Who Live in the District of Columbia?

We’re proud to live in the Nation’s Capital, but the truth is that most of us lead everyday lives quite separate and apart from the monuments, the government agencies, the embassies and the museums that constitute official Washington.  We are everyday Americans.

When our country’s founders chose a location in 1790 for the new capital city, there weren’t many people living here.  That has changed and today there are over 700,000 residents of Washington DC -- more than the states of Vermont and Wyoming. 

We’re a diverse group, too:  48% of us are African American, 44% White, 4% Asian and 11% are of Hispanic origins.  Just about every ethnic group you can imagine is represented in our cultural “melting pot”.

We Work for a Living

Most District residents (69%) work in the private sector, not in government.

The vast majority of these work in various professional, scientific, or technical services. 

Residents are also plumbers, painters, carpenters, electricians, and other skilled workers. Our offices get cleaned, our trash picked up, and our children taken care of by many hard-working men and women.

A sizeable minority work for trade, professional and other associations. The good works of these non-profit associations extend way beyond the Beltway.


(Photo by Flickr user U.S. Army RDECOM, used under a Creative Commons license)

(Photo by Flickr user U.S. Army RDECOM, used under a Creative Commons license)

We Educate Our Children and Ourselves

Primary and Secondary Education. 123 public schools including 52 public charter schools and 92 private schools teach our children.

Colleges & Universities. 7 private universities and our own public university, the University of the District of Columbia, provide post-secondary education.

Libraries. The DC Public Library System includes one main library and 24 neighborhood branch libraries throughout the city.

 We Defend our Country

Active military. Almost 10,000 men and women serve in Active Duty Military. DC has more active military serving in the US forces today than 28 states in the Union.

The DC National Guard. Approximately 2,700 serve in the Army and Air  DC Nation Guard.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News / Getty Images
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News / Getty Images

We Worship

Virtually every denomination and faith tradition is represented here in hundreds of places of worship throughout the city.

We’re home to some of the oldest, largest and most beautiful churches, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Washington National Cathedral.


We Take Care of Our Communities

Civic Government & Associations. DC Citizens serve as elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners in 299 single member districts. Civic associations organize local residents in efforts to improve our neighborhoods and build our community.

Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts. DC has a long history of boy and girl scouting that continues today, serving youth across the city.

Gardens. Over 20 public community gardens and numerous neighborhood garden clubs work to beautify our residences and public spaces. 

We Play

Recreation. Over 900 acres of athletic fields and playgrounds for DC residents to get out and play, including 40 swimming pools and 73 recreation centers

Sports Teams. Major professional sports teams plus a variety of Little League teams are available.

Clubs. Book clubs, hiking clubs, singing clubs, golfing clubs – we have clubs enough to serve just about any interest or hobby you can imagine.

Dog Parks. 12 dog parks provide for the good health and enjoyment of our furry friends.

Year Round. DC residents celebrate the seasons with spring house and garden tours, summer outdoor music events, fall Oktober Fests, and winter Christmas caroling.

 Many of Us Are Long-Time Residents

Young people are flocking to DC in record numbers (our population has grown by 100,000 in the past 10 years).

At the same time, nearly 40% of DC residents were born in the District.

  • Many families date their connection to our city to the Civil War and earlier.
  • The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of Washington, DC, founded in 1865, is still very active.

Just like you, we raise our families, pay our taxes, serve on juries, fight for our country, and work together to create strong caring communities.  Just like you, we deserve the rights and representation enjoyed by Americans who live in the 50 states.


The DC Statehood Toolkit is designed for citizens across the country to learn more about the District of Columbia and why DC Statehood matters to the residents of our nation’s capital. 

The Toolkit is a joint project of the League of Women Voters Education Fund and The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia thanks to a generous grant from the government of the District of Columbia.