17 Reasons Not to Move to Washington D.C.

Perhaps you are looking into moving to Washington D.C. sometime in your life, but you don’t know if it is a fit for you. Maybe you like the weather but you don’t know if you want to pay for gas? Well, there are several good reasons for you to not move there and here are 17 of them!

1. Hot Summers

If you grew up in Arizona or Florida, D.C. weather won’t be such an adjustment. On the other hand, if you are from colder states such as Idaho or Minnesota, it may be a challenge to adjust to the humid heat and hot sun in Washington D.C. summers.

For the month of June 2022, the average temperature is 72 degrees. The high is 85 and the low is 67. It sounds like great weather for swimming, but that’s about it. You’ll be needing air conditioning pretty often in your home or as you are outdoors.

The humidity levels in Washington D.C. during the summer are around 60% and thunderstorms visit the city often.

During the winter months, it gets colder. It snows and rains throughout the months of November to April. The coldest month is January. It does not get as cold as in Idaho and Minnesota. Instead, the temperatures stay around the 40’s in D.C.

2. Bugs and Allergies

By the way, if you love the heat and humidity in Washington D.C., you are not alone! The bugs and allergens love it too!

Have you ever heard of cicadas? When I visited Washington D.C. in 2014, I remember hearing a high-pitched rattling noise coming from the trees. I soon learned that the noise was coming from cicada bugs. Cicadas don’t do any harm, but they look disgusting!

My sister, her husband, and two children lived in D.C. for 3 months during the summer for a work opportunity. They said there were generally a lot of bugs. There were always lots of bugs in the yard.

The famous bug in Washington D.C. is the cockroach! There are 3 different kinds of cockroaches there: the Oriental cockroach, American cockroach, and German cockroaches. They love hanging around dark and moist places such as sewer pipes and basements.

One positive point about the bugs I will say is that there were fireflies. The fireflies didn’t bother me because they were cool and beautiful. Besides those, the rest of the bugs were gross!

If you get allergies to pollen, Washington D.C. is not a good place to be. My sister’s husband has really bad allergies in Washington D.C. because of the pollen. It is the worst during spring and fall.

Others may get allergies due to the air quality.

3. Protests

Being the hub of politics, government officials, and the capital of the U.S., there are a lot of protests in D.C. Groups of people will gather around the capital building, Washington Monument, and more with their signs protesting against or for something.

Recently a man climbed the Douglass Bridge and released colored powder. He stayed up there for 24 hours and then the police got a hold of him and took him into custody.

The commonality of protests in the area increases traffic jams and crime in the area. It can feel unsafe. It can be difficult to express one’s own opinion without starting a fight.

4. Poverty

Government and political leaders have been working to lower the poverty rates for years, and luckily the numbers in the United States are significantly low compared to many other countries throughout the world. The national average poverty level is 12.7% and Washington D.C. is at 18.6%.

It can be difficult for those in poverty to get out of poverty in Washington D.C. It is an expensive place to live and a lot of educated people move there to get a job.

5. No Political Representatives

Washington D.C. is not its own state, it is a district. The citizens get treated differently there than in other states. D.C. has no senators nor a governor. The representatives have no vote in the house. It has no governor or senators, and its representative has no vote in the House.

People who live in Washington D.C. can vote for president but are not allowed to vote in all federal elections. It is more often referred to as a city than anything else.

6. High Stress

You already know that Washington D.C. is a busy city. With most people there for work, they are all in a hurry. The amount of people and cars driving each morning and night makes it crowded and slow. Everyone gets grumpy about their time getting wasted.

If the people aren’t working then they are likely going to school. My brother-in-law moved there because of an internship. The students are busy trying to get their school work done, having a social life, and trying to make or save money.

The protests, traffic, politics, and more bring an atmosphere of stress to the city. If you do not cope well with stress then it will be difficult for you to live in Washington D.C.

7. Housing Prices

In order to live comfortably, you’ll need to make at least 110,000 dollars a year. The fancy houses with 7 beds, 10 bathrooms, and 11.095 square feet cost around 16,995,000 dollars. A smaller, less fancy house with 3 beds, 3 bathrooms, and 1552 square feet is around 750,000. Goodbye savings!

There are apartments available for rent, but even the yucky ones cost a lot of money. For a 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom apartment, it costs between 1500 and 3000 a month.

8. Traffic

It is typical for cars to be lined up in big cities, but not only do cars create traffic jams, but the people do too! People may try to dodge the vehicle traffic and go on public transportation, but it is so common to use public transportation in D.C. that there are lines of people. It is part of the culture to walk left, and stand right. People on the go will get upset at you if you are standing in the way of where they are headed.

