Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located in the U.S. state of Washington between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, nearly 108 miles (174 km) south of the United States–Canadian border in King County, of which it is the county seat.
Seattle is often regarded as the birthplace of grunge music, and has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption; coffee companies founded in Seattle include Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee, and Tully's. There are also many successful independent artisanal espresso roasters and cafes. Seattle was the site of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization, and the attendant demonstrations by anti-globalization activists, which were in keeping with Seattle's left-leaning history and reputation. Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle the most literate city in America in 2005. Moreover, a United States Census Bureau survey showed that Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates of any major U.S. city. Based on per capita income, Seattle ranks 36th of 522 studied areas in the state of Washington.
Post-secondary education in Seattle is dominated by the University of Washington. With over 40,000 under-graduates and post-graduates, it is the largest school in the Pacific Northwest and is ranked among the top research universities in the United States. Most prominent of the city's other universities are Seattle University, a Jesuit university, and Seattle Pacific University, founded by the Free Methodists. There are also a handful of smaller schools, such as City University, a private secular school; Antioch University Seattle , which provides graduate and undergraduate degrees for working adults; and others mainly in the fine arts, business and psychology. The venerable Cornish College of the Arts offers bachelor's degrees in such disciplines as dance, music, and theatre. Seattle is also served by North Seattle, Seattle Central, and South Seattle Community Colleges. Time magazine chose Seattle Central Community College for best college of the year in 2001, claiming that the school "pushes diverse students to work together in small teams".
Five companies on the 2006 Fortune 500 list of the United States' largest companies, based on total revenue, are headquartered in Seattle: financial services company Washington Mutual (#99), Internet retailer Amazon.com (#272), department store Nordstrom (#293), coffee chain Starbucks (#338), and insurance company Safeco Corporation (#339). Just shy of making the list is global logistics firm Expeditors International (#506). Other Fortune 500 companies popularly associated with Seattle are based in nearby Puget Sound cities. Warehouse club chain Costco Wholesale Corp. (#28), the largest company in Washington, is based in Issaquah. Microsoft (#48), Nintendo of America, and cellular telephone pioneer McCaw Cellular (now part of Cingular), are all located in Redmond. Weyerhaeuser, the forest products company (#90), is based in Federal Way. Finally, Bellevue is home to truck manufacturer PACCAR (#157) and international mobile telephony giant T-Mobile's U.S. subsidiary T-Mobile USA.
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