The geography of the state is marked by the Green Mountains, which run north-south up the middle of the state, separating Lake Champlain and other valley terrain on the west from the Connecticut River valley that defines much of its eastern border. A majority of its terrain is forested with hardwoods and conifers. A majority of its open land is in agriculture. The state's climate is characterized by warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Its largest city, Burlington, had fewer than 50,000 residents, as of 2010. Demographically, the state was 94.3% white, as of 2010. At that time, Protestants (30%) and Catholics (22%) made up the majority of those reporting a religious preference with 37% reporting no religion. Other religions individually contributed no more than 2% to the total.
Vermont economic activity of $26 billion in 2010 caused it to rank 34th in gross state product. It has been ranked 42nd as a state in which to do business. In terms of economic impact, government, real estate, manufacturing and health care are the most significant sectors. In terms of visibility, agriculture, tourism, recreation, and forestry are notable. Politically, Vermont transitioned from being a reliably Republican state to one that was more liberal, starting in 1960. It alternates between Republican and Democratic governors, but has sent only Democrats (or independents) to Congress, since 2007. Voters have chosen Democrats for president, since 1992. The state became the first to recognize unions for same-sex couples through legislative action with the introduction of civil unions in 2000.