Founded in 1733 as the Province of Georgia
and becoming a royal colony
in 1752, Georgia was the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies
to be established.
Named after King George II of Great Britain
, the Colony of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida
and west to French Louisiana
at the Mississippi River
. On January 2, 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify
the United States Constitution
From 1802 to 1804, western Georgia was split to form the Mississippi Territory
, which later was admitted as the U.S. states of Alabama
. Georgia declared its secession
from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate States
Following the Civil War
, it was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870.
In the post-Reconstruction
era, Georgia's economy was transformed as a group of prominent politicians, businessmen, and journalists, led by Henry W. Grady
, espoused the "New South
" philosophy of sectional reconciliation, industrialization
, and white supremacy
During the 20th century, several Georgians, most notably Martin Luther King Jr.
, were prominent leaders during the civil rights movement
Since 1945, Georgia has seen substantial population growth as part of the broader Sun Belt
phenomenon. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties
ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing.
After the Creek War (1813–1814)
, General Andrew Jackson
forced the Muscogee (Creek) tribes
to surrender land to the state of Georgia, including in the Treaty of Fort Jackson (1814)
, surrendering 21 million acres in what is now southern Georgia and central Alabama, and the Treaty of Indian Springs (1825)
In 1829, gold was discovered in the North Georgia mountains
leading to the Georgia Gold Rush
and establishment of a federal mint
, which continued in operation until 1861. The resulting influx of white settlers put pressure on the government to take land from the Cherokee Nation
. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson
signed the Indian Removal Act
, sending many eastern Native American nations to reservations
in present-day Oklahoma, including all of Georgia's tribes. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in Worcester v. Georgia
(1832) that U.S. states were not permitted to redraw Indian boundaries, President Jackson and the state of Georgia ignored the ruling. In 1838, his successor, Martin Van Buren
, dispatched federal troops to gather the tribes and deport them west of the Mississippi
. This forced relocation, known as the Trail of Tears
, led to the death of more than four thousand Cherokees.
With white Democrats having regained power in the state legislature, they passed a poll tax
in 1877, which disenfranchised
many poor blacks and whites, preventing them from registering.
In 1908, the state established a white primary
; with the only competitive contests within the Democratic Party, it was another way to exclude blacks from politics.
They constituted 46.7% of the state's population in 1900, but the proportion of Georgia's population that was African American dropped thereafter to 28%, primarily due to tens of thousands leaving the state during the Great Migration
According to the Equal Justice Institute
's 2015 report on lynching in the United States (1877–1950), Georgia had 531 deaths, the second-highest total of these extralegal executions of any state in the South. The overwhelming number of victims were black and male.
Political disfranchisement persisted through the mid-1960s, until after Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965
By the 1960s, the proportion of African Americans in Georgia had declined to 28% of the state's population, after waves of migration to the North and some in-migration by whites.
With their voting power diminished, it took some years for African Americans to win a state-wide office. Julian Bond
, a noted civil rights leader, was elected to the state House in 1965, and served multiple terms there and in the state senate.
Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.
testified before Congress in support of the Civil Rights Act, and Governor Carl Sanders
worked with the Kennedy
administration to ensure the state's compliance. Ralph McGill
, editor and syndicated columnist at the Atlanta Constitution
, earned admiration by writing in support of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1970, newly elected Governor Jimmy Carter
declared in his inaugural address that the era of racial segregation had ended. In 1972, Georgians elected Andrew Young
to Congress as the first African American Congressman since the Reconstruction era
In 1980, construction was completed on an expansion of what is now named Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
(ATL). The busiest and most efficient airport in the world, it accommodates more than a hundred million passengers annually.
Employing more than 60,000 people, the airport became a major engine for economic growth.
With the advantages of cheap real estate, low taxes, right-to-work laws
and a regulatory environment limiting government interference, the Atlanta metropolitan area became a national center of finance
, real estate
, and transportation
companies, as well as the film, convention, and trade show businesses. As a testament to the city's growing international profile, in 1990 the International Olympic Committee
as the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics
. Taking advantage of Atlanta's status as a transportation hub, in 1991 UPS
established its headquarters in a suburb. In 1992, construction finished on Bank of America Plaza
, the tallest building in the U.S. outside of New York or Chicago.
