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Austin, Texas


Texas state capitol

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas, within the United States of America. With a year 2000 population of 656,562 people (metro area population of over 1 million people), Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas (behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio), and the 16th largest in the U.S. Austin is the county seat of Travis County and is situated in Central Texas.

Austin was founded in 1835 and was first named Waterloo. In 1838, Mirabeau B. Lamar renamed the city in honor of Stephen F. Austin. Its original name is referenced in establishments such as Waterloo Ice House and Waterloo Records.

Austin is also the home of the University of Texas at Austin, aka "UT", the "flagship campus" of The University of Texas System. Other institutions of higher learning include Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson College and St. Edwards University.

Austin has a heady mix of educators and their students, politicians and lobbyists. It is also the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world", with a vibrant live music scene centered around many clubs on 6th Street and a yearly film/music/multimedia festival known as "South by Southwest". Austin City Limits, the longest-running concert music program on American television, is videotaped on the University of Texas campus.

Austin's biggest employers include the State of Texas, The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Computer, Motorola, and IBM. Another little-known high-tech giant that is headquartered in Austin and has ranked in Fortune's 100 Best Employers is National Instruments. The region is known as "Silicon Hills." There has been a lot of rapid development with the construction driving the city towards the north and the south.

The University of Texas has an outstanding Radio, Television, and Film (RTF) department and, partly because of this, Austin has been the location of a number of movies, including Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, and Slacker. Austin is home to several famous directors such as Robert Rodriguez. Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival as well as the South by Southwest Festival which draw films of many different types from all over the world.

Austin is situated on the Colorado River, with three lakes within the city limits: Town Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis. The city is also situated on the Balcones Fault, which runs the same route as Interstate Highway 35, Austin's main north-south artery. The eastern part of the city is flat while the western part and western suburbs consist of scenic rolling hills. Because the hills to the west are primarily rock with a thin covering of topsoil, the city is subjected to frequent flash flooding from the excessive runoff caused by thunderstorms. To help control this runoff and to generate hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River Authority operates a series of dams which form the Texas Highland Lakes. The lakes also provide venues for boating, swimming and other forms of recreation within several parks located on the lake shores.

Austin has the Austin Ice Bats of the Central Hockey League.

Austin has the headquarters of Origin Systems.

Austin is served by the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Government

Austin is administered by a city council of seven members, each of them elected by the entire city, and by an elected mayor. Under a tradition known as the "gentleman's agreement" which has existed since the 1970s, one of the council seats is contested only by an African-American while another council seat is contested only by a Hispanic. Political parties are not a major influence on city politics, and the main political actors within Austin are interest groups like the pro-environmental Save Our Springs Alliance.

The political controversy that dominated the 1990s was the conflict between environmentalists strong in the city center and advocates of more urban growth who tend to live in the outlying areas. This conflict has been less heated in the last several years as the idea of smart growth has become popular.

Geography

Austin is located at 3016'23" North, 9744'42" West (30.2731, -97.7450).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 669.3 km² (258.4 mi²). 651.4 km² (251.5 mi²) of it is land and 17.9 km² (6.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.67% water.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 656,562 people, 265,649 households, and 141,590 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,007.9/km² (2,610.4/mi²). There are 276,842 housing units at an average density of 425.0/km² (1,100.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 65.36% White, 10.05% African American, 0.59% Native American, 4.72% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 16.23% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. 30.55% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 265,649 households out of which 26.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% are non-families. 32.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 4.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.40 and the average family size is 3.14.

In the city the population is spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 105.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 105.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $42,689, and the median income for a family is $54,091. Males have a median income of $35,545 versus $30,046 for females. The per capita income for the city is $24,163. 14.4% of the population and 9.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 16.5% are under the age of 18 and 8.7% are 65 or older.

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