Traffic hours are commonly between 7 and 8 a.m., and 3 and 5 p.m. Certain times of the year such as move-in day at the university and Independence day.

9. Parking

Along with the crazy traffic, the parking is crazy! Even if you find a spot it may be difficult to get out. It is the worst when you think you have found a parking spot, but see that it requires a permit.

Parking garages are there and more are being built. It costs money to park in most of these places. It can cost over 40-50 dollars to park somewhere overnight. Other places may cost between 4 and 30 dollars to park during the day.

10. Tourism

If you move to DC you may never go a day without seeing people taking pictures by the monuments, or getting food and the best restaurant in town. The tour buses add to the traffic, and so do the visitors.

It is a wonderful place to visit and learn about the history of the United States. Many historical monuments are in the area and will be visited for as long as they are there. Even the locals tend to visit these places often.

High schools throughout the nation will bring their students to Washington D.C. to take a tour of the town. My classmates and I visited back in 2019. There were at least 50 of us.

11. Taxes

The states in the United States each have a different way of charging taxes and different amounts of taxes they require the people to pay. In Washington D.C., they charge for income tax, sales tax, and property tax. (?) it depends on your annual income. The tax rate for those who make between $0 and $10,000 is 4%. Those who make $40,000 to $60,000 a year are charged at a 6.5% rate.

Compared to Baltimore, Maryland, which is also a city with high taxes, those who make between 3,000 and 100,000 are charged $90 plus 4.75% of the excess over $3,000. Those who make 250,000 or more are charged $15,072.50 plus 5.75% of the excess over $300,000.

In North Carolina, there is a flat rate for taxes. Everyone pays 5.25%.

Washington D.C. has much higher taxes than most cities in the United States.

12. Crime

You have probably seen on the news how often a crime happens in Washington D.C. Whether it be robbery, murder, or gun violence, you name it!

Washington D.C. is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. It is only safer than 5 percent of the other states in the United States.

Recently, there was another shooting at a concert that killed an innocent teenager. 3 others were also wounded. To make the matters worse, the concert was not permitted and the police had already taken an illegal firearm from someone in the group. More firearms were found later. Some violence had already been arising in the group which caused a few injuries among the crowd. It was after the police had already intervened for a short time that the gun went off and left the 15-year-old dead.

In comparing the crime rates for crimes of homicide, sex abuse, and more, from 2021 to 2022, almost every category has increased already, and we are only halfway through the year.

Being the capital of the United States and the area of high political activity, it makes sense that the crime rates are so high.

13. Hard to Make Friends

As before mentioned, everyone in D.C. is on the go! Not many people are there to stay so they don’t see a need to make new friends. Others don’t have time to make friends, and others already have their friends.

Most people wouldn’t look at this city as a city that mingles and parties. In fact, more brawls go on in the city than anything. Political differences can make enemies pretty easily.

Perhaps you don’t need friends in Washington D.C. In that case, you could be fine living there. However, social life would bring me a lot of comfort in this busy and stressful area.

17. Overall Prices

Not only do the taxes and housing prices break your piggy bank, but the gas, sightseeing, restaurants, and groceries also cost some green.

As of June 27, 2022, the average gas price per gallon is 5.035 dollars. Surrounding areas are closer to 4.00 dollars per gallon. If you decide to move to D.C., consider using public transportation to save time and money.

At the fancy Masseria restaurant with a 4-star rating, there is no meal under 50 dollars. Some drinks cost over 1000 dollars! This won’t be where you’re eating on a daily basis, but it is going to hurt if you want a special date at a fancy restaurant!

Of course, there are more affordable restaurants, such as Ben’s Chili Bowl. An adult meal costs between 8 and 11 dollars. It may not be as fancy or as healthy, and it’s not your normal McDonald’s price, but it’s more affordable than other places in the area.

The city offers tours and there are many museums to visit. One of the offered tours is the night-time trolley and the starting cost is 45 dollars per person.

Maybe you are used to processing being this heavy. Although this city does have higher prices than most others, due to the fact that it is such a large and busy environment.

To bring more light to the city of Washington D.C., I loved visiting the city. I visited other popular cities in the area such as New York and Boston, but I didn’t like any as much as I like D.C. It is a pretty area and I liked the vibes I felt those days I was there. It is a great place worth visiting. But would I move there? Only if it were for a school or work opportunity that I find worth it.

Good luck with your decision to stay away from, or become a part of our nation’s capital: Washington District of Columbia!

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Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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