Mississippi

State of the United States of America
State of Mississippi
Flag of Mississippi State seal of Mississippi
Flag Seal
Nickname(s):

“The Magnolia State”, “The Hospitality State”
Motto(s): Virtute et Armis
State song(s): “Go, Mississippi
Map of the United States with Mississippi highlighted
Official language English
Demonym Mississippian
Capital
.mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}
(and largest city)
Jackson
Largest metro Greater Jackson
Area Ranked 32nd
 • Total 48,430 sq mi
(125,443 km2)
 • Width 170 miles (275 km)
 • Length 340 miles (545 km)
 • % water 3%
 • Latitude 30° 12′ N to 35° N
 • Longitude 88° 06′ W to 91° 39′ W
Population Ranked 34th
 • Total 2,986,530 (2018)
 • Density 63.5/sq mi  (24.5/km2)
Ranked 32nd
 • Median household income $40,037[1] (51st)
Elevation
 • Highest point Woodall Mountain[2][3][4]
807 ft (246.0 m)
 • Mean 300 ft  (90 m)
 • Lowest point Gulf of Mexico[3]
Sea level
Before statehood Mississippi Territory
Admission to Union December 10, 1817 (20th)
Governor Phil Bryant (R)
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R)
Legislature Mississippi Legislature
 • Upper house State Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)
U.S. House delegation 1: Trent Kelly (R)
2: Bennie Thompson (D)
3: Michael Guest (R)
4: Steven Palazzo (R) (list)
Time zone Central: UTC −6/−5
ISO 3166 US-MS
Abbreviations MS, Miss.
Website www.ms.gov
Mississippi state symbols
Flag of Mississippi.svg

The Flag of Mississippi
Seal of Mississippi (2014–present).svg

The Seal of Mississippi
Coat of arms of Mississippi.svg

The Coat of arms of Mississippi
Living insignia
Bird
  • Northern mockingbird
  • (Mimus polyglottos)
Butterfly
  • Spicebush swallowtail
  • (Papilio troilus)
Fish
  • Largemouth bass
  • (Micropterus salmoides)
Flower Magnolia
Insect
  • Western honey bee
  • (Apis mellifera)
Mammal White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Reptile
  • American alligator
  • (Alligator mississippiensis)
Tree
  • Southern magnolia
  • (Magnolia grandiflora)
Inanimate insignia
Beverage Milk
Colors red and blue
Dance Clogging
Food Sweet potato
Gemstone Emerald
Mineral Gold
Rock Granite
Shell
  • Eastern oyster
  • (Crassostrea virginica)
Slogan First Flight (unofficial)
State route marker
Mississippi state route marker
State quarter
Mississippi quarter dollar coin

Released in 2002
Lists of United States state symbols

Mississippi (/ˌmɪsɪˈsɪpi/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state’s western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 167,000 people, is both the state’s capital and largest city.

The state is heavily forested outside the Mississippi Delta area, which is the area between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Before the American Civil War, most development in the state was along riverfronts, as the waterways were critical for transportation. Large gangs of slaves were used to work on cotton plantations. After the war, freedmen began to clear the bottomlands to the interior, in the process selling off timber and buying property. By the end of the 19th century, African Americans made up two-thirds of the Delta’s property owners, but timber and railroad companies acquired much of the land after the financial crisis, which occurred when blacks were facing increasing racial discrimination and disfranchisement in the state.

Clearing of the land for plantations altered the Delta’s ecology, increasing the severity of flooding along the Mississippi by taking out trees and bushes that had absorbed excess waters. Much land is now held by agribusinesses. A largely rural state with agricultural areas dominated by industrial farms, Mississippi is ranked low or last among the states in such measures as health, educational attainment, and median household income.[5][6][7] The state’s catfish aquaculture farms produce the majority of farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States.[8]

Since the 1930s and the Great Migration of African Americans to the North and West, the majority of Mississippi’s population has been white, although the state still has the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. state. From the early 19th century to the 1930s, its residents were majority black, and before the American Civil War that population was composed largely of African-American slaves. Democratic Party whites retained political power through disfranchisement and Jim Crow laws. In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 400,000 rural blacks left the state for work and opportunities in northern and midwestern cities, with another wave of migration around World War II to West Coast cities. In the early 1960s, Mississippi was the poorest state in the nation, with 86% of its non-whites living below the poverty level.[9]

In 2010, 37% of Mississippians were African Americans, the highest percentage of African Americans in any U.S. state. Since regaining enforcement of their voting rights in the late 1960s, most African Americans have supported Democratic candidates in local, state and national elections. Conservative whites have shifted to the Republican Party. African Americans are a majority in many counties of the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, an area of historic slave settlement during the plantation era.

Contents

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Geography

    • 2.1 Major cities and towns
    • 2.2 Climate
    • 2.3 Ecology, flora, and fauna
    • 2.4 Ecological problems

      • 2.4.1 Flooding
  • 3 History

    • 3.1 Colonial era
    • 3.2 United States territory
    • 3.3 Statehood, 1817–1861
    • 3.4 Civil War to 20th century
    • 3.5 20th century to present
  • 4 Demographics

    • 4.1 Ancestry
    • 4.2 Language
    • 4.3 Religion
    • 4.4 Birth data
    • 4.5 LGBT
  • 5 Health
  • 6 Economy

    • 6.1 Entertainment and tourism
    • 6.2 Manufacturing
    • 6.3 Taxation
    • 6.4 Federal subsidies and spending
  • 7 Politics and government

    • 7.1 Laws
  • 8 Political alignment
  • 9 Transportation

    • 9.1 Air
    • 9.2 Roads
    • 9.3 Rail

      • 9.3.1 Passenger
      • 9.3.2 Freight
    • 9.4 Water

      • 9.4.1 Major rivers
      • 9.4.2 Major bodies of water
  • 10 Education
  • 11 Culture

    • 11.1 Music
    • 11.2 Literature
    • 11.3 Sports
  • 12 Notable people
  • 13 See also
  • 14 Footnotes
  • 15 Further reading
  • 16 External links

Etymology

The state’s name is derived from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary. Settlers named it after the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (“Great River”).

Geography

Major highways and waterways in Mississippi

Bottomland hardwood swamp near Ashland, Mississippi

Mississippi is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico; and to the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas.

In addition to its namesake, major rivers in Mississippi include the Big Black River, the Pearl River, the Yazoo River, the Pascagoula River, and the Tombigbee River. Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake, and Grenada Lake with the largest lake being Sardis Lake.

Mississippi is entirely composed of lowlands, the highest point being Woodall Mountain, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, 807 feet (246 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level at the Gulf Coast. The state’s mean elevation is 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.

Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The coastal plain is generally composed of low hills, such as the Pine Hills in the south and the North Central Hills. The Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations. Yellow-brown loess soil is found in the western parts of the state. The northeast is a region of fertile black earth that extends into the Alabama Black Belt.

The coastline includes large bays at Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, and Pascagoula. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow Mississippi Sound, which is partially sheltered by Petit Bois Island, Horn Island, East and West Ship Islands, Deer Island, Round Island, and Cat Island.

The northwest remainder of the state consists of the Mississippi Delta, a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The plain is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg. The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt which had been regularly deposited by the flood waters of the Mississippi River.

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:[10]

  • Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site near Baldwyn
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Natchez National Historical Park in Natchez
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail in Tupelo
  • Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Tupelo National Battlefield in Tupelo
  • Vicksburg National Military Park and Cemetery in Vicksburg

Major cities and towns

Jackson, Mississippi

Northwest view of Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District, Gulfport, Mississippi

Strawberry Patch Park in Madison, Mississippi

Map with all counties and many cities and towns labeled

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 50,000 (United States Census Bureau as of 2017):[11]

  1. Jackson (166,965)
  2. Gulfport (71,822)
  3. Southaven (54,031)

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 20,000 but fewer than 50,000 (United States Census Bureau as of 2017):[11]

  1. Hattiesburg (46,377)
  2. Biloxi (45,908)
  3. Tupelo (38,114)
  4. Meridian (37,940)
  5. Olive Branch (37,435)
  6. Greenville (30,686)
  7. Horn Lake (27,095)
  8. Pearl (26,534)
  9. Madison (25,627)
  10. Starkville (25,352)
  11. Clinton (25,154)
  12. Ridgeland (24,266)
  13. Columbus (24,041)
  14. Brandon (23,999)
  15. Oxford (23,639)
  16. Vicksburg (22,489)
  17. Pascagoula (21,733)

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 10,000 but fewer than 20,000 (United States Census Bureau as of 2017):[11]

  1. Gautier (18,512)
  2. Laurel (18,493)
  3. Ocean Springs (17,682)
  4. Hernando (15,981)
  5. Clarksdale (15,732)
  6. Long Beach (15,642)
  7. Natchez (14,886)
  8. Corinth (14,643)
  9. Greenwood (13,996)
  10. Moss Point (13,398)
  11. Bay St. Louis (13,043)
  12. McComb (12,799)
  13. Canton (12,725)
  14. Grenada (12,511)
  15. Brookhaven (12,173)
  16. Cleveland (11,729)
  17. Byram (11,671)
  18. D’Iberville (11,610)
  19. Yazoo City (10,987)
  20. West Point (10,675)
  21. Petal (10,633)
  22. Picayune (10,382)

(See: Lists of cities, towns and villages, census-designated places, metropolitan areas, micropolitan areas, and counties in Mississippi)

Climate

Montgomery County in autumn

Mississippi has a humid subtropical climate with long, hot and humid summers, and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about 81°F (about 27°C) in July and about 48 °F (about 9 °C) in January. The temperature varies little statewide in the summer; however, in winter, the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than the inland portion of the state. The recorded temperature in Mississippi has ranged from −19 °F (−28 °C), in 1966, at Corinth in the northeast, to 115 °F (46 °C), in 1930, at Holly Springs in the north. Heavy snowfall rarely occurs, but isn’t unheard of, such as during the New Year’s Eve 1963 snowstorm. Yearly precipitation generally increases from north to south, with the regions closer to the Gulf being the most humid. Thus, Clarksdale, in the northwest, gets about 50 inches (about 1,270 mm) of precipitation annually and Biloxi, in the south, about 61 inches (about 1,550 mm). Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi; snow is occasional in the southern part of the state.

The late summer and fall is the seasonal period of risk for hurricanes moving inland from the Gulf of Mexico, especially in the southern part of the state. Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 238 people in the state, were the most devastating hurricanes to hit the state. Both caused nearly total storm surge destruction of structures in and around Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula.

As in the rest of the Deep South, thunderstorms are common in Mississippi, especially in the southern part of the state. On average, Mississippi has around 27 tornadoes annually; the northern part of the state has more tornadoes earlier in the year and the southern part a higher frequency later in the year. Two of the five deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history have occurred in the state. These storms struck Natchez, in southwest Mississippi (see The Great Natchez Tornado) and Tupelo, in the northeast corner of the state. About seven F5 tornadoes have been recorded in the state.

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for various Mississippi cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Gulfport 61/43 64/46 70/52 77/59 84/66 89/72 91/74 91/74 87/70 79/60 70/51 63/45
Jackson 55/35 60/38 68/45 75/52 82/61 89/68 91/71 91/70 86/65 77/52 66/43 58/37
Meridian 58/35 63/38 70/44 77/50 84/60 90/67 93/70 93/70 88/64 78/51 68/43 60/37
Tupelo 50/30 56/34 65/41 74/48 81/58 88/66 91/70 91/68 85/62 75/49 63/40 54/33
Source:[12]
Climate data for Mississippi (1980–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 54.3
(12.4)
58.7
(14.8)
67.2
(19.6)
75.2
(24.0)
82.6
(28.1)
88.9
(31.6)
91.4
(33.0)
91.5
(33.1)
86.3
(30.2)
76.9
(24.9)
66.5
(19.2)
56.6
(13.7)
74.7
(23.7)
Average low °F (°C) 33.3
(0.7)
36.7
(2.6)
43.8
(6.6)
51.3
(10.7)
60.3
(15.7)
67.6
(19.8)
70.6
(21.4)
69.7
(20.9)
63
(17)
51.9
(11.1)
43.1
(6.2)
35.7
(2.1)
52.3
(11.2)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.0
(130)
5.2
(130)
5.1
(130)
5.0
(130)
5.1
(130)
4.4
(110)
4.5
(110)
3.9
(99)
3.6
(91)
4.1
(100)
4.9
(120)
5.7
(140)
56.5
(1,420)
Source: USA.com[13]

Ecology, flora, and fauna

The Mississippi state sign located on Interstate 20 West from Alabama

Waterfall at Clark Creek Natural Area, in the deep loess region of western Wilkinson County

Mississippi is heavily forested, with over half of the state’s area covered by wild or cultivated trees. The southeastern part of the state is dominated by longleaf pine, in both uplands and lowland flatwoods and Sarracenia bogs. The Mississippi Alluvial Plain, or Delta, is primarily farmland and aquaculture ponds but also has sizeable tracts of cottonwood, willows, baldcypress, and oaks. A belt of loess extends north to south in the western part of the state, where the Mississippi Alluvial Plain reaches the first hills; this region is characterized by rich, mesic mixed hardwood forests, with some species disjunct from Appalachian forests.[14] Two bands of historical prairie, the Jackson Prairie and the Black Belt, run northwest to southeast in the middle and northeastern part of the state. Although these areas have been highly degraded by conversion to agriculture, a few areas remain, consisting of grassland with interspersed woodland of eastern redcedar, oaks, hickories, osage-orange, and sugarberry. The rest of the state, primarily north of Interstate 20 not including the prairie regions, consists of mixed pine-hardwood forest, common species being loblolly pine, oaks (e.g., water oak), hickories, sweetgum, and elm. Areas along large rivers are commonly inhabited by baldcypress, water tupelo, water elm, and bitter pecan. Commonly cultivated trees include loblolly pine, longleaf pine, cherrybark oak, and cottonwood.

There are approximately 3000 species of vascular plants known from Mississippi.[15] As of 2018, a project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation aims to update that checklist of plants with museum (herbarium) vouchers and create an online atlas of each species’s distribution.[16]

About 420 species of birds are known to inhabit Mississippi.

Mississippi has one of the richest fish faunas in the United States, with 204 native fish species.[17]

Mississippi also has a rich freshwater mussel fauna, with about 90 species in the primary family of native mussels (Unionidae).[18] Several of these species were extirpated during the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

Mississippi is home to 63 crayfish species, including at least 17 endemic species.[19]

Mississippi is home to eight winter stonefly species.[20]

Ecological problems

Flooding

Due to seasonal flooding, possible from December to June, the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers and their tributaries created a fertile floodplain in the Mississippi Delta. The river’s flooding created natural levees, which planters had built higher to try to prevent flooding of land cultivated for cotton crops. Temporary workers built levees along the Mississippi River on top of the natural levees that formed from dirt deposited after the river flooded.

From 1858 to 1861, the state took over levee building, accomplishing it through contractors and hired labor. In those years, planters considered their slaves too valuable to hire out for such dangerous work. Contractors hired gangs of Irish immigrant laborers to build levees and sometimes clear land. Many of the Irish were relatively recent immigrants from the famine years who were struggling to get established.[21] Before the American Civil War, the earthwork levees averaged six feet in height, although in some areas they reached twenty feet.

Flooding has been an integral part of Mississippi history, but clearing of the land for cultivation and to supply wood fuel for steamboats took away the absorption of trees and undergrowth. The banks of the river were denuded, becoming unstable and changing the character of the river. After the Civil War, major floods swept down the valley in 1865, 1867, 1874 and 1882. Such floods regularly overwhelmed levees damaged by Confederate and Union fighting during the war, as well as those constructed after the war.[22] In 1877, the state created the Mississippi Levee District for southern counties.

In 1879, the United States Congress created the Mississippi River Commission, whose responsibilities included aiding state levee boards in the construction of levees. Both white and black transient workers were hired to build the levees in the late 19th century. By 1882, levees averaged seven feet in height, but many in the southern Delta were severely tested by the flood that year.[22] After the 1882 flood, the levee system was expanded. In 1884, the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District was established to oversee levee construction and maintenance in the northern Delta counties; also included were some counties in Arkansas which were part of the Delta.[23]

Flooding overwhelmed northwestern Mississippi in 1912–1913, causing heavy damage to the levee districts. Regional losses and the Mississippi River Levee Association’s lobbying for a flood control bill helped gain passage of national bills in 1917 and 1923 to provide federal matching funds for local levee districts, on a scale of 2:1. Although U.S. participation in World War I interrupted funding of levees, the second round of funding helped raise the average height of levees in the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta to 22 feet (6.7 m) in the 1920s.[24] Scientists now understand the levees have increased the severity of flooding by increasing the flow speed of the river and reducing the area of the floodplains. The region was severely damaged due to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which broke through the levees. There were losses of millions of dollars in property, stock and crops. The most damage occurred in the lower Delta, including Washington and Bolivar counties.[25]

Even as scientific knowledge about the Mississippi River has grown, upstream development and the consequences of the levees have caused more severe flooding in some years. Scientists now understand that the widespread clearing of land and building of the levees have changed the nature of the river. Such work removed the natural protection and absorption of wetlands and forest cover, strengthening the river’s current. The state and federal governments have been struggling for the best approaches to restore some natural habitats in order to best interact with the original riverine ecology.

History

Mississippi state symbols
Flag of Mississippi.svg

The Flag of Mississippi
Seal of Mississippi (2014–present).svg

The Seal of Mississippi
Living insignia
Bird Mockingbird (1944)
Wood duck (1974)
Butterfly Spicebush swallowtail (1991)
Fish Largemouth bass (1974)
Flower Magnolia (1952)
Coreopsis (tickseed) (1991)
Insect Honey bee (1980)
Mammal White-tailed deer (1974)
Red fox (1997)
Bottlenose dolphin (1974)
Reptile American alligator (2005)
Tree Magnolia (1938)
Inanimate insignia
Beverage Milk (1984)
Dance American folk dance (1995)
Fossil Basilosaurus (1981)
Zygorhiza (1981)
Rock Petrified wood (1976)
Shell Oyster (1974)
Slogan Virtute et armis
Soil Natchez silt loam (2003)
Song “Go, Mississippi” (1962)
Toy Teddy bear (2003)
Other Grand Opera House of Meridian (1993)
Tupelo Auto Museum (2003)
Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum (1972)
State route marker
Mississippi state route marker
State quarter
Mississippi quarter dollar coin

Released in 2002
Lists of United States state symbols

Near 10,000 BC Native Americans or Paleo-Indians arrived in what today is referred to as the American South.[26] Paleo-Indians in the South were hunter-gatherers who pursued the megafauna that became extinct following the end of the Pleistocene age. In the Mississippi Delta, Native American settlements and agricultural fields were developed on the natural levees, higher ground in the proximity of rivers. The Native Americans developed extensive fields near their permanent villages. Together with other practices, they created some localized deforestation but did not alter the ecology of the Mississippi Delta as a whole.[27]

After thousands of years, succeeding cultures of the Woodland and Mississippian culture eras developed rich and complex agricultural societies, in which surplus supported the development of specialized trades. Both were mound builder cultures. Those of the Mississippian culture were the largest and most complex, constructed beginning about 950CE. The peoples had a trading network spanning the continent from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. Their large earthworks, which expressed their cosmology of political and religious concepts, still stand throughout the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.

Choctaw Village near the Chefuncte, by Francois Bernard, 1869, Peabody Museum – Harvard University. The women are preparing dye in order to color cane strips for making baskets.

Descendant Native American tribes of the Mississippian culture in the Southeast include the Chickasaw and Choctaw. Other tribes who inhabited the territory of Mississippi (and whose names were honored by colonists in local towns) include the Natchez, the Yazoo, and the Biloxi.

The first major European expedition into the territory that became Mississippi was that of the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto, who passed through the northeast part of the state in 1540, in his second expedition to the New World.

Colonial era

In April 1699, French colonists established the first European settlement at Fort Maurepas (also known as Old Biloxi), built in the vicinity of present-day Ocean Springs on the Gulf Coast. It was settled by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville. In 1716, the French founded Natchez on the Mississippi River (as Fort Rosalie); it became the dominant town and trading post of the area. The French called the greater territory “New France”; the Spanish continued to claim part of the Gulf coast area (east of Mobile Bay) of present-day southern Alabama, in addition to the entire area of present-day Florida.

Pushmataha, Choctaw Principal Chief

Through the 18th century, the area was ruled variously by Spanish, French, and British colonial governments. The colonists imported African slaves as laborers. Under French and Spanish rule, there developed a class of free people of color (gens de couleur libres), mostly multiracial descendants of European men and enslaved or free black women, and their mixed-race children. In the early days the French and Spanish colonists were chiefly men. Even as more European women joined the settlements, the men had interracial unions among women of African descent (and increasingly, multiracial descent), both before and after marriages to European women. Often the European men would help their multiracial children get educated or gain apprenticeships for trades, and sometimes they settled property on them; they often freed the mothers and their children if enslaved, as part of contracts of plaçage. With this social capital, the free people of color became artisans, and sometimes educated merchants and property owners, forming a third class between the Europeans and most enslaved Africans in the French and Spanish settlements, although not so large a free community as in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

After Great Britain’s victory in the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War), the French surrendered the Mississippi area to them under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763). They also ceded their areas to the north that were east of the Mississippi River, including the Illinois Country and Quebec. After the Peace of Paris (1783), the lower third of Mississippi came under Spanish rule as part of West Florida. In 1819 the United States completed the purchase of West Florida and all of East Florida in the Adams–Onís Treaty, and in 1822 both were merged into the Florida Territory.

United States territory

After the American Revolution (1765–83), Britain ceded this area to the new United States of America. The Mississippi Territory was organized on April 7, 1798, from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina to the United States. Their original colonial charters theoretically extended west to the Pacific Ocean. The Mississippi Territory was later twice expanded to include disputed territory claimed by both the United States and Spain.

From 1800 to about 1830, the United States purchased some lands (Treaty of Doak’s Stand) from Native American tribes for new settlements of European Americans; they were mostly migrants from other Southern states, particularly Virginia and North Carolina, where soils were exhausted.[28] On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed between the U.S. Government and the Choctaw. The Choctaw agreed to sell their traditional homelands in Mississippi and Alabama, for compensation and removal to reservations in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). This opened up land for sale to European-American immigrant settlement. Article 14 in the treaty allowed those Choctaw who chose to remain in the state to become U.S. citizens, as they were considered to be giving up their tribal membership. They were the second major non-European ethnic group to do so (the Cherokee were the first).[29][30] Today approximately 9,500 Choctaw live in Neshoba, Newton, Leake, and Jones counties. Federally recognized tribes include the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Many slaveholders brought slaves with them or purchased them through the domestic slave trade, especially in New Orleans. Through the trade, an estimated nearly one million slaves were transported to the Deep South, including Mississippi, in a forced internal migration that broke up many slave families of the Upper South, where planters were selling excess slaves. The Southerners imposed slave laws and restricted the rights of free blacks, according to their view of white supremacy.

Beginning in 1822, slaves in Mississippi were protected by law from cruel and unusual punishment by their owners.[31] The Southern slave codes made the willful killing of a slave illegal in most cases.[32] For example, the 1860 Mississippi case of Oliver v. State charged the defendant with murdering his own slave.[33]

The Big House at D’Evereux Plantation. Built in 1840, the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Statehood, 1817–1861

On December 10, 1817, Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union. David Holmes was elected as the first governor of the state.[34] At that time, the state was still occupied as ancestral land by several Native American tribes, including the Choctaw, Natchez, Houma, Creek, and Chickasaw peoples.[35][36]

Plantations were developed primarily along the major rivers, where the waterfront provided access to the major transportation routes. This is also where early towns developed, linked by the steamboats that carried commercial products and crops to markets. The remainder of Native American ancestral land remained largely undeveloped but was sold through treaties until 1826, when the Choctaws and Chickasaws refused to sell more land.[37]
The combination of the Mississippi state legislature’s abolition of Choctaw Tribal Government in 1829,[38] President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek[39] of 1830, the Choctaw were effectively forced to sell their land and were transported to Oklahoma Territory. The forced migration of the Choctaw, together with other southeastern tribes removed as a result of the Act, became known as the Trail of Tears.

When cotton was king during the 1850s, Mississippi plantation owners—especially those of the Delta and Black Belt central regions—became wealthy due to the high fertility of the soil, the high price of cotton on the international market, and free labor gained through their holding enslaved African Americans. They used some of their profits to buy more cotton land and more slaves. The planters’ dependence on hundreds of thousands of slaves for labor and the severe wealth imbalances among whites, played strong roles both in state politics and in planters’ support for secession. Mississippi was a slave society, with the economy dependent on slavery. The state was thinly settled, with population concentrated in the riverfront areas and towns.