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). 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
Georgia state legislators have claimed that in an 1818 survey the state's border with Tennessee was erroneously placed one mile (1.6 km) farther south than intended, and they still dispute it
. Correction of this inaccuracy would allow Georgia access to water from the Tennessee River
Geology and terrain
Each region has its own distinctive characteristics. For instance, the Ridge and Valley, 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.
The state of Georgia has approximately 250 tree species and 58 protected plants. Georgia's native trees include red cedar
, a variety of pines, oaks, hollies, cypress
, scaly-bark and white hickories
, and sabal palmetto
. East Georgia is in the subtropical coniferous forest biome and conifer species as other broadleaf evergreen flora make up the majority of the southern and coastal regions. Yellow jasmine
and mountain laurel
make up just a few of the flowering shrubs in the state.
The most popular freshwater game fish are trout
, and catfish
, all but the last of which are produced in state hatcheries for restocking. Popular saltwater game fish include red drum
, spotted seatrout
, and tarpon
, whales, shrimp
, and blue crabs
are found inshore and offshore of the Georgia coast.
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.
The highest temperature ever recorded is 112 °F (44.4 °C) in Louisville
on July 24, 1952,
while the lowest is −17 °F (−27.2 °C) in northern Floyd County
on January 27, 1940.
Georgia is one of the leading states in frequency of tornadoes
, though they are rarely stronger than EF1
. Although tornadoes striking the city are very rare,
an EF2 tornado
hit downtown Atlanta on March 14, 2008, causing moderate to severe damage to various buildings. With a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, Georgia is also vulnerable to hurricanes
, although direct hurricane strikes were rare during the 20th century. Georgia often is affected by hurricanes that strike the Florida Panhandle
, weaken over land, and bring strong tropical storm
winds and heavy rain to the interior, a recent example being Hurricane Michael
as well as hurricanes that come close to the Georgia coastline, brushing the coast on their way north without ever making landfall. Hurricane Matthew of 2016
and Hurricane Dorian of 2019
did just that.
Monthly average daily high and low temperatures for major Georgia cities
Due to anthropogenic Climate change
the climate of Georgia is warming. This is already causing major disruption, for example, from sea level rise (Georgia is more vulnerable to it than many other states because its land is sinking) and further warming will increase it.
Population density by census tract in the state of Georgia, 2018
The United States Census Bureau
reported Georgia's official population to be 10,711,908 as of April 1, 2020. This was an increase of 1,024,255 residents since the 2010 census, or a gain of 10.6%. Immigration
resulted in a net increase of 228,415 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 378,258 people.
As of 2010, the number of illegal immigrants
living in Georgia more than doubled to 480,000 from January 2000 to January 2009, according to a federal report. That gave Georgia the greatest percentage increase among the 10 states with the biggest illegal immigrant populations during those years.
Georgia has banned sanctuary cities
According to the 2010 United States Census
, Georgia had a population of 9,687,653. In terms of race and ethnicity, the state was 59.7% White (55.9% Non-Hispanic White
alone), 30.5% Black
or African American, 0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native, 3.2% Asian
, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 4.0% from some other race, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanics
and Latinos of any race made up 8.8% of the population.
Georgia's racial breakdown of population
As of 2011, 58.8% of Georgia's population younger than 1 were minorities (meaning they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white) compared to other states like California with 75.1%, New York with 55.6%, and Texas with 69.8%.
The largest European ancestry groups are:
In the 1980 census 1,584,303 Georgians claimed English
ancestry out of a total state population of 3,994,817, making them 40% of the state, and the largest ethnic group at the time.
Today, many of these same people claiming they are of "American" ancestry are actually of English descent, and some are of Scots-Irish
descent; however, their families have lived in the state for so long, in many cases since the colonial period, that they choose to identify simply as having "American" ancestry or do not in fact know their own ancestry. Their ancestry primarily goes back to the original thirteen colonies and for this reason many of them today simply claim "American" ancestry, though they are of predominantly English ancestry.
