Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2009 Atlanta had an estimated population of about 540,922 people. Its metropolitan area is the ninth largest in the country, inhabited by more than 5.4 million people. The Atlanta Combined Statistical Area has a population approaching six million, making it the most populous metropolis in the Southeastern United States. Like many areas in the Sun Belt, the Atlanta region has seen increasing growth since the 1970s, and it added about 1.1 million residents between 2000 and 2008.