Frankfurt am Main, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2012 population of 704,449. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010. The city is at the centre of the larger Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region which has a population of 5,600,000 and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region. Since the expansion of the European Union in 2007, the geographic midpoint of the European Union is about 40 kilometres east of Frankfurt am Main.
Frankfurt is the financial and transport centre of Germany and the largest financial centre in continental Europe. It is the seat of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the Frankfurt Trade Fair, as well as several large commercial banks, e.g. Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and DZ Bank. Frankfurt Airport is one of the world's busiest international airports, Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest terminal stations in Europe, the Frankfurter Kreuz is one of the most heavily used Autobahn interchanges in Europe. Additionally, Frankfurt's DE-CIX is the world's largest internet traffic exchange point.
Frankfurt is an international centre for finance, commerce, culture, transport, education, and tourism. It is therefore considered a global city (alpha world city) as listed by the Loughborough University group's 2010 inventory. Among global cities it was ranked 10th by the Global Power City Index 2011 and 11th by the Global City Competitiveness Index 2012. Among financial centers it was ranked 7th by the International Financial Centers Development Index 2012 and 10th by the Global Financial Centres Index 2013.
In 2011, the human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Frankfurt as seventh in its annual "Quality of Living" survey of cities around the world. According to The Economist cost of living survey, Frankfurt is Germany’s most expensive city, and the 10th most expensive in the world.
The three major pillars of Frankfurt's economy are finance, transport, and trade fairs.
Frankfurt has been Germany's financial centre for centuries and it is the home of a number of major banks and brokerages. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse) is by far Germany's largest, and is one of the world's most important. Frankfurt is also the seat of the European Central Bank (Europäische Zentralbank) which sets monetary policy for the Eurozone, consisting of 17 European Union member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender, and of the German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank). In 2010, 63 national and 152 international banks had their registered offices here including the headquarters of the major German banks, notably Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, as well as 41 representative offices of international banks
The importance of Frankfurt as a financial centre is rising in recent years. Indications are the establishment of the European supervisory authority for insurance EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) and the installation of the EU system risk-Council, the European authority for the early detection, prevention and management of systemic risks within the financial market in the EU. Additionally, the single European supervisory mechanism for the European banking union will be controlled by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank from 2013 onwards aiming to supervise more than 6000 banks in the Euro zone.
A unique feature of Frankfurt is its significant number of skyscrapers in the city center which form the Frankfurt skyline. Frankfurt is one of only a few cities in the European Union that have such a skyline, the others being London, Milan, Warsaw, Madrid, Rotterdam and La Défense in the outer Paris region. Because of the city's skyline, Germans sometimes refer to Frankfurt am Main as "Mainhattan".