World Habitat Day 2013: DC vs. The World

Today is World Habitat Day!

World Habitat Day, celebrated on the first Monday of every October, was created to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity and to reflect on progress made in providing affordable housing. It serves as a reminder of the global responsibility for the protection of the basic human right to adequate shelter. This year marks the 27th annual World Habitat Day.

The theme of World Habitat Day 2013 is “urban mobility”. We think this is particularly relevant to DC Habitat. How do the issues facing the world—such as population growth, poverty housing, and energy use—compare to the issues facing the District?

Population Growth in Cities

Globally: The world population is growing, and global population in cities will reach 60% by 2030.

In DC: The approximate population of DC has increased by 10% since 2000. This brings the estimated population of DC to 632,323, according to the 2012 census data.

Poverty Housing

Globally: 1 billion people in the world reside in sub-standard housing; by 2020, an estimated 889 million will be living in slums and squatter settlements (defined as an absence of any formal urban planning).

In DC: 40% of DC households have affordable housing problems, meaning that they spend over 30% of their income on housing. Over the last decade, DC has lost 20,000 units of low-cost housing, while the number of high-cost rentals has more than doubled.

Energy Consumption

Globally: Cities consume 70% of the planet’s total energy emissions. Transportation is a large portion of energy consumption in cities.

In DC: $65 million is spent annually on energy expenditures in DC. Current energy initiatives, such as Sustainable DC and Build Smart DC, are working to reduce energy use.


UN Habitat believes that cities are the future of younger generations, and that they are the heart of community and innovation. DC Habitat agrees—which is why we work to make the District a more affordable, sustainable place to live. Tell us what you love about DC, and why it’s important to improve our city, in the comment section below! 

World Habitat Day


By: Brittany Jezouit, AmeriCorps VISTA

DC Habitat believes that everyone deserves a house they want to call home. That's why we work to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness in the nation's capital by building (and rehabilitating) affordable, energy- and resource-efficient homes for people in need.