As of 2004, 7.7% of Georgia's population was reported as under 5 years of age, 26.4% under 18, and 9.6% were 65 or older. Also, as of 2004, females made up approximately 50.6% of the population and African Americans made up approximately 29.6%.
Historically, about half of Georgia's population was composed of African Americans who, before the Civil War, were almost exclusively enslaved. The Great Migration
of hundreds of thousands of blacks from the rural South to the industrial North from 1914 to 1970 reduced the African American population.
Georgia had the second-fastest-growing Asian population growth in the U.S. from 1990 to 2000, more than doubling in size during the ten-year period.
In addition, according to census estimates, Georgia ranks third among the states in terms of the percent of the total population that is African American (after Mississippi
) and third in numeric Black population after New York and Florida.
Georgia is the state with the third-lowest percentage of older people (65 or older), at 12.8 percent (as of 2015).
The colonial settlement of large numbers of Scottish American
, English American
and Scotch-Irish Americans
in the mountains and piedmont, and coastal settlement by some English Americans
and African Americans, have strongly influenced the state's culture in food, language and music. The concentration of Africans imported to coastal areas in the 18th century repeatedly from rice-growing regions of West Africa led to the development of Gullah
-Geechee language and culture in the Low Country among African Americans. They share a unique heritage in which African traditions of food, religion and culture were continued more than in some other areas. In the creolization of Southern culture, their foodways became an integral part of all Southern cooking in the Low Country.
Top 10 non-English languages spoken in Georgia
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.
The state has seventeen cities with populations above 50,000, based on 2019 U.S. Census estimates.
(*) In 2014, the City of Macon and most of unincorporated Bibb County officially merged. Macon joined Columbus, Augusta, Athens, Cusseta and Georgetown as consolidated city-county governments in Georgia.
Along with the rest of the Southeast, Georgia's population continues to grow rapidly, with primary gains concentrated in urban areas. The population of the Atlanta metropolitan area added 1.23 million people (24 percent) between 2000 and 2010, and Atlanta rose in rank from the eleventh-largest metropolitan area in the United States to the ninth-largest.
St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Atlanta
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
, 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)
and the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute
are also active in the state.
Legislative authority resides in the General Assembly
, composed of the Senate
and House of Representatives
. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate
, while members of the House of Representatives select their own Speaker. The Georgia Constitution
mandates a maximum of 56 senators, elected from single-member districts, and a minimum of 180 representatives, apportioned among representative districts (which sometimes results in more than one representative per district); there are currently 56 senators and 180 representatives. The term of office for senators and representatives is two years.
The laws enacted by the General Assembly are codified in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated
State judicial authority rests with the state Supreme Court
and Court of Appeals
, which have statewide authority.
In addition, there are smaller courts which have more limited geographical jurisdiction, including Superior Courts, State Courts, Juvenile Courts, Magistrate Courts and Probate Courts. Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the Court of Appeals are elected statewide by the citizens in non-partisan elections to six-year terms. Judges for the smaller courts are elected to four-year terms by the state's citizens who live within that court's jurisdiction.
Georgia consists of 159 counties
, second only to Texas, with 254.
Georgia had 161 counties until the end of 1931, when Milton
were merged into the existing Fulton
. Some counties have been named for prominent figures in both American and Georgian history, and many bear names with Native American origin. Counties in Georgia have their own elected legislative branch, usually called the Board of Commissioners, which usually also has executive authority in the county.
Several counties have a sole Commissioner
form of government, with legislative and executive authority vested in a single person. Georgia is the only state with current Sole Commissioner counties. Georgia's Constitution provides all counties and cities with "home rule
" authority. The county commissions have considerable power to pass legislation within their county, as a municipality would.