By 1860, the enslaved African-American population numbered 436,631 or 55% of the state’s total of 791,305 persons. Fewer than 1000 were free people of color.[40] The relatively low population of the state before the Civil War reflected the fact that land and villages were developed only along the riverfronts, which formed the main transportation corridors. Ninety percent of the Delta bottomlands were still frontier and undeveloped.[41] The state needed many more settlers for development. The land further away from the rivers was cleared by freedmen and white migrants during Reconstruction and later.[41]

Civil War to 20th century

Confederate dead after the Battle of Corinth. Photo taken October 5, 1862

The legislature of the State of Mississippi in 1890

On January 9, 1861, Mississippi became the second state to declare its secession from the Union, and it was one of the founding members of the Confederate States. The first six states to secede were those with the highest number of slaves. During the war, Union and Confederate forces struggled for dominance on the Mississippi River, critical to supply routes and commerce. More than 80,000 Mississippians fought in the Civil War, and casualties were extremely heavy. Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s long siege of Vicksburg finally gained the Union control of the river in 1863.

In the postwar period, freedmen withdrew from white-run churches to set up independent congregations. The majority of blacks left the Southern Baptist Church, sharply reducing its membership. They created independent black Baptist congregations. By 1895 they had established numerous black Baptist state associations and the National Baptist Convention of black churches.[42]

In addition, independent black denominations, such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church (established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 19th century) and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (established in New York City), sent missionaries to the South in the postwar years. They quickly attracted hundreds of thousands of converts and founded new churches across the South. Southern congregations brought their own influences to those denominations as well.[42][43]

During Reconstruction, the first Mississippi constitutional convention in 1868, with delegates both black and white, framed a constitution whose major elements would be maintained for 22 years.[44] The convention was the first political organization in the state to include African-American representatives, 17 among the 100 members (32 counties had black majorities at the time). Some among the black delegates were freedmen, but others were educated free blacks who had migrated from the North. The convention adopted universal suffrage; did away with property qualifications for suffrage or for office, a change that also benefited both blacks and poor whites; provided for the state’s first public school system; forbade race distinctions in the possession and inheritance of property; and prohibited limiting civil rights in travel.[44] Under the terms of Reconstruction, Mississippi was restored to the Union on February 23, 1870.

Because the Mississippi Delta contained so much fertile bottomland that had not been developed before the Civil War, 90 percent of the land was still frontier. After the Civil War, tens of thousands of migrants were attracted to the area by higher wages offered by planters trying to develop land. In addition, black and white workers could earn money by clearing the land and selling timber, and eventually advance to ownership. The new farmers included many freedmen, who by the late 19th century achieved unusually high rates of land ownership in the Mississippi bottomlands. In the 1870s and 1880s, many black farmers succeeded in gaining land ownership.[41]

Around the start of the 20th century, two-thirds of the Mississippi farmers who owned land in the Delta were African American.[41] But many had become overextended with debt during the falling cotton prices of the difficult years of the late 19th century. Cotton prices fell throughout the decades following the Civil War. As another agricultural depression lowered cotton prices into the 1890s, numerous African-American farmers finally had to sell their land to pay off debts, thus losing the land which they had developed by hard, personal labor.[41]

Democrats had regained control of the state legislature in 1875, after a year of expanded violence against blacks and intimidation of whites in what was called the “white line” campaign, based on asserting white supremacy. Democratic whites were well armed and formed paramilitary organizations such as the Red Shirts to suppress black voting. From 1874 to the elections of 1875, they pressured whites to join the Democrats, and conducted violence against blacks in at least 15 known “riots” in cities around the state to intimidate blacks. They killed a total of 150 blacks, although other estimates place the death toll at twice as many. A total of three white Republicans and five white Democrats were reported killed. In rural areas, deaths of blacks could be covered up. Riots (better described as massacres of blacks) took place in Vicksburg, Clinton, Macon, and in their counties, as well-armed whites broke up black meetings and lynched known black leaders, destroying local political organizations.[45] Seeing the success of this deliberate “Mississippi Plan”, South Carolina and other states followed it and also achieved white Democratic dominance. In 1877 by a national compromise, the last of federal troops were withdrawn from the region.

Even in this environment, black Mississippians continued to be elected to local office. However, black residents were deprived of all political power after white legislators passed a new state constitution in 1890 specifically to “eliminate the nigger from politics”, according to the state’s Democratic governor, James K. Vardaman.[46] It erected barriers to voter registration and instituted electoral provisions that effectively disenfranchised most black Mississippians and many poor whites. Estimates are that 100,000 black and 50,000 white men were removed from voter registration rolls in the state over the next few years.[47]

The loss of political influence contributed to the difficulties of African Americans in their attempts to obtain extended credit in the late 19th century. Together with imposition of Jim Crow and racial segregation laws, whites increased violence against blacks, lynching mostly men, through the period of the 1890s and extending to 1930. Cotton crops failed due to boll weevil infestation and successive severe flooding in 1912 and 1913, creating crisis conditions for many African Americans. With control of the ballot box and more access to credit, white planters bought out such farmers, expanding their ownership of Delta bottomlands. They also took advantage of new railroads sponsored by the state.[41]

Child workers, Pass Christian, 1911, by Lewis Hine

20th century to present

In 1900, blacks made up more than half of the state’s population. By 1910, a majority of black farmers in the Delta had lost their land and become sharecroppers. By 1920, the third generation after freedom, most African Americans in Mississippi were landless laborers again facing poverty.[41] Starting about 1913, tens of thousands of black Americans left Mississippi for the North in the Great Migration to industrial cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York. They sought jobs, better education for their children, the right to vote, relative freedom from discrimination, and better living. In the migration of 1910–1940, they left a society that had been steadily closing off opportunity. Most migrants from Mississippi took trains directly north to Chicago and often settled near former neighbors.

Blacks also faced violence in the form of lynching, shooting, and the burning of churches. In 1923, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stated “the Negro feels that life is not safe in Mississippi and his life may be taken with impunity at any time upon the slightest pretext or provocation by a white man”.[48]

Dancing at a juke joint near Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1939, by Marion Post Wolcott.

In the early 20th century, some industries were established in Mississippi, but jobs were generally restricted to whites, including child workers. The lack of jobs also drove some southern whites north to cities such as Chicago and Detroit, seeking employment, where they also competed with European immigrants. The state depended on agriculture, but mechanization put many farm laborers out of work.

By 1900, many white ministers, especially in the towns, subscribed to the Social Gospel movement, which attempted to apply Christian ethics to social and economic needs of the day. Many strongly supported Prohibition, believing it would help alleviate and prevent many sins.[49]

African-American Baptist churches grew to include more than twice the number of members as their white Baptist counterparts. The African-American call for social equality resonated throughout the Great Depression in the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s.

The Second Great Migration from the South started in the 1940s, lasting until 1970. Almost half a million people left Mississippi in the second migration, three-quarters of them black. Nationwide during the first half of the 20th century, African Americans became rapidly urbanized and many worked in industrial jobs. The Second Great Migration included destinations in the West, especially California, where the buildup of the defense industry offered higher paying jobs to both African Americans and whites.

Blacks and whites in Mississippi generated rich, quintessentially American music traditions: gospel music, country music, jazz, blues and rock and roll. All were invented, promulgated or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians, many of them African American, and most came from the Mississippi Delta. Many musicians carried their music north to Chicago, where they made it the heart of that city’s jazz and blues.

So many African Americans left in the Great Migration that after the 1930s, they became a minority in Mississippi. In 1960 they made up 42% of the state’s population.[50] The whites maintained their discriminatory voter registration processes established in 1890, preventing most blacks from voting, even if they were well educated. Court challenges were not successful until later in the century. After World War II, African-American veterans returned with renewed commitment to be treated as full citizens of the United States and increasingly organized to gain enforcement of their constitutional rights.

The Civil Rights Movement had many roots in religion, and the strong community of churches helped supply volunteers and moral purpose for their activism. Mississippi was a center of activity, based in black churches, to educate and register black voters, and to work for integration. In 1954 the state had created the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a tax-supported agency, chaired by the Governor, that claimed to work for the state’s image but effectively spied on activists and passed information to the local White Citizens’ Councils to suppress black activism. White Citizens Councils had been formed in many cities and towns to resist integration of schools following the unanimous 1954 United States Supreme Court ruling (Brown v. Board of Education) that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. They used intimidation and economic blackmail against activists and suspected activists, including teachers and other professionals. Techniques included loss of jobs and eviction from rental housing.

In the summer of 1964 students and community organizers from across the country came to help register black voters in Mississippi and establish Freedom Schools. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was established to challenge the all-white Democratic Party of the Solid South. Most white politicians resisted such changes. Chapters of the Ku Klux Klan and its sympathizers used violence against activists, most notably the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964 during the Freedom Summer campaign. This was a catalyst for Congressional passage the following year of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mississippi earned a reputation in the 1960s as a reactionary state.[51][52]

After decades of disenfranchisement, African Americans in the state gradually began to exercise their right to vote again for the first time since the 19th century, following the passage of federal civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, which ended de jure segregation and enforced constitutional voting rights. Registration of African-American voters increased and black candidates ran in the 1967 elections for state and local offices. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party fielded some candidates. Teacher Robert G. Clark of Holmes County was the first African American to be elected to the State House since Reconstruction. He continued as the only African American in the state legislature until 1976 and was repeatedly elected into the 21st century, including three terms as Speaker of the House.[53]

In 1966, the state was the last to repeal officially statewide prohibition of alcohol. Before that, Mississippi had taxed the illegal alcohol brought in by bootleggers. Governor Paul Johnson urged repeal and the sheriff “raided the annual Junior League Mardi Gras ball at the Jackson Country Club, breaking open the liquor cabinet and carting off the Champagne before a startled crowd of nobility and high-ranking state officials”.[54]

On August 17, 1969, Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars).

Mississippi was the last state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in March 1984, granting women the right to vote.[55]

In 1987, 20 years after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia that a similar Virginian law was unconstitutional, Mississippi repealed its ban on interracial marriage (also known as miscegenation), which had been enacted in 1890. It also repealed the segregationist-era poll tax in 1989. In 1995, the state symbolically ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which had abolished slavery in 1865. Though ratified in 1995, the state never officially notified the U.S. archivist, which kept the ratification unofficial until 2013, when Ken Sullivan contacted the office of Secretary of State of Mississippi, Delbert Hosemann, who agreed to file the paperwork and make it official.[56][57][58] In 2009, the legislature passed a bill to repeal other discriminatory civil rights laws, which had been enacted in 1964, the same year as the federal Civil Rights Act, but ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by federal courts. Republican Governor Haley Barbour signed the bill into law.[59]

The end of legal segregation and Jim Crow led to the integration of some churches, but most today remain divided along racial and cultural lines, having developed different traditions. After the Civil War, most African Americans left white churches to establish their own independent congregations, particularly Baptist churches, establishing state associations and a national association by the end of the century. They wanted to express their own traditions of worship and practice.[60] In more diverse communities, such as Hattiesburg, some churches have multiracial congregations.[61]

Hurricane Katrina approaching the Gulf Coast on August 28, 2005.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, though a Category 3 storm upon final landfall, caused even greater destruction across the entire 90 miles (145 km) of the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 7,600
1810 31,306 311.9%
1820 75,448 141.0%
1830 136,621 81.1%
1840 375,651 175.0%
1850 606,526 61.5%
1860 791,305 30.5%
1870 827,922 4.6%
1880 1,131,597 36.7%
1890 1,289,600 14.0%
1900 1,551,270 20.3%
1910 1,797,114 15.8%
1920 1,790,618 −0.4%
1930 2,009,821 12.2%
1940 2,183,796 8.7%
1950 2,178,914 −0.2%
1960 2,178,141 0.0%
1970 2,216,912 1.8%
1980 2,520,638 13.7%
1990 2,573,216 2.1%
2000 2,844,658 10.5%
2010 2,967,297 4.3%
Est. 2018 2,986,530 0.6%
Source: 1910–2010[62]
2018 estimate[63]

The center of population of Mississippi is located in Leake County, in the town of Lena.[64]

Mississippi population density map

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Mississippi was 2,986,530 on July 1, 2018, a 0.65% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[63] The state’s economist characterized the state as losing population as job markets elsewhere have caused 3.2 per 1000 to migrate recently.[65]

From 2000 to 2010, the United States Census Bureau reported that Mississippi had the highest rate of increase in people identifying as mixed-race, up 70 percent in the decade; it amounts to a total of 1.1 percent of the population.[61] In addition, Mississippi led the nation for most of the last decade in the growth of mixed marriages among its population. The total population has not increased significantly, but is young. Some of the above change in identification as mixed race is due to new births. But, it appears mostly to reflect those residents who have chosen to identify as more than one race, who in earlier years may have identified by just one ethnicity. A binary racial system had been in place since slavery times and the days of racial segregation. In the civil rights era, people of African descent banded together in an inclusive community to achieve political power and gain restoration of their civil rights.

As the demographer William Frey noted, “In Mississippi, I think it’s [identifying as mixed race] changed from within.”[61] Historically in Mississippi, after Indian removal in the 1830s, the major groups were designated as black (African American), who were then mostly enslaved, and white (primarily European American). Matthew Snipp, also a demographer, commented on the increase in the 21st century in the number of people identifying as being of more than one race: “In a sense, they’re rendering a more accurate portrait of their racial heritage that in the past would have been suppressed.”[61]

After having comprised a majority of the state’s population since well before the Civil War and through the 1930s, today African Americans comprise approximately 37 percent of the state’s population. Most have ancestors who were enslaved, with many forcibly transported from the Upper South in the 19th century to work on the area’s new plantations. Some of these slaves were mixed race, with European ancestors, as there were many children born into slavery with white fathers. Some also have Native American ancestry.[66] During the first half of the 20th century, a total of nearly 400,000 African Americans left the state during the Great Migration, for opportunities in the North, Midwest and West. They became a minority in the state for the first time since early in its development.

The state has had conservative laws related to sexuality. The state’s sodomy law criminalized consensual sex between adults of the same gender until 2003 (but was seldom enforced),[citation needed] when such laws were voided by the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas. In 2004, voters in Mississippi approved Amendment 1, amending the state’s constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage; the measure passed with 86% of the vote, the highest margin of victory in the nation. This law was overturned by Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court making same-sex marriage a constitutional right.[67]

Despite conservative laws, same-sex couples were forming families in the state. According to the 2010 census, approximately 33% of households led by same-sex couples in Mississippi included at least one child, the highest such percentage in the nation.[68]

Ancestry

At the 2010 U.S. census, the racial makeup of the population was:

  • 59.1% White American (58.0% non-Hispanic white, 1.1% White Hispanic)
  • 37.0% African American or Black
  • 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native
  • 0.9% Asian American
  • 1.1% Multiracial American
  • 1.4% Other

Ethnically, 2.7% of the total population, among all racial groups, was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).[69] As of 2011, 53.8% of Mississippi’s population younger than age 1 were minorities, meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white.[70] For more information on racial and ethnic classifications in the United States see race and ethnicity in the United States Census.

Mississippi Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990[71] 2000[72] 2010[73]
White 63.5% 61.4% 59.1%
Black 35.6% 36.3% 37.0%
Asian 0.5% 0.7% 0.9%
Native 0.3% 0.4% 0.5%
Other race 0.1% 0.5% 1.3%
Two or more races 0.7% 1.2%

Americans of Scots-Irish, English and Scottish ancestry are present throughout the state. It is believed that there are more people with such ancestry than identify as such on the census, in part because their immigrant ancestors are more distant in their family histories. English, Scottish and Scots-Irish are generally the most under-reported ancestry groups in both the South Atlantic States and the East South Central States. The historian David Hackett Fischer estimated that a minimum 20% of Mississippi’s population is of English ancestry, though the figure is probably much higher, and another large percentage is of Scottish ancestry. Many Mississippians of such ancestry identify simply as American on questionnaires, because their families have been in North America for centuries.[74][75] In the 1980 census 656,371 Mississippians of a total of 1,946,775 identified as being of English ancestry, making them 38% of the state at the time.[76]

The state in 2010 had the highest proportion of African Americans in the nation. The African-American percentage of population has begun to increase due mainly to a younger population than the whites (the total fertility rates of the two races are approximately equal). Due to patterns of settlement and whites putting their children in private schools, in almost all of Mississippi’s public school districts, a majority of students are African American. African Americans are the majority ethnic group in the northwestern Yazoo Delta, and the southwestern and the central parts of the state. These are areas where, historically, African Americans owned land as farmers in the 19th century following the Civil War, or worked on cotton plantations and farms.[77]

People of French Creole ancestry form the largest demographic group in Hancock County on the Gulf Coast. The African-American; Choctaw, mostly in Neshoba County; and Chinese-American portions of the population are also almost entirely native born.

Chinese came to Mississippi as indentured laborers from Cuba during the 1870s, with others coming from mainland China in the later 19th century. The majority entering the state immigrated directly from China to Mississippi between 1910 and 1930, when they were recruited by planters as laborers. While most first worked as sharecroppers, the Chinese worked as families to improve their lives. Many became small merchants and especially grocers in small towns throughout the Delta.[78] In these roles, the ethnic Chinese carved out a niche in the state between black and white, where they were concentrated in the Delta. These small towns have declined since the late 20th century, and many ethnic Chinese have joined the exodus to larger cities, including Jackson. Their population in the state overall has increased in the 21st century.[79][80][81]

In the early 1980s many Vietnamese immigrated to Mississippi and other states along the Gulf of Mexico, where they became employed in fishing-related work.[82]

Language

In 2000, 96.4% of Mississippi residents five years old and older spoke only English in the home, a decrease from 97.2% in 1990.[83] English is largely Southern American English, with some South Midland speech in northern and eastern Mississippi. There is a common absence of final /r/ and the lengthening and weakening of the diphthongs /aɪ/ and /ɔɪ/ as in ‘ride’ and ‘oil’. South Midland terms in northern Mississippi include: tow sack (burlap bag), dog irons (andirons), plum peach (clingstone peach), snake doctor (dragonfly), and stone wall (rock fence).[83]

Top 10 Non-English Languages Spoken in Mississippi
Language Percentage of population
(as of 2010)[84]
Spanish 1.9%
French 0.4%
German, Vietnamese, and Choctaw (tied) 0.2%
Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, Italian (tied) 0.1%
Arabic 0.0%

Religion

Under French and Spanish rule beginning in the 17th century, European colonists were mostly Roman Catholics. The growth of the cotton culture after 1815 brought in tens of thousands of Anglo-American settlers each year, most of whom were Protestants from Southeastern states. Due to such migration, there was rapid growth in the number of Protestant churches, especially Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist.[85]

Liberty Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church, the largest Protestant denomination in Mississippi, in Liberty (Amite County), Mississippi

The revivals of the Great Awakening in the late 18th and early 19th centuries initially attracted the “plain folk” by reaching out to all members of society, including women and blacks. Both slaves and free blacks were welcomed into Methodist and Baptist churches. Independent black Baptist churches were established before 1800 in Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia, and later developed in Mississippi as well.

In the post-Civil War years, religion became more influential as the South became known as the “Bible Belt”.

Since the 1970s, fundamentalist conservative churches have grown rapidly, fueling Mississippi’s conservative political trends among whites.[85] In 1973 the Presbyterian Church in America attracted numerous conservative congregations. As of 2010 Mississippi remained a stronghold of the denomination, which originally was brought by Scots immigrants. The state has the highest adherence rate of the PCA in 2010, with 121 congregations and 18,500 members. It is among the few states where the PCA has higher membership than the PC(USA).[86]
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), in 2010 the Southern Baptist Convention had 907,384 adherents and was the largest religious denomination in the state, followed by the United Methodist Church with 204,165, and the Roman Catholic Church with 112,488.[87] Other religions have a small presence in Mississippi; as of 2010, there were 5,012 Muslims; 4,389 Hindus; and 816 Bahá’í.[87]

Public opinion polls have consistently ranked Mississippi as the most religious state in the United States, with 59% of Mississippians considering themselves “very religious”. The same survey also found that 11% of the population were non-Religious.[88] In a 2009 Gallup poll, 63% of Mississippians said that they attended church weekly or almost weekly – the highest percentage of all states (U.S. average was 42%, and the lowest percentage was in Vermont at 23%).[89] Another 2008 Gallup poll found that 85% of Mississippians considered religion an important part of their daily lives, the highest figure among all states (U.S. average 65%).[90]

Religious affiliation in Mississippi (2014)[91]
Affiliation % of Mississippi population
Christian 83 83

 
Protestant 77 77

 
Evangelical Protestant 41 41

 
Mainline Protestant 12 12

 
Black church 24 24

 
Catholic 4 4

 
Mormon 1 1

 
Jehovah’s Witnesses 0.5 0.5

 
Eastern Orthodox 0.5 0.5

 
Other Christian 0.5 0.5

 
Unaffiliated 14 14

 
Nothing in particular 11 11

 
Agnostic 3 3

 
Atheist 1 1

 
Non-Christian faiths 2 2

 
Jewish 0.5 0.5

 
Muslim 0.5 0.5

 
Buddhist 0.5 0.5

 
Hindu 0.5 0.5

 
Other Non-Christian faiths 0.5 0.5

 
Don’t know/refused answer 1 1

 
Total 100 100

 

Birth data

Note: Births in table don’t add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.

Live Births by Single Race/Ethnicity of Mother
Race 2013[92] 2014[93] 2015[94] 2016[95] 2017[96]
White: 20,818 (53.9%) 20,894 (53.9%) 20,730 (54.0%)
> Non-Hispanic White 19,730 (51.0%) 19,839 (51.3%) 19,635 (51.1%) 19,411 (51.2%) 18,620 (49.8%)
Black 17,020 (44.0%) 17,036 (44.0%) 16,846 (43.9%) 15,879 (41.9%) 16,087 (43.1%)
Asian 504 (1.3%) 583 (1.5%) 559 (1.5%) 475 (1.3%) 502 (1.3%)
American Indian 292 (0.7%) 223 (0.6%) 259 (0.7%) 215 (0.6%) 225 (0.6%)
Hispanic (of any race) 1,496 (3.9%) 1,547 (4.0%) 1,613 (4.2%) 1,664 (4.4%) 1,650 (4.4%)
Total Mississippi 38,634 (100%) 38,736 (100%) 38,394 (100%) 37,928 (100%) 37,357 (100%)
  • Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

LGBT

The 2010 United States Census counted 6,286 same-sex unmarried-partner households in Mississippi, an increase of 1,512 since the 2000 United States census.[97] 33% contained at least one child, giving Mississippi the distinction of leading the nation in the percentage of same-sex couples raising children.[98] Mississippi has the largest percentage of African-American same-sex couples among total households. The state capital, Jackson, ranks tenth in the nation in concentration of African-American same-sex couples. The state ranks fifth in the nation in the percentage of Hispanic same-sex couples among all Hispanic households and ninth in the highest concentration of same-sex couples who are seniors.[99] With the passing of HB 1523 in April 2016, from July it became legal in Mississippi to refuse service to same-sex couples, based on one’s religious beliefs.[100][101] The bill has become the subject of controversy.[102] A federal judge blocked the law in July,[103] however it was challenged and a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the law in October 2017.[104][105]

Health

The state is ranked 50th or last place among all the states for health care, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit foundation working to advance performance of the health care system.[106]

Mississippi has the highest rate of infant and neonatal deaths of any U.S. state. Age-adjusted data also shows Mississippi has the highest overall death rate, and the highest death rate from heart disease, hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, influenza and pneumonia.[107]

In 2011, Mississippi (and Arkansas) had the fewest dentists in the United States.[108]

For three years in a row, more than 30 percent of Mississippi’s residents have been classified as obese. In a 2006 study, 22.8 percent of the state’s children were classified as such. Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity of any U.S. state from 2005 to 2008, and also ranks first in the nation for high blood pressure, diabetes, and adult inactivity.[109][110] In a 2008 study of African-American women, contributing risk factors were shown to be: lack of knowledge about body mass index (BMI), dietary behavior, physical inactivity and lack of social support, defined as motivation and encouragement by friends.[111] A 2002 report on African-American adolescents noted a 1999 survey which suggests that a third of children were obese, with higher ratios for those in the Delta.[112]

The study stressed that “obesity starts in early childhood extending into the adolescent years and then possibly into adulthood.” It noted impediments to needed behavioral modification, including the Delta likely being “the most underserved region in the state” with African Americans the major ethnic group; lack of accessibility and availability of medical care; and an estimated 60% of residents living below the poverty level.[112] Additional risk factors were that most schools had no physical education curriculum and nutrition education is not emphasized. Previous intervention strategies may have been largely ineffective due to not being culturally sensitive or practical.[112] A 2006 survey found nearly 95 percent of Mississippi adults considered childhood obesity to be a serious problem.[113]

Economy

A Mississippi U.S. quarter

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Mississippi’s total state product in 2010 was $98 billion.[114] GDP growth was .5 percent in 2015 and is estimated to be 2.4 in 2016 according to Dr. Darrin Webb, the state’s chief economist, who noted it would make two consecutive years of positive growth since the recession.[115] Per capita personal income in 2006 was $26,908, the lowest per capita personal income of any state, but the state also has the nation’s lowest living costs. 2015 data records the adjusted per capita personal income at $40,105.[115] Mississippians consistently rank as one of the highest per capita in charitable contributions.[116]

At 56 percent, the state has one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the country. Approximately 70,000 adults are disabled, which is 10 percent of the workforce.[115]

Mississippi’s rank as one of the poorest states is related to its dependence on cotton agriculture before and after the Civil War, late development of its frontier bottomlands in the Mississippi Delta, repeated natural disasters of flooding in the late 19th and early 20th century that required massive capital investment in levees, and ditching and draining the bottomlands, and slow development of railroads to link bottomland towns and river cities.[117] In addition, when Democrats regained control of the state legislature, they passed the 1890 constitution that discouraged corporate industrial development in favor of rural agriculture, a legacy that would slow the state’s progress for years.[118]

Before the Civil War, Mississippi was the fifth-wealthiest state in the nation, its wealth generated by the labor of slaves in cotton plantations along the rivers.[119]
Slaves were counted as property and the rise in the cotton markets since the 1840s had increased their value. By 1860, a majority – 55 percent – of the population of Mississippi was enslaved.[120] Ninety percent of the Delta bottomlands were undeveloped and the state had low overall density of population.

