Internationally, Augusta is best known for hosting The Masters golf tournament each spring, and for being the hometown of James Brown.
Augusta was first used by Native Americans as a place to cross the Savannah River, because of Augusta's location on the fall line. In 1735, two years after James Oglethorpe founded Savannah, he sent a detachment of troops on a journey up the Savannah River. He gave them an order to build at the head of the navigable part of the river. The job fell into the hands of Noble Jones, who created the settlement to provide a first line of defense against the Spanish and the French. Oglethorpe then named the town Augusta, in honor of Augusta, Princess of Wales, daughter-in-law of King George II of Great Britain and mother of King George III of Great Britain. Augusta was the second state capital of Georgia from 1785 until 1795 (alternating for a period with Savannah, the first).
Augusta is located on the Georgia/South Carolina border, about 150 miles east of Atlanta.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Augusta-Richmond County balance has a total area of 306.5 square miles. 302.1 square miles of it is land and 4.3 square miles of it (1.42%) is water.
Augusta is also located about halfway up the Savannah River on the fall line, providing a number of small falls on the Savannah River. The city itself marks the end of a navigable waterway for the river. The Clarks Hill Dam is also built on the fall line near Augusta, forming Lake Strom Thurmond, also known as Clarks Hill Lake. Further downstream, near the border of Columbia County, is the Stevens Creek Dam, which generates hydroelectric power, and still further, the Augusta Diversion Dam which marks the beginning of the Augusta Canal and channels Savannah River waters into the canal.
The city experiences mild winters and a humid summer. The average high temperature for the summer months is 90.6 °F; the average low temperature is 67.8 °F. The average high temperature for the winter months is 58.9 °F; the average low temperature is 34.4 °F.
As of the census of 2000, there were 195,182 people, 72,307 households, and 48,228 families residing in the Augusta-Richmond County balance. The population density was 646.0 people per square mile (249.4/km²). There were 80,481 housing units at an average density of 266.4/sq mi (102.8/km²). The racial makeup of the balance was 50.37% Black or African American, 44.91% White, 0.27% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.79% of the population.
There were 72,307 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 20.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the balance the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.
The median income for a household in the balance was $37,231, and the median income for a family was $45,372. Males had a median income of $32,008 versus $23,988 for females. The per capita income for the balance was $19,558. About 13.2% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.
In recent years, Augusta has become a center of medicine, biotechnology, and military. The Medical College of Georgia, the state's only public health sciences graduate university, employs over 7,000 people. Along with University Hospital, the Medical District of Augusta employs over 25,000 people and has a economic impact of over $1.8 billion.
Along with the Medical College of Georgia, the city's three largest employers include the Savannah River Site (a Department of Energy nuclear facility) and the U.S. Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon.
Companies that have facilities, headquarters or distribution centers in Augusta include Electrolux (US headquarters), CareSouth, T-Mobile, Automatic Data Processing, International Paper, NutraSweet, Teleperformance, E-Z-GO, Club Car, John Deere, Procter & Gamble, and Kellogg's.