Georgia recognizes all local units of government as cities, so every incorporated town is legally a city. Georgia does not provide for townships
or independent cities
, though there have been bills proposed in the Legislature to provide for townships;
it does allow consolidated city-county
governments by local referendum
. All of Georgia's second-tier cities except Savannah
have now formed consolidated city-county governments by referendum: Columbus
(in 1970), Athens
(1995), and Macon
(2012). (Augusta and Athens have excluded one or more small, incorporated towns within their consolidated boundaries; Columbus and Macon eventually absorbed all smaller incorporated entities within their consolidated boundaries.) The small town of Cusseta
adopted a consolidated city-county government after it merged with unincorporated Chattahoochee County
in 2003. Three years later, in 2006, the town of Georgetown
consolidated with the rest of Quitman County
Until 1964, Georgia's state government had the longest unbroken record of single-party dominance, by the Democratic Party
, of any state in the Union. This record was established largely due to the disenfranchisement of most blacks
and many poor whites by the state in its constitution and laws in the early 20th century. Some elements, such as requiring payment of poll taxes and passing literacy tests, prevented blacks from registering to vote; their exclusion from the political system lasted into the 1960s and reduced the Republican Party to a non-competitive status in the early 20th century.
White Democrats regained power after Reconstruction due in part to the efforts of some using intimidation and violence, but this method came into disrepute.
In 1900, shortly before Georgia adopted a disfranchising constitutional amendment in 1908, blacks comprised 47% of the state's population.
The whites dealt with this problem of potential political power by the 1908 amendment, which in practice disenfranchised blacks and poor whites, nearly half of the state population. It required that any male at least 21 years of age wanting to register to vote must also: (a) be of good character and able to pass a test on citizenship, (b) be able to read and write provisions of the U.S. and Georgia constitutions, or (c) own at least 40 acres of land or $500 in property. Any Georgian who had fought in any war from the American Revolution
through the Spanish–American War
was exempted from these additional qualifications. More importantly, any Georgian descended from a veteran of any of these wars also was exempted. Because by 1908 many white Georgia males were grandsons of veterans and/or owned the required property, the exemption and the property requirement basically allowed only well-to-do whites to vote. The qualifications of good character, citizenship knowledge, and literacy (all determined subjectively by white registrars), and property ownership were used to disqualify most blacks and poor whites, preventing them from registering to vote. The voter rolls dropped dramatically.
In the early 20th century, Progressives
promoted electoral reform and reducing the power of ward bosses to clean up politics. Their additional rules, such as the eight-box law, continued to effectively close out people who were illiterate.
White one-party rule was solidified.
For more than 130 years, from 1872 to 2003, Georgians nominated and elected only white Democratic governors, and white Democrats held the majority of seats in the General Assembly.
Most of the Democrats elected throughout these years were Southern Democrats
, who were fiscally and socially conservative by national standards.
This voting pattern continued after the segregationist period.
Legal segregation was ended by passage of federal legislation in the 1960s. According to the 1960 census, the proportion of Georgia's population that was African American was 28%; hundreds of thousands of blacks had left the state in the Great Migration
to the North and Midwest. New white residents arrived through migration and immigration. Following support from the national Democratic Party for the civil rights movement and especially civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, most African-American voters, as well as other minority voters, have largely supported the Democratic Party in Georgia.
In the decades since the late 20th century, the conservative white-majority voters have increasingly supported Republicans for national and state offices.
In 2002, incumbent moderate Democratic Governor Roy Barnes
was defeated by Republican Sonny Perdue
, a state legislator and former Democrat. While Democrats retained control of the State House, they lost their majority in the Senate when four Democrats switched parties. They lost the House in the 2004 election. Republicans then controlled all three partisan elements of the state government.
Even before 2002, the state had become increasingly supportive of Republicans in Presidential elections. It has supported a Democrat for president only three times since 1960. In 1976 and 1980, native son Jimmy Carter
carried the state; in 1992, the former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton
narrowly won the state. Generally, Republicans are strongest in the predominantly white suburban (especially the Atlanta suburbs) and rural portions of the state.
Many of these areas were represented by conservative Democrats in the state legislature well into the 21st century. One of the most conservative of these was U.S. Congressman Larry McDonald
, former head of the John Birch Society
, who died when the Soviet Union
shot down KAL 007
near Sakhalin Island
. Democratic candidates have tended to win a higher percentage of the vote in the areas where black voters are most numerous,
as well as in the cities among liberal urban populations (especially Atlanta and Athens), and the central and southwestern portion of the state.
