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San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh most populated city in the United States of America and the second most populated city in the state of Texas, with a population of 1,409,019. It was the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities in the United States from 2000 to 2010, and the second from 1990 to 2000. The city is located in the American Southwest, the south–central part of Texas, and the southwestern corner of an urban region known as the Texas Triangle.
San Antonio serves as the seat of Bexar County. The city has characteristics of other western urban centers in which there are sparsely populated areas and a low density rate outside of the city limits. San Antonio is the center of the San Antonio–New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area. Commonly referred to as Greater San Antonio, the metropolitan area has a population of over 2.27 million based on the 2013 US Census estimate, making it the 25th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and third-largest in the state of Texas. Growth along the Interstate 35 and Interstate 10 corridors to the north, west and east make it likely that the metropolitan area will continue to expand.
San Antonio was named for Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is on June 13, by a 1691 Spanish expedition in the area. It is notable for Spanish colonial missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, the Alamo Bowl, and Marriage Island. Commercial entertainment includes SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, and according to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city is visited by about 26 million tourists a year. The city is home to the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and hosts the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest such events in the country.
The US armed forces have numerous facilities in San Antonio: Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base (which constitute Joint Base San Antonio), and Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex, with Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley located outside the city. Kelly Air Force Base operated out of San Antonio until 2001, when the airfield was transferred to Lackland AFB. The remaining portions of the base were developed as Port San Antonio, an industrial/business park. San Antonio is home to six Fortune 500 companies and the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.
As of February 2005, San Antonio has seen 13 consecutive quarters of economic growth and has earned a top ranking among large Texas cities. The largest employment sectors in San Antonio are services, manufacturing, and government. The large concentration of government workers is due mainly to the location of four military bases in the area—three Air Force bases (Brooks, Lackland, and Randolph) and one Army post (Fort Sam Houston). From the days its first mission and accompanying presidio military post were founded in 1718, San Antonio has been regarded as an area of strategic importance.
By the end of World War II, the city had become the location for the nerve center of the nation’s defense network, and it remains the headquarters for the largest military establishment in the United States. The bases provide employment to approximately 74,500 military and civilian personnel and have an economic impact on the local community of $4.9 billion. In July of 2001, another of San Antonio’s military bases—Kelly—closed and was redeveloped as KellyUSA, a commercial port. Comprised of an airport and rail-served business park, KellyUSA employs 12,361 people (among them, 7,221 Air Force employees) and has a $2.5 billion economic impact on the San Antonio area.
The service sector is the largest and fastest growing sector of the economy, largely because of increased demand for health care and business services, and San Antonio’s sound tourism industry. Medical and biomedical industries now account for the largest part of the city’s economy, contributing approximately $11.9 billion to the area in 2003. San Antonio’s highly regarded medical industry includes the 900-acre South Texas Medical Center, which employs approximately 25,000 people.
Medical industry employees account for 14 percent of all employees in the San Antonio. In a 2003 survey by the Tourism Division of Texas, 5 of the top 10 tourist draws in the state were in San Antonio, with the Alamo and the River Walk in the number one and two spots, respectively. The attractions of the Alamo City, as San Antonio is known, appeal to tourists from across the country. Approximately 8 million people visit San Antonio per year, and the tourism industry has an estimated $4 billion impact on the city’s economy.
Toyota Motor Corp. recently chose the San Antonio area as the location for one of its newest truck manufacturing plants. The plant, expected to generate approximately 2,500 jobs, will produce approximately 150,000 trucks annually. Production start-up is scheduled for 2006.
Items and goods produced are processed foods, airplane parts, storage batteries, steel forms, structural steel, food handling equipment, semiconductors, rolled aluminum sheet, and cement.