Baltimore is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland and the 26th largest city in the country. It is located in the central area of the state along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The independent city is often referred to as Baltimore City to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic United States and is situated closer to Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. After a decline in manufacturing, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy, with the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University serving as the city's top two employers.At 621,342 as of July 1, 2012, the population of Baltimore increased by 1,100 residents over the previous year, ending over six decades of population loss since its peak in 1950. The Baltimore Metropolitan Area has grown steadily to approximately 2.7 million residents in 2010; the 20th largest in the country. Baltimore is also a principal city in the larger Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area of approximately 8.4 million residents.With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed "a city of neighborhoods," and is nicknamed Charm City. The talents of writers Edgar Allan Poe and H.L. Mencken, musician James "Eubie" Blake, and singer Billie Holiday, as well as the city's role in the War of 1812 and Francis Scott Key's writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" have all contributed to the city's historical importance.According to the Brookings Institution, almost a quarter of the jobs in the Baltimore region are science, technology, engineering and math positions. The Baltimore Area is known for health and science, which is in part attributed to the prestigious Johns Hopkins University school system, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and other smaller schools such as University of Baltimore, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Loyola University and Notre Dame of Maryland University.