Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States of America. "D.C." stands for the "District of Columbia", the federal district containing the city of Washington. The city is named after George Washington, military leader of the American Revolution and the first President of the United States. The District of Columbia and the city of Washington are coextensive and are governed by a single municipal government, so for most practical purposes they are considered to be the same entity. It is commonly known as the District, D.C., or simply Washington. Historically, it was called the Federal City or Washington City.
The District of Columbia, founded on July 16, 1790, is a federal district as specified by the United States Constitution with limited—and sometimes contentious—local rule. The District is ruled "in all cases whatsoever" by the U.S. Congress, though its residents have no voting representative in that body. The land forming the original District came from the states of Virginia and Maryland. However, the area south of the Potomac River (39 mi² or about 100 km²) was returned, or "retroceded", to Virginia in 1847 and now is incorporated into Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. The term "District of Columbia" is derived from an old poetic name for the United States, Columbia, which has fallen out of common use since the early 20th century.
The centers of all three branches of the U.S. federal government are in Washington, D.C., as well as the headquarters of most federal agencies. Washington also serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States, among other international (and national) institutions. All of this has made Washington the frequent focal point of massive political demonstrations and protests, particularly on the National Mall. Washington is also the site of numerous national landmarks, museums, and sports teams, and is a popular destination for tourists.
The population of the District of Columbia, as of 2003 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, is 563,384. The Greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area includes the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, with a population surpassing 4.7 million. If Washington, D.C. were considered a state, it would rank last in area behind Rhode Island, 50th in population ahead of Wyoming, and 36th in Gross State Product, ahead of 15 states, and its GSP per capita would be #1 by far compared to other states. It would also be the only state with an African-American majority.
The per capita personal income in 2002 was $42,120.
The 2003 homeownership rate was 43%. In 2003, over 9,000 homes were sold in Washington, DC through MRIS®.
In 2002, the top occupations were government, professional specialty, administrative support and executive and managerial occupations. The top industries were retail trade, educational services and finance, insurance and real estate.
As the nation's capital, there are hundreds of popular monuments and museums to visit. Some of the most popular attractions include the Smithsonian, the White House, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and the Washington Monument.