Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 15th-largest in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, with a population of 1.7 million as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate, making it the 36th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business. Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of three Fortune 500 corporations, Dell, Whole Foods Market, and Freescale Semiconductor.
Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, also the "Greenest City in America" by MSN. According to CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 2 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens. Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than five murders per 100,000 people annually. Furthermore, in 2009, Austin was determined to be the least stressful large metro area by Forbes magazine.
Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites" and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The main campus of the University of Texas is located in Austin. The city is home to enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned it the nickname "Silicon Hills." Austin's official slogan promotes the city as "The Live Music Capital of the World," a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird"; this refers partly to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive corporatization.
Location: Central Texas
Nickname: Live music capital of the world