Sharecropper’s daughter, Lauderdale County, 1935

Largely due to the domination of the plantation economy, focused on the production of agricultural cotton, the state’s elite was reluctant to invest in infrastructure such as roads and railroads. They educated their children privately. Industrialization did not reach many areas until the late 20th century. The planter aristocracy, the elite of antebellum Mississippi, kept the tax structure low for their own benefit, making only private improvements. Before the war the most successful planters, such as Confederate President Jefferson Davis, owned riverside properties along the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in the Mississippi Delta. Away from the riverfronts, most of the Delta was undeveloped frontier.

During the Civil War, 30,000 Mississippi soldiers, mostly white, died from wounds and disease, and many more were left crippled and wounded. Changes to the labor structure and an agricultural depression throughout the South caused severe losses in wealth. In 1860 assessed valuation of property in Mississippi had been more than $500 million, of which $218 million (43 percent) was estimated as the value of slaves. By 1870, total assets had decreased in value to roughly $177 million.[121]

Poor whites and landless former slaves suffered the most from the postwar economic depression. The constitutional convention of early 1868 appointed a committee to recommend what was needed for relief of the state and its citizens. The committee found severe destitution among the laboring classes.[122] It took years for the state to rebuild levees damaged in battles. The upset of the commodity system impoverished the state after the war. By 1868 an increased cotton crop began to show possibilities for free labor in the state, but the crop of 565,000 bales produced in 1870 was still less than half of prewar figures.[123]

Blacks cleared land, selling timber and developing bottomland to achieve ownership. In 1900, two-thirds of farm owners in Mississippi were blacks, a major achievement for them and their families. Due to the poor economy, low cotton prices and difficulty of getting credit, many of these farmers could not make it through the extended financial difficulties. Two decades later, the majority of African Americans were sharecroppers. The low prices of cotton into the 1890s meant that more than a generation of African Americans lost the result of their labor when they had to sell their farms to pay off accumulated debts.[41]

After the Civil War, the state refused for years to build human capital by fully educating all its citizens. In addition, the reliance on agriculture grew increasingly costly as the state suffered loss of cotton crops due to the devastation of the boll weevil in the early 20th century, devastating floods in 1912–1913 and 1927, collapse of cotton prices after 1920, and drought in 1930.[117]

It was not until 1884, after the flood of 1882, that the state created the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta District Levee Board and started successfully achieving longer term plans for levees in the upper Delta.[23] Despite the state’s building and reinforcing levees for years, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 broke through and caused massive flooding of 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) throughout the Delta, homelessness for hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars in property damages. With the Depression coming so soon after the flood, the state suffered badly during those years. In the Great Migration, hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated North and West for jobs and chances to live as full citizens.

Entertainment and tourism

The legislature’s 1990 decision to legalize casino gambling along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast has led to increased revenues and economic gains for the state. Gambling towns in Mississippi have attracted increased tourism: they include the Gulf Coast resort towns of Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Biloxi, and the Mississippi River towns of Tunica (the third largest gaming area in the United States), Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez.

Before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Mississippi was the second-largest gambling state in the Union, after Nevada and ahead of New Jersey.[citation needed] An estimated $500,000 per day in tax revenue was lost following Hurricane Katrina’s severe damage to several coastal casinos in Biloxi in August 2005.[124] Because of the destruction from this hurricane, on October 17, 2005, Governor Haley Barbour signed a bill into law that allows casinos in Hancock and Harrison counties to rebuild on land (but within 800 feet (240 m) of the water). The only exception is in Harrison County, where the new law states that casinos can be built to the southern boundary of U.S. Route 90.[citation needed]

In 2012, Mississippi had the sixth largest gambling revenue of any state, with $2.25 billion.[125] The federally recognized Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has established a gaming casino on its reservation, which yields revenue to support education and economic development.[citation needed]

Momentum Mississippi, a statewide, public–private partnership dedicated to the development of economic and employment opportunities in Mississippi, was adopted in 2005.[126]

Manufacturing

2014 Toyota Corolla built by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi on display at the Tupelo Automobile Museum

Mississippi, like the rest of its southern neighbors, is a right-to-work state. It has some major automotive factories, such as the Toyota Mississippi Plant in Blue Springs and a Nissan Automotive plant in Canton. The latter produces the Nissan Titan.

Taxation

Mississippi collects personal income tax in three tax brackets, ranging from 3% to 5%. The retail sales tax rate in Mississippi is 7%. Tupelo levies a local sales tax of 2.5%.[127] State sales tax growth was 1.4 percent in 2016 and estimated to be slightly less in 2017.[115] For purposes of assessment for ad valorem taxes, taxable property is divided into five classes.[128]

On August 30, 2007, a report by the United States Census Bureau indicated that Mississippi was the poorest state in the country. Major cotton farmers in the Delta have large, mechanized plantations, and they receive the majority of extensive federal subsidies going to the state, yet many other residents still live as poor, rural, landless laborers. The state’s sizable poultry industry has faced similar challenges in its transition from family-run farms to large mechanized operations.[129] Of $1.2 billion from 2002 to 2005 in federal subsidies to farmers in the Bolivar County area of the Delta, only 5% went to small farmers. There has been little money apportioned for rural development. Small towns are struggling. More than 100,000 people have left the region in search of work elsewhere.[130] The state had a median household income of $34,473.[131]

As of December 2018, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.7%, the seventh highest in the country after Arizona (4.9%), Louisiana (4.9%), New Mexico (5.0%), West Virginia (5.1%), District of Columbia (5.4%) and Alaska (6.5%).[132]

Federal subsidies and spending

With Mississippi’s fiscal conservatism, in which Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, and other social programs are often cut, eligibility requirements are tightened, and stricter employment criteria are imposed, Mississippi ranks as having the second-highest ratio of spending to tax receipts of any state. In 2005, Mississippi citizens received approximately $2.02 per dollar of taxes in the way of federal spending. This ranks the state 2nd highest nationally, and represents an increase from 1995, when Mississippi received $1.54 per dollar of taxes in federal spending and was 3rd highest nationally.[133] This figure is based on federal spending after large portions of the state were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, requiring large amounts of federal aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, from 1981 to 2005, it was at least number four in the nation for federal spending vs. taxes received.[134]

A proportion of federal spending in Mississippi is directed toward large federal installations such as Camp Shelby, John C. Stennis Space Center, Meridian Naval Air Station, Columbus Air Force Base, and Keesler Air Force Base. Three of these installations are located in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Politics and government

Five Governors of Mississippi in 1976, from left to right: Ross Barnett, James P. Coleman, William L. Waller, John Bell Williams, and Paul B. Johnson Jr.

As with all other U.S. states and the federal government, Mississippi’s government is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial power. Executive authority in the state rests with the Governor, currently Phil Bryant (R). The Lieutenant Governor, currently Tate Reeves (R), is elected on a separate ballot. Both the governor and lieutenant governor are elected to four-year terms of office. Unlike the federal government, but like many other U.S. States, most of the heads of major executive departments are elected by the citizens of Mississippi rather than appointed by the governor.

Mississippi is one of five states that elects its state officials in odd-numbered years (the others are Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and Virginia). Mississippi holds elections for these offices every four years, always in the year preceding Presidential elections.

Laws

In 2004, Mississippi voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and prohibiting Mississippi from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The amendment passed 86% to 14%, the largest margin in any state.[135][136] Same-sex marriage became legal in Mississippi on June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court invalidated all state-level bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges.[137]

Mississippi is one of 31 states which have capital punishment as a legal sentence (see Capital punishment in Mississippi).

Section 265 of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi declares that “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”[138] This religious test restriction was held to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961).

Political alignment

Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election.

Mississippi led the South in developing a disfranchising constitution, passing it in 1890. By raising barriers to voter registration, the state legislature disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites, excluding them from politics until the late 1960s. It established a one-party state dominated by white Democrats.

In the 1980s whites divided evenly between the parties. In the 1990s those voters shifted their allegiance to the Republican Party, first for national and then for state offices.[139] Most blacks were still disenfranchised under the state’s 1890 constitution and discriminatory practices, until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and concerted grassroots efforts to achieve registration and encourage voting.

Transportation

Air

Mississippi has six airports with commercial passenger service, the busiest in Jackson (Jackson-Evers International Airport) and one in Gulfport (Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport)

Roads

The Vicksburg Bridge carries I-20 and U.S. 80 across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg.

Mississippi is served by nine interstate highways:

and fourteen main U.S. Routes:

as well as a system of State Highways.

Rail

Passenger

Amtrak provides scheduled passenger service along two routes, the Crescent and City of New Orleans. Prior to severe damage from Hurricane Katrina, the Sunset Limited traversed the far south of the state; the route originated in Los Angeles, California and it terminated in Florida.

Freight

All but two of the United States Class I railroads serve Mississippi (the exceptions are the Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific):

  • Canadian National Railway’s Illinois Central Railroad subsidiary provides north-south service.
  • BNSF Railway has a northwest-southeast line across northern Mississippi.
  • Kansas City Southern Railway provides east-west service in the middle of the state and north-south service along the Alabama state line.
  • Norfolk Southern Railway provides service in the extreme north and southeast.
  • CSX has a line along the Gulf Coast.

Water

Major rivers

  • Mississippi River
  • Big Black River
  • Pascagoula River
  • Pearl River
  • Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
  • Yazoo River

Major bodies of water

The Ross Barnett Reservoir at sunset.

  • Arkabutla Lake – 19,550 acres (79.1 km2) of water; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[140]
  • Bay Springs Lake – 6,700 acres (27 km2) of water and 133 miles (214 km) of shoreline; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Grenada Lake – 35,000 acres (140 km2) of water; became operational in 1954; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[141]
  • Ross Barnett Reservoir – Named for Ross Barnett, the 52nd Governor of Mississippi; 33,000 acres (130 km2) of water; became operational in 1966; constructed and managed by The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, a state agency; Provides water supply for the City of Jackson.
  • Sardis Lake – 98,520 acres (398.7 km2) of water; became operational in October 1940; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[142]
  • Enid Lake – 44,000 acres (180 km2) of water; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army

http://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Enid-Lake/

Education

School students in their library, Tupelo, Mississippi, 1936

Until the Civil War era, Mississippi had a small number of schools and no educational institutions for African Americans. The first school for black students was not established until 1862.

During Reconstruction in 1871, black and white Republicans drafted a constitution that was the first to provide for a system of free public education in the state. The state’s dependence on agriculture and resistance to taxation limited the funds it had available to spend on any schools. In the early 20th century, there were still few schools in rural areas, particularly for black children. With seed money from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, many rural black communities across Mississippi raised matching funds and contributed public funds to build new schools for their children. Essentially, many black adults taxed themselves twice and made significant sacrifices to raise money for the education of children in their communities, in many cases donating land and/or labor to build such schools.[143]

Blacks and whites attended segregated and separate public schools in Mississippi until the late 1960s, although such segregation had been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in its 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. In the majority-black Mississippi Delta counties, white parents worked through White Citizens’ Councils to set up private segregation academies, where they enrolled their children. Often funding declined for the public schools.[144]

But in the state as a whole, only a small minority of white children were withdrawn from public schools. State officials believed they needed to maintain public education to attract new businesses. After several years of integration, whites often dominated local systems anyway, maintaining white supremacy. Many black parents complained that they had little representation in school administration, and that many of their former administrators and teachers had been pushed out. They have had to work to have their interests and children represented.[144]

In the late 1980s, the state had 954 public elementary and secondary schools, with a total yearly enrollment of about 369,500 elementary pupils and about 132,500 secondary students. Some 45,700 students attended private schools.

In the 21st century, 91% of white children in the state attend public schools and most of the black children.[145] In 2008, Mississippi was ranked last among the fifty states in academic achievement by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Report Card on Education,[146] with the lowest average ACT scores and sixth-lowest spending per pupil in the nation. In contrast, Mississippi had the 17th-highest average SAT scores in the nation. As an explanation, the Report noted that 92% of Mississippi high school graduates took the ACT, but only 3% of graduates took the SAT, apparently a self-selection of higher achievers. This breakdown compares to the national average of high school graduates taking the ACT and SAT, of 43% and 45%, respectively.[146]

Although unusual in the West, school corporal punishment is common in Mississippi, with 31,236 public school students[147] paddled at least one time.[148] A greater percentage of students were paddled in Mississippi than in any other state, according to government data for the 2011–2012 school year.[148]

In 2007, Mississippi students scored the lowest of any state on the National Assessments of Educational Progress in both math and science.[149]

Jackson, the state’s capital city, is the site of the state residential school for deaf and hard of hearing students. The Mississippi School for the Deaf was established by the state legislature in 1854 before the civil war.

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) is a public residential high school for academically gifted students. It is located in Columbus, Mississippi on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women. MSMS was founded in 1987 by appropriations from the Mississippi Legislature and it is the fourth public, residential high school for academically gifted students in the United States.[3] The school enrolls students only in the last two years of high school. Rising tenth-grade students from across the state apply and are selected on a competitive basis.

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) is an upper high school of literary, visual, and performing arts on the historic Whitworth College Campus in Brookhaven, Mississippi, about sixty miles (97 km) south of Jackson, Mississippi.[1] MSA teaches 11th and 12th grade students. The campus has six buildings designated as Mississippi Landmarks, and is itself an historic district listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[1]

The Mississippi School of the Arts provides advanced, residential programs of study in visual arts, vocal music, theatre, dance, and literary arts for “artistically gifted” 11th/12th grade students from throughout Mississippi.[3][1] The comprehensive residential and academic curriculum prepares students for further studies or to pursue employment. Some non-arts courses (some math, science, etc.) are taught in conjunction with Brookhaven High School, 6 blocks away, to provide a wider curriculum.[1] Students apply for admission during their second year.[1]

Culture

While Mississippi has been especially known for its music and literature, it has embraced other forms of art. Its strong religious traditions have inspired striking works by Outsider Artists who have been shown nationally.

The Mississippi State Capitol was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016

Jackson established the USA International Ballet Competition, which is held every four years. This ballet competition attracts the most talented young dancers from around the world.[150]

The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, still held annually in Starkville, is the first and oldest in the state.

George Ohr, known as the “Mad Potter of Biloxi” and the father of abstract expressionism in pottery, lived and worked in Biloxi, MS.

Music

Musicians of the state’s Delta region were historically significant to the development of the blues. Although by the end of the 19th century, two-thirds of the farm owners were black, continued low prices for cotton and national financial pressures resulted in most of them losing their land. More problems built up with the boll weevil infestation, when thousands of agricultural jobs were lost.

Jimmie Rodgers, a native of Meridian and guitarist/singer/songwriter known as the “Father of Country Music”, played a significant role in the development of the blues. He and Chester Arthur Burnett were friends and admirers of each other’s music. Their friendship and respect is an important example of Mississippi’s musical legacy. While the state has had a reputation for being the most racist in the United States, individual musicians created an integrated music community. Mississippi musicians created new forms by combining and creating variations on musical traditions from Africa with the musical traditions of white Southerners, a tradition largely rooted in Scots–Irish music.

The state is creating a Mississippi Blues Trail, with dedicated markers explaining historic sites significant to the history of blues music, such as Clarksdale’s Riverside Hotel, where Bessie Smith died after her auto accident on Highway 61. The Riverside Hotel is just one of many historical blues sites in Clarksdale. The Delta Blues Museum there is visited by tourists from all over the world. Close by is “Ground Zero”, a contemporary blues club and restaurant co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

Elvis Presley, who created a sensation in the 1950s as a crossover artist and contributed to rock ‘n’ roll, was a native of Tupelo. From opera star Leontyne Price to the alternative rock band 3 Doors Down, to gulf and western singer Jimmy Buffett, modern rock/jazz/world music guitarist-producer Clifton Hyde, to rappers David Banner, Big K.R.I.T. and Afroman, Mississippi musicians have been significant in all genres.

Literature

Sports

Mississippi Braves outfielder Cody Johnson at Trustmark Park

  • Biloxi is home to the Biloxi Shuckers baseball team, a AA minor league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers and member of the Southern League are currently located in Biloxi at MGM Park
  • Clinton is home to the Mississippi Brilla soccer team. The Brilla are a member of the USL Premier Development League.
  • Pearl is home to the Mississippi Braves baseball team. The Braves are an AA minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. They play in the Southern League.
  • Southaven is home to the Memphis Hustle basketball team. The Hustle are an affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies. They play in the NBA G League.

Notable people

See also

  • Index of Mississippi-related articles
  • Outline of Mississippi – organized list of topics about Mississippi

Footnotes

  1. ^ “Median Annual Household Income”. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved December 9, 2016..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
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  78. ^ Wong, Vivian Wu (Summer 1996). “Somewhere between White and Black: The Chinese in Mississippi”. Oah Magazine of History. 10 (4): 33–36. JSTOR 25163098.
  79. ^ Thornell, John G. 2008. “A Culture in Decline: The Mississippi Delta Chinese”, Southeast Review of Asian Studies 30: 196–202
  80. ^ Loewen, James W. 1971. The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White, Cambridge: Harvard University Press
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  82. ^ Judge, Phoebe. “Vietnamese Shrimpers May Lose Way Of Life Again”. NPR. May 16, 2010. Retrieved on March 26, 2013.
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  98. ^ “Mississippi leads nation in same-sex child rearing”. Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. August 26, 2011. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  99. ^ Ost, Jason. “Facts and Findings from ”The Gay and Lesbian Atlas””. Urban.org. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  100. ^ “LGBT couples can be refused service under new Mississippi law”. The Guardian. April 5, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  101. ^ “Mississippi law opens a new front in the battle over gay rights”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  102. ^ “Mississippi passes controversial ‘religious freedom’ bill”. BBC News. April 5, 2016.
  103. ^ Park, Madison (July 1, 2016). “Judge blocks controversial Mississippi law”. CNN.com. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
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  105. ^ Campbell, Larrison (October 1, 2017). “Religious freedom law,’ House Bill 1523, will take effect Oct. 6; appeal planned”. mississippitoday.org. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  106. ^ “Commonwealth Fund, ”Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance”, 2009″. Commonwealthfund.org. August 3, 2009. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  107. ^ “Deaths: Final Data for 2013, table 18” (PDF). CDC/National Center for Health Statistics. May 30, 2014.
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  109. ^ Ronni Mott (December 3, 2008). “We-the-Fat”. Jackson Free Press. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
  110. ^ Thomas M. Maugh (August 28, 2007). “Mississippi heads list of fattest states”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
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  111. ^ Victor Sutton, PhD, and Sandra Hayes, MPH, Bureau of Health Data and Research, Mississippi Department of Health (October 29, 2008). “Impact of Social, Behavioral and Environmental Factors on Overweight and Obesity among African American Women in Mississippi”. American Public Health Association: APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing at 2008 136th Annual Meeting. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2008.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  112. ^ abc Gail D. Hughes, DrPH, MPH and Gloria Areghan, MSN both with Department of Preventive Medicine-Epidemiology, University of Mississippi Medical Centre; Bern’Nadette Knight, MSPH with Department of General Internal Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center and Abiodun A. Oyebola, MD with Department of Public Health, Jackson State University (November 11, 2008). “Obesity and the African American Adolescent, The Mississippi Delta Report”. American Public Health Association: 2002 130th Annual APHA Meeting. Retrieved December 20, 2008.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  113. ^ Lei Zhang, PhD MBA, Office of Health Data and Research, Mississippi State Department of Health; Jerome Kolbo, PhD ACSW, College of Health, Bonnie Harbaugh, PhD RN, School of Nursing and Charkarra Anderson-Lewis, PhD MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi (October 29, 2008). “Public Perception of Childhood Obesity among Mississippi Adults”. American Public Health Association: : APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing at 2008 136th Annual Meeting. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2008.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  114. ^ “GDP by State”. Greyhill Advisors. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
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  117. ^ ab John Otto Solomon,The Final Frontiers, 1880–1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999, pp.10–11, 42–43, 50–51, and 70
  118. ^ Naipaul, V.S. (1990). A Turn in the South. Vintage. p. 216. ISBN 978-0679724889. The people who wrote the constitution wanted the state to remain ‘a pastoral state, an agricultural state.’ They didn’t want big business or the corporations coming in, encouraging ‘unfavorable competition for jobs with the agricultural community.’
  119. ^ “Mississippi Almanac Entry”. The New York Times. July 15, 2004. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2010., The New York Times Travel Almanac (2004)
  120. ^ “Historical Census Browser”. Fisher.lib.virginia.edu. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
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  121. ^ W. E. B. DuBois,Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935; reprint New York: The Free Press, 1998, p. 432
  122. ^ Du Bois (1935), Black Reconstruction, p. 437
  123. ^ Du Bois (1935), Black Reconstruction, pp. 432, 434
  124. ^ Katrina Stats. City of Biloxi. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  125. ^ 2013 edition of State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment Archived October 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. American Gaming Association. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  126. ^ “Mississippi Direct Financial Incentives 2011 – Mississippi, Momentum Mississippi”. Area Development Online. March 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  127. ^ “Local Sales Taxes Add Significant Burden on Consumers”. The Tax Foundation. September 22, 2011. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  128. ^ “Ad Valorem Tax”. Mississippi Department of Revenue. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  129. ^ Stuesse, Angela and Laura Helton. “Low-Wage Legacies, Race, and the Golden Chicken in Mississippi: Where Contemporary Immigration Meets African American Labor History”, Southern Spaces, December 31, 2013, “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  130. ^ Gilbert M. Gaul and Dan Morgan (June 19, 2007), “A Slow Demise in the Delta: US Farm Subsidies Favor Big Over Small and White Over Blacks”, The Washington Post, accessed March 29, 2008
  131. ^ Les Christie (August 30, 2007). “The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S”. CNNMoney.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  132. ^ “Unemployment Rates for States, Seasonally Adjusted, December 2018”. Local Area Unemployment Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. March 2, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  133. ^ “Tax Foundation”. Tax Foundation. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  134. ^ “Federal Taxes Paid Vs Federal Spending Received State 1981–2005”.
  135. ^ “Amendment banning gay marriage passes”. USA Today. November 2, 2004. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  136. ^ “Voters pass all 11 bans on gay marriage”. MSNBC. Associated Press. November 3, 2004. Retrieved December 7, 2007.
  137. ^ “Mississippi’s Ban on Gay Marriage Officially Lifted”. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  138. ^ “Mississippi State Constitution”. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  139. ^ Alexander P. Lamis (1999). Southern Politics in the 1990s. LSU Press. p. 425.
  140. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Arkabutla Lake Archived July 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  141. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Grenada Lake Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  142. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Sardis Lake Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  143. ^ James D. Anderson,The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1988, pp. 160–161
  144. ^ ab Bolton, Charles C. The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870–1980. University Press of Mississippi, 2005, pp. 136, 178–179.
    ISBN 1604730609, 9781604730609.
  145. ^ Bolton (2005). The Hardest Deal of All. pp. 178–179.
  146. ^ ab “Report Card on Education” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2011.
  147. ^ Please note this figure refers to only the number of students paddled, regardless of whether a student was spanked multiple times in a year, and does not refer to the number of instances of corporal punishment, which would be substantially higher.
  148. ^ ab Farrell, Colin (February 2016). “Corporal punishment in US schools”. World Corporal Punishment Research. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  149. ^ Dillon, Sam (November 14, 2007). “Study Compares States’ Math and Science Scores With Other Countries“. The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010., The New York Times (2007)
  150. ^ “USA International Ballet Competition”. Usaibc.com. Retrieved July 30, 2010.

