Atlanta ( /ətˈlæntə/, /ætˈlæntə/, locally /ætˈlænə/) is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with 5,268,860 people, is the third largest in the Southern United States and the ninth largest in the country. The Atlanta Combined Statistical Area, a larger trade area, has a population approaching six million and is the largest in the Southeast. Like many urban areas in the Sun Belt, the Atlanta region has seen increasing growth since the 1970s, and it added about 1.6 million residents between 2000 and 2010.
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. Metro Atlanta contains the world headquarters of corporations such as The Coca-Cola Company, Turner Broadcasting, The Home Depot, AT&T Mobility, UPS, and Delta Air Lines. Atlanta has the country's third 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 two-thirds of Georgia's economy. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been the world's busiest airport since 1998.
Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County and the location of the seat of government of the state of Georgia. A small portion of the city of Atlanta corporate limits extends eastwards into DeKalb County. Residents of Atlanta and its surroundings are known as "Atlantans".
Prior to the arrival of European Americans in north Georgia, Creek and Cherokee Indians inhabited the area. A Creek village located where Peachtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River, Standing Peachtree or Standing Pitch Tree, was the closest Indian settlement to what is now Atlanta. As part of the systematic removal of Native Americans from northern Georgia from 1802 to 1825, the Creek ceded the area that is now Metro Atlanta in 1821. White settlers arrived in 1822, and nearby Decatur was founded the following year.
During the 1960s, Atlanta was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and students from Atlanta's historically Black colleges and universities playing major roles in the movement's leadership. In 1961, Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. became one of the few Southern white mayors to support desegregation of his city's public schools. While minimal compared to other cities, Atlanta was not completely free of racial strife. After forced-housing patterns were outlawed, violence, intimidation and organized political pressure was used in some white neighborhoods to discourage blacks from buying homes there. However, such efforts proved futile as real estate agents began engaging in blockbusting, encouraging white homeowners to sell at rock-bottom prices so that the agents could re-sell the homes to blacks at a large profit. The resulting white flight mostly affected Atlanta's western and southern neighborhoods, many of them transitioning to majority black by the 1970s. In 1961, the city attempted to thwart blockbusting by erecting road barriers in Cascade Heights, countering the efforts of civic and business leaders to foster Atlanta as the "city too busy to hate."
In 1990, Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Following the announcement, Atlanta undertook several major construction projects to improve the city's parks, sports facilities, and transportation. Atlanta became the third American city to host the Summer Olympics. The games themselves were marred by numerous organizational inefficiencies, as well as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.
Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate, (Cfa) according to the Köppen classification, 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). Atlanta's high mean elevation distinguishes it from most other southern and eastern cities, and contributes to a more temperate climate than is found in areas farther south.