The World of Panem


*Warning These Descriptions Contain Spoilers*


The nation of Panem is the setting for the trilogy. It “rose out of the ashes” of what was North America, which had been devastated by global nuclear war and/or major climate change. The Citizens of Panem are controlled by the Capitol, these citizens make up the twelve other districts. The Capitol is located in the Rocky Mountains. Long after the global war, and 75 years before the start of the first novel, there was a civil-war within Panem in which the districts rebelled against the Capitol. This time is considered the “Dark Days”, and it resulted in the reported destruction of District 13 and the creation of the Hunger Games.

As revealed in the book Mockingjay, Panem comes from the Latin phrase “Panem et Circenses” which means “Bread and Circuses.” This is also a reference to the actual Games, by which, it is meant, that the people of the Capitol give up their political rights for plenty of food and entertainment.

The books author Suzanne Collins has said that it would take “triple digits” (between 100 and 999 years) for the devastated North America to emerge as Panem.

*Warning These Descriptions Contain Spoilers*
The Capitol

The Capitol is the seat of Panem’s totalitarian government and its chief city, and is located in the northwestern Rocky Mountains of the former United States & Canada and is the home of dictator President Coriolanus Snow. The Hunger Games were conceived by Panem’s government in the aftermath of a rebellion known only as the Dark Days. The Games pit youths from each District as human sacrifices where 24 kids enter and only one emerges as the winner. When not sending thier children to almost certain death once a year the Citizens of Panem live and work to service the Capitols needs.

The Citizens of Panem lucky enough to live in the Capitol are described to be mostly preoccupied with fashion, food, and entertainment. Dyes, tattoos, wigs, and costumes of myriad style and vivid colors are all the rage. Plastic surgery and other extreme makeovers are commonplace. A prime example is Tigris, a character in Mockingjay, a former stylist who has had plastic surgery to make her look like a tiger, including whiskers, stripes and a very small nose. At parties, the selection of dishes is commonly far greater than would allow a single person to try everything. Guests often drink an emetic to vomit the food they have consumed in order to enjoy more. The entire population of the Capitol eagerly anticipates the annual Hunger Games as the highlight of the year’s entertainment. Capitol citizens manifest almost no concern for or even awareness of the desperate, starvation-level poverty conditions in which most district citizens live, or the tremendous injustice and tragedy of the Hunger Games. It appears that most of the citizens from the Capitol have names taken from ancient Rome and ancient Greece

Citizens of the Capitol speak with a distinctive accent. Katniss describes it as “silly”, high pitched with clipped
tones and odd vowels, the ends of sentences going up as if they’re asking a question and a hiss at the letter “s”.

Several major characters come from the Capitol.


District 1

District 1 makes special goods (luxury items) for the Capitol. It appears that all the people from District 1 are named for an attribute of some luxury item. Children there take pride in competing in the Games, and are among the group of tributes nicknamed “Careers”, who train for the Games (illegally) from a young age and then volunteer to compete. Once the Games begin, the tributes from the Careers districts (including,
Districts 1, 2, 4, and occasionally other districts as exceptions) tend to band together until they are forced to fight among themselves, and a disproportionate number of Hunger Games winners are Careers.

In the first book, the tributes from District 1, Marvel and Glimmer, were somewhat important to the story. Katniss was responsible for the death of both Glimmer and Marvel; she dropped a Tracker Jacker nest on the pack of Careers that included Glimmer, killing her. She was also responsible for the death of Marvel; she shot an arrow through his neck after he speared and killed Rue. In the second book, Cashmere and Gloss were the District 1 tributes. They contributed to the death of Wiress. They were killed by Katniss and Johanna Mason.

District 2

District 2 is a large district set in the Rocky Mountains not far from the Capitol itself. District 2 specializes in masonry, the district is made up of many small villages, each based around a mine. In the midst of District 2 is a central mountain (referred to as “The Nut” by Katniss) which contains the command and control apparatus for the Capitol’s defenses. Originally District 2 specialized only in mining and stone cutting, but after the Dark Days war it was also tasked with production of weapons.

During the Dark Days, District 2 was the Capitol’s staunchest ally and after that rebellion was over, it received preferential treatment from the Capitol. Its citizens have better living conditions then the other Citizens of Panem.

In the third book, during the second rebellion, District 2 once again supported the Capitol and was the last district to fall to the rebels. It was one of the few districts whose citizens did not attempt to revolt against the Capitol. Many of the Peacekeepers and a disproportionate number of Victors have come from District 2.
District 2 tributes are known as Careers because they begin training for the games before they are even eligible to enter the drawing. Those who represent 2 in the Games are often volunteers. In the 74th Hunger Games, District 2′s tributes, Cato and Clove, were formidable opponents. Clove was the only one who ever came really close to killing Katniss, and Cato was the final tribute to be defeated. In the 75th Games District 2′s tributes were Brutus and Enobaria.

