Georgia

Cities

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Georgia

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina; to the northeast by South Carolina; to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean; to the south by Florida; and to the west by Alabama. Georgia is the 24th-largest in area and 8th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its 2020 population was 10,711,908, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Atlanta, a “beta(+)” global city, is both the state’s capital and its largest city. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with a population of more than 6 million people in 2020, is the 9th most populous metropolitan area in the United States and contains about 57% of Georgia’s entire population.

Geography

Boundaries

Beginning from the Atlantic Ocean, the state's eastern border with South Carolina runs up the Savannah River, northwest to its origin at the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers. It then continues up the Tugaloo (originally Tugalo) and into the Chattooga River, its most significant tributary. These bounds were decided in the 1797 Treaty of Beaufort, and tested in the U.S. Supreme Court in the two Georgia v. South Carolina cases in 1923 and 1989. The border then takes a sharp turn around the tip of Rabun County, at latitude 35°N, though from this point it diverges slightly south (due to inaccuracies in the original survey, conducted in 1818). This northern border was originally the Georgia and North Carolina border all the way to the Mississippi River, until Tennessee was divided from North Carolina, and the Yazoo companies induced the legislature of Georgia to pass an act, approved by the governor in 1795, to sell the greater part of Georgia's territory presently comprising Alabama and Mississippi.

Geology and Terrain

Georgia consists of five principal physiographic regions: The Cumberland Plateau, Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, and the Atlantic coastal plain. Each region has its own distinctive characteristics. For instance, the region, which lies in the northwest corner of the state, includes limestone, sandstone, shale, and other sedimentary rocks, which have yielded construction-grade limestone, barite, ocher, and small amounts of coal.

Climate

Image of March 1993 Storm of the Century covering the length of the east coast. The outline of Georgia is discernible in the center of the image. The majority of the state is primarily a humid subtropical climate. Hot and humid summers are typical, except at the highest elevations. The entire state, including the North Georgia mountains, receives moderate to heavy precipitation, which varies from 45 inches (1143 mm) in central Georgia to approximately 75 inches (1905 mm) around the northeast part of the state. 

The degree to which the weather of a certain region of Georgia is subtropical depends on the latitude, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, and the elevation. The latter factor is felt chiefly in the mountainous areas of the northern part of the state, which are farther away from the ocean and can be 4500 feet (1350 m) above sea level. The USDA plant hardiness zones for Georgia range from zone 6b (no colder than −5 °F (−21 °C)) in the Blue Ridge Mountains to zone 8b (no colder than 15 °F (−9 °C) ) along the Atlantic coast and Florida border.

Languages

As of 2010, 87.35% (7,666,663) of Georgia residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 7.42% (651,583) spoke Spanish, 0.51% (44,702) Korean, 0.44% (38,244) Vietnamese, 0.42% (36,679) French, 0.38% (33,009) Chinese (which includes Mandarin), and German, which was spoken as a main language by 0.29% (23,351) of the population over the age of  5. In total, 12.65% (1,109,888) of Georgia’s population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.

Religion

The composition of religious affiliation in Georgia is 70% Protestant, 9% Catholic, 1% Mormon, 1% Jewish, 0.5% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist, and 0.5% Hindu. Atheists, deists, agnostics, and other unaffiliated people make up 13% of the population. The largest Christian denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 1,759,317; the United Methodist Church with 619,394; and the Roman Catholic Church with 596,384. Non-denominational Evangelical Protestant had 566,782 members, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) has 175,184 members, and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. has 172,982 members. 

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is the largest Presbyterian body in the state, with 300 congregations and 100,000 members. The other large body, Presbyterian Church in America, had at its founding date 14 congregations and 2,800 members; in 2010 it counted 139 congregations and 32,000 members. The Roman Catholic Church is noteworthy in Georgia’s urban areas, and includes the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah. Georgia is home to the largest Hindu temple in the United States, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta, located in the suburb city of Lilburn. Georgia is home to several historic synagogues including The Temple (Atlanta), Congregation Beth Jacob (Atlanta), and Congregation Mickve Israel (Savannah). Chabad and the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute are also active in the state.