The ascendancy of the Republican Party in Georgia and in the South in general resulted in Georgia U.S. House of Representatives
member Newt Gingrich
being elected as Speaker of the House
following the election of a Republican majority in the House in 1994. Gingrich served as Speaker until 1999, when he resigned in the aftermath of the loss of House seats held by members of the GOP. Gingrich mounted an unsuccessful bid for president in the 2012 election, but withdrew after winning only the South Carolina and Georgia primaries.
In 2008, Democrat Jim Martin
ran against incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss
. Chambliss failed to acquire the necessary 50 percent of votes due to a Libertarian Party candidate receiving the remainder of votes. In the runoff election
held on December 2, 2008, Chambliss became the second Georgia Republican to be reelected to the U.S. Senate.
In the 2018 elections, the governor
remained a Republican (by 54,723 votes against a democratic black female
, Stacey Abrams
), Republicans lost eight seats in the Georgia House of Representatives
(winning 106), while Democrats gained ten (winning 74), Republicans lost two seats in the Georgia Senate
(winning 35 seats), while Democrats gained two seats (winning 21), and five Democrat U.S. Representatives
were elected with Republicans winning nine seats (one winning with just 419 votes over the Democratic challenger, and one seat being lost).
In the three presidential elections up to and including 2016, the Republican candidate has won Georgia by approximately five to eight points over the Democratic nominee, at least once for each election being narrower than margins recorded in some states that have flipped within that timeframe, such as Michigan
. This trend led to the state electing Democrat Joe Biden
for president in 2020, and it coming to be regarded as a swing state
During the 1960s and 1970s, Georgia made significant changes in civil rights and governance. As in many other states, its legislature had not reapportioned congressional districts according to population from 1931 to after the 1960 census. Problems of malapportionment in the state legislature, where rural districts had outsize power in relation to urban districts, such as Atlanta's, were corrected after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Wesberry v. Sanders
(1964). The court ruled that congressional districts had to be reapportioned to have essentially equal populations.
A related case, Reynolds v. Sims
(1964), required state legislatures to end their use of geographical districts or counties in favor of "one man, one vote"; that is, districts based upon approximately equal populations, to be reviewed and changed as necessary after each census. These changes resulted in residents of Atlanta and other urban areas gaining political power in Georgia in proportion to their populations.
From the mid-1960s, the voting electorate increased after African Americans' rights to vote were enforced under civil rights law.
Economic growth through this period was dominated by Atlanta and its region. It was a bedrock of the emerging "New South
". From the late 20th century, Atlanta attracted headquarters and relocated workers of national companies, becoming more diverse, liberal and cosmopolitan than many areas of the state.
In the 21st century, many conservative Democrats, including former U.S. Senator and governor Zell Miller
, decided to support Republicans. The state's socially conservative bent results in wide support for measures such as restrictions on abortion. In 2004, a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages
was approved by 76% of voters.
However, after the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges
, all Georgia counties came into full compliance, recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state.
In presidential elections
, Georgia voted solely Democratic in every election from 1900
. In 1964
, it was one of only a handful of states to vote for Republican Barry Goldwater
over Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson
. In 1968
, it did not vote for either of the two parties, but rather the American Independent Party
and its nominee, Alabama
Governor George Wallace
. In 1972
, the state returned to Republicans as part of a landslide victory for Richard Nixon
. In 1976
, it voted for Democrat and former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter
. The state returned to Republicans in 1984
, before going Democratic once again in 1992
. For every election between that year and 2020
, Georgia voted heavily Republican, in line with many of its neighbors in the Deep South
. In 2020
, it voted Democratic for the first time in 28 years, aiding Joe Biden
in his defeat of incumbent Republican Donald Trump
. Prior to 2020, Republicans in state, federal and congressional races had seen decreasing margins of victory, and many election forecasts had ranked Georgia as a "toss-up" state, or with Biden as a very narrow favorite.
