Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina and the 19th-largest city in the United States. The seat of Mecklenburg County, it is the largest city between Philadelphia and Jacksonville. In 2007, Charlotte's population was estimated to be 671,588, an increase of 46% since 1990. A resident of Charlotte is referred to as a Charlottean.
Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte (as well as the county containing it) is named in honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg, who had become queen consort of King George III the year before the city's founding. A second nickname derives from later in the 18th century. During the American Revolutionary War, British commander General Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out soon afterwards by hostile residents, prompting him to write that Charlotte was "a hornet's nest of rebellion," leading to another city nickname: The Hornet's Nest. This is also reason for the City's former NBA team the Charlotte Hornets.
In 2007, the Charlotte metropolitan area had an estimated population of 1,583,016. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region or combined statistical area that has an estimated population (as of 2008) of 2,491,650. In 2008, Charlotte was chosen the "Best Place to Live in America" by relocate-america.com in its annual ranking, based on factors including employment opportunities, crime rates, and housing affordability.
The city's public school system, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is the second largest in North Carolina and 20th largest in the nation. About 132,000 students are taught in 161 separate elementary, middle and high schools. Secular and religious private schools are prominent, from well-established schools with large campuses to others that are small and new. The relatively recent phenomenon of charter schools, independently operated public schools, are another education option.
Charlotte's largest higher education institution, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is located in University City, as the northeastern portion of Charlotte is called. At 23,000 students and counting, it is the fastest-growing university in the state system, and is the third largest so far. The area is also home to University Research Park, a 3,200 acre (13 km²) research and corporate park. Central Piedmont Community College has multiple campuses, all in the Charlotte metro area, and is the largest community college in North Carolina or South Carolina.
Charlotte is home to a number of notable private universities and colleges such as Johnson & Wales University, Queens University of Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, Belmont Abbey College, a separate branch of Pfeiffer University, and Davidson College; the latter being 20 miles north of Charlotte.
The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County serves the Charlotte area with a large collection of books, CDs and DVDs in 20 branches. Most of its locations provide free access to Internet-enabled computers and WiFi.
Local links and resources.