|| atlanta is the capital and the most populous city in the state of georgia , and the core city of the ninth most populous metropolitan area in the united states at 5 , 278 , 904 . it is the county seat of fulton county , although a small portion of the city extends into dekalb county . as of july 2007 , the city of atlanta had a population of 519 , 145 , and a combined statistical area population of 5 , 626 , 400 . residents of the city are known as atlantans . despite its large metropolitan population , atlanta ranks as the 33rd largest city in the united states , and the sixth largest city in the southeastern region ð behind jacksonville , memphis , charlotte , louisville , and nashville . the larger populations of the other southeastern cities reflect their city government boundaries , which range from two to six times in size , and have lesser average population density . atlanta has in recent years undergone a transition from a city of regional commerce to a city of international influence . between 2000 and 2006 , the metropolitan area grew by 20 . 5% , making it the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation . atlanta is sometimes considered a poster child for cities worldwide experiencing rapid growth and urban sprawl , though the city has recently been commended by bodies such as the environmental protection agency for its eco friendly policies . ?