Concurrent with the 2020 presidential election were two elections for both of Georgia's United States Senate seats (one of which being a special election due to the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson
, and the other being regularly scheduled). After no candidate in either race received a majority of the vote, both went to January 5, 2021 run-offs, which Democrats Jon Ossoff
and Raphael Warnock
won. Ossoff is the state's first Jewish senator, and Warnock is the state's first Black senator. Biden's, Ossoff's, and Warnock's wins were attributed to the rapid diversification
of the suburbs of Atlanta
and increased turnout of younger African American
voters, particularly around the suburbs of Atlanta and in Savannah, Georgia
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.
Total employment 2016
Total employer establishments 2016
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
Atlanta has a large effect on the state of Georgia, the Southeastern United States, and beyond. Atlanta has been the site of growth in finance
, real estate
, convention and trade show
businesses and industries, while tourism
is important to the economy. Atlanta
is a global city
, also called world city
or sometimes alpha city
or world center
, as a city generally considered to be an important node in the global economic system.
For the five years through November 2017, Georgia has been ranked the top state (number 1) in the nation to do business, and has been recognized as number 1 for business and labor climate in the nation, number 1 in business climate in the nation, number 1 in the nation in workforce training and as having a "Best in Class" state economic development agency.
In 2016, Georgia had median annual income per person of between $50,000 and $59,999, which is in inflation-adjusted dollars for 2016. The U.S. median annual income for the entire nation is $57,617. This lies within the range of Georgia's median annual income.
A cotton field in southern Georgia
Widespread farms produce peanuts
, 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.
Major products in the mineral industry include a variety of clays, stones, sands and the clay palygorskite
, known as attapulgite.
Industrial products include textiles and apparel
, transportation equipment, food processing, paper products, chemicals
and products, and electric equipment.
Georgia was ranked the number 2 state for infrastructure and global access by Area Development
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport moves over 650,000 tons of cargo annually through three cargo complexes (two million square feet of floor space). It has nearby cold storage for perishables; it is the only airport in the Southeast with USDA-approved cold-treatment capabilities. Delta Air Lines also offers an on-airport refrigeration facility for perishable cargo, and a 250-acre Foreign Trade Zone is located at the airport.
Georgia is a major railway hub, has the most extensive rail system in the Southeast, and has the service of two Class I railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, plus 24 short-line railroads. Georgia is ranked the #3 state in the nation for rail accessibility. Rail shipments include intermodal, bulk, automotive and every other type of shipment.
Georgia has an extensive interstate highway system including 1,200 miles of interstate highway and 20,000 miles of federal and state highways that facilitate the efficient movement of more than $620 billion of cargo by truck each year. Georgia's six interstates connect to 80 percent of the U.S. population within a two-day truck drive. More than $14 billion in funding has been approved[when?]
for new roadway infrastructure.
Energy use and production
Georgia's electricity generation and consumption are among the highest in the United States, with natural gas being the primary electrical generation fuel, followed by coal. The state also has two nuclear power facilities, Plant Hatch
and Plant Vogtle
, which contribute almost one fourth of Georgia's electricity generation, and an additional two nuclear power plants are under construction[when?]
at Plant Vogtle. In 2013, the generation mix was 39% gas, 35% coal, 23% nuclear, 3% hydro and other renewable sources. The leading area of energy consumption is the industrial sector because Georgia "is a leader in the energy-intensive wood and paper products industry".
Solar generated energy is becoming more in use with solar energy generators currently installed ranking Georgia 15th in the country in installed solar capacity. In 2013, $189 million was invested in Georgia to install solar for home, business and utility use representing a 795% increase over the previous year.
Georgia has a progressive income tax
structure with six brackets of state income tax
rates that range from 1% to 6%. In 2009, Georgians paid 9% of their income in state and local taxes, compared to the U.S. average of 9.8% of income.
This ranks Georgia 25th among the states for total state and local tax burden.
The state sales tax
in Georgia is 4%
with additional percentages added through local options (e.g. special-purpose local-option sales tax
or SPLOST), but there is no sales tax on prescription drugs
, certain medical devices, or food items for home consumption.
