Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. It is the third most populous city in Alabama and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States.
The city became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major centre of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Montgomery has also been recognised nationally for its downtown revitalisation and new urbanism projects. It was one of the first cities in the nation to implement SmartCode Zoning.
Due to its location along the Alabama River and extensive rail connections, Montgomery continues to be a regional distribution hub for a wide range of industries. Since the late 20th century, it has diversified its economy, achieving increased employment in sectors such as healthcare, business, government, and manufacturing. Today, the city's Gross Metropolitan Product is $12.15 billion, representing 8.7% of the gross state product of Alabama.
The largest sectors of non-agricultural employment are: Government, 24.3%; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, 17.3% (including 11.0% in retail trade); Professional and Business Services, 11.9%; Manufacturing, 10.9%; Education and Health Services, 10.0% (including 8.5% in Health Care & Social Assistance); Leisure and Hospitality, 9.2%; Financial Activities, 6.0%, Natural Resources, Mining and Construction, 5.1%; Information, 1.4%; and Other services 4.0%.
Montgomery's largest employers are the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base (12,280 employees), the state of Alabama (9,500), Montgomery Public Schools (4,524), Baptist Health (4,300), Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (3,000), Alfa Insurance (2,568), the City of Montgomery (2,500), Jackson Hospital & Clinic (1,300), Rheem Water Heaters (1,147), and Regions (977).
Montgomery was ranked #254 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Montgomery has a population of over 205,764 people. Montgomery also forms part of the wider Montgomery metropolitan area which has a population of over 374,536 people. Montgomery is the #341 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 2.2429 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.