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Washington, DC Quick Facts for Kids

If you’re writing a report about Washington, DC, you’ll want to take note of these facts.

  • PRINT

Where is Washington, DC?

Washington, DC is located in the mid-Atlantic region, about 90 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, south of Maryland, north of Virginia and 233 miles south of New York City. The city is separated from Virginia to the south by the Potomac River.

What is Washington, DC’s elevation?

At its highest elevation near the National Cathedral, it rises 390 feet. Its lowest elevation is sea level, on the banks of the Potomac River.

How big is Washington, DC?

Washington, DC covers 68 square miles. It was built on land that was originally part of Maryland and Virginia. The city is divided into four quadrants, or sections: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast. The U.S. Capitol building marks the center of the city and is where the four quadrants meet.

What is its population?

Washington, DC is home to 646,449 people (as of the 2013 census). There are seven counties in Maryland, and five Virginia counties and five Virginia cities that are considered part of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, which has about 5.4 million residents.

When was Washington, DC founded?

The city was founded in 1791. Georgetown, which is one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods, was founded before Washington, DC, in 1751. It was incorporated as part of the city of Washington, DC in 1791. Before Washington, DC became the capital of the United States, other cities that served as capital include New York City, Philadelphia and Annapolis.

Who is Washington, DC named after?

Washington takes its name from our first president, George Washington. The "Columbia" in "District of Columbia" stands for Christopher Columbus.

Is Washington, DC a city or a state?

Washington, DC is not a city or state, nor is it part of any other state. It is a unique "federal district," created specifically to be the seat of government.

What is the climate?

Like other cities and states in the mid-Atlantic, Washington, DC has a fairly mild climate with all four seasons. Spring, early summer and fall are the most comfortable seasons, although winters are often mild, with more rain than snow. Summers are often very hot.

What are the main industries in Washington, DC?

The federal government is the largest industry. After government, tourism is a very important industry. Other important industries include trade associations, research, education, medicine, government-related research, publishing and international finance. The Washington, DC metropolitan area is home to the world headquarters for such large corporations as Marriott, Amtrak, Gannett News, Exxon Mobil, XM radio and the International Monetary Fund.

So how is a "district" different from a state?

Just like people who live in states, DC residents pay federal and local taxes, but they do not have a voting representative in Congress. DC residents do have representation, but the representative cannot vote and can only sit on committees. When there’s a presidential election, the Electoral College gives Washington, DC the same number of votes as the smallest state, even if it has a larger population. Unlike the states, when DC receives federal funding, it also gets special orders on how to spend the money. The President of the United States appoints Washington, DC’s local judges. In states, judges are appointed by state officials. Before 1974, Congress appointed the people who would govern Washington, DC. Now there is an elected mayor and 13-member city council. Even though the mayor and city council govern the city, Congress still reviews and sometimes changes DC’s laws and budget. No states have their laws and budget reviewed by Congress.

Why doesn’t Washington, DC have a vote in Congress?

When Washington, DC was founded, it was designed to be the seat of the federal government, not a real city where people lived. Even though the city is home to more than 500,000 people today, they are still not represented with a vote in Congress. Washington, DC has had a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives since 1971, and the delegate was given the right to vote on the floor when the House meets as a Committee of the Whole to take its first actions on bills in 1993.

What are Washington, DC's professional sports teams?

The District’s football team, the Washington Redskins, is a past Super Bowl champion, while its hockey team, the Washington Capitals, is always in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. Washington, DC’s men’s soccer team, DC United, has claimed a few MLS soccer championships. The NBA’s Washington Wizards and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics are also fun to watch. And the District's baseball team, the Washington Nationals, play America's favorite pastime.

What are the people who live in Washington, DC called?

Washingtonians

What are DC’s official symbols?

Flower: American Beauty Rose
Bird: Wood Thrush
Tree: Scarlet Oak
Motto: “Justitia Omnibus,” which is Latin for “Justice for All”
Song: “Washington,” written by Jimmie Dodd, a former Mouseketeer, in 1951
Seal: DC’s official seal has a picture of a woman, who represents Justice, hanging a wreath on a statue of George Washington

Who is the mayor of Washington, DC?

Vincent C. Gray