Economy

Georgia’s 2018 total gross state product was $602 billion. For years Georgia as a state has had the highest credit rating by Standard & Poor’s (AAA) and is one of only 15 states with a AAA rating. If Georgia were a stand-alone country, it would be the 28th largest economy in the world, based on data from 2005. 

There are 17 Fortune 500 companies and 26 Fortune 1000 companies with headquarters in Georgia, including Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, TSYS, Delta Air Lines, Aflac, Southern Company, Anthem Inc., and SunTrust Banks. Atlanta boasts the world’s busiest airport, as measured both by passenger traffic and by aircraft traffic. Also, the Port of Savannah is the fourth largest seaport and fastest-growing container seaport in North America, importing and exporting a total of 2.3 million TEUs per year.

Agriculture

Widespread farms produce peanuts, corn, and soybeans across middle and south Georgia. The state is the number one producer of pecans in the world, thanks to Naomi Chapman Woodroof regarding peanut breeding, with the region around Albany in southwest Georgia being the center of Georgia's pecan production. Gainesville in northeast Georgia touts itself as the Poultry Capital of the World. Georgia is in the top five blueberry producers in the United States.

Industry

While many textile jobs moved overseas, there is still a textile industry located around the cities of Rome, Columbus, Augusta, Macon and along the I-75 corridor between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Historically it started along the fall line in the Piedmont, where factories were powered by waterfalls and rivers. It includes the towns of Cartersville, Calhoun, Ringgold and Dalton In November 2009, Kia started production in Georgia at the first U.S. Kia Motors plant, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point. Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, plans to begin production at a facility in Social Circle in 2024. Industrial products include textiles and apparel, transportation equipment, food processing, paper products, chemicals and products, and electric equipment.

Tourism

In the Atlanta area, World of Coke, Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta and Stone Mountain are important tourist attractions. Stone Mountain is Georgia’s “most popular attraction”; receiving more than four million tourists per year. The Georgia Aquarium, in Atlanta, was the largest aquarium in the world in 2010 according to Guinness World Records.

Callaway Gardens, in western Georgia, is a family resort. The area is also popular with golfers. The Savannah Historic District attracts more than eleven million tourists each year. The Golden Isles is a string of barrier islands off the Atlantic coast of Georgia near Brunswick that includes beaches, golf courses and the Cumberland Island National Seashore. Several sites honor the lives and careers of noted American leaders: the Little White House in Warm Springs, which served as the summer residence of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt while he was being treated for polio; President Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains and the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta; the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, which is the final resting place of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King; and Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King preached.

Education

Georgia county and city public school systems are administered by school boards with members elected at the local level. As of 2013, all but 19 of 181 boards are elected from single-member districts. Residents and activist groups in Fayette County, Georgia sued the board of commissioners and school board for maintaining an election system based on at-large voting, which tended to increase the power of the majority and effectively prevented minority participation on elected local boards for nearly 200 years. A change to single-member districts has resulted in the African-American minority being able to elect representatives of its choice.

Georgia county and city public school systems are administered by school boards with members elected at the local level. As of 2013, all but 19 of 181 boards are elected from single-member districts. Residents and activist groups in Fayette County, Georgia sued the board of commissioners and school board for maintaining an election system based on at-large voting, which tended to increase the power of the majority and effectively prevented minority participation on elected local boards for nearly 200 years. A change to single-member districts has resulted in the African-American minority being able to elect representatives of its choice.

Transportation

Transportation in Georgia is overseen by the Georgia Department of Transportation, a part of the executive branch of the state government. Georgia’s major Interstate Highways are I-20, I-75, I-85, and I-95. On March 18, 1998, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a resolution naming the portion of Interstate Highway 75, which runs from the Chattahoochee River northward to the Tennessee state line the Larry McDonald Memorial Highway. Larry McDonald, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives, had been on Korean Air Lines Flight 007 when it was shot down by the Soviets on September 1, 1983.

Georgia’s primary commercial airport is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the world’s busiest airport.[168] In addition to Hartsfield–Jackson, there are eight other airports serving major commercial traffic in Georgia. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is the second-busiest airport in the state as measured by passengers served, and is the only additional international airport. Other commercial airports (ranked in order of passengers served) are located in Augusta, Columbus, Albany, Macon, Brunswick, Valdosta, and Athens. 

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