The state legislature
may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 2% SPLOST tax and the 1% sales tax for MARTA
serviced counties. Excise taxes
are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. Owners of real property
in Georgia pay property tax
to their county. All taxes are collected by the Georgia Department of Revenue
and then properly distributed according to any agreements that each county has with its cities.
The Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office promotes filming in the state.
Since 1972, seven hundred film and television projects have been filmed on location in Georgia.
Georgia overtook California in 2016 as the state location with the most feature films produced. In FY2017, film and television production in Georgia had an economic impact of $9.5 billion.
Atlanta now is even called the "Hollywood of the South".
Television shows like Stranger Things
, The Walking Dead
, and The Vampire Diaries
are filmed in the state.
Movies too, such as Passengers
, Forrest Gump
, Hidden Figures
, Baby Driver
, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
, Captain America: Civil War
, Black Panther
, Birds of Prey
and many more, were filmed around Georgia.
Savannah's River Street is a popular tourist destination.
Fine and performing arts
Also filmed in Georgia is The Vampire Diaries
, using Covington as the setting for the fictional Mystic Falls.
Since the 1990s, various hip-hop and R&B musicians have included top-selling artists such as Outkast
, and Ciara
. Atlanta is mentioned in a number of these artists' tracks, such as Usher's "A-Town Down" reference in his 2004 hit "Yeah!
" (which also features Atlanta artists Lil Jon
and Ludacris), Ludacris' "Welcome to Atlanta
", Outkast's album "ATLiens
", and B.o.B
.'s multiple references to Decatur, Georgia
, as in his hit song "Strange Clouds
The 1996 Summer Olympics
took place in Atlanta. The stadium that was built to host various Olympic events was converted to Turner Field
, home of the Atlanta Braves through 2016.
Parks and recreational activities
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 high schools (grades nine through twelve) are required to administer a standardized
, multiple choice End of Course Test
, or EOCT, in each of eight core subjects: algebra
, U.S. history
, economics, biology
, physical science
, ninth grade literature and composition
, and American literature
. The official purpose of the tests is to assess "specific content knowledge and skills". Although a minimum test score is not required for the student to receive credit
in the course, completion of the test is mandatory. The EOCT score accounts for 15% of a student's grade in the course.
The Georgia Milestone
evaluation is taken by public school students in the state.
In 2020, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia State BOE agreed to state superintendent Richard Woods’ proposal to change the weight of the EOCT test to only count for 0.01% of the Student's course grade. This change is currently only in effect for the 2020–21 school year.
The Georgia Historical Society
, an independent educational and research institution, has a research center located in Savannah
. The research center's library and archives hold the oldest collection of materials related to Georgia history in the nation.
in Atlanta was the first licensed radio station in the southeastern United States, signing on in 1922. Georgia Public Radio
has been in service since 1984
and, with the exception of Atlanta, it broadcasts daily on several FM (and one AM) stations across the state. Georgia Public Radio reaches nearly all of Georgia (with the exception of the Atlanta area, which is served by WABE
in Atlanta is the state's oldest television station, having begun operations in 1948. WSB was only the second such operation founded in the Southern U.S., trailing only WTVR
in Richmond, Virginia
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
, 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.
(rapid transit) train
Georgia's primary commercial airport is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the world's busiest airport.
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
, and Athens
The Georgia Ports Authority
manages two deepwater seaports, at Savannah and Brunswick, and two river ports, at Bainbridge and Columbus. The Port of Savannah
is a major U.S. seaport on the Atlantic coast.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA
) is the principal rapid transit
system in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Formed in 1971 as strictly a bus system, MARTA operates a network of bus routes
linked to a rapid transit system consisting of 48 miles (77 km) of rail track
with 38 train stations
. MARTA operates almost exclusively in Fulton
counties, with bus service to two destinations in Cobb
county and the Cumberland
Transfer Center next to the Cumberland Mall
, and a single rail station in Clayton
County at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. MARTA also operates a separate paratransit
service for disabled customers. As of 2009, the average total daily ridership for the system (bus and rail) was 482,500 passengers.
The state has 151 general hospitals, more than 15,000 doctors and almost 6,000 dentists.
The state is ranked forty-first in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise.
Reference: Georgia Symbols
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