According to the 2010 census, Tarlac City has a population of 318,332 people.
The city was proclaimed as a Highly Urbanized City during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but the decision was opposed by the provincial government.
The city is situated at the center of the province. To its north is Gerona and Santa Ignacia, west is San Jose, south is Capas and Concepcion and eastern boundaries are Victoria and La Paz. This is also the location of Tarlac River.
Tarlac City is approximately 24 metres (79 ft) above sea level on some parts but reaching even 50 metres (160 ft) on large western portions. Tarlac City was historically a part of what is now Porac, Pampanga. Parts of Tarlac city are claimed to be among the few portions of land in the province which was not created by ancient eruptions from Mount Pinatubo.
According to statistics compiled by the Philippine government, the most dominant religion in the city is Christianity with 73% of the population adhering to the faith. The majority of Christians are Roman Catholics followed by a large concentration of Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Other Christian groups belong to various Protestant denominations. The remaining 27% being non-Christian such as Muslims, etc.
Tarlac City is the usual bus stop for commuters travelling to the Ilocos Region and Cordillera provinces. Bus companies that take a route through the city include Philippine Rabbit, Victory Liner, Five Star, Partas, Baliwag Transit, Farinas Transit, Genesis, Santrans, de Leon Express, GV Florida, and many others. Many of the bus companies’ stations can be found along MacArthur Highway namely Siesta and Motorway.
The MacArthur Highway goes from the southern to the northern end of the city. There are a series of roads leading to Zambales and Pangasinan as well as Baguio City. Most buses passing through the town of Camiling onwards to Pangasinan usually take the Romulo Highway which forks from MacArthur Highway along Brgy. San Roque.
There are several shopping malls established within the city. To name a few, there is the SM City Tarlac, which is the first SM Supermall in the Tarlac Province, located along McArthur Highway in San Roque; Plaza Luisita Mall, which is the first shopping center in Central Luzon (now Robinsons Luisita; the Magic Star Mall along Romulo Blvd. in Brgy. Cut-cut; My MetroTown Mall in Brgy. Sto Cristo; Palm Plaza Mall located along McArthur Highway corner F. Tanedo St. Brgy. Matatalaib; CityWalk also located in Brgy. San Roque and the Double Dragon’s CityMall (u/c) located in Brgy. San Rafael.
The Malatarlak Festival, celebrated every January in Tarlac City, is one of the most remarkable festivals in the province. In 2011, the City Mayor then changed the name of the festival to Melting Pot Festival, but it is still remembered by its former name. The festival is a commemoration to the first people who built civilization in the province, the Aetas.