What to Know About Living in DC

Planning a big move? Maybe you’re thinking about making a home for yourself in the heart of our nation’s capital. If so, keep in mind that the District of Columbia isn’t quite like other US cities. In some ways, it’s a whole other world entirely. Consider the following before you start falling in love with any Washington, DC houses for sale.

It’s Not a State

Most people are aware of the fact that Washington, DC, isn’t a state, but a few seem aware of what that actually means. For many years, DC residents have campaigned to get the district recognized as the 51st state because, believe it or not, locals living in the nation’s capital have fewer rights than those in the rest of the country.

Although DC is treated similarly to a state in presidential elections, the district does not have a voting delegate in Congress, nor representation in the Senate. This results in them having less say in issues that affect the entire country, despite DC natives having the highest per capita income tax rate anywhere.

Taxes Are Different

Speaking of taxes, it’s worth noting that DC taxes work differently than those in other parts of the country. For example, the sale taxes in the city is 5.75%, but certain purchases are taxed extra. Alcohol sales and restaurant meals are taxed at 10%, hotels are taxed at 14.95%, and parking garages and commercial lots are taxed at 18%.

Not only are the taxes in DC confusing and hard to keep track of, they’re also significantly higher than those in many other US regions, contributing to an overall more expensive cost of living.

Median Income is High

Of course, not everything about life in the district is negative. As high as the taxes and cost of living are, DC balances things out by having a higher median income than the national average, currently estimated at around $85,000 per household.

DC also has one of the strongest local economies anywhere in the US, with a surprisingly diverse job market. Outsiders might assume that the vast majority of district residents are employed by the federal government, the truth is that the DC offers workers of all stripes a place to call home, with the fastest growing industries including tech, healthcare, sales, and security.

The Traffic Sucks

Okay, one last complaint, for the road. Literally. Simply put, DC has a major traffic problem. If you’re planning to move to the area, expect long waits and frequent traffic jams when traveling in the city. This true not just during rush hour, but even in the off-hours as well. Add to that the aforementioned higher-than-usual taxes on public parking, and it’s clear that DC isn’t the most friendly to automobile owners.

Fortunately, the district makes up for this by providing exceptional public transportations, especially via the Metro rail system. Fast, convenient, safe, and clean, the DC Metro is most commuters’ best bet when trying to get where they want to go quickly and efficiently.

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