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Founded in 1738, San José is one of the youngest capitals of Latin America by its year of foundation, though it was not named capital until 1823. Nowadays it's a modern city with bustling commerce, brisk expressions of art and architecture, and spurred by the country's improved tourism industry, it is also a significant destination and stopover for foreign visitors.
Officially, the city's current population is of 346,799, this population corresponds to the San José Canton, the first of the twenty administrative units in San José Province, though the metropolitan area stretches beyond the canton limits and comprises a third of the country's population. Besides, San José exerts a strong influence on a wider range because of its proximity to minor cities (Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago) and the country's demographic assemblage in the Central Valley.