District 3

District 3 specializes in electronics. Most of its citizens work in factories and are very adept with engineering. Some people think of District 3 as weak, but their intelligence provides many benefits. Its tributes tend to use this to their advantage. In the 74th Hunger Games, the District 3 tribute managed to create a mine field cobbled together from the starting plates. One of the previous victors to come from District 3, Beetee, won his games by setting a trap that electrocuted many of the other tributes. He was chosen as a Victor to compete in the 75th Hunger Games, where he attempted to use the wire that came from the Cornucopia to destroy the force field surrounding the arena using the lightning that came in a certain hour. It was Katniss, however, who finished the job before being collected by the hovercraft. Their district bread is a small, square roll. The other Victor chosen to compete in the 75th Hunger Games was a woman named Wiress. She and Beetee were commonly known as “Nuts and Volts” because they are considered strange. Wiress’s throat was slit by Gloss, a District 1 tribute in the 75th Hunger Games.

District 4

District 4 fishes for the Capitol, and is another wealthy district from which Careers hail. In the 74th Hunger games, Katniss kills the girl from 4 by dropping a Tracker Jacker nest on her. Katniss finds important allies in the 75th Hunger Games in the Victors from District 4, Mags and Finnick. Mags was an elderly woman and could make a fishing hook “out of anything,” and Finnick’s weapon of choice is a trident. Mags was Finnick’s mentor in the Hunger Games. Annie Cresta, who later becomes Finnick’s wife, also comes from District 4 and is a Victor who won by her swimming skill. It is said that District 4 has the most “decent-looking” people. Its bread is a salty, fish-shaped loaf tinted green by seaweed.

District 5

District 5′s industry is power. The girl tribute from District 5 in the 74th Hunger Games is known as “Foxface” because she looks similar to a fox, with a slim face and sleek red hair; her real name is never mentioned. She was one of the last to die because she was very clever. No description or name was given to the boy from District 5, except he was one of the eleven that died on the first day. In the 75th Hunger Games, Finnick killed the male tribute with his trident at the cornucopia on the first day.

District 6

District 6′s industry is Transportation. Not much else is known about this district other than both tributes in the 75th Games protected Katniss and Peeta. They were both addicted to “morphling” a morphine-like pain relief medication, the book suggesting that morphling addiction may have been a district-wide issue. During the 74th Hunger Games both male and female tributes were killed during the first day.

District 7

District 7 specializes in lumber and paper. One of Katniss’ allies in the 75th Hunger Games was Johanna Mason, who was very good with an axe. Apparently a large portion of District 7′s forest is pine, as Johanna comments that pine needles “smell like home.”

District 8

District 8 specializes in textiles and has at least one factory where Peacekeeper uniforms are made. Two people from District 8, Bonnie and Twill, escaped during one of the uprisings and informed Katniss of the theory that District 13 still existed. It is implied that security is strict in 8, and the citizens are desperate for hope. District 8 was also one of the first districts to rebel, as Katniss saw on Mayor Undersee’s television. In the third book, Katniss visits a hospital in District 8, which is later bombed by the Capitol. The leader of District 8, Paylor, becomes President of Panem after President Snow has died and Katniss has assassinated President Coin. Even before she became president, Paylor’s soldiers were apparently loyal to her, ignoring Coin’s orders when she commanded. None of District 8′s Tributes are mentioned much in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games other than Peeta finished off the female tribute in the 74th Hunger Games.

District 9

The industry of District 9 is grain. It is mentioned once that District 9 has many factories. The District 9 boy tribute in the 74th Hunger Games is described as having hazel eyes, but whether that is a trait of his region is not stated. He died in the bloodbath after fighting with Katniss over a backpack when he was knifed in the back by Clove, the District 2 tribute.

District 10

District 10 specializes in livestock. Katniss meets a man named Dalton when she arrives in District 13, who is a District 10 cattle farmer. His task is to implant frozen cow embryos to increase the diversity of the herd. He seems cynical, and is distrustful of District 13. Katniss does not note any major tributes from District 10, except one boy with a crippled leg who is mentioned several times. At the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss notes that the District 10 tributes, who are dressed as cows, have flaming belts on as if they are broiling themselves, in poor imitation of Cinna’s techniques to showcase Katniss at the Games.

