Canton is the county seat of Stark County in northeastern Ohio, approximately 24 miles (39 km) south of Akron and 60 miles (97 km) south of Cleveland.
The City of Canton is the largest incorporated area in the Canton-Massillon Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the Canton-Massillon metropolitan area, which includes all of Stark and Carroll counties, had a population of 404,422.
Founded in 1805 on the West and Middle Branches of the Nimishillen Creek, Canton became a manufacturing center because of its numerous railroad lines. After the decline of heavy manufacturing, the city's industry diversified into service economy, including retailing, education, finance, and healthcare.
According to the 2010 census, Canton's population declined 9.7%, down to 73,007 residents. Despite this decline, the 2010 figure actually had moved Canton up from 9th to 8th place among Ohio cities, as nearby Youngstown in neighboring Mahoning County, once considerably more populous than Canton, had suffered a larger decline.