Further reading

  • Dennis J. Mitchell, A New History of Mississippi. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2014.

External links

  • Official website
  • Mississippi Travel and Tourism
  • Mississippi Development Authority
  • The “Mississippi Believe It” Campaign
  • USDA Mississippi State Facts
  • University Press of Mississippi
  • Ecoregions of Mississippi
  • Mississippi at Curlie
  • Mississippi as Metaphor State, Region, and Nation in Historical Imagination”, Southern Spaces, October 23, 2006.
  • Geographic data related to Mississippi at OpenStreetMap
  • Mississippi State Databases – Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Mississippi state agencies and compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association.

Preceded by
Indiana
List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
Admitted on December 10, 1817 (20th)
Succeeded by
Illinois

Coordinates: 33°N 90°W / 33°N 90°W / 33; -90


Southeastern United States

Region
Southeast Region of the United States of America
Region
Southeastern United States
Dark red states are usually included in definitions of the Southeastern United States. Light red states are considered "Southeastern" with less frequency and included in other regions of the United States.

Dark red states are usually included in definitions of the Southeastern United States. Light red states are considered “Southeastern” with less frequency and included in other regions of the United States.
Area

 • Total 580,835 sq mi (1,504,360 km2)
 • Land 540,511 sq mi (1,399,920 km2)
 • Water 40,324 sq mi (104,440 km2)  6.9%
Population

(2013)
 • Total 87,438,243
 • Density 150.5/sq mi (58.1/km2)
Time zone EST/CST
 • Summer (DST) EDT/CDT

The Southeastern United States is broadly, the eastern portion of the Southern United States, and the southern portion of the Eastern United States. It comprises at least a core of states on the lower Atlantic seaboard and eastern Gulf Coast. Expansively, it includes everything south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Ohio River and the 36°30′ parallel, and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana.[1] There is no official U.S. government definition of the region, though different agencies and departments use various definitions.

Contents

  • 1 Geography
  • 2 History
  • 3 Demographics

    • 3.1 Most populous states
  • 4 Culture

    • 4.1 Climate
  • 5 Economy

    • 5.1 Research and development
  • 6 Education

    • 6.1 Higher education
  • 7 Largest cities
  • 8 Metropolitan Statistical Areas
  • 9 Combined Statistical Areas
  • 10 Sports
  • 11 See also
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links

Geography

The U.S. Geological Survey considers the Southeast region to be Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is no official Census Bureau definition of the southeastern United States; instead, they divide a larger region including Texas and Oklahoma designated as the “South” into three subregions none of which are conventionally considered to define the southeast. The nonprofit American Association of Geographers defines the southeastern United States as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.[2] The OSBO (American small business support organization) uses the same states, but includes Arkansas and Louisiana. The states of Delaware and Maryland (plus the District of Columbia) are also sometimes added in some definitions of the term.

History

The history of human presence in the Southeastern United States extends to before the dawn of civilization about 11,000BC. The earliest artifacts were from the Clovis culture.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans of the Woodland tradition occupied the region for several hundred years.

The first Europeans to arrive in the region were Spanish conquistadores. In 1541, Hernando de Soto journeyed through the south and crossed the Mississippi River.

The region hosted the first permanent European settlement in North America, by the English at Jamestown, Virginia in 1609.

Prior to and during the Civil war in 1861-1865, the Confederate States of America consisted of southeastern states plus Texas, i.e., Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. Kentucky and Maryland were neutral border states that eventually joined the Union.

Demographics

Most populous states

The most populous state in the region is Florida (20,612,439), followed by Georgia (10,310,371) and North Carolina (10,146,788).[3]

State 2017 Estimate 2010 Census Change Land Area Density
Alabama 4,874,747 4,779,736 +1.99% 50,645 sq mi (131,171 km2) 96.25396.3/sq mi (37.16337.2/km2)
Arkansas 3,004,279 2,915,918 +3.03% 52,035 sq mi (134,771 km2) 57.73557.7/sq mi (22.29222.3/km2)
Florida 20,984,400 18,801,310 +11.61% 53,625 sq mi (138,887 km2) 391.320391.3/sq mi (151.089151.1/km2)
Georgia 10,429,379 9,687,653 +7.66% 57,513 sq mi (148,959 km2) 181.338181.3/sq mi (70.01570.0/km2)
Kentucky 4,454,189 4,339,367 +2.65% 39,486 sq mi (102,269 km2) 112.803112.8/sq mi (43.55443.6/km2)
Louisiana 4,684,333 4,533,372 +3.33% 43,204 sq mi (111,898 km2) 108.424108.4/sq mi (41.86341.9/km2)
Mississippi 2,984,100 2,967,297 +0.57% 46,923 sq mi (121,531 km2) 63.59563.6/sq mi (24.55424.6/km2)
North Carolina 10,273,419 9,535,483 +7.74% 48,618 sq mi (125,920 km2) 211.310211.3/sq mi (81.58781.6/km2)
South Carolina 5,024,369 4,625,364 +8.63% 30,061 sq mi (77,857 km2) 167.141167.1/sq mi (64.53364.5/km2)
Tennessee 6,715,984 6,346,105 +5.83% 41,235 sq mi (106,798 km2) 162.872162.9/sq mi (62.88562.9/km2)
Virginia 8,470,020 8,001,024 +5.86% 39,490 sq mi (102,279 km2) 214.485214.5/sq mi (82.81382.8/km2)
West Virginia 1,815,857 1,852,994 −2.00% 24,038 sq mi (62,259 km2) 75.54175.5/sq mi (29.16629.2/km2)
Total 83,715,076 78,385,623 +6.80% 526,874 sq mi (1,364,597 km2) 158.890158.9/sq mi (61.34861.3/km2)

The predominant culture of the Southeast has its origins with the settlement of the region by British colonists and African slaves in the 17th century, as well as large groups of English, Scots and Ulster-Scots, Germans, Spanish, French, and Acadians in succeeding centuries.

Culture

The predominant culture of the Southeast has its origins with the settlement of the region by British colonists and African slaves in the 17th century, as well as large groups of English, Scots and Ulster-Scots, Germans, Spanish, French, and Acadians in succeeding centuries. Since the late 20th century the New South has emerged as the fastest growing area of the United States economically. Multiculturalism has become mainstream in the Southeastern states. African Americans remain a dominant demographic at around a 30% of the total population of the Southeast. The New South is built upon the metropolitan areas along the interstate 85 corridor. Cities include Birmingham, Atlanta, Greenville, Spartanburg, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham.

Climate

Most of the southeastern part of the United States is dominated by the humid subtropical climate. As one nears the southern portions of Florida, the climate gradually becomes tropical as winters are freeze free and all months have a mean temperature above 64.4 °F (18.0 °C) (the defined coldest monthly mean temperature of tropical climates).

Seasonally, summers are generally hot and humid throughout the entire region. The Bermuda High pumps hot and moist air mass from the tropical Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico westward toward the southeast United States, creating the typical sultry tropical summers. Daytime highs are often in the upper 80’s to lower 90’s F.[4][5] Rainfall is summer concentrated along the Gulf Coast and the South Atlantic coast from Norfolk, VA southward, reaching a sharp summer monsoon like pattern over peninsular Florida, with dry winters and wet summers. Sunshine is abundant across the southeastern United States in summer, as the rainfall often comes in quick, but intense downpours. The mid-South, especially Tennessee, and the northern halves of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, have maximum monthly rainfall amounts in winter and spring, owing to copious Gulf moisture and clashes between warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cold, dry air from Canada during the cold season. Here, December, March or April are typically the wettest months; August to October, the driest months (for example, at Tupelo, MS, Huntsville, AL and Memphis, TN).

Winters are cool in the northern areas like Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and western North Carolina, with average highs in the 45 °F (7 °C) range in January. Farther south, winters become more mild across interior eastern North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, with average January highs in the 53 °F (12 °C) range. As one nears the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain and coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina, winters become warm, with daytime highs near or over 60 °F (16 °C), until far enough south in central Florida where daytime highs are above 70 °F (21 °C). Winters tend to be very dry and sunny across Florida, with a gradual increase in winter rainfall with increasing latitude, especially west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Economy

The Southeast has changed dramatically in the last two generations. Since 1980, there has been a boom in its service economy, manufacturing base, high technology industries, and the financial sector. Examples of this include the surge in tourism in Florida and along the Gulf Coast; numerous new automobile production plants such as Mercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama; Toyota Motors in Blue Springs, Mississippi; Kia in West Point, Georgia; the BMW production plant in Greer, South Carolina; Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee; the GM manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee; the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Pulaski, Virginia;and the Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee; the two largest research parks in the country: Research Triangle Park in the Triangle area of North Carolina (the world’s largest) and the Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama (the world’s fourth largest); and the corporate headquarters of Verso Paper in Memphis, as well as FedEx, which is one of the world’s largest shipping companies.

Fortune 500 companies having headquarters in the region include 20 in Virginia, 16 in Florida, 15 in North Carolina, and 14 in Georgia. This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to have of some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.[6] In Alabama, there is a large-scale manufacturing project owned by the German steel megacorporation ThyssenKrupp, which operates a massive, state-of-the-art facility in Mobile.

Research and development

Research Triangle Park, in the Raleigh-Durham urban area of North Carolina, has emerged as a major hub of technology, governmental, and biotechnological research and development, as has the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond. The Cummings Research Park in the Huntsville, Alabama area is the second largest research complex in the nation. Located in Huntsville is the Redstone Arsenal, United States Army Missile Command, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and many other key government, military, and aerospace agencies.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, is the largest laboratory in the world devoted to the study of magnetism.[citation needed] The University of South Carolina is currently constructing a research campus in downtown Columbia, and the university is the nation’s only National Science Foundation-funded Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells.[7]

Education

Higher education

University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida

The region includes a number of notable universities, public and private, whose research exert influence globally. Chief among these are:

  • Auburn University
  • Clemson University
  • College of William & Mary
  • Florida State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Georgia State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Radford University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Florida
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Maryland
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

There are a number of well-known private institutions, as well. Notable among these are:

  • Belmont University
  • Davidson College
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Georgetown University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Morehouse College
  • Spelman College
  • Tulane University
  • University of Miami
  • University of Richmond
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington and Lee University

The region is home to the greatest number of historically black colleges and universities in the nation. The three largest in the region are North Carolina A&T University, Florida A&M University, and Jackson State University.

Largest cities

These are the largest cities in the Southeastern region of the United States by population, according to the United States Census Bureau:[8]

Rank City State Population (2015)
1 Jacksonvillea[›] Florida 7005868031000000000♠868,031
2 Charlotte North Carolina 7005827097000000000♠827,097
3 Washington District of Columbia 7005672228000000000♠672,228
4 Nashvillea[›] Tennessee 7005660388000000000♠660,388
5 Memphis Tennessee 7005652717000000000♠652,717
6 Baltimore Maryland 7005621849000000000♠621,849
7 Louisvillea[›] Kentucky 7005615366000000000♠615,366
8 Atlanta Georgia 7005463878000000000♠463,878
9 Virginia Beach Virginia 7005452745000000000♠452,745
10 Raleigh North Carolina 7005451066000000000♠451,066
11 Miami Florida 7005441003000000000♠441,003
12 New Orleansa[›] Louisiana 7005389617000000000♠389,617
13 Tampa Florida 7005369075000000000♠369,075
14 Lexington Kentucky 7005314488000000000♠314,488
15 Greensboro North Carolina 7005285342000000000♠285,342
16 Orlando Florida 7005270394000000000♠270,394
17 Durham North Carolina 7005257636000000000♠257,636
18 Saint Petersburg Florida 7005257083000000000♠257,083
19 Norfolk Virginia 7005246393000000000♠246,393
20 Winston-Salem North Carolina 7005241218000000000♠241,218
21 Hialeah Florida 7005237069000000000♠237,069
22 Chesapeake Virginia 7005235429000000000♠235,429
23 Baton Rouge Louisiana 7005228590000000000♠228,590
24 Richmond Virginia 7005220289000000000♠220,289
25 Birmingham Alabama 7005212461000000000♠212,461
26 Fayetteville North Carolina 7005201963000000000♠201,963
27 Montgomery Alabama 7005200602000000000♠200,602
28 Columbus Georgia 7005200579000000000♠200,579
  • ^ a:  Jacksonville, Louisville, Nashville and New Orleans are consolidated city-counties/parishes. Therefore the population given is for the entire city excluding other incorporated places lying within the county limits.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

These are the metropolitan areas of the Southeastern region which exceed 1 million in population according to the United States Census Bureau’s 2016 estimates:[9]

Rank Metropolitan area Anchor city Population (2016) State(s)
1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Washington 6,131,977 District of Columbia / Virginia / Maryland / West Virginia
2 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Miami 6,066,387 Florida
3 Atlanta–Sandy Springs-Roswell Atlanta 5,789,700 Georgia
4 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Tampa 4,310,524 Florida
5 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson Baltimore 2,798,886 Maryland
6 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Charlotte 2,474,314 North Carolina / South Carolina
7 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Orlando 2,441,257 Florida
8 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Nashville 1,865,298 Tennessee
9 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Virginia Beach 1,726,907 Virginia / North Carolina
10 Jacksonville Jacksonville 1,478,212 Florida
11 Memphis Memphis 1,342,842 Tennessee / Mississippi / Arkansas
12 Raleigh Raleigh 1,302,946 North Carolina
13 Louisville-Jefferson County Louisville 1,283,430 Kentucky / Indiana
14 Richmond-Petersburg Richmond 1,281,708 Virginia
15 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner New Orleans 1,268,883 Louisiana
16 Birmingham-Hoover Birmingham 1,147,417 Alabama

Combined Statistical Areas

Beyond Megalopolis by Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute, an attempt to update Jean Gottmann’s work with current trends, defines two “megapolitan areas” contained within the Southeast, out of a total of ten such areas in the United States:

  • “Piedmont” extending from North Carolina to Alabama
  • “Peninsula” covering South Florida and Central Florida

Two others tie some areas on the margins of the Southeast to urban centers in other regions:

  • “Gulf Coast” extending as far east as the western tip of Florida
  • “Northeast” including much of Maryland and eastern Virginia

These are the combined statistical areas of the Southeastern region which exceed 1 million in population according to the United States Census Bureau’s 2016 estimates. Note that the metropolitan areas of Tampa and Richmond are not included in any CSAs, so they are included in the table without constituent areas.[10]

Rank Combined Statistical Area Population (2016) Constituent Core Based Statistical Areas
1 Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area 9,882,634 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Winchester, VA-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
California-Lexington Park, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area
Easton, MD Micropolitan Statistical Area
Cambridge, MD Micropolitan Statistical Area
2 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL Combined Statistical Area 6,723,472 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Port St. Lucie, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Okeechobee, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area
3 Atlanta–Athens-Clarke County–Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area 6,451,262 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Athens-Clarke County, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Gainesville, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
LaGrange, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Jefferson, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Calhoun, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Cedartown, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Thomaston, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
4 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 4,310,524 MSA only
5 Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, FL Combined Statistical Area 3,202,927 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Villages, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
6 Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area 2,632,249 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Shelby, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Albemarle, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
7 Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area 2,156,253 Raleigh, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Dunn, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Oxford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Sanford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Henderson, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
8 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro, TN Combined Statistical Area 1,987,778 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Shelbyville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Lawrenceburg, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Lewisburg, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
9 Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area 1,830,629 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Elizabeth City, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kill Devil Hills, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
10 Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area 1,650,019 Greensboro-High Point, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Winston-Salem, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Burlington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mount Airy, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
11 Jacksonville-St. Marys-Palatka, FL-GA Combined Statistical Area 1,603,497 Jacksonville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Palatka, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area
St. Marys, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
12 Louisville/Jefferson County–Elizabethtown–Madison, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area 1,510,945 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area
Bardstown, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Madison, IN Micropolitan Statistical Area
13 New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond, LA-MS Combined Statistical Area 1,501,213 New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Hammond, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Picayune, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Bogalusa, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area
14 Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area 1,442,117 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Greenwood, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Seneca, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Gaffney, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
15 Memphis-Forrest City, TN-MS-AR Combined Statistical Area 1,369,038 Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area
Forrest City, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area
16 Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL Combined Statistical Area 1,361,299 Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Talladega-Sylacauga, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
Cullman, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
17 Richmond-Petersburg 1,245,764 MSA only
18 Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville, TN Combined Statistical Area 1,117,758 Knoxville, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Morristown, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Sevierville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Newport, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
19 Cape Coral-Fort Myers-Naples, FL Combined Statistical Area 1,087,472 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
20 North Port-Sarasota, FL Combined Statistical Area 1,002,722 North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Punta Gorda, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Arcadia, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area

Sports

Although American football is prevalent across the United States, it is especially pervasive in the Southeast. With a total of nine (9) franchises — the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens, the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Miami Dolphins, the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tennessee Titans, and the Washington Redskins — across the region, the National Football League (NFL) maintains a stronger commercial presence than any other major North American professional sports league.

The Southeast has seven (7) National Basketball Association (NBA) franchises: the Atlanta Hawks, the Charlotte Hornets, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Miami Heat, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Orlando Magic, and the Washington Wizards.

Major League Baseball (MLB) maintains five (5) teams in the Southeast: the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles, the Miami Marlins, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Washington Nationals.

The Southeast has five (5) National Hockey League (NHL) franchises: the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers, the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Washington Capitals.

Major League Soccer currently holds three (3) clubs — Atlanta United FC, DC United, and Orlando City SC— in the region. This number will increase to five (5) when Nashville’s new club and David Beckham’s new club in Miami begin play in March 2020.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is an NCAA Division 1 conference of mainly Southeastern college teams, including the Florida State Seminoles, Louisville Cardinals, Miami Hurricanes, Clemson Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, NC State Wolfpack, Virginia Tech Hokies, and Virginia Cavaliers. The Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Citrus Bowl are notable college football bowls held in Southeastern cities.

The Southeastern Conference is also an NCAA Division 1 conference of Southeastern college teams, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels, Florida Gators, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia Bulldogs, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Vanderbilt Commodores.

The majority of NASCAR teams are headquartered in the Charlotte area along with the sports operations headquarters and media outlets. Tracks in the region include Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Richmond International Speedway.

The southeast also hosts two of the three legs of the American Triple Crown. The Kentucky derby, in Kentucky. The Preakness Stakes are also located in the Southeast, being run in Baltimore, the Derby is considered the western leg of the crown and the Preakness is traditionally considered the southern leg.

See also

  • Southeastern mixed forests – Southeastern habitat
  • Hammock (ecology) – Southeastern habitat
  • East Coast of the United States – the southern Eastern Seaboard portion

References

  1. ^ Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, D.C., Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas
  2. ^ Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers
  3. ^ “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (PEPANNRES): All States within the United States and Puerto Rico”. American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 2, 2017..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  4. ^ “Miami, Florida Temperature Averages”. Weatherbase. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ “Virginia Beach, Virginia Temperature Averages”. Weatherbase. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  6. ^ “State jobless rate below US average”. The Decatur Daily. August 19, 2005. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  7. ^ “Business Partnership Opportunities”. Innovista.sc.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
  8. ^ “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More, Ranked by July 1, 2015 Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 – United States — Places of 50,000+ Population (PEPANNRSIP)”. American Factfinder. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  9. ^ “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (PEPANNRES): All Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas within United States and Puerto Rico”. American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  10. ^ “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (PEPANNRES)”. American Factfinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 2, 2017.

External links

  • Flora Atlas of the Southeastern United States – by the North Carolina Botanical Garden & University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU).
  • Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States. Past, Present, and Future – University of South Florida (August 2011)
  • Britannica Southeast U.S. – video on YouTube

Coordinates: 34°N 85°W / 34°N 85°W / 34; -85


Arkansas

State of the United States of America

State of Arkansas
Flag of Arkansas State seal of Arkansas
Flag Great Seal
Nickname(s):

The Natural State (current)
The Bear State (former)
Motto(s): Regnat populus (Latin: The People Rule)
State song(s): “Arkansas”, “Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)”, “Oh, Arkansas”, and “The Arkansas Traveler
Map of the United States with Arkansas highlighted
Official language English
Demonym Arkansan
Arkansawyer
Arkanite[1]
Capital
.mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}
(and largest city)
Little Rock
Largest metro Central Arkansas
Area Ranked 29th
 • Total 53,180 sq mi
(137,733 km2)
 • Width 270 miles (435 km)
 • Length 240 miles (386 km)
 • % water 2.09
 • Latitude 33° 00′ N to 36° 30′ N
 • Longitude 89° 39′ W to 94° 37′ W
Population Ranked 33rd
 • Total 3,004,279 (2017 est.)[2]
 • Density 56.4/sq mi  (21.8/km2)
Ranked 34th
 • Median household income $40,531 (48th)
Elevation
 • Highest point Mount Magazine[3][4][a][b]
2,753 ft (839 m)
 • Mean 650 ft  (200 m)
 • Lowest point Ouachita River at Louisiana border[4][a]
55 ft (17 m)
Before statehood Arkansas Territory
Admission to Union June 15, 1836 (25th)
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)
Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin (R)
Legislature Arkansas General Assembly
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators John Boozman (R)
Tom Cotton (R)
U.S. House delegation 4 Republicans (list)
Time zone Central: UTC −6/−5
ISO 3166 US-AR
Abbreviations AR, Ark.
Website www.arkansas.gov
Arkansas state symbols
Flag of Arkansas.svg

The Flag of Arkansas
Seal of Arkansas.svg

The Seal of Arkansas
Living insignia
Bird Mockingbird
Butterfly Diana fritillary
Flower Apple blossom
Insect Western honeybee
Mammal White-tailed deer
Tree Pine tree
Inanimate insignia
Beverage Milk
Dance Square dance
Food Pecan
Gemstone Diamond
Mineral Quartz
Rock Bauxite
Soil Stuttgart
Other South Arkansas vine ripe pink tomato (state fruit and vegetable)
State route marker
Arkansas state route marker
State quarter
Arkansas quarter dollar coin

Released in 2003
Lists of United States state symbols

Arkansas (/ˈɑːrkənsɔː/ AR-kən-saw)[c] is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2017.[7][8] Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians.[9] The state’s diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

Arkansas is the 29th largest by area and the 33rd most populous of the 50 United States. The capital and most populous city is Little Rock, located in the central portion of the state, a hub for transportation, business, culture, and government. The northwestern corner of the state, such as the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area and Fort Smith metropolitan area, is a population, education, and economic center. The largest city in the state’s eastern part is Jonesboro. The largest city in the state’s southeastern part is Pine Bluff.

The Territory of Arkansas was admitted to the Union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836.[10] In 1861, Arkansas withdrew from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. On returning to the Union in 1868, the state continued to suffer due to its earlier reliance on slavery and the plantation economy, causing the state to fall behind economically and socially. White rural interests continued to dominate the state’s politics until the civil rights movement. Arkansas began to diversify its economy following World War II and relies on its service industry, aircraft, poultry, steel, tourism, cotton, and rice.

The culture of Arkansas is observable in museums, theaters, novels, television shows, restaurants, and athletic venues across the state. Arkansas’s enduring image has earned the state “a special place in the American consciousness”.[11] People such as politician and educational advocate William Fulbright; former President Bill Clinton who served as the 40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas; his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, Walmart magnate Sam Walton;[12] singer-songwriters Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, and Glen Campbell; the poet C. D. Wright; and physicist William L. McMillan, who was a pioneer in superconductor research; have all lived in Arkansas.

