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The District of Columbia is both the capital city and administrative district of the United States of America. While Washington and District of Columbia or DC are often used interchangably, the city of Washington contains the historic Federal City and is that part that was originally designed as the National Capitol. DC, as it is often called, is part of the United States of America but not part of any state. The population of the District of Columbia, as of the 2000 census, is 572,059.
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.
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 reject them.
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.
History It was named after the first president, George Washington. The land for Washington, DC was given to the federal government by the states of Virginia and Maryland. The site of the Federal District was selected in 1791 and on February 27, 1801 it was placed under the jurisdiction of the United States Congress. The town of Georgetown already existed at the time.
The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on March 29, 1961 which allows residents of Washington, DC to vote for presidential. It limits the District to three electoral votes, regardless of its population.
Mayor Walter Washington became the first elected Mayor of the District in 1974.
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.
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% water.
Demographics 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.
Sites of Interest Washington is the home of numerous national landmarks and is a popular tourist destination. Landmarks include: