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. According to the US Census 2009 estimate, the Canton-Massillon, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area has a total population of 408,005 residents.
Canton is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the McKinley National Memorial, the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, and the First Ladies National Historic Site.