Contents

  • 1 Etymology and pronunciation
  • 2 Geography

    • 2.1 Boundaries
    • 2.2 Terrain
    • 2.3 Hydrology
    • 2.4 Flora and fauna
    • 2.5 Climate
  • 3 History

    • 3.1 Early Arkansas
    • 3.2 Purchase by the United States
    • 3.3 Statehood
    • 3.4 Civil War and Reconstruction
    • 3.5 End of the Reconstruction
    • 3.6 Rise of the Jim Crow laws
    • 3.7 Fall of segregation
    • 3.8 Prominent American figures from Arkansas
  • 4 Cities and towns
  • 5 Demographics

    • 5.1 Population
    • 5.2 Ancestry
    • 5.3 Religion
  • 6 Economy

    • 6.1 Industry and commerce
  • 7 Media
  • 8 Culture

    • 8.1 Sports and recreation
  • 9 Health
  • 10 Education

    • 10.1 Educational attainment
    • 10.2 Funding
    • 10.3 Timeline
  • 11 Transportation
  • 12 Law and government

    • 12.1 Executive
    • 12.2 Legislative
    • 12.3 Judicial
    • 12.4 Federal
    • 12.5 Politics
  • 13 Attractions
  • 14 See also
  • 15 Notes
  • 16 References

    • 16.1 Bibliography
  • 17 Further reading
  • 18 External links

Etymology and pronunciation

Pronunciation of state name. A popular comedic Vine addresses the pronunciation. on YouTube

The name Arkansas was initially applied to the Arkansas River and derives from a French term, Arcansas, the plural term for Quapaws,[13] a Dhegiha Siouan-speaking Native American people who settled in Arkansas around the 13th century. This comes from an Algonquian term, /akansa/, for the Quapaws, and is likely also the root term for Kansas.[13]

The name has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions.[c] In 1881, the pronunciation of Arkansas with the final “s” being silent was made official by an act of the state legislature after a dispute arose between Arkansas’s two U.S. senators as one favored the pronunciation as /ˈɑːrkənsɔː/ AR-kən-saw while the other favored /ɑːrˈkænzəs/ ar-KAN-zəs.[c]

In 2007, the state legislature passed a non-binding resolution declaring that the possessive form of the state’s name is Arkansas’s, which has been followed increasingly by the state government.[15]

Geography

View from the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway in Boxley Valley

The Ozarks: bend in the Buffalo River from an overlook on the Buffalo River Trail near Steel Creek

The flat terrain and rich soils of the Arkansas Delta near Arkansas City are in stark contrast to the northwestern part of the state.

Cedar Falls in Petit Jean State Park

Boundaries

Arkansas borders Louisiana to the south, Texas to the southwest, Oklahoma to the west, Missouri to the north, and Tennessee and Mississippi to the east. The United States Census Bureau classifies Arkansas as a southern state, sub-categorized among the West South Central States.[8] The Mississippi River forms most of Arkansas’s eastern border, except in Clay and Greene, counties where the St. Francis River forms the western boundary of the Missouri Bootheel, and in many places where the channel of the Mississippi has meandered (or been straightened by man) from its original 1836 course.

Terrain

Arkansas can generally be split into two halves, the highlands in the northwest half and the lowlands of the southeastern half.[16] The highlands are part of the Southern Interior Highlands, including The Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains. The southern lowlands include the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Arkansas Delta.[17] This dual split can yield to general regions named northwest, southwest, northeast, southeast, or central Arkansas. These directionally named regions are broad and not defined along county lines. Arkansas has seven distinct natural regions: the Ozark Mountains, Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas River Valley, Gulf Coastal Plain, Crowley’s Ridge, and the Arkansas Delta, with Central Arkansas sometimes included as a blend of multiple regions.[18]

The southeastern part of Arkansas along the Mississippi Alluvial Plain is sometimes called the Arkansas Delta. This region is a flat landscape of rich alluvial soils formed by repeated flooding of the adjacent Mississippi. Farther away from the river, in the southeast portion of the state, the Grand Prairie consists of a more undulating landscape. Both are fertile agricultural areas. The Delta region is bisected by a geological formation known as Crowley’s Ridge. A narrow band of rolling hills, Crowley’s Ridge rises from 250 to 500 feet (76 to 152 m) above the surrounding alluvial plain and underlies many of the major towns of eastern Arkansas.[19]

Northwest Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau including the Ozark Mountains, to the south are the Ouachita Mountains, and these regions are divided by the Arkansas River; the southern and eastern parts of Arkansas are called the Lowlands.[20] These mountain ranges are part of the U.S. Interior Highlands region, the only major mountainous region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.[21] The highest point in the state is Mount Magazine in the Ouachita Mountains,[22] which rises to 2,753 feet (839 m) above sea level.[6]

Hydrology

The Buffalo National River is one of many attractions that give the state its nickname, The Natural State.

Arkansas has many rivers, lakes, and reservoirs within or along its borders. Major tributaries of the Mississippi River include the Arkansas River, the White River, and the St. Francis River.[23] The Arkansas is fed by the Mulberry River and the Fourche LaFave River in the Arkansas River Valley, which is also home to Lake Dardanelle. The Buffalo River, Little Red River, Black River and Cache River all serve as tributaries to the White River, which also empties into the Mississippi. The Saline River, Little Missouri River, Bayou Bartholomew, and the Caddo River all serve as tributaries to the Ouachita River in south Arkansas, which eventually empties into the Mississippi in Louisiana. The Red River briefly serves as the state’s boundary with Texas.[24] Arkansas has few natural lakes and many reservoirs,[quantify] such as Bull Shoals Lake, Lake Ouachita, Greers Ferry Lake, Millwood Lake, Beaver Lake, Norfork Lake, DeGray Lake, and Lake Conway.[25]

Arkansas is home to many caves, such as Blanchard Springs Caverns. More than 43,000 Native American living, hunting and tool making sites, many of them Pre-Columbian burial mounds and rock shelters, have been cataloged by the State Archeologist. Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro is the world’s only diamond-bearing site accessible to the public for digging.[26][27] Arkansas is home to a dozen Wilderness Areas totaling 158,444 acres (641.20 km2).[28] These areas are set aside for outdoor recreation and are open to hunting, fishing, hiking, and primitive camping. No mechanized vehicles nor developed campgrounds are allowed in these areas.[29]

Flora and fauna

The White River in eastern Arkansas

Arkansas is divided into three broad ecoregions, the Ozark, Ouachita-Appalachian Forests, Mississippi Alluvial and Southeast USA Coastal Plains, and the Southeastern USA Plainsand two biomes, the subtropical coniferous forest and the temperate deciduous forest.[30] The state is further divided into seven subregions: the Arkansas Valley, Boston Mountains, Mississippi Alluvial Plain, Mississippi Valley Loess Plain, Ozark Highlands, Ouachita Mountains, and the South Central Plains.[31] A 2010 United States Forest Service survey determined 18,720,000 acres (7,580,000 ha) of Arkansas’s land is forestland, or 56% of the state’s total area.[32] Dominant species in Arkansas’s forests include Quercus (oak), Carya (hickory), Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine) and Pinus taeda (loblolly pine).[33][34]

Arkansas’s plant life varies with its climate and elevation. The pine belt stretching from the Arkansas delta to Texas consists of dense oak-hickory-pine growth. Lumbering and paper milling activity is active throughout the region.[35] In eastern Arkansas, one can find Taxodium (cypress), Quercus nigra (water oaks), and hickories with their roots submerged in the Mississippi Valley bayous indicative of the deep south.[36] Nearby Crowley’s Ridge is only home of the tulip tree in the state, and generally hosts more northeastern plant life such as the beech tree.[37] The northwestern highlands are covered in an oak-hickory mixture, with Ozark white cedars, cornus (dogwoods), and Cercis canadensis (redbuds) also present. The higher peaks in the Arkansas River Valley play host to scores of ferns, including the Woodsia scopulina and Adiantum (maidenhair fern) on Mount Magazine.[38]

Climate

Climate types in Arkansas.

Devil’s Den State Park, a state park in Washington County, in the fall.

Winter at Historic Washington State Park, Arkansas

Arkansas generally has a humid subtropical climate. While not bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas is still close enough to this warm, large body of water for it to influence the weather in the state. Generally, Arkansas has hot, humid summers and slightly drier, mild to cool winters. In Little Rock, the daily high temperatures average around 93 °F (34 °C) with lows around 73 °F (23 °C) in July. In January highs average around 51 °F (11 °C) and lows around 32 °F (0 °C). In Siloam Springs in the northwest part of the state, the average high and low temperatures in July are 89 and 67 °F (32 and 19 °C) and in January the average high and lows are 44 and 23 °F (7 and −5 °C). Annual precipitation throughout the state averages between about 40 and 60 inches (1,000 and 1,500 mm); somewhat wetter in the south and drier in the northern part of the state.[39] Snowfall is infrequent but most common in the northern half of the state.[23] The half of the state south of Little Rock is more apt to see ice storms. Arkansas’s all-time record high is 120 °F (49 °C) at Ozark on August 10, 1936; the all-time record low is −29 °F (−34 °C) at Gravette, on February 13, 1905.[40]

Arkansas is known for extreme weather and frequent storms. A typical year brings thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, snow and ice storms. Between both the Great Plains and the Gulf States, Arkansas receives around 60 days of thunderstorms. Arkansas is located in Tornado Alley, and as a result, a few of the most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history have struck the state. While sufficiently far from the coast to avoid a direct hit from a hurricane, Arkansas can often get the remnants of a tropical system, which dumps tremendous amounts of rain in a short time and often spawns smaller tornadoes.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Arkansas Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Avg
Fayetteville[41] 44/24
(7/-4)
51/29
(10/-2)
59/38
(15/3)
69/46
(20/8)
76/55
(24/13)
84/64
(29/18)
89/69
(32/20)
89/67
(32/19)
81/59
(27/15)
70/47
(21/9)
57/37
(14/3)
48/28
(9/-2)
68/47
(20/8)
Jonesboro[42] 45/26
(7/-3)
51/30
(11/-1)
61/40
(16/4)
71/49
(22/9)
80/58
(26/15)
88/67
(31/19)
92/71
(34/22)
91/69
(33/20)
84/61
(29/16)
74/49
(23/9)
60/39
(15/4)
49/30
(10/-1)
71/49
(21/9)
Little Rock[43] 51/31
(11/-1)
55/35
(13/2)
64/43
(18/6)
73/51
(23/11)
81/61
(27/16)
89/69
(32/21)
93/73
(34/23)
93/72
(34/22)
86/65
(30/18)
75/53
(24/12)
63/42
(17/6)
52/34
(11/1)
73/51
(23/11)
Texarkana[44] 53/31
(11/-1)
58/34
(15/1)
67/42
(19/5)
75/50
(24/10)
82/60
(28/16)
89/68
(32/20)
93/72
(34/22)
93/71
(34/21)
86/64
(30/18)
76/52
(25/11)
64/41
(18/5)
55/33
(13/1)
74/52
(23/11)
Monticello[45] 52/30
(11/-1)
58/34
(14/1)
66/43
(19/6)
74/49
(23/10)
82/59
(28/15)
89/66
(32/19)
92/70
(34/21)
92/68
(33/20)
86/62
(30/17)
76/50
(25/10)
64/41
(18/5)
55/34
(13/1)
74/51
(23/10)
Fort Smith[46] 48/27
(8/-2)
54/32
(12/0)
64/40
(17/4)
73/49
(22/9)
80/58
(26/14)
87/67
(30/19)
92/71
(33/21)
92/70
(33/21)
84/62
(29/17)
75/50
(23/10)
61/39
(16/4)
50/31
(10/0)
72/50
(22/10)
Average high °F/average low °F (average high °C/average low°C)

History

Early Arkansas

Platform mounds, such as this one at Toltec Mounds near Scott, were constructed frequently during the Woodland and Mississippian periods

Before European settlement of North America, Arkansas was inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw peoples encountered European explorers. The first of these Europeans was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541, who crossed the Mississippi and marched across central Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains. After finding nothing he considered of value and encountering native resistance the entire way, he and his men returned to the Mississippi River where de Soto fell ill. From his deathbed he ordered his men to massacre all of the men of the nearby village of Anilco, who he feared had been plotting with a powerful polity down the Mississippi River, Quigualtam. His men obeyed and did not stop with the men, but were said to have massacred women and children as well. He died the following day in what is believed to be the vicinity of modern-day McArthur, Arkansas in May 1542. His body was weighted down with sand and he was consigned to a watery grave in the Mississippi River under cover of darkness by his men. De Soto had attempted to deceive the native population into thinking he was an immortal deity, sun of the sun, in order to forestall attack by outraged Native Americans on his by then weakened and bedraggled army. In order to keep the ruse up, his men informed the locals that de Soto had ascended into the sky. His will at the time of his death listed: “four Indian slaves, three horses and 700 hogs.” which were auctioned off to his men. His starving men, who had been living off maize stolen from Native Americans and who had not been allowed to eat the enormous herd of hogs but had had to care for them, immediately started to butcher them. Later on his remaining men, now commanded by his aide de camp Moscoso, attempted an overland return to Mexico. They made it as far as Texas before running into territory too dry for maize farming and too thinly populated to sustain themselves by stealing food from the locals. The expedition promptly backtracked to Arkansas. After building a small fleet of boats they then headed down the Mississippi River and eventually on to Mexico by water.[47][48]

Later explorers included the French Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673, and Frenchmen Robert La Salle and Henri de Tonti in 1681.[49][50] Tonti established Arkansas Post at a Quapaw village in 1686, making it the first European settlement in the territory.[51] The early Spanish or French explorers of the state gave it its name, which is probably a phonetic spelling of the Illinois tribe’s name for the Quapaw people, who lived downriver from them.[52][c] The name Arkansas has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions. The region was organized as the Territory of Arkansaw on July 4, 1819, with the territory admitted to the United States as the state of Arkansas on June 15, 1836. The name was historically /ˈɑːrkənsɔː/, /ɑːrˈkænzəs/, and several other variants. Historically and modernly, the people of Arkansas call themselves either “Arkansans” or “Arkansawyers”. In 1881, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Arkansas Code 1-4-105 (official text):

Whereas, confusion of practice has arisen in the pronunciation of the name of our state and it is deemed important that the true pronunciation should be determined for use in oral official proceedings.

And, whereas, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the State Historical Society and the Eclectic Society of Little Rock, which have agreed upon the correct pronunciation as derived from history, and the early usage of the American immigrants.

Be it therefore resolved by both houses of the General Assembly, that the only true pronunciation of the name of the state, in the opinion of this body, is that received by the French from the native Indians and committed to writing in the French word representing the sound. It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final “s” silent, the “a” in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables. The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of “a” in “man” and the sounding of the terminal “s” is an innovation to be discouraged.

Citizens of the state of Kansas often pronounce the Arkansas River as /ɑːrˈkænzəs ˈrɪvər/, in a manner similar to the common pronunciation of the name of their state.

Settlers, such as fur trappers, moved to Arkansas in the early 18th century. These people used Arkansas Post as a home base and entrepôt.[51] During the colonial period, Arkansas changed hands between France and Spain following the Seven Years’ War, although neither showed interest in the remote settlement of Arkansas Post.[53] In April 1783, Arkansas saw its only battle of the American Revolutionary War, a brief siege of the post by British Captain James Colbert with the assistance of the Choctaw and Chickasaw.[54]

Purchase by the United States

Evolution from the Territory of Arkansaw to State of Arkansas, 1819–1836

Napoleon Bonaparte sold French Louisiana to the United States in 1803, including all of Arkansas, in a transaction known today as the Louisiana Purchase. French soldiers remained as a garrison at Arkansas Post. Following the purchase, the balanced give-and-take relationship between settlers and Native Americans began to change all along the frontier, including in Arkansas.[55] Following a controversy over allowing slavery in the territory, the Territory of Arkansas was organized on July 4, 1819.[c] Gradual emancipation in Arkansas was struck down by one vote, the Speaker of the House Henry Clay, allowing Arkansas to organize as a slave territory.[56]

Slavery became a wedge issue in Arkansas, forming a geographic divide that remained for decades. Owners and operators of the cotton plantation economy in southeast Arkansas firmly supported slavery, as they perceived slave labor as the best or “only” economically viable method of harvesting their commodity crops.[57] The “hill country” of northwest Arkansas was unable to grow cotton and relied on a cash-scarce, subsistence farming economy.[58]

As European Americans settled throughout the East Coast and into the Midwest, in the 1830s the United States government forced the removal of many Native American tribes to Arkansas and Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.

Additional Native American removals began in earnest during the territorial period, with final Quapaw removal complete by 1833 as they were pushed into Indian Territory.[59] The capital was relocated from Arkansas Post to Little Rock in 1821, during the territorial period.[60]

Statehood

Lakeport Plantation, c. 1859 and built south of Lake Village, is the only remaining antebellum plantation house on the Mississippi River in Arkansas. Many planters became wealthy from the cotton industry in southern Arkansas.

When Arkansas applied for statehood, the slavery issue was again raised in Washington, D.C.. Congress eventually approved the Arkansas Constitution after a 25-hour session, admitting Arkansas on June 15, 1836 as the 25th state and the 13th slave state, having a population of about 60,000.[61] Arkansas struggled with taxation to support its new state government, a problem made worse by a state banking scandal and worse yet by the Panic of 1837.

Civil War and Reconstruction

In early antebellum Arkansas, the southeast Arkansas slave based economy developed rapidly. On the eve of the Civil War in 1860, enslaved African Americans numbered 111,115 people, just over 25% of the state’s population.[62] Plantation agriculture set the state and region behind the nation for decades.[63] The wealth developed among planters of southeast Arkansas caused a political rift to form between the northwest and southeast.[64]

Many politicians were elected to office from the Family, the Southern rights political force in antebellum Arkansas. Residents generally wanted to avoid a civil war. When the Gulf states seceded in early 1861, Arkansas voted to remain in the Union.[64] Arkansas did not secede until Abraham Lincoln demanded Arkansas troops be sent to Fort Sumter to quell the rebellion there. On May 6, a state convention voted to terminate Arkansas’s membership in the Union and join the Confederate States of America.[64]

Arkansas held a very important position for the Rebels, maintaining control of the Mississippi River and surrounding Southern states. The bloody Battle of Wilson’s Creek just across the border in Missouri shocked many Arkansans who thought the war would be a quick and decisive Southern victory. Battles early in the war took place in northwest Arkansas, including the Battle of Cane Hill, Battle of Pea Ridge, and Battle of Prairie Grove. Union General Samuel Curtis swept across the state to Helena in the Delta in 1862. Little Rock was captured the following year. The government shifted the state Confederate capital to Hot Springs, and then again to Washington from 1863–1865, for the remainder of the war. Throughout the state, guerrilla warfare ravaged the countryside and destroyed cities.[65] Passion for the Confederate cause waned after implementation of programs such as the draft, high taxes, and martial law.

Under the Military Reconstruction Act, Congress declared Arkansas restored to the Union in June 1868, after the Legislature accepted the 14th Amendment. The Republican-controlled reconstruction legislature established universal male suffrage (though temporarily disfranchising former Confederate Army officers, who were all Democrats), a public education system for blacks and whites, and passed general issues to improve the state and help more of the population. The State soon came under control of the Radical Republicans and Unionists, and led by Governor Powell Clayton, they presided over a time of great upheaval as Confederate sympathizers and the Ku Klux Klan fought the new developments, particularly voting rights for African Americans.

End of the Reconstruction

In 1874, the Brooks-Baxter War, a political struggle between factions of the Republican Party shook Little Rock and the state governorship. It was settled only when President Ulysses S. Grant ordered Joseph Brooks to disperse his militant supporters.[66]

Following the Brooks-Baxter War, a new state constitution was ratified, re-enfranchising former Confederates.

In 1881, the Arkansas state legislature enacted a bill that adopted an official pronunciation of the state’s name, to combat a controversy then simmering. (See Law and Government below.)

After Reconstruction, the state began to receive more immigrants and migrants. Chinese, Italian, and Syrian men were recruited for farm labor in the developing Delta region. None of these nationalities stayed long at farm labor; the Chinese especially quickly became small merchants in towns around the Delta. Many Chinese became such successful merchants in small towns that they were able to educate their children at college.[67]

Some early 20th-century immigration included people from eastern Europe. Together, these immigrants made the Delta more diverse than the rest of the state. In the same years, some black migrants moved into the area because of opportunities to develop the bottomlands and own their own property.

Wife and children of a sharecropper in Washington County, Arkansas, c. 1935

Construction of railroads enabled more farmers to get their products to market. It also brought new development into different parts of the state, including the Ozarks, where some areas were developed as resorts. In a few years at the end of the 19th century, for instance, Eureka Springs in Carroll County grew to 10,000 people, rapidly becoming a tourist destination and the fourth-largest city of the state. It featured newly constructed, elegant resort hotels and spas planned around its natural springs, considered to have healthful properties. The town’s attractions included horse racing and other entertainment. It appealed to a wide variety of classes, becoming almost as popular as Hot Springs.

Rise of the Jim Crow laws

In the late 1880s, the worsening agricultural depression catalyzed Populist and third party movements, leading to interracial coalitions. Struggling to stay in power, in the 1890s the Democrats in Arkansas followed other Southern states in passing legislation and constitutional amendments that disfranchised blacks and poor whites. Democrats wanted to prevent their alliance.[citation needed] In 1891 state legislators passed a requirement for a literacy test, knowing that it would exclude many blacks and whites. At the time, more than 25% of the population could neither read nor write. In 1892, they amended the state constitution to require a poll tax and more complex residency requirements, both of which adversely affected poor people and sharecroppers, forcing most blacks and many poor whites from voter rolls.

By 1900 the Democratic Party expanded use of the white primary in county and state elections, further denying blacks a part in the political process. Only in the primary was there any competition among candidates, as Democrats held all the power. The state was a Democratic one-party state for decades, until after passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 to enforce constitutional rights.[68]

Between 1905 and 1911, Arkansas began to receive a small immigration of German, Slovak, and Scots-Irish from Europe. The German and Slovak peoples settled in the eastern part of the state known as the Prairie, and the Irish founded small communities in the southeast part of the state. The Germans were mostly Lutheran and the Slovaks were primarily Catholic. The Irish were mostly Protestant from Ulster, of Scots and Northern Borders descent.

Based on the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt given shortly after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, nearly 16,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from the West Coast of the United States and incarcerated in two internment camp located in the Arkansas Delta.[69] The Rohwer Camp in Desha County operated from September 1942 to November 1945 and at its peak interned 8,475 prisoners.[69] The Jerome War Relocation Center in Drew County operated from October 1942 to June 1944 and held c. 8,000 prisoners.[69]

Fall of segregation

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in 1954 that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, some students worked to integrate schools in the state. The Little Rock Nine brought Arkansas to national attention in 1957 when the Federal government had to intervene to protect African-American students trying to integrate a high school in the Arkansas capital. Governor Orval Faubus had ordered the Arkansas National Guard to aid segregationists in preventing nine African-American students from enrolling at Little Rock’s Central High School. After attempting three times to contact Faubus, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent 1000 troops from the active-duty 101st Airborne Division to escort and protect the African-American students as they entered school on September 25, 1957. In defiance of federal court orders to integrate, the governor and city of Little Rock decided to close the high schools for the remainder of the school year. By the fall of 1959, the Little Rock high schools were completely integrated.[70]

Prominent American figures from Arkansas

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was born in Hope. Before his presidency, Clinton served as the 40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas, a total of nearly 12 years.

Cities and towns

Cleveland County Courthouse in Rison

Little Rock has been Arkansas’s capital city since 1821 when it replaced Arkansas Post as the capital of the Territory of Arkansas.[71] The state capitol was moved to Hot Springs and later Washington during the Civil War when the Union armies threatened the city in 1862, and state government did not return to Little Rock until after the war ended. Today, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway metropolitan area is the largest in the state, with a population of 724,385 in 2013.[72]

The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area is the second-largest metropolitan area in Arkansas, growing at the fastest rate due to the influx of businesses and the growth of the University of Arkansas and Walmart.[73]

The state has eight cities with populations above 50,000 (based on 2010 census). In descending order of size, they are: Little Rock, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, and Rogers. Of these, only Fort Smith and Jonesboro are outside the two largest metropolitan areas. Other cities are located in Arkansas such as Pine Bluff, Crossett, Bryant, Lake Village, Hot Springs, Bentonville, Texarkana, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Russellville, Bella Vista, West Memphis, Paragould, Cabot, Searcy, Van Buren, El Dorado, Blytheville, Harrison, Dumas, Rison, Warren, and Mountain Home.

Demographics

Population

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Map of Arkansas, showing density of population by county.
Map of Arkansas, with many southern and eastern counties recording population losses with the rest of the state showing moderate gains. Benton and Faulkner counties were the most rapidly growing in population between 2000–2010.
Left: Arkansas’s population distribution. Red indicates high density in urban areas, green indicates low density in rural areas.
Right: Map showing population changes by county between 2000 and 2010. Blue indicates population gain, purple indicates population loss, and shade indicates magnitude.

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Arkansas was 2,978,204 on July 1, 2015, a 2.14% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[75]

As of 2015, Arkansas has an estimated population of 2,978,204.[75] From fewer than 15,000 in 1820, Arkansas’s population grew to 52,240 during a special census in 1835, far exceeding the 40,000 required to apply for statehood.[76] Following statehood in 1836, the population doubled each decade until the 1870 Census conducted following the Civil War. The state recorded growth in each successive decade, although it gradually slowed in the 20th century.

