Seattle is a coastal seaport city and the seat of King County, in the U.S. state of Washington. With an estimated 652,405 residents as of 2013, Seattle is the largest city in both the State of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America and, as of July 2013, the fastest-growing major city in the United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of around 3.6 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States. The city is situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the 8th largest port in the United States and 9th largest in North America in terms of container handling.
Seattle’s economy is driven by a mix of older industrial companies, and “new economy” Internet and technology companies, service, design and clean technology companies. The city’s gross metropolitan product was $231 billion in 2010, making it the 12th largest metropolitan economy in the United States. The Port of Seattle, which also operates Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, is a major gateway for trade with Asia and cruises to Alaska, and is the 8th largest port in the United States in terms of container capacity. Though it was affected by the Great Recession, Seattle has retained a comparatively strong economy, and remains a hotbed for start-up businesses, especially in green building and clean technologies: it was ranked as America’s No. 1 “smarter city” based on its government policies and green economy. February 2010, the city government committed Seattle to becoming North America’s first “climate neutral” city, with a goal of reaching zero net per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
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