Atlanta Tourism Center


Atlanta is the capital and the most populous city of the state of Georgia, and the central city of the ninth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. It is the county seat of Fulton County, although a portion of the city extends into DeKalb County. As of July 2006 the city of Atlanta has a population of 483,108 and a metropolitan population of 5,138,223. The July 2006 census estimate puts the combined statistical area (CSA) population at 5,478,667.

A major city in its own right, Atlanta is considered a poster child for cities worldwide experiencing rapid urban sprawl, economic development, and growth. In the last decade, the Atlanta metropolitan area added over 1,150,000 residents - the fourth-largest gain in absolute numbers of any metropolitan area in the United States. The metro area has been #1 in single-family housing starts for 13 consecutive years. Atlanta is recognized as one of the driving forces of the "New South," and has in recent years, along with Miami, Dallas, and Houston, undergone a transition from a city of regional commerce to a city of international influence.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta stood apart from Southern cities that supported segregation, touting itself as the "city too busy to hate." The city's progressive civil rights record made it increasingly popular as a relocation destination for African Americans, and the city's population became majority-black by 1972. African Americans soon became the dominant political force in the city; since 1974, all of the mayors of Atlanta have been African-American, as well as the majority of the city's fire chiefs, police chiefs, and other high-profile government officials. White flight occurred in the city in the 1970s and 1980s; the city's population dropped by more than 100,000 from 1970 to 1990. That trend has reversed itself, and with gentrification, the black majority has dropped from 69 percent in 1980 to 54 percent in 2005.

Common nicknames for the city include A-Town, A-T-L (derived from its IATA airport code), The Big Peach, The 4-0-4 (derived from its area code), and Hotlanta. The city is also one of three cities in the United States to host the Summer Olympic Games, doing so in 1996. (St. Louis in 1904 and Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984 are the others).


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 343.0 km2 (132.4 mi2). 341.2 km2 (131.8 mi2) of it is land and 1.8 km2 (0.7 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 0.51% water.

At about 1050 feet or 320 meters above mean sea level (the airport is 1010 feet), Atlanta sits atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River. Amongst the 25 largest MSAs, Atlanta is the third-highest in elevation, slightly lower than Phoenix, but significantly lower than Denver (1 mile or 1,600 m).

According to folklore, its central avenue, Peachtree Street, runs through the center of the city on the Eastern Continental Divide. In actuality, the divide line enters Atlanta from the southwest, proceeding to downtown. From downtown, the divide line runs eastward along DeKalb Avenue and the CSX rail lines through Decatur. Rainwater that falls on the south and east side runs eventually into the Atlantic Ocean while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide runs into the Gulf of Mexico.

The latter is via the Chattahoochee River, part of the ACF River Basin, and from which Atlanta and many of its neighbors draw most of their water. Being at the far northwestern edge of the city, much of the river's natural habitat is still preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Downstream however, excessive water use during droughts and pollution during floods has been a source of contention and legal battles with neighboring states Alabama and Florida.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Atlanta"