It recorded population losses in the 1950 and 1960 Censuses. This outmigration was a result of multiple factors, including farm mechanization, decreasing labor demand, and young educated people leaving the state due to a lack of non-farming industry in the state.[77] Arkansas again began to grow, recording positive growth rates ever since and exceeding the 2 million mark during the 1980 Census.[78] Arkansas’s rate of change, age distributions, and gender distributions mirror national averages. Minority group data also approximates national averages. There are fewer people in Arkansas of Hispanic or Latino origin than the national average.[79] The center of population of Arkansas for 2000 was located in Perry County, near Nogal.[80]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,062
1820 14,273 1,244.0%
1830 30,388 112.9%
1840 97,574 221.1%
1850 209,897 115.1%
1860 435,450 107.5%
1870 484,471 11.3%
1880 802,525 65.6%
1890 1,128,211 40.6%
1900 1,311,564 16.3%
1910 1,574,449 20.0%
1920 1,752,204 11.3%
1930 1,854,482 5.8%
1940 1,949,387 5.1%
1950 1,909,511 −2.0%
1960 1,786,272 −6.5%
1970 1,923,295 7.7%
1980 2,286,435 18.9%
1990 2,350,725 2.8%
2000 2,673,400 13.7%
2010 2,915,918 9.1%
Est. 2018 3,013,825 3.4%
Source: 1910–2010[81]
2018 estimate[75]

Ancestry

In terms of race and ethnicity, the state was 80.1% white (74.2% non-Hispanic white), 15.6% black or African American, 0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.3% Asian, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 6.6% of the population.[82]

As of 2011, 39.0% of Arkansas’s population younger than age 1 were minorities.[83]

Arkansas Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990[84] 2000[85] 2010[86]
White 82.7% 80.0% 77.0%
African American 15.9% 15.7% 15.4%
Asian 0.5% 0.8% 1.2%
Native 0.5% 0.7% 0.8%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1% 0.2%
Other race 0.3% 1.5% 3.4%
Two or more races 1.3% 2.0%

European Americans have a strong presence in the northwestern Ozarks and the central part of the state. African Americans live mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the state. Arkansans of Irish, English and German ancestry are mostly found in the far northwestern Ozarks near the Missouri border. Ancestors of the Irish in the Ozarks were chiefly Scots-Irish, Protestants from Northern Ireland, the Scottish lowlands and northern England part of the largest group of immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland before the American Revolution. English and Scots-Irish immigrants settled throughout the backcountry of the South and in the more mountainous areas. Americans of English stock are found throughout the state.[87]

A 2010 survey of the principal ancestries of Arkansas’s residents revealed the following:[88]

  • 15.5% African American
  • 12.3% Irish
  • 11.5% German
  • 11.0% American
  • 10.1% English
  • 4.7% Mexican
  • 2.1% French
  • 1.7% Scottish
  • 1.7% Dutch
  • 1.6% Italian
  • 1.4% Scots-Irish

Most of the people identifying as American are of English descent and/or Scots-Irish descent. Their families have been in the state so long, in many cases since before statehood, that they choose to identify simply as having American ancestry or do not in fact know their own ancestry. Their ancestry primarily goes back to the original 13 colonies and for this reason many of them today simply claim American ancestry. Many people who identify themselves as Irish descent are in fact of Scots-Irish descent.[89][90][91][92]

According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, 93.8% of Arkansas’s population (over the age of five) spoke only English at home. About 4.5% of the state’s population spoke Spanish at home. About 0.7% of the state’s population spoke any other Indo-European languages. About 0.8% of the state’s population spoke an Asian language, and 0.2% spoke other languages.[clarification needed dubious]

Religion

Arkansas, like most other Southern states, is part of the Bible Belt and is predominantly Protestant. The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 661,382; the United Methodist Church with 158,574; non-denominational Evangelical Protestants with 129,638; the Catholic Church with 122,662; and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 31,254. There are some residents of the state who live by other religions such as Islam, Judaism, Wicca, Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism or who claim no religious affiliation.[93]

Religion in Arkansas (2014)[94]
Religion Percent
Protestant
70%
None
18%
Catholic
8%
Muslim
2%
Mormon
1%
Other
1%

Economy

The Simmons Tower is the state’s tallest building.

Once a state with a cashless society in the uplands and plantation agriculture in the lowlands, Arkansas’s economy has evolved and diversified. The state’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $119 billion in 2015.[95] Six Fortune 500 companies are based in Arkansas, including the world’s #1 retailer, Walmart; Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt, Dillard’s, Murphy USA, and Windstream are also headquartered in the state.[96] The per capita personal income in 2015 was $39,107, ranking forty-fifth in the nation.[97] The median household income from 2011–15 was $41,371, ranking forty-ninth in the nation.[98] The state’s agriculture outputs are poultry and eggs, soybeans, sorghum, cattle, cotton, rice, hogs, and milk. Its industrial outputs are food processing, electric equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery, and paper products. Mines in Arkansas produce natural gas, oil, crushed stone, bromine, and vanadium.[99] According to CNBC, Arkansas ranks as the 20th best state for business, with the 2nd-lowest cost of doing business, 5th-lowest cost of living, 11th best workforce, 20th-best economic climate, 28th-best educated workforce, 31st-best infrastructure and the 32nd-friendliest regulatory environment.[citation needed] Arkansas gained twelve spots in the best state for business rankings since 2011.[100] As of 2014, Arkansas was the most affordable U.S. state to live in.[101]

As of November 2016, the state’s unemployment rate is 4.0%[102]

Industry and commerce

Arkansas’s earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture, with development of cotton plantations in the areas near the Mississippi River. They were dependent on slave labor through the American Civil War.

Today only approximately 3% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector,[103] it remains a major part of the state’s economy, ranking 13th in the nation in the value of products sold.[104] The state is the U.S.’s largest producer of rice, broilers, and turkeys,[105] and ranks in the top three for cotton, pullets, and aquaculture (catfish).[104] Forestry remains strong in the Arkansas Timberlands, and the state ranks fourth nationally and first in the South in softwood lumber production.[106] Automobile parts manufacturers have opened factories in eastern Arkansas to support auto plants in other states. Bauxite was formerly a large part of the state’s economy, mined mostly around Saline County.[107]

Tourism is also very important to the Arkansas economy; the official state nickname “The Natural State” was created for state tourism advertising in the 1970s, and is still used to this day. The state maintains 52 state parks and the National Park Service maintains seven properties in Arkansas. The completion of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock has drawn many visitors to the city and revitalized the nearby River Market District. Many cities also hold festivals, which draw tourists to Arkansas culture, such as The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival in Warren, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Ozark Folk Festival, Toad Suck Daze, and Tontitown Grape Festival.

Media

As of 2010 many Arkansas local newspapers are owned by WEHCO Media, Alabama-based Lancaster Management, Kentucky-based Paxton Media Group, Missouri-based Rust Communications, Nevada-based Stephens Media, and New York-based GateHouse Media.[108]

Culture

Arkansas state symbols
Flag of Arkansas.svg

The Flag of Arkansas
Living insignia
Bird Northern mockingbird
Butterfly Diana fritillary
Flower Apple blossom
Insect Western honey bee
Mammal White-tailed deer
Tree Loblolly pine
Inanimate insignia
Beverage Milk
Dance Square dance
Food South Arkansas vine ripe pink tomato
Gemstone Diamond
Instrument Fiddle
Mineral Quartz
Rock Bauxite
Soil Stuttgart
Song “Arkansas”,
“Arkansas (You Run Deep In Me)”,
“Oh, Arkansas”,
“The Arkansas Traveler”
Tartan Arkansas Traveler Tartan
State route marker
Arkansas state route marker
State quarter
Arkansas quarter dollar coin

Released in 2003
Lists of United States state symbols

One of the bridge pavilions over Crystal Spring at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville

The culture of Arkansas is available to all in various forms, whether it be architecture, literature, or fine and performing arts. The state’s culture also includes distinct cuisine, dialect, and traditional festivals. Sports are also very important to the culture of Arkansas, ranging from football, baseball, and basketball to hunting and fishing. Perhaps the best-known piece of Arkansas’s culture is the stereotype of its citizens as shiftless hillbillies.[109] The reputation began when the state was characterized by early explorers as a savage wilderness full of outlaws and thieves.[110] The most enduring icon of Arkansas’s hillbilly reputation is The Arkansas Traveller, a painted depiction of a folk tale from the 1840s.[111] Although intended to represent the divide between rich southeastern plantation Arkansas planters and the poor northwestern hill country, the meaning was twisted to represent a Northerner lost in the Ozarks on a white horse asking a backwoods Arkansan for directions.[112] The state also suffers from the racial stigma common to former Confederate states, with historical events such as the Little Rock Nine adding to Arkansas’s enduring image.[113]

Art and history museums display pieces of cultural value for Arkansans and tourists to enjoy. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville was visited by 604,000 people in 2012, its first year.[114] The museum includes walking trails and educational opportunities in addition to displaying over 450 works covering five centuries of American art.[115] Several historic town sites have been restored as Arkansas state parks, including Historic Washington State Park, Powhatan Historic State Park, and Davidsonville Historic State Park.

Arkansas features a variety of native music across the state, ranging from the blues heritage of West Memphis, Pine Bluff, Helena–West Helena to rockabilly, bluegrass, and folk music from the Ozarks. Festivals such as the King Biscuit Blues Festival and Bikes, Blues, and BBQ pay homage to the history of blues in the state. The Ozark Folk Festival in Mountain View is a celebration of Ozark culture and often features folk and bluegrass musicians. Literature set in Arkansas such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and A Painted House by John Grisham describe the culture at various time periods.

Sports and recreation

The flooded forested bottomlands of east Arkansas attract wintering waterfowl (Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge).

Sports have become an integral part of the culture of Arkansas, and her residents enjoy participating in and spectating various events throughout the year.

Team sports and especially collegiate football have been important to Arkansans. College football in Arkansas began from humble beginnings. The University of Arkansas first fielded a team in 1894 when football was a very dangerous game. Recent studies of the damage to team members from the concussions common in football make it clear that the danger persists.

“Calling the Hogs” is a cheer that shows support for the Razorbacks, one of the two NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in the state. High school football also began to grow in Arkansas in the early 20th century. Over the years, many Arkansans have looked to the Razorbacks football team as the public image of the state. Following the Little Rock Nine integration crisis at Little Rock Central High School, Arkansans looked to the successful Razorback teams in the following years to repair the state’s reputation. Although the University of Arkansas is based in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks have always played at least one game per season at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock in an effort to keep fan support in central and south Arkansas.

Arkansas State University joined the University of Arkansas in FBS (then known as Division I-A) in 1992 after playing in lower divisions for nearly two decades. The two schools have never played each other, due to the University of Arkansas’s policy of not playing intrastate games.[116] Two other campuses of the University of Arkansas System are Division I members. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a league whose members all play football in the second-level Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a member of the FBS Sun Belt Conference, but is one of two conference schools that has no football program. The state’s other Division I member is the University of Central Arkansas, which is a full member (including football) of the FCS Southland Conference.

Seven of Arkansas’s smaller colleges play in NCAA Division II, with six in the Great American Conference and one in the Heartland Conference. Two other small Arkansas colleges compete in NCAA Division III, in which athletic scholarships are prohibited.

Baseball runs deep in Arkansas and has been popular before the state hosted Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training in Hot Springs from 1886 to the 1920s. Two minor league teams are based in the state. The Arkansas Travelers play at Dickey–Stephens Park in North Little Rock, and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals play in Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. Both teams compete in the Texas League.

Related to the state’s frontier past, hunting continues in the state. The state created the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1915 to regulate hunting and enforce those regulations.[117] Today a significant portion of Arkansas’s population participates in hunting duck in the Mississippi flyway and deer across the state.[118] Millions of acres of public land are available for both bow and modern gun hunters.[118]

Fishing has always been popular in Arkansas, and the sport and the state have benefited from the creation of reservoirs across the state. Following the completion of Norfork Dam, the Norfork Tailwater and the White River have become a destination for trout fishers. Several smaller retirement communities such as Bull Shoals, Hot Springs Village, and Fairfield Bay have flourished due to their position on a fishing lake. The Buffalo National River has been preserved in its natural state by the National Park Service and is frequented by fly fishers annually.

Health

UAMS Medical Center, Little Rock

As of 2012, Arkansas, as with many Southern states, has a high incidence of premature death, infant mortality, cardiovascular deaths, and occupational fatalities compared to the rest of the United States.[119] The state is tied for 43rd with New York in percentage of adults who regularly exercise.[120] Arkansas is usually ranked as one of the least healthy states due to high obesity, smoking, and sedentary lifestyle rates.[119] However, a Gallup poll demonstrates that Arkansas made the most immediate progress in reducing its number of uninsured residents following the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The percentage of uninsured in Arkansas dropped from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in August 2014.[121]

The Arkansas Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect in 2006, a statewide smoking ban excluding bars and some restaurants.[122]

Healthcare in Arkansas is provided by a network of hospitals as members of the Arkansas Hospital Association. Major institutions with multiple branches include Baptist Health, Community Health Systems, and HealthSouth. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock operates the UAMS Medical Center, a teaching hospital ranked as high performing nationally in cancer and nephrology.[123] The pediatric division of UAMS Medical Center is known as Arkansas Children’s Hospital, nationally ranked in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.[124] Together, these two institutions are the state’s only Level I trauma centers.[125]

Education

Arkansas has 1,064 state-funded kindergartens, elementary, junior- and senior high schools.[126]

The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, including two major university systems: Arkansas State University System and University of Arkansas System. The University of Arkansas, flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System in Fayetteville was ranked #63 among public schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[127] Other public institutions include University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, and University of Central Arkansas across the state. It is also home to 11 private colleges and universities including Hendrix College, one of the nation’s top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.[128]

In the 1920s the state required all children to attend public schools. The school year was set at 131 days, although some areas were unable to meet that requirement.[129][130]

Although unusual in the West, school corporal punishment is not uncommon in Arkansas, with 20,083 public school students[131]paddled at least one time, according to government data for the 2011–2012 school year.[132] The rate of corporal punishment in public schools is higher only in Mississippi.[132]

Educational attainment

Arkansas is one of the most under-educated states in the Union. It ranks near the bottom in terms of percentage of the population with either a high school or college degree. The state’s educational system has a history of under-funding, low teachers’ salaries and political meddling in the curriculum.[133]

Educational statistics during these early days are fragmentary and unreliable. Many counties did not submit full reports to the Secretary of State who did double-duty as Commissioner of Common Schools. However, the percentage of Whites over twenty years of age who were illiterate was given as:

  • 1840 21%
  • 1850 25%
  • 1860 17%

[134]

In 2010 Arkansas students earned an average score of 20.3 on the ACT exam, just below the national average of 21. These results were expected due to the large increase in the number of students taking the exam since the establishment of the Academic Challenge Scholarship.[135] Top high schools receiving recognition from the U.S. News & World Report are spread across the state, including Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville, KIPP Delta Collegiate in Helena-West Helena, Bentonville, Rogers, Rogers Heritage, Valley Springs, Searcy, and McCrory.[136] A total of 81 Arkansas high schools were ranked by the U.S. News & World Report in 2012.[137]

Old Main, part of the Campus Historic District at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville

Arkansas ranks as the 32nd smartest state on the Morgan Quitno Smartest State Award, 44th in percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma, and 48th in percentage of bachelor’s degree attainment.[138][139] Arkansas has been making strides in education reform. Education Week has praised the state, ranking Arkansas in the top 10 of their Quality Counts Education Rankings every year since 2009 while scoring it in the top 5 during 2012 and 2013.[140][141][142] Arkansas specifically received an A in Transition and Policy Making for progress in this area consisting of early-childhood education, college readiness, and career readiness.[143] Governor Mike Beebe has made improving education a major issue through his attempts to spend more on education.[144] Through reforms, the state is a leader in requiring curricula designed to prepare students for postsecondary education, rewarding teachers for student achievement, and providing incentives for principals who work in lower-tier schools.[145]

Funding

As an organized territory, and later in the early days of statehood, education was funded by the sales of Federally-controlled public lands. This system was inadequate and prone to local graft. In an 1854 message to the Legislature, Governor Elias N. Conway said, “We have a common-school law intended as a system to establish common schools in all part of the state; but for the want of adequate means there are very few in operation under this law.” At this time, only about a quarter of children were enrolled in school.
[146] By the beginning of the American Civil War, the state had only twenty-five publicly-funded common schools.[147]

In 1867, the state legislature was still controlled by ex-Confederates. It passed a Common Schools Law that allowed public funded but limited schools to White children.

The 1868 legislature banned former Confederates and passed a more wide-ranging law detailing funding and administrative issues and allowing Black children to attend school. In furtherance of this, the postwar 1868 state constitution was the first to permit a personal-property tax to fund the lands and buildings for public schools. With the 1868 elections, the first county school commissioners took office.[148]

In 2014, the state spent $9,616 per student, compared with a national average of about $11,000 putting Arkansas in nineteenth place.[149]

Timeline

1829 Territorial legislature permits townships to establish schools.
[146]

1868 State law required racial segregation of schools.

1871 University of Arkansas established.

1873 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff established as a school to train Black teachers.

1877 Philander Smith College established as a school for Black students.

1890 Henderson State University established as a private school. The state assumed responsibility for it in 1929 as Henderson State Teachers College.

1885 Arkansas School for the Deaf and Arkansas School for the Blind established.

1909 Arkansas Tech University, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas at Monticello and Arkansas State University established as schools offering high school diplomas and vocational training.

c. 1920 Schooling made compulsory.[133]

1925 University of Central Arkansas established as Arkansas State Normal School established.

1948 University of Arkansas School of Law admits a Black student

1957 Governor Orval Faubus used National Guard troops to oppose racial integration of Little Rock Central High School.

1958 In Cooper v. Aaron the United States Supreme Court ruled the state was bound to integrate school despite the opposition of the governor and legislature.

1983 The Arkansas State Supreme Court ruled the state’s funding of education was Constitutionally deficient.[133]

Transportation

The Greenville Bridge over the Mississippi River, August 2009

The Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad

Transportation in Arkansas is overseen by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT), headquartered in Little Rock. Several main corridors pass through Little Rock, including Interstate 30 (I-30) and I-40 (the nation’s 3rd-busiest trucking corridor).[150] In northeast Arkansas, I-55 travels north from Memphis to Missouri, with a new spur to Jonesboro (I-555). Northwest Arkansas is served by I-540 from Fort Smith to Bella Vista, which is a segment of future I-49. The state also has the 13th largest state highway system in the nation.[151]

Arkansas is served by 2,750 miles (4,430 km) of railroad track divided among twenty-six railroad companies including three Class I railroads.[152] Freight railroads are concentrated in southeast Arkansas to serve the industries in the region. The Texas Eagle, an Amtrak passenger train, serves five stations in the state Walnut Ridge, Little Rock, Malvern, Arkadelphia, and Texarkana.

Arkansas also benefits from the use of its rivers for commerce. The Mississippi River and Arkansas River are both major rivers. The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, allowing barge traffic up the Arkansas River to the Port of Catoosa in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

There are four airports with commercial service: Clinton National Airport, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Fort Smith Regional Airport, and Texarkana Regional Airport, with dozens of smaller airports in the state.

Public transit and community transport services for the elderly or those with developmental disabilities are provided by agencies such as the Central Arkansas Transit Authority and the Ozark Regional Transit, organizations that are part of the Arkansas Transit Association.

Law and government

As with the federal government of the United States, political power in Arkansas is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each officer’s term is four years long. Office holders are term-limited to two full terms plus any partial terms before the first full term.[153]

Executive

The Governor of Arkansas is Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, who was inaugurated on January 13, 2015.[154][155] The six other elected executive positions in Arkansas are lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, auditor, and land commissioner.[156] The governor also appoints qualified individuals to lead various state boards, committees, and departments. Arkansas governors served two-year terms until a referendum lengthened the term to four years, effective with the 1986 general election.

In Arkansas, the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor and thus can be from a different political party.[157]

Legislative

The Arkansas General Assembly is the state’s bicameral bodies of legislators, composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate contains 35 members from districts of approximately equal population. These districts are redrawn decennially with each US census, and in election years ending in “2”, the entire body is put up for reelection. Following the election, half of the seats are designated as two-year seats and are up for reelection again in two years, these “half-terms” do not count against a legislator’s term limits. The remaining half serve a full four-year term. This staggers elections such that half the body is up for re-election every two years and allows for complete body turnover following redistricting.[158] Arkansas voters selected a 21–14 Republican majority in the Senate in 2012. Arkansas House members can serve a maximum of three two-year terms. House districts are redistricted by the Arkansas Board of Apportionment. Following the 2012 elections, Republicans gained a 51–49 majority in the House of Representatives.[159]

The Republican Party majority status in the Arkansas State House of Representatives following the 2012 elections is the party’s first since 1874. Arkansas was the last state of the old Confederacy to never have Republicans control either chamber of its house since the Civil War.[160]

Following the term limits changes, studies have shown that lobbyists have become less influential in state politics. Legislative staff, not subject to term limits, have acquired additional power and influence due to the high rate of elected official turnover.[161]

Judicial

Arkansas’s judicial branch has five court systems: Arkansas Supreme Court, Arkansas Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, District Courts and City Courts.

Most cases begin in district court, which is subdivided into state district court and local district court. State district courts exercise district-wide jurisdiction over the districts created by the General Assembly, and local district courts are presided over by part-time judges who may privately practice law. 25 state district court judges preside over 15 districts, with more districts created in 2013 and 2017. There are 28 judicial circuits of Circuit Court, with each contains five subdivisions: criminal, civil, probate, domestic relations, and juvenile court. The jurisdiction of the Arkansas Court of Appeals is determined by the Arkansas Supreme Court, and there is no right of appeal from the Court of Appeals to the high court. The Arkansas Supreme Court can review Court of Appeals cases upon application by either a party to the litigation, upon request by the Court of Appeals, or if the Arkansas Supreme Court feels the case should have been initially assigned to it. The twelve judges of the Arkansas Court of Appeals are elected from judicial districts to renewable six-year terms.

The Arkansas Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state, composed of seven justices elected to eight-year terms. Established by the Arkansas Constitution in 1836, the court’s decisions can be appealed to only the Supreme Court of the United States.

Federal

Both of Arkansas’s U.S. Senators, John Boozman and Tom Cotton, are Republicans. The state has four seats in U.S. House of Representatives. All four seats are held by Republicans: Rick Crawford (1st district), French Hill (2nd district), Steve Womack (3rd district), and Bruce Westerman (4th district).[162]

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2016 60.57% 684,872 33.65% 380,494
2012 60.57% 647,744 36.88% 394,409
2008 58.72% 638,017 38.86% 422,310
2004 54.31% 572,898 44.55% 469,953
2000 51.31% 472,940 45.86% 422,768
1996 36.80% 325,416 53.74% 475,171
1992 35.48% 337,324 53.21% 505,823
1988 56.37% 466,578 42.19% 349,237
1984 60.47% 534,774 38.29% 338,646
1980 48.13% 403,164 47.52% 398,041
1976 34.93% 268,753 64.94% 499,614
1972 68.82% 445,751 30.71% 198,899

Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election.

Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton brought national attention to the state with a long speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention endorsing Michael Dukakis. Some journalists suggested the speech was a threat to his ambitions; Clinton defined it “a comedy of error, just one of those fluky things”.[163] Clinton won the Democratic nomination for President the following cycle. Presenting himself as a “New Democrat” and using incumbent George H. W. Bush’s broken promise against him, Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (43.0% of the vote) against Republican Bush (37.4% of the vote) and billionaire populist Ross Perot, who ran as an independent (18.9% of the vote).

Most Republican strength traditionally lay mainly in the northwestern part of the state, particularly Fort Smith and Bentonville, as well as North Central Arkansas around the Mountain Home area. In the latter area, Republicans have been known to get 90 percent or more of the vote, while the rest of the state was more Democratic. After 2010, Republican strength expanded further to the Northeast and Southwest and into the Little Rock suburbs. The Democrats are mostly concentrated to central Little Rock, the Mississippi Delta, the Pine Bluff area, and the areas around the southern border with Louisiana.

Arkansas has only elected three Republicans to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction: Tim Hutchinson, who was defeated after one term by Mark Pryor; John Boozman, who defeated incumbent Blanche Lincoln; and Tom Cotton, who defeated Mark Pryor in the 2014 elections. Before 2013, the General Assembly had not been controlled by the Republican Party since Reconstruction, with the GOP holding a 51-seat majority in the state House and a 21-seat (of 35) in the state Senate following victories in 2012. Arkansas was one of just three states among the states of the former Confederacy that sent two Democrats to the U.S. Senate (the others being Florida and Virginia) for any period during the first decade of the 21st century.

