Washington, D.C. is one of the most interesting, unique, and complex areas in the United States. This small area of sixty eight square miles holds some of both the wealthiest and poorest in the nation. As well as being the holder of this large contrast in wealth, D.C. also is the locale of the headquarters of the federal government of the United States. The fact that this vast amount of chaos and contrast all occurs within one, small area is astonishing to me.
The wealthiest and poorest areas of Washington, D.C. are Spring Valley and Washington Highlands. In Spring Valley, the annual household mean income is $354,727, earning the neighborhood the ranking of 126 in the wealthiest neighborhoods of America. Spring Valley lies in the northwest region of Washington, D.C., and is known for its large homes and tree-lined streets and more recently for being a military superfund site of former Camp Leach, housing most of the main campus of American University.
Washington Highlands is the poorest section of Washington, D.C. Lying in the southeast region, Washington Highlands is among the most violent neighborhoods in the District of Columbia. Approximately one-third of the city’s 181 homicides in 2007 occurred there. The neighborhood became the focus of media attention in January 2008, when city officials discovered that Washington Highlands resident Banita Jacks had been living for months in her rowhouse with the bodies of her four murdered children in advanced states of decomposition upstairs. The annual median household income is $28,885, and just over 81 percent of residents in Washington Highlands are renters, and 18.7 percent are home owners. Most of the neighborhood consists of low-income and public housing apartment complexes, including the 204-unit Highland Dwellings public housing complex.
Washington D.C. is also home to Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President of the United States; or the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.
The United States Congress, or the legislative branch, makes the laws, and that makes Congress the heart of America’s representative democracy—the place where the democratic representation actually happens, where lawmakers elected directly by the people meet to make laws to (hopefully) serve the public interest. The Supreme Court of the United States, or the judicial branch, has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and over state court cases involving issues of federal law, plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. And lastly, the executive branch is responsible for implementing the laws that are created by the legislative branch, the Senate and House of Representatives. The head of the executive branch is the President of the United States. His role includes acting as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Areas of Wealth in Washington, D.C. by Zach is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.