Washington, D.C., also known simply as D.C. or the District, is the capital of the United States. Washington, D.C. is a federal district under the jurisdiction of Congress, and thus is not a part of any state in the United States. The District was formed from land donated by Virginia and Maryland and named in honor of George Washington. If Washington, DC were a state, it would be the 49th most populous ahead of Wyoming and Vermont.
This district is a particularly small area, encompassing only 68 square miles of land and water. Only 61 square miles of land are available, and yet, this tiny area has the title of the highest density of population in the nation.
It has a population density of 11,535 people per square mile. During the work week, however, the population swells to more than one million as commuters come from Virginia and Maryland. The Washington metropolitan area has a population estimated at over 6 million, which makes it the 7th largest metro area in the United States. If the District is included with Baltimore and the suburbs, the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area has a population of more than 9 million, which makes it the 4th largest CSA in the country.
The median age in Washington, DC is 33.8 years, with a slight gender gap of 52.5% female, and 47.5% male spread across the state.
There are many religions represented in Washington, DC, including Baptist (17%), Catholic (13%), Evangelical Protestant (6%), Methodist (4%), Episcopalian (3%), Jewish (2%), Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal, Buddhist, Adventist, Lutheran, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Hindu and Presbyterian.
The District of Columbia was formed in 1791 from territory ceded by Maryland and Virginia, but remained in some respects under their jurisdiction until the National government moved there in 1800. The District included the existing small cities of Georgetown and Alexandria as well as the site chosen for the Nation's new capital, Washington. In 1846 the portion south of the Potomac River, including Alexandria, was retroceded to Virginia.
In 1800 the census reported the District as part of Maryland and Virginia. All populations shown in the table exclude the portion returned to Virginia in 1846.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of District of Columbia was:
Washington DC had very slow growth initially, with a population of only 100,000 after its first 70 years. This number more than doubled to 250,000 by the time the Civil War had ended and has grown steadily ever since.
The District's population has made more than a 7.5% increase since the 2010 Census, continuing a trend of growth set since 2000 after 50 years of decline. In 2010, Washington, DC was the 24th most populous city. The Washington, DC area currently ranks 5th among metro areas in the US for population growth.
According to officials, the growth is due to people migrating to the area from other parts of the US. Growth is expected to continue into the future, with projections showing that the population may exceed 718,000 by 2030.
Washington D.C. has had a large African American population since its founding in 1791. Between 1800 and 1940, African Americans made up 30% of the population, reaching a peak of 70% in the 1970s before declining as more African Americans moved to the suburbs. Between 2000 and 2010, there was a 31% jump in the non-Hispanic white population and an 11.5% decline in the black population.
Approximately 1 in 7 Washingtonians are immigrants, many of whom come from El Salvador, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Due to the large number of immigrants who are not fluent in English, about 35% of District residents are considered functionally illiterate.
The largest Hispanic groups in Washington DC is Salvadoran, which have mostly settled in the Mount Pleasant area. It is estimated that there are over 18,000 Salvadorans living in Washtington D.C., with an estimated Hispanic population that totals over 45,000.
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 87.47%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 80.31%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
82.69% of District of Columbia residents speak only English, while 17.31% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 9.05% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in District of Columbia is Native, with 31.54% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in District of Columbia is White, with 5.18% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 1.35%. Among those working part-time, it was 20.07%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 35.86%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in District of Columbia
90.69% of District of Columbia residents were born in the United States, with 37.79% having been born in District of Columbia. 7.55% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.