In 2010, Republicans captured three of the state’s four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2012, Republicans won election for all four House seats. Arkansas held the distinction of having a U.S. House delegation composed entirely of military veterans (Rick Crawford – Army; Tim Griffin – Army Reserve; Steve Womack – Army National Guard, Tom Cotton- Army). In 2014, the last Democrat in Arkansas’s Congressional Delegation, Mark Pryor, was defeated in his campaign to win a third term in the U.S. Senate, leaving the entire congressional delegation in GOP hands for the first time since Reconstruction.

Reflecting the state’s large evangelical population, the state has a strong social conservative bent. Under the Arkansas Constitution Arkansas is a right to work state, its voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage with 75% voting yes,[164] and the state is one of a handful with legislation on its books banning abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.

Attractions

Blanchard Springs Caverns in Stone County is a tourist destination.

Arkansas is home to many areas protected by the National Park System. These include:[165]

  • Arkansas Post National Memorial at Gillett
  • Blanchard Springs Caverns
  • Buffalo National River
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site
  • Hot Springs National Park
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park
  • President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
  • Arkansas State Capitol Building
  • List of Arkansas state parks

See also

  • Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas portal
  • Outline of Arkansas – organized list of topics about Arkansas
  • Index of Arkansas-related articles

Notes

  1. ^ ab Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
  2. ^ The Geographic Names Index System (GNIS) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that the official name of this feature is Magazine Mountain, not “Mount Magazine”. Although not a hard and fast rule, generally “Mount X” is used for a peak and “X Mountain” is more frequently used for ridges, which better describes this feature. Magazine Mountain appears in the GNIS as a ridge,[5] with Signal Hill identified as its summit.[6] “Mount Magazine” is the name used by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, which follows what the locals have used since the area was first settled.
  3. ^ abcde The name Arkansas has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions. The region was organized as the Territory of Arkansaw on July 4, 1819, but the territory was admitted to the United States as the state of Arkansas on June 15, 1836. The name was historically /ˈɑːrkənsɔː/, /ɑːrˈkænzəs/, and several other variants. Historically and modernly, the people of Arkansas call themselves either “Arkansans” or “Arkansawyers”. In 1881, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the following concurrent resolution, now Arkansas Code 1 April 105:[14].mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

    Whereas, confusion of practice has arisen in the pronunciation of the name of our state and it is deemed important that the true pronunciation should be determined for use in oral official proceedings.

    And, whereas, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the State Historical Society and the Eclectic Society of Little Rock, which have agreed upon the correct pronunciation as derived from history, and the early usage of the American immigrants..

    Be it therefore resolved by both houses of the General Assembly, that the only true pronunciation of the name of the state, in the opinion of this body, is that received by the French from the native Indians and committed to writing in the French word representing the sound. It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final “s” silent, the “a” in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables. The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of “a” in “man” and the sounding of the terminal “s” is discouraged by Arkansans.

    Despite this, the state’s name is still frequently mispronounced, especially by non-Americans; in fact, it is spelled in Cyrillic with the ar-KAN-zəs pronunciation.

    Citizens of the state of Kansas often pronounce the Arkansas River as /ɑːrˈkænzəs/, in a manner similar to the common pronunciation of the name of their state.

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  96. ^ “Fortune 500”. Forbes. 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  97. ^ “Graph: Per Capita Personal Income in Arkansas”. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  98. ^ “Quick Facts, Income and Poverty”. United States Census Bureau. 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  99. ^ “The Mineral Industry of Arkansas” (PDF). 2008 Minerals Yearbook. United States Geological Survey. August 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  100. ^ “Arkansas #20”. America’s Best States for Business 2012. CNBC. 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  101. ^ EZ Landlord Forms. “Cost To Rent A Home”. ezlandlordforms.com. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  102. ^ “Graph: Unemployment Rate in Arkansas”. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. November 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  103. ^ “Selected Economic Characteristics 2006–2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates”. United States Census Bureau. 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  104. ^ ab “Arkansas State Profile” (PDF). Census of Agriculture. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  105. ^ U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Poultry – Production and Value, 2010 Summary, data indicates Arkansas led the nation in 2008, 2009, and 2010, in both broilers and turkeys.
  106. ^ Pelkki, Matthew H. “An Economic Assessment of Arkansas’ Forest Industries: Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century” (PDF). University of Arkansas-Monticello School of Forest Resources, Arkansas Forest Resources Center, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  107. ^ Bush, William V. “History of Bauxite in Arkansas” (PDF). Arkansas Geological Survey. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  108. ^ C. Dennis Schick, “Mass Media”, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Central Arkansas Library System, retrieved March 24, 2017
  109. ^ Arnold et al. 2002, p. 115.
  110. ^ Blevins 2009, p. 15.
  111. ^ Blevins 2009, p. 30.
  112. ^ Sutherlin 1996, p. 20.
  113. ^ Sutherlin 1996, p. 17.
  114. ^ Bartels, Chuck (November 12, 2012). “600K visitors later, Crystal Bridges turns 1”. News Ok. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  115. ^ Reynolds, Chris (October 14, 2012). “Crystal Bridges art museum is reshaping Wal-Mart’s hometown”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  116. ^ “Arkansas matchup is not likely soon”. Sun Herald. July 20, 2003. p. 9B.
  117. ^ Griffee, Carol. “Odyssey Of Survival, A History of the Arkansas Conservation Sales Tax” (PDF). p. 10. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  118. ^ ab Sutherlin 1996, p. 164.
  119. ^ ab “Arkansas”. America’s Health Rankings. United Health Foundation. 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  120. ^ “Physical exercise (most recent) by state”. Health Statistics. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  121. ^ Wilson, Reid. “Arkansas is the Best State in America”. www.washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  122. ^ “Arkansas Smoking Ban”. KLRT-TV. July 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  123. ^ “University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences”. Health & Hospitals. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  124. ^ “Arkansas Children’s Hospital”. Health & Hospitals. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  125. ^ “Designated Trauma Centers”. Arkansas Department of Health. December 17, 2012. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  126. ^ “Arkansas K-12 Profile: 2016–2017”. Arkansas State Board of Education. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  127. ^ “Top Public Schools”. College Ranking Lists. U.S. News & World Report. 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  128. ^ “National Liberal Arts College Rankings”. U.S. News & World Report. 2012. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  129. ^ Holley, Marc J. “Encyclopedia of Arkansas”. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  130. ^ Wilson, William Oscar (August 30, 1918). History of Public School Education in Arkansas; 1900–1918. University of Chicago, Department of Education. p. Page.
  131. ^ Please note this figure refers to only the number of students paddled, regardless of whether a student was spanked multiple times in a year, and does not refer to the number of instances of corporal punishment, which would be substantially higher.
  132. ^ ab Farrell, Colin (February 2016). “Corporal punishment in US schools”. World Corporal Punishment Research. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  133. ^ abc Holley, Marc J. “Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture”. Education Reform. University of Arkansas. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  134. ^ Wilson, William Oscar (August 30, 1918). History of Public School Education in Arkansas; 1900–1918. University of Chicago, Department of Education. p. 7.
  135. ^ “Arkansas’ ACT score slips in 2010”. Arkansas Public School Resource Center. August 18, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  136. ^ “Best High Schools in Arkansas”. U.S. News & World Report. 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  137. ^ “Arkansas High Schools”. U.S. News & World Report. 2012. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  138. ^ “2006–2007 Smartest State Award”. Morgan Quitno Press. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  139. ^ “Educational Attainment, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates”. 2010 United States Census. United States Census Bureau. 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  140. ^ “Quality Counts 2009 – State Report Cards – Education Week”. www.edweek.org.
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  142. ^ “Qua;ity counts” (PDF). www.edweek.org. 2013.
  143. ^ Hightower, Amy M. “States Show Spotty Progress on Education Gauges”. Education Week. pp. 42, 44. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  144. ^ Blagg, Brenda (April 12, 2007). “Lawsuit may go way of Lake View district”. DeWitt, Arkansas: Dewitt Era-Enterprise. p. 4A.
  145. ^ Sauter, Michael; Weigley, Samuel (January 30, 2013). “The states with the best and worst schools”. Yahoo. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  146. ^ ab Wilson, William Oscar (August 30, 1918). History of Public School Education in Arkansas; 1900–1918. University of Chicago, Department of Education. p. 3.
  147. ^ Wilson, William Oscar (August 30, 1918). History of Public School Education in Arkansas; 1900–1918. University of Chicago, Department of Education. p. 8.
  148. ^ Wilson, William Oscar (August 30, 1918). History of Public School Education in Arkansas; 1900–1918. University of Chicago, Department of Education. p. 4.
  149. ^ “Education Spending Per Student by State”. Governing. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  150. ^ Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., Sutapa. “Memphis: The Number One City of Chemical Related Incidents in Tennessee” (PDF). Tennessee Department of Health. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  151. ^ Hartgen, David T.; Karanam, M. Gregory; Fields; Kerscher, Travis A. (September 2010). “19th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems (1984–2008)” (PDF) (PDF). Reason Foundation. p. 46.
  152. ^ “Arkansas State Rail Plan” (PDF). Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. 2002. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  153. ^ English, Art; Weberg, Brian (2005). “Term Limits in the Arkansas General Assembly: A Citizen Legislature Responds” (PDF). Joint Project on Term Limits. National Conference of State Legislatures. p. 1. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  154. ^ “Winners in ’06 Governors races” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 28, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  155. ^ “Arkansas.gov Administration page for Governor”. Dwe.arkansas.gov. March 16, 2007. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  156. ^ Arkansas Code 7 May 806.
  157. ^ “Office of Lieutenant Governor”. Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Pryor Center. February 28, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  158. ^ Greenberg, Dan. “The Dangers of Diluting Term Limits”. Arkansas Policy Center. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  159. ^ Cooke, Mallory. “Republicans Take Control of Arkansas House, Senate”. KFSM-TV. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  160. ^ “Arkansas Senate flips; first time since Reconstruction”. The Courier. November 7, 2012. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  161. ^ English, Art; Weberg, Brian (2005). “Term Limits in the Arkansas General Assembly: A Citizen Legislature Responds” (PDF). Joint Project on Term Limits. National Conference of State Legislatures. pp. 33–34. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  162. ^ Urban, Peter (January 4, 2013). “New Arkansas Rep. Cotton Draws Spotlight; 113th Congress Sworn In”. The Times-Record. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  163. ^ Kornacki, Steve. “When Bill Clinton died onstage”. Salon. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  164. ^ “CNN: Election 2004 – Ballot Measures”.
  165. ^ “Arkansas”. National Park Service. Retrieved July 15, 2008.

Bibliography

  • Arnold, Morris S (Spring 1992). “The Significance of the Arkansas Colonial Experience”. Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 51: 69–82.
  • Arnold, Morris S.; DeBlack, Thomas A; Sabo III, George; Whayne, Jeannie M (2002). Arkansas: A narrative history (1st ed.). Fayetteville, AR: The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 978-1-55728-724-3. OCLC 49029558.
  • Blevins, Brooks (2009). Arkansas/Arkansaw, How Bear Hunters, Hillbillies & Good Ol’ Boys Defined a State. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 978-1-55728-952-0
  • Bolton, S. Charles (Spring 1999). “Slavery and the Defining of Arkansas”. The Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 58.
  • Fletcher, John Gould (1989). Carpenter, Lucas, ed. Arkansas. 2. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 978-1-55728-040-4. OCLC 555740849.
  • Johnson, William R. (Spring 1965). “Prelude to the Missouri Compromise: A New York Congressman’s Effort to Exclude Slavery from Arkansas Territory”. Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 24: 47–66.
  • Scroggs, Jack B (Autumn 1961). “Arkansas Statehood: A Study in State and National Political Schism”. Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 20: 227–244.
  • Smith, Richard M. (1989). The Atlas of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 978-1557280473.
  • White, Lonnie J. (Autumn 1962). “Arkansas Territorial Indian Affairs”. Arkansas Historical Quarterly. 21: 193–212.
  • Sutherlin, Diann (1996). The Arkansas Handbook (2nd ed.). Little Rock, Arkansas: Fly By Night Press. ISBN 978-0-932531-03-2. LCCN 95-90761.
  • The WPA Guide to 1930s Arkansas. Federal Writers’ Project (1st paperback ed.). Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1987 [1941]. ISBN 978-0700603411. LCCN 87-81307.

Further reading

.mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

  • Blair, Diane D. & Jay Barth Arkansas Politics & Government: Do the People Rule? (2005)
  • Deblack, Thomas A. With Fire and Sword: Arkansas, 1861–1874 (2003)
  • Donovan, Timothy P. and Willard B. Gatewood Jr., eds. The Governors of Arkansas (1981)
  • Dougan, Michael B. Confederate Arkansas (1982),
  • Duvall, Leland. ed., Arkansas: Colony and State (1973)
  • Hamilton, Peter Joseph. The Reconstruction Period (1906), full length history of era; Dunning School approach; 570 pp; ch 13 on Arkansas
  • Hanson, Gerald T. and Carl H. Moneyhon. Historical Atlas of Arkansas (1992)
  • Key, V. O. Southern Politics (1949)
  • Kirk, John A., Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940–1970 (2002).
  • McMath, Sidney S. Promises Kept (2003)
  • Moore, Waddy W. ed., Arkansas in the Gilded Age, 1874–1900 (1976).
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States (1974).
  • Thompson, Brock. The Un-Natural State: Arkansas and the Queer South (2010)
  • Thompson, George H. Arkansas and Reconstruction (1976)
  • Whayne, Jeannie M. Arkansas Biography: A Collection of Notable Lives (2000)
  • White, Lonnie J. Politics on the Southwestern Frontier: Arkansas Territory, 1819–1836 (1964)
  • Williams, C. Fred. ed. A Documentary History Of Arkansas (2005)

External links

  • Arkansas.gov – Official State Website
  • Arkansas State Facts from USDA
  • Official State tourism website
  • The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
  • Energy & Environmental Data for Arkansas
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • 2000 Census of Population and Housing for Arkansas, U.S. Census Bureau
  • USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Arkansas
  • Arkansas Summer Camps
  • Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre
  • Arkansas at Ballotpedia
  • Arkansas at Curlie
  • Geographic data related to Arkansas at OpenStreetMap
  • Arkansas State Code (the state statutes of Arkansas)
  • Arkansas State Databases – Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Arkansas state agencies and compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association.

Preceded by
Missouri
List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
Admitted on June 15, 1836 (25th)
Succeeded by
Michigan

Coordinates: 34°48′N 92°12′W / 34.8°N 92.2°W / 34.8; -92.2


Southern United States

Cultural region of the United States
Southern United States
The southern United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.[1]

The southern United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.[1]
Subregion Southeastern United States, South Central United States, Deep South, Upland South, Dixie, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central
Population

(2017 United States Census Estimates [2])
 • Total 122,696,385

The southern United States, also known as the American South, Dixie, Dixieland, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the western United States, with the midwestern United States and northeastern United States to its north and the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico to its south.

The South does not fully match the geographic south of the United States but is commonly defined as including the states that fought for the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War.[3] The Deep South is fully located in the southeastern corner. Arizona and New Mexico, which are geographically in the southern part of the country, are rarely considered part, while West Virginia, which separated from Virginia in 1863,[4] commonly is.[5][6][7] Some scholars have proposed definitions of the South that do not coincide neatly with state boundaries.[8][9] While the states of Delaware and Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia, permitted slavery prior to and during the Civil War, they remained with the Union. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, they became more culturally, economically, and politically aligned with the industrial Northern states, and are often identified as part of the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast by many residents, businesses, public institutions, and private organizations,[10][11][12][13][14] but the United States Census Bureau puts them in the South.

Usually, the South is defined as including the southeastern and south-central United States. The region is known for its culture and history, having developed its own customs, musical styles, and cuisines, which have distinguished it in some ways from the rest of the United States. The Southern ethnic heritage is diverse and includes strong European (mostly English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, Irish, German, French, and Spanish American), African, and some Native American components.[15]

Some other aspects of the historical and cultural development of the South have been influenced by the institution of slave labor on plantations in the Deep South to an extent seen nowhere else in the United States; the presence of a large proportion of African Americans in the population; support for the doctrine of states’ rights, and the legacy of racial tension magnified by the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, as seen in thousands of lynchings (mostly from 1880 to 1930), the segregated system of separate schools and public facilities known as “Jim Crow laws”, that lasted until the 1960s, and the widespread use of poll taxes and other methods to frequently deny black people of the right to vote or hold office until the 1960s. Since the late 1960s, black people have held many offices in Southern states, especially in the coastal states of Virginia and South Carolina. Black people have also been elected or appointed as mayors and police chiefs in the metropolises of Baltimore, Charlotte, Birmingham, Richmond, Columbia, Memphis, Houston, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and New Orleans, and serve in both the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.[16]

Historically, the South relied heavily on agriculture, and was highly rural until after 1945. It has since become more industrialized and urban and has attracted national and international migrants. The American South is now among the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Houston is the largest city in the Southern United States.[17] Sociological research indicates that Southern collective identity stems from political, demographic, and cultural distinctiveness from the rest of the United States. The region contains almost all of the Bible Belt, an area of high Protestant church attendance (especially evangelical churches such as the Southern Baptist Convention) and predominantly conservative, religion-influenced politics. Indeed, studies have shown that Southerners are more conservative than non-Southerners in several areas, including religion, morality, international relations, and race relations.[18][19] This is evident in both the region’s religious attendance figures and in the region’s usually strong support for the Republican Party in political elections since the 1960s, and especially since the 1990s.[19]

Apart from its climate, the living experience in the South increasingly resembles the rest of the nation. The arrival of millions of Northerners (especially in major metropolitan areas and coastal areas)[20] and millions of Hispanics[21] has meant the introduction of cultural values and social norms not rooted in Southern traditions.[22][23] Observers conclude that collective identity and Southern distinctiveness are thus declining, particularly when defined against “an earlier South that was somehow more authentic, real, more unified and distinct”.[24] The process has worked both ways, however, with aspects of Southern culture spreading throughout a greater portion of the rest of the United States in a process termed “Southernization”.[25]

Contents

  • 1 Geography
  • 2 History

    • 2.1 Native American culture
    • 2.2 European colonization
    • 2.3 American Revolution
    • 2.4 Antebellum years
    • 2.5 Civil War
    • 2.6 Reconstruction and Jim Crow
    • 2.7 Late 19th and 20th century—industrialization and Great Migration
  • 3 Modern economy
  • 4 Education
  • 5 Culture

    • 5.1 Religion
  • 6 Sports

    • 6.1 American football
    • 6.2 Baseball
    • 6.3 Auto racing
    • 6.4 Basketball
    • 6.5 Golf
    • 6.6 Soccer
  • 7 Health
  • 8 Politics

    • 8.1 Presidents from the South
    • 8.2 Other politicians and political movements
  • 9 Race relations

    • 9.1 Native Americans
    • 9.2 Civil rights
  • 10 Symbolism
  • 11 Major cities
  • 12 Major metropolitan areas
  • 13 Major combined statistical areas
  • 14 See also
  • 15 References
  • 16 Further reading
  • 17 External links

Geography

Texas Hill Country

The question of how to define the subregions in the South has been the focus of research for nearly a century.[26][27]

Bluegrass region, Kentucky

Glass Mountains, Oklahoma

Field of yellow wildflowers in Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana

North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains

Pearl River backwater in Mississippi

Misty Bluff along the Buffalo River, Ozark Mountains, Arkansas

Tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland

Cherry River in West Virginia

The highlands of Grayson County in Southwest Virginia

As defined by the United States Census Bureau,[1] the Southern region of the United States includes sixteen states. As of 2010, an estimated 114,555,744 people, or thirty-seven percent of all U.S. residents, lived in the South, the nation’s most populous region.[28] The Census Bureau defined three smaller divisions:

  • The South Atlantic States: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • The East South Central States: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.
  • The West South Central States: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The Council of State Governments, an organization for communication and coordination between states, includes in its South regional office the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.[29]

Other terms related to the South include:

  • The Old South: can mean either the slave states that existed in 1776 (Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina)[dubious ][30][not in citation given] or all the slave states before 1860 (which included the newer states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas).[31]
  • The New South: usually including the South Atlantic States.[32]
  • The Solid South: region largely controlled by the Democratic Party from 1877 to 1964, especially after disfranchisement of most blacks at the turn of the 20th century. Before that, blacks were elected to national office and many to local office through the 1880s; Populist-Republican coalitions gained victories for Fusionist candidates for governors in the 1890s.[citation needed] Includes at least all the 11 former Confederate States.[33]
  • Southern Appalachia: mainly refers to areas situated in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, namely Eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Western Maryland, West Virginia, Southwest Virginia, North Georgia, and Northwestern South Carolina.[34]
  • Southeastern United States: usually including the Carolinas, the Virginias, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.[35]
  • The Deep South: various definitions, usually including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Also, parts of adjoining states are included (sections of East Texas, the Mississippi embayment areas of Arkansas and Tennessee, and northern and central Florida).[36]
  • The Gulf South: various definitions, usually including Gulf coasts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama.
  • The Upper South: Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and on rare occasions Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware.[37]
  • Dixie: various definitions, but most commonly associated with the 11 states of the Old Confederacy.
  • The Mid-South: Various definitions, including that of the Census Bureau of the East and West South Central United States;[38] in another informal definition, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and sometimes adjoining areas of other states.[39][40][41][42]
  • Border South: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware were states on the outer rim of the Confederacy that did not secede from the United States in the 1860s, but did have significant numbers of residents who joined the Confederate armed forces. Kentucky and Missouri had Confederate governments-in-exile and were represented in the Confederate Congress and by stars on the Confederate battle flag. West Virginia formed in 1863 after the western region of Virginia broke away to protest the Old Dominion’s joining of the Confederacy, but residents of the new state were about evenly divided on supporting the Union or the Confederacy.[43]

The popular definition of the “South” is more informal and generally associated with the 11 states that seceded before or during the Civil War to form the Confederate States of America.[3]
In order of their secession, these were: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These states share commonalities of history and culture that carry on to the present day. Oklahoma was not a state during the Civil War, but all its major Native American tribes signed formal treaties of alliance with the Confederacy.[citation needed]

The South is a diverse meteorological region with numerous climatic zones, including temperate, sub-tropical, tropical, and arid—though the South generally has a reputation as hot and humid, with long summers and short, mild winters. Most of the south—except for the higher elevations and areas near the western, southern and some northern fringes—fall in the humid subtropical climate zone. Crops grow readily in the South; its climate consistently provides growing seasons of at least six months before the first frost. Another common environment occurs in the bayous and swamplands of the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana and in Texas.

History

Native American culture

The first well-dated evidence of human occupation in the south United States occurs around 9500 BC with the appearance of the earliest documented Americans, who are now referred to as Paleo-Indians.[44] Paleoindians were hunter-gathers that roamed in bands and frequently hunted megafauna. Several cultural stages, such as Archaic (ca. 8000–1000 BC) and the Woodland (ca. 1000 BC – AD 1000), preceded what the Europeans found at the end of the 15th century—the Mississippian culture.[44]

The Mississippian culture was a complex, mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the southeastern United States from approximately 800 AD to 1500 AD. Natives had elaborate and lengthy trading routes connecting their main residential and ceremonial centers extending through the river valleys and from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.[44] Some noted explorers who encountered and described the Mississippian culture, by then in decline, included Pánfilo de Narváez (1528), Hernando de Soto (1540), and Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville (1699).

Native American descendants of the mound-builders include Alabama, Apalachee, Caddo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Guale, Hitchiti, Houma, and Seminole peoples, all of whom still reside in the South.

Other peoples whose ancestral links to the Mississippian culture are less clear but were clearly in the region before the European incursion include the Catawba and the Powhatan.

European colonization

Benjamin Hawkins, seen here on his plantation, teaching Creek Native Americans how to use European technology (painted in 1805)

European immigration resulted in a corresponding die off of Native Americans who had not been exposed to various diseases.[45]

The predominant culture of the South was rooted in the settlement of the region by British colonists. In the 17th century, most voluntary immigrants were of English origins who settled chiefly along the coastal regions of the Eastern seaboard but had pushed as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains by the 18th century. The majority of early English settlers were indentured servants, who gained freedom after enough work to pay off their passage. The wealthier men who paid their way received land grants known as headrights, to encourage settlement.[46]

The Spanish and French established settlements in Florida, Texas and Louisiana. The Spanish settled Florida in the 16th century, reaching a peak in the late 17th century.

