Question: In a recent story you said that only 15 percent of federal employees are in the Washington area. Isn’t that number too low?

Answer: That figure comes from the Office of Personnel Management, the central personnel agency, in a count of executive branch employees outside the U.S. Postal Service and the intelligence agencies. As of last September, that total stood at just below 2.1 million.

A separate OPM report shows that just under 1.9 million of them are in full-time, nonseasonal positions without a time limit. Of those, about 283,000 work in and immediately around the District of Columbia, in a government measure called the “core based statistical area” that reflects where people work, not where they live.

That is more than four times as much as the next-largest city area, New York, with about 56,000. In third and fourth place are Virginia Beach-Norfolk, with about 47,000, and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md., with about 42,000.

By jurisdiction, California has the largest number, about 152,000, followed by Virginia, 144,000; the District of Columbia (by itself), 141,000; Texas, 133,000; and Maryland, 121,000. Delaware has the fewest, 3,000.