District 13 is one of the thirteen districts of Panem, and was thought to have been destroyed by the Capitol during the First Rebellion. The Capitol claimed that the district was "uninhabitable"; during television broadcasts, the ruins of the district were shown to still be smoldering from the "chemical" bombs that were dropped on it. However, District 13 actually made a deal with the Capitol and left the official government of Panem. Publicly, District 13's industry was graphite mining, and while they did mine the substance on a small scale, their primary industry was nuclear science and technology (similar to how District 2's main industry is masonry, but they also train and equip Peacekeepers). The graphite story was promoted as 13's only industry by the Capitol after the district was supposedly destroyed. District 13 is located beyond District 12, in the northeast.
Every morning, District 13 citizens get a temporary tattoo on the underside of their arm that shows their daily schedule. It displays, in 24-hour time, where to be and what activities are to be performed at specific times. Certain activities- such as meals - are scheduled every day, while others may vary significantly. After a certain time, the ink breaks down and can be washed off in preparation for the following day.
Aside from meals, which are normally taken communally, the activities on your schedule depend on your age. If you are under 14, you go to school where you take classes on history or other subjects. Depending on you background, you may have other duties as well (Primrose Everdeen assisted in the district's hospital). If you are over 14, you qualify for the rank of "soldier", and may receive military training in addition to some education sessions.
Other activities are the Command, where citizens of District 13 write down what they want changed or added to the schedule.
During the day, you are arranged a strict 30 minute down time with family. People are not allowed to have outside pets, as a precaution, although in a deal established by Katniss Everdeen, she asked for permission for her younger sister, Prim, to keep the small tom cat named Buttercup she took care of in District 12.
Buttercup is let outside to find food, but his comings and goings are strictly controlled, and if he causes any problems, he will be shot on sight.
Katniss also requested special hunting time. President Coin accepted, but stipulated that she could only hunt within a strict quarter-mile radius for a time span of two hours and had to use the game that they, she and Gale, caught for the kitchen in District 13. They each had a tracking device attached to their ankle.
In the book Mockingjay, it is revealed that District 13 was never destroyed during the First Rebellion, but that they moved underground due to a non-aggression pact with the Capitol in which District 13 remains fully independent and isolated from the rest of Panem in exchange for them not attacking the Capitol and starting another war.
Consequently, they do not participate in The Hunger Games. The reason that the Capitol was willing to accept this arrangement was due to District 13's specialization is nuclear weaponry and the fact that they had trained their nuclear missiles on the Capitol, threatening to destroy them.
After this agreement was reached, the Capitol cut off all outside access to the district and demolished the visible remains of the district to allow them to falsely display the remains of the district to the rest of Panem as the consequence of rebelling against the Capitol.
When District 13 gained independence from Panem, it also gained a valuable arsenal of nuclear weaponry, and had its non-aggression pact with the Capitol, ensuring its safety. When District 13 relocated underground, they began developing and manufacturing new types of weaponry and later did so for the rebel armed forces during the Second Rebellion.
It is also mentioned that there was a pox outbreak that spread through District 13, lowering the population and making most of the survivors infertile. For that reason, District 13 was eager to accept refugees during the Second Rebellion as Dalton, a refugee from District 10 put it "breeding stock" and unsurprisingly there were very few children in the district.
After the First Rebellion and the district's supposed destruction, the Capitol stated that its primary industry had been graphite mining only with no mention of its studies in nuclear sciences.
Weddings in District 13 are relatively low-key events with the couple signing a marriage certificate and being assigned a compartment for them to share.
In Catching Fire, Bonnie and Twill from District 8 tell Katniss Everdeen about the mockingjay that has repeatedly been seen flying across the corner of the screen when the Capitol is supposedly televising new footage of District 13. The ruins are always smoldering and the same news reporter is talking in front of the rubble.
This reveals that the Capitol never actually shows the current state of the district, but instead always replays old footage. Bonnie and Twill believe that there is a civilization living underground. At the end of Catching Fire, Katniss learns that District 13 is being used as a base for the new Rebellion.
After the third Quarter Quell, the survivors were taken there, along with the refugees from the bombing of District 12. The tributes of the Quarter Quell were cared for and trained for the Second Rebellion. Beetee from District 3 built specialized weaponry, Katniss became the Mockingjay symbol, Finnick Odair narrated propo, and so on.
- It is stated that District 13 is in the Northeast region. The only major deposit of graphite in North America is near Lake Huron in Canada.
- District 13 is the only district to never take part in a Hunger Games event.
- Districts 2 and 13 are the only districts with dual industries, though no other district knew about its second primary industry. District 12 also has dual industries but only after the Second Rebellion. However, nuclear energy and graphite mining are closely related, as graphite is one of the most important components on a nuclear reactor.
- District 13 is the only known district to be located underground, though it originally existed above ground before the First Rebellion.
- District 13 was the starting point of the First Rebellion and in some ways of the Second Rebellion.
- District 13 is one of the three known districts to be bombed during the Second Rebellion (District 8 and District 12 were also bombed).
- It is stated by Prim in the third film that District 13 had an epidemic a few years ago that made President Coin lose her daughter and her husband. This could be the pox outbreak that had occured.