District 11

District 11 specializes in agriculture. It is located somewhere in the south and is very large. The people are housed in small shacks and there is a harsh force of Peacekeepers. Common traits are dark skin and brown eyes. According to Rue, many tracker jacker nests were left there, leading the workers to keep medicinal leaves on hand. In the orchards small children were sent into the branches to pick the highest fruit. Sometimes during the height of the harvest they were given night-vision goggles to allow them to work after dark. The district also contained fields of grain and vegetables. The inhabitants apparently had extensive knowledge of herbs.

Thresh and Rue are the tributes from District 11 for the 74th Hunger Games and play important roles. Rue was Katniss’s ally and one of her best friends in the arena. She was good at hopping from tree to tree, but was tragically killed by District 1′s Marvel. Thresh was a powerful contestant who Katniss admired for his pride and refusal to join the Careers. Thresh saved Katniss from Clove, whom he killed with a rock, and spared her because of her friendship with Rue. While the novel is not clear as to the circumstances regarding his death, it is implied Thresh was killed by Cato. The District 11 tributes for the 75th Hunger Games are Chaff and Seeder, both of whom know of the rebellion.

District 12

District 12 mines coal for the Capitol. Katniss, Peeta, and other major characters come from District 12. It is located in the Appalachian Mountains, and the district itself is split into two areas housing two distinct social classes. “The Seam” is a slum where those who work in the coal mines live, whereas the mercantile class lives in the town. Both classes are easy to distinguish physically: those from the Seam generally have dark hair, grey eyes and olive skin, and those from merchant families usually have blond hair and blue eyes.
District 12 is very poor, and starvation is a major issue for the citizens. Due to the lack of food, the local

Capitol authority figures — the Mayor and Peacekeepers — often bend the extremely strict Panem laws. The fence surrounding the district and preventing access to the woods is often not electrified, and Katniss and her friend Gale often hunt there for food for their families or to raise money by selling their catches in the local black market. The black market, located at an old coal warehouse named the Hob, was where many of the citizens made their money. The Hob was destroyed by the Peacekeepers in Catching Fire. This was followed by the bombing of the whole district after the escape of the tributes during the 75th Hunger Games. However, Gale managed to evacuate about 10% of the population—”a little under 900 people”—to District 13.

District 12 has only won two Hunger Games prior to the events of the first book; its only living victor, Haymitch Abernathy, survived the second Quarter Quell, where there were twice as many tributes as usual.
After the war, it is hinted in Mockingjay that District 12 will produce medicine and start growing some food for Panem instead of producing coal.

District 13

Prior to the Dark Days war, District 13 worked in nuclear technology and mined graphite. During the Dark Days they were one of the major forces of the rebellion. Near the end of the Dark Days they managed to take control of the nuclear arsenal. District 13 was supposedly bombed and destroyed before the first annual Hunger Games at the end of the Dark Days war, but it is hinted and later confirmed in Catching Fire that they have survived, and in Mockingjay it’s confirmed that District 13 literally became an underground district when the population retreated to bunkers. The Capitol has spread the story that District 13 was destroyed after the Capitol and District 13 agreed to leave each other alone since District 13 made nuclear weapons and the Capitol didn’t want a nuclear war. Also, this underground district has its own farms that they survive on after the Capitol destroyed everything above ground so as not to arouse suspicion. This was something that, according to Katniss, the Capitol had underestimated.

In Mockingjay, District 13 is the center of the new rebellion. The lifestyle in 13 is very strict due to their circumstances. When a citizen wakes up, he or she acquires a temporary tattoo of their personalized schedule for the day. They are also very thrifty and ration food carefully—even a small thing wasted is heavily frowned on, and minor theft is punished by cruel detention. Everyone over the age of 14 is addressed respectfully as “Soldier”, since almost everyone in District 13 around the time of the novels is being raised for a military rebellion against the Capitol. The leader of District 13 is President Alma Coin, who aspires to succeed Snow as President of Panem and has orchestrated the events of books two and three to circumvent District 13′s truce with the Capitol. Coin is later assassinated by Katniss.


  1. sandra
    June 25, 2012, 10:52 PM   / 

    i want 2 live in district 4!

  2. Rue
    July 12, 2012, 6:00 AM   / 

    Cool! I want to live in District 11!

  3. Rue
    July 13, 2012, 7:30 PM   / 

    District 13 sounds scary! Sounds like over-controlling parents :P

  4. Mamus Mertan
    November 9, 2012, 12:57 PM   / 

    Long live the Capitol!!!!

  5. Ethan Armendariz
    January 5, 2013, 8:40 PM   / 

    I want to visit all of the districts

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