S. national land boundaries, population density drops to an average 94 residents per square mile (36 per square kilometer).