About Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States.

The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.


Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.

Universities in the DC area

WASHINGTON — Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Georgetown University in D.C. and the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, remain the top three universities in the wider D.C. area, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

The 2018 list from U.S. News ranks more than 200 universities around the country based on academic performance — including freshman retention rates and six-year graduation rates — as well as faculty and financial resources. All told, 13 D.C.-area universities were nationally ranked, with three of the them falling in the top 30 schools nationally.

Johns Hopkins, which ranked No. 11 nationally, was also cited as a “best-value,” school by U.S. News. In 2016, 45 percent of students received need-based grants. The average cost of attendance after those grants were factored in was $30,067 — a 56 percent discount from the total cost without grants.

The University of Virginia, ranked No. 25 nationally, was also No. 3 in the country specifically among public universities.
Among the top-performing local schools, Howard University jumped 14 spots on the list, from 124 to 110 — ahead of the Catholic University of America, George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Area universities ranked nationally:

No. 11. Johns Hopkins University (Md.)
No. 20. Georgetown University (D.C.)
No. 25 University of Virginia
No. 32 College of William and Mary (Va.)
No. 56 George Washington University (D.C.)
No. 61. University of Maryland — College Park
No. 69. American University (D.C.)
No. 69. Virginia Tech
No. 110. Howard University (D.C.)
No. 120. Catholic University of America (D.C.)
No. 140. George Mason University (Va)
No. 159. University of Maryland — Baltimore County
No. 171. Virginia Commonwealth University

The rankings also include a breakdown of the best liberal arts colleges nationwide. See a list of the area liberal colleges that were nationally ranked follow:

Area liberal arts colleges ranked nationally:

10. Washington and Lee University (Va.)
21. United States Naval Academy (Md.)
53. St. John’s College (Md.)
65. Virginia Military Institute
96. Hampden-Sydney College (Va.)
96. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
96. Washington College (Md.)
112. Goucher College (Md.)
112. Hollins University (Va.)
126. Randolph-Macon College (Va.)
134. McDaniel College (Md.)
138. Randolph College (Va.)
138. Roanoke College (Va.)
168. Emory and Henry College (Va.)