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Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the state of Georgia. As of 2009, Atlanta had an estimated population of about 540,922 people. Its metropolitan area is the ninth largest in the country, inhabited by more than 5.4 million people. The Atlanta Combined Statistical Area has a population approaching six million, making it the most populous metropolis in the Southeastern United States. Like many areas in the Sun Belt, the Atlanta region has seen increasing growth since the 1970s, and it added about 1.1 million residents between 2000 and 2008. Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County and the location of the seat of government of the State of Georgia.

Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters that are occasionally cold by the standards of the southern United States. January averages 42.7 °F (5.9 °C), with temperatures in the suburbs slightly cooler. Warm, maritime air can bring springlike highs while strong Arctic air masses can push lows into the teens (−11 to −7 °C). High temperatures in July average 89 °F (31.7 °C) but occasionally exceed 100 °F (38 °C). Typical of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall.

Atlanta is considered to be a top business city and is a primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States - via highway, railroad, and air. Atlanta contains the world headquarters of such large corporations as The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia-Pacific, AT&T Mobility, the Cable News Network, Delta Air Lines, and Turner Broadcasting. Atlanta has the country's fourth-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and more than 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have business operations in the metropolitan area, helping Atlanta realize a gross metropolitan product of US$270 billion, accounting for more than 2/3 of the Georgian economy. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been the world's busiest airport since 1998.

According to the Census Bureau, Atlanta has a total area of 132.4 square miles (342.9 km2).  The Atlanta metropolitan area is one of the country's fastest growing areas. The suburbs continue to expand while intown neighborhoods experience rapid gentrification. Atlanta's skyline is punctuated with highrise and midrise buildings of modern and postmodern vintage. Its tallest landmark – the Bank of America Plaza – is the tallest building in the United States outside of Chicago and New York City. The city has a reputation as a "city of trees" or a "city in a forest";beyond the central Atlanta and Buckhead business districts, the skyline gives way to a sometimes dense canopy of woods that spreads into the suburbs.