In the British colonies, immigration began in 1607 and continued until the outbreak of the Revolution in 1775. Settlers cleared land, built houses and outbuildings, and on their own farms. The rich owned large plantations that dominated export agriculture and used slaves. Many were involved in the labor-intensive cultivation of tobacco, the first cash crop of Virginia. Tobacco exhausted the soil quickly, requiring that farmers regularly clear new fields. They used old fields as pasture, and for crops such as corn and wheat, or allowed them to grow into woodlots.[47]

In the mid-to-late-18th century, large groups of Ulster Scots (later called the Scotch-Irish) and people from the Anglo-Scottish border region immigrated and settled in the back country of Appalachia and the Piedmont. They were the largest group of non-English immigrants from the British Isles before the American Revolution.[48] In the 1980 Census, 34% of Southerners reported that they were of English ancestry; English was the largest reported European ancestry in every Southern state by a large margin.[49]

The early colonists engaged in warfare, trade, and cultural exchanges. Those living in the backcountry were more likely to encounter Creek Indians, Cherokee, and Choctaws and other regional native groups.

The oldest university in the South, the College of William & Mary, was founded in 1693 in Virginia; it pioneered in the teaching of political economy and educated future U.S. Presidents Jefferson, Monroe and Tyler, all from Virginia. Indeed, the entire region dominated politics in the First Party System era: for example, four of the first five Presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe—were from Virginia. The two oldest public universities are also in the South: the University of North Carolina (1789) and the University of Georgia (1785).

American Revolution

1st Maryland Regiment holding the line at the Battle of Guilford in North Carolina

With Virginia in the lead, the Southern colonies embraced the American Revolution, providing such leaders as commander in chief George Washington, and the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.

In 1780 and 1781, the British largely halted reconquest of the northern states, and concentrated on the south, where they were told there was a large Loyalist population ready to leap to arms once the royal forces arrived. The British took control of Savannah and Charleston, capturing a large American army in the process, and set up a network of bases inland. There were many more Loyalists in the South than in the North,[50] but they were concentrated in larger coastal cities and were not great enough in number to overcome the revolutionaries. Large numbers of loyalists from South Carolina fought for the British in the Battle of Camden. The British forces at the Battle of Monck’s Corner and the Battle of Lenud’s Ferry consisted entirely of Loyalists with the exception of the commanding officer (Banastre Tarleton).[51] Both white and black Loyalists fought for the British at the Battle of Kemp’s Landing in Virginia.[52][53] Led by Nathanael Greene and other generals, the Americans engaged in Fabian tactics designed to wear down the British invasion force, and to neutralize its strong points one by one. There were numerous battles large and small, with each side claiming some victories. By 1781, however, British General Cornwallis moved north to Virginia, where an approaching army forced him to fortify and await rescue by the British Navy. The British Navy did arrive, but so did a stronger French fleet, and Cornwallis was trapped. American and French armies, led by Washington, forced Cornwallis to surrender his entire army in Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781, effectively winning the North American part of the war.[54]

The Revolution provided a shock to slavery in the South. Thousands of slaves took advantage of wartime disruption to find their own freedom, catalyzed by the British Governor Dunmore of Virginia’s promise of freedom for service. Many others were removed by Loyalist owners and became slaves elsewhere in the Empire. Between 1770 and 1790, there was a sharp decline in the percentage of blacks – from 61% percent to 44% in South Carolina and from 45% to 36% in Georgia.[55]

In addition, some slaveholders were inspired to free their slaves after the Revolution. They were moved by the principles of the Revolution, and Quaker and Methodist preachers worked to encourage slaveholders to free their slaves. Planters such as George Washington often freed slaves by their wills. In the upper South, more than 10 percent of all blacks were free by 1810, a significant expansion from pre-war proportions of less than 1 percent free.[56]

Antebellum years

Slaves on a South Carolina plantation (The Old Plantation, circa 1790)

Cotton became dominant in the lower South after 1800. After the invention of the cotton gin, short staple cotton could be grown more widely. This led to an explosion of cotton cultivation, especially in the frontier uplands of Georgia, Alabama and other parts of the Deep South, as well as riverfront areas of the Mississippi Delta. Migrants poured into those areas in the early decades of the 19th century, when county population figures rose and fell as swells of people kept moving west. The expansion of cotton cultivation required more slave labor, and the institution became even more deeply an integral part of the South’s economy.[57]

With the opening up of frontier lands after the government forced most Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi, there was a major migration of both whites and blacks to those territories. From the 1820s through the 1850s, more than one million enslaved Africans were transported to the Deep South in forced migration, two-thirds of them by slave traders and the others by masters who moved there. Planters in the Upper South sold slaves excess to their needs as they shifted from tobacco to mixed agriculture. Many enslaved families were broken up, as planters preferred mostly strong males for field work.[58]

Two major political issues that festered in the first half of the 19th century caused political alignment along sectional lines, strengthened the identities of North and South as distinct regions with certain strongly opposed interests, and fed the arguments over states’ rights that culminated in secession and the Civil War. One of these issues concerned the protective tariffs enacted to assist the growth of the manufacturing sector, primarily in the North. In 1832, in resistance to federal legislation increasing tariffs, South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification, a procedure in which a state would, in effect, repeal a Federal law. Soon a naval flotilla was sent to Charleston harbor, and the threat of landing ground troops was used to compel the collection of tariffs. A compromise was reached by which the tariffs would be gradually reduced, but the underlying argument over states’ rights continued to escalate in the following decades.

Horse racing at Jacksonville, Alabama, 1841

The second issue concerned slavery, primarily the question of whether slavery would be permitted in newly admitted states. The issue was initially finessed by political compromises designed to balance the number of “free” and “slave” states. The issue resurfaced in more virulent form, however, around the time of the Mexican–American War, which raised the stakes by adding new territories primarily on the Southern side of the imaginary geographic divide. Congress opposed allowing slavery in these territories.

Before the Civil War, the number of immigrants arriving at Southern ports began to increase, although the North continued to receive the most immigrants. Hugenots were among the first settlers in Charleston, along with the largest number of Orthodox Jews outside of New York City.[citation needed] Numerous Irish immigrants settled in New Orleans, establishing a distinct ethnic enclave now known as the Irish Channel. Germans also went to New Orleans and its environs, resulting in a large area north of the city (along the Mississippi) becoming known as the German Coast. Still greater numbers immigrated to Texas (especially after 1848), where many bought land and were farmers. Many more German immigrants arrived in Texas after the Civil War, where they created the brewing industry in Houston and elsewhere, became grocers in numerous cities, and also established wide areas of farming.

By 1840, New Orleans was the wealthiest city in the country and the third largest in population. The success of the city was based on the growth of international trade associated with products being shipped to and from the interior of the country down the Mississippi River. New Orleans also had the largest slave market in the country, as traders brought slaves by ship and overland to sell to planters across the Deep South. The city was a cosmopolitan port with a variety of jobs that attracted more immigrants than other areas of the South.[59] Because of lack of investment, however, construction of railroads to span the region lagged behind the North. People relied most heavily on river traffic for getting their crops to market and for transportation.

Civil War

map of United States with southeastern states highlighted in shades of red

Historic Southern United States. The states in stripes were considered “border states”, and gave varying degrees of support to the Southern cause although they remained in the Union. This illustration depicts the original, trans-Allegheny borders of Virginia, thus does not show West Virginia separately. Although members of the Five Tribes in Indian Territory (today part of Oklahoma) aligned themselves with the Confederacy, the region is not shaded because at the time it was a territory, not a state.

By 1856, the South had lost control of Congress, and was no longer able to silence calls for an end to slavery—which came mostly from the more populated, free states of the North. The Republican Party, founded in 1854, pledged to stop the spread of slavery beyond those states where it already existed. After Abraham Lincoln was elected the first Republican president in 1860, seven cotton states declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America before Lincoln was inaugurated. The United States government, both outgoing and incoming, refused to recognize the Confederacy, and when the new Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered his troops to open fire on Fort Sumter in April 1861, there was an overwhelming demand, North and South, for war. Only the state of Kentucky attempted to remain neutral, and it could only do so briefly. When Lincoln called for troops to suppress what he referred to as “combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary” judicial or martial means,[60] four more states decided to secede and join the Confederacy (which then moved its capital to Richmond, Virginia). Although the Confederacy had large supplies of captured munitions and many volunteers, it was slower than the Union in dealing with the border states. By March 1862, the Union largely controlled Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, had shut down all commercial traffic from all Confederate ports, had prevented European recognition of the Confederate government, and was poised to seize New Orleans.

Confederate dead of General Ewell’s Corps who attacked the Union lines at the Battle of Spotsylvania, May 19, 1864.

In the four years of war 1861–65 the South was the primary battleground, with all but two of the major battles taking place on Southern soil. Union forces relentlessly squeezed the Confederacy, controlling the border states in 1861, the Tennessee River, the Cumberland River and New Orleans in 1862, and the Mississippi River in 1863. In the East, however, the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee beat off attack after attack in its defense of their capital at Richmond. But when Lee tried to move north, he was repulsed (and nearly captured) at Sharpsburg (1862) and Gettysburg (1863).

The Confederacy had the resources for a short war, but was unable to finance or supply a longer war. It reversed the traditional low-tariff policy of the South by imposing a new 15% tax on all imports from the Union. The Union blockade stopped most commerce from entering the South, and smugglers avoided the tax, so the Confederate tariff produced too little revenue to finance the war. Inflated currency was the solution, but that created distrust of the Richmond government. Because of low investment in railroads, the Southern transportation system depended primarily on river and coastal traffic by boat; both were shut down by the Union Navy. The small railroad system virtually collapsed, so that by 1864 internal travel was so difficult that the Confederate economy was crippled.

The Confederate cause was hopeless by the time Atlanta fell and William T. Sherman marched through Georgia in late 1864, but the rebels fought on, refusing to give up their independence until Lee’s army surrendered in April 1865. All the Confederate forces surrendered, and the region moved into the Reconstruction Era.

The South suffered much more than the North overall, as the Union strategy of attrition warfare meant that Lee could not replace his casualties, and the total war waged by Sherman, Sheridan and other Union armies devastated the infrastructure and caused widespread poverty and distress. The Confederacy suffered military losses of 95,000 men killed in action and 165,000 who died of disease, for a total of 260,000,[61] out of a total white Southern population at the time of around 5.5 million.[62] Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and about 18% in the South.[63] Northern military casualties exceeded Southern casualties in absolute numbers, but were two-thirds smaller in terms of proportion of the population affected.

Reconstruction and Jim Crow

A Home on the Mississippi, Currier and Ives, 1871

After the Civil War, the South was devastated in terms of population, infrastructure and economy. Because of states’ reluctance to grant voting rights to freedmen, Congress instituted Reconstruction governments. It established military districts and governors to rule over the South until new governments could be established. Many white Southerners who had actively supported the Confederacy were temporarily disenfranchised. Rebuilding was difficult as people grappled with the effects of a new labor economy of a free market in the midst of a widespread agricultural depression. In addition, what limited infrastructure the South had was mostly destroyed by the war. At the same time, the North was rapidly industrializing. To avoid the social effects of the war, most of the Southern states initially passed black codes. Eventually, these were mostly legally nullified by federal law and anti-Confederate legislatures, which existed for a short time during Reconstruction.[64]

There were thousands of people on the move, as African Americans tried to reunite families separated by slaves sales, and sometimes migrated for better opportunities in towns or other states. Other freed people moved from plantation areas to cities or towns for a chance to get different jobs. At the same time, whites returned from refuges to reclaim plantations or town dwellings. In some areas, many whites returned to the land to farm for a while. Some freedpeople left the South altogether for states such as Ohio and Indiana, and later, Kansas. Thousands of others joined the migration to new opportunities in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta bottomlands and Texas.

With passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (which outlawed slavery), the 14th Amendment (which granted full U.S. citizenship to African Americans) and the 15th amendment (which extended the right to vote to African American males), African Americans in the South were made free citizens and were given the right to vote. Under Federal protection, white and black Republicans formed constitutional conventions and state governments. Among their accomplishments were creating the first public education systems in Southern states, and providing for welfare through orphanages, hospitals and similar institutions.

Northerners came south to participate in politics and business. Some were representatives of the Freedmen’s Bureau and other agencies of Reconstruction; some were humanitarians with the intent to help black people. Some were adventurers who hoped to benefit themselves by questionable methods. They were all condemned with the pejorative term of carpetbagger. Some Southerners also took advantage of the disrupted environment and made money off various schemes, including bonds and financing for railroads.[65]

Secret vigilante organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan—an organization sworn to perpetuate white supremacy—had arisen quickly after the war’s end and used lynching, physical attacks, house burnings and other forms of intimidation to keep African Americans from exercising their political rights. Although the first Klan was disrupted by prosecution by the Federal government in the early 1870s, other groups persisted. By the mid-to-late-1870s, elite Southerners created increasing resistance to the altered social structure. Paramilitary organizations such as the White League in Louisiana (1874), the Red Shirts in Mississippi (1875) and rifle clubs, all “White Line” organizations, used organized violence against Republicans, both black and white, to remove Republicans from political office, repress and bar black voting, and restore the Democratic Party to power.[66] In 1876 white Democrats regained power in most of the state legislatures. They began to pass laws designed to strip African Americans and poor whites from the voter registration rolls. The success of late-19th century interracial coalitions in several states inspired a reaction among some white Democrats, who worked harder to prevent both groups from voting.[67]

Despite discrimination, many blacks became property owners in areas that were still developing. For instance, 90% of the Mississippi’s bottomlands were still frontier and undeveloped after the war. By the end of the century, two-thirds of the farmers in Mississippi’s Delta bottomlands were black. They had cleared the land themselves and often made money in early years by selling off timber. Tens of thousands of migrants went to the Delta, both to work as laborers to clear timber for lumber companies, and many to develop their own farms.[68] Nonetheless, the long agricultural depression, along with disenfranchisement and lack of access to credit, led to many blacks in the Delta losing their property by 1910 and becoming sharecroppers or landless workers over the following decade. More than two generations of free African Americans lost their stake in property.[69]

Child laborers, Bluffton, South Carolina, 1913

Nearly all Southerners, black and white, suffered as a result of the Civil War. Within a few years cotton production and harvest was back to pre-war levels, but low prices through much of the 19th century hampered recovery. They encouraged immigration by Chinese and Italian laborers into the Mississippi Delta. While the first Chinese entered as indentured laborers from Cuba, the majority came in the early 20th century. Neither group stayed long at rural farm labor.[70] The Chinese became merchants and established stores in small towns throughout the Delta, establishing a place between white and black.[71]

Migrations continued in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among both blacks and whites. In the last two decades of the 19th century about 141,000 blacks left the South, and more after 1900, totaling a loss of 537,000. After that the movement increased in what became known as the Great Migration from 1910 to 1940, and the Second Great Migration through 1970. Even more whites left the South, some going to California for opportunities and others heading to Northern industrial cities after 1900. Between 1880 and 1910, the loss of whites totaled 1,243,000.[72] Five million more left between 1940 and 1970.

From 1890 to 1908, ten of the eleven former Confederate states, along with Oklahoma upon statehood, passed disfranchising constitutions or amendments that introduced voter registration barriers—such as poll taxes, residency requirements and literacy tests—that were hard for many poor to meet. Most African Americans, most Mexican Americans, and tens of thousands of poor whites were disfranchised, losing the vote for decades. In some states, grandfather clauses temporarily exempted white illiterates from literacy tests. The numbers of voters dropped drastically throughout the former Confederacy as a result. This can be seen via the feature “Turnout in Presidential and Midterm Elections” at the University of Texas’ Politics: Barriers to Voting. Alabama, which had established universal white suffrage in 1819 when it became a state, also substantially reduced voting by poor whites.[73][74]Democrat-controlled legislatures passed Jim Crow laws to segregate public facilities and services, including transportation.

While African Americans, poor whites and civil rights groups started litigation against such provisions in the early 20th century, for decades Supreme Court decisions overturning such provisions were rapidly followed by new state laws with new devices to restrict voting. Most blacks in the former Confederacy and Oklahoma could not vote until 1965, after passage of the Voting Rights Act and Federal enforcement to ensure people could register. Despite increases in the eligible voting population with the inclusion of women, blacks, and those eighteen and over throughout this period, turnout in ex-Confederate states remained below the national average throughout the 20th century.[75] Not until the late 1960s did all American citizens regain protected civil rights by passage of legislation following the leadership of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Late 19th and 20th century—industrialization and Great Migration

An illustrated depiction of black people picking cotton, 1913

At the end of the 19th century, white Democrats in the South had created state constitutions that were hostile to industry and business development, with anti-industrial laws extensive from the time new constitutions were adopted in the 1890s.[76] Banking was limited,[how?] as was access to credit. States persisted in agricultural economies.[citation needed] Especially in Alabama and Florida, rural minorities held control in many state legislatures long after population had shifted to industrializing cities, and legislators resisted business and modernising interests: Alabama refused to redistrict between 1901 and 1972, long after major population and economic shifts to cities. For decades Birmingham generated the majority of revenue for the state, for instance, but received little back in services or infrastructure.[77]

In the late 19th century, Texas rapidly expanded its railroad network, creating a network of cities connected on a radial plan and linked to the port of Galveston. It was the first state[citation needed]in which urban and economic development proceeded independently of rivers, the primary transportation network of the past. A reflection of increasing industry were strikes and labor unrest: “in 1885 Texas ranked ninth among forty states in number of workers involved in strikes (4,000); for the six-year period it ranked fifteenth. Seventy-five of the one hundred strikes, chiefly interstate strikes of telegraphers and railway workers, occurred in the year 1886.”[78]

By 1890 Dallas became the largest city in Texas, and by 1900 it had a population of more than 42,000, which more than doubled to over 92,000 a decade later. Dallas was the harnessmaking capital of the world and a center of other manufacturing. As an example of its ambitions, in 1907 Dallas built the Praetorian Building, fifteen storeys tall and the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi, soon to be followed by other skyscrapers.[79] Texas was transformed by a railroad network linking five important cities, among them Houston with its nearby port at Galveston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso. Each exceeded fifty thousand in population by 1920, with the major cities having three times that population.[80]

Business interests were ignored by the Southern Democrat ruling class. Nonetheless, major new industries started developing in cities such as Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; and Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, Texas. Growth began occurring at a geometric rate. Birmingham became a major steel producer and mining town, with major population growth in the early decades of the 20th century.

The first major oil well in the South was drilled at Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas, on the morning of January 10, 1901. Other oil fields were later discovered nearby in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting “Oil Boom” permanently transformed the economy of the West South Central states and produced the most significant economic expansion after the Civil War.

In the early 20th century, invasion of the boll weevil devastated cotton crops in the South, producing an additional catalyst to African Americans’ decisions to leave the South. From 1910 to 1970, more than 6.5 million African Americans left the South in the Great Migration to Northern and Western cities, defecting from persistent lynching, violence, segregation, poor education, and inability to vote. Black migration transformed many Northern and Western cities, creating new cultures and music. Many African Americans, like other groups, became industrial workers; others started their own businesses within the communities. Southern whites also migrated to industrial cities like Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, and Los Angeles, where they took jobs in the booming new auto and defense industry.

Photo of sharecropper family in Walker County, Alabama, circa 1937

Later, the Southern economy was dealt additional blows by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the economy suffered significant reversals and millions were left unemployed. Beginning in 1934 and lasting until 1939, an ecological disaster of severe wind and drought caused an exodus from Texas and Arkansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle region, and the surrounding plains, in which over 500,000 Americans were homeless, hungry and jobless.[81] Thousands left the region forever to seek economic opportunities along the West Coast.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt noted the South as the “number one priority” in terms of need of assistance during the Great Depression. His administration created programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933 to provide rural electrification and stimulate development. Locked into low-productivity agriculture, the region’s growth was slowed by limited industrial development, low levels of entrepreneurship, and the lack of capital investment.

World War II marked a time of change in the South as new industries and military bases were developed by the Federal government, providing badly needed capital and infrastructure in many regions. People from all parts of the US came to the South for military training and work in the region’s many bases and new industries. Farming shifted from cotton and tobacco to include soybeans, corn, and other foods.

Industrial growth increased in the 1960s and greatly accelerated into the 1980s and 1990s. Several large urban areas in Texas, Georgia, and Florida grew to over four million people. Rapid expansion in industries such as autos, telecommunications, textiles, technology, banking, and aviation gave some states in the South an industrial strength to rival large states elsewhere in the country. By the 2000 census, the South (along with the West) was leading the nation in population growth. With this growth, however, has come long commute times and air pollution problems in cities such as Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, and others that rely on sprawling development and highway networks.

Modern economy

In the late 20th century, the South changed dramatically. It saw a boom in its service economy, manufacturing base, high technology industries, and the financial sector. Texas in particular witnessed dramatic growth and population change with the dominance of the energy industry and tourism such as the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. Tourism in Florida and along the Gulf Coast also grew steadily throughout the last decades of the 20th century.

Numerous new automobile production plants have opened in the region, or are soon to open, such as Mercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama; the BMW production plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina; Toyota plants in Georgetown, Kentucky, Blue Springs, Mississippi and San Antonio; the GM manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee; a Honda factory in Lincoln, Alabama; the Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee and factories in Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi; a Kia factory in West Point, Georgia; and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Tennessee.

The two largest research parks in the country are located in the South: Research Triangle Park in North Carolina (the world’s largest) and the Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama (the world’s fourth largest).

In medicine, the Texas Medical Center in Houston has achieved international recognition in education, research, and patient care, especially in the fields of heart disease, cancer, and rehabilitation. In 1994 the Texas Medical Center was the largest medical center in the world including fourteen hospitals, two medical schools, four colleges of nursing, and six university systems.[82] The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is consistently ranked the #1 cancer research and treatment center in the United States.[83]

Many major banking corporations have headquarters in the region. Bank of America is in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wachovia was headquartered there before its purchase by Wells Fargo. Regions Financial Corporation is in Birmingham, as is AmSouth Bancorporation, and BBVA Compass. SunTrust Banks is located in Atlanta as is the district headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. BB&T is headquartered in Winston-Salem.

Many corporations are headquartered in Atlanta and its surrounding area, such as The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, and The Home Depot, and also to many cable television networks, such as the Turner Broadcasting System (CNN, TBS, TNT, Turner South, Cartoon Network), and The Weather Channel. In recent years some southern states, most notably Texas, have lured companies with lower tax burdens and lower cost of living for their workforce. Today, the states with the most Fortune 500 companies include California, New York, and Texas; closely mirroring the economic and population resources of those states.[84]

This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to report some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.[85] But in the U.S. top ten of poorest big cities, the South is represented in the rankings by two cities: Miami, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee.[86] In 2011, nine out of ten poorest states were in the South.[87]

Education

Southern public schools in the past ranked in the lower half of some national surveys.[88] When allowance for race is considered, a 2007 US Government list of test scores often shows white fourth and eighth graders performing better than average for reading and math; while black fourth and eighth graders also performed better than average.[89] This comparison does not hold across the board. Mississippi scores lower than average no matter how the statistics are compared. Newer data suggests that education in the South is on par with the nation, with 72% of high schoolers graduating compared to 73% nationwide.[90]

Culture

Street musicians in Maynardville, Tennessee, photographed in 1935

Several Southern states (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) were British colonies that sent delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence and then fought against the government along with the Northern colonies during the Revolutionary War. The basis for much Southern culture derives from the pride in these states being among the 13 original colonies, and from the fact that much of the population of the South has strong ancestral links to Colonists who emigrated west. Southern manners and customs reflect the relationship with England and Africa that was held by the early population, with some influences being provided by the Native American populations of the area.[91]

Overall, the South has had lower percentages of high school graduates, lower housing values, lower household incomes, and lower cost of living than the rest of the United States.[92] These factors, combined with the fact that Southerners have continued to maintain strong loyalty to family ties, has led some sociologists to label white Southerners an ethnic or quasi-ethnic group,[93][94] though this interpretation has been subject to criticism on the grounds that proponents of the view do not satisfactorily indicate how Southerners meet the criteria of ethnicity.[95]

The predominant culture of the South has its origins with the settlement of the region by large groups of Northern English, Scots lowlanders and Ulster-Scots (later called the Scotch-Irish) who settled in Appalachia and the Piedmont in the 18th century, and from parts of southern England such as East Anglia, Kent and the West Country in the 17th century,[96] and the many African slaves who were part of the Southern economy. African-American descendants of the slaves brought into the South compose the United States’ second-largest racial minority, accounting for 12.1 percent of the total population according to the 2000 census. Despite Jim Crow era outflow to the North, the majority of the black population remains concentrated in the Southern states, and has heavily contributed to the cultural blend (Christianity, foods, art, music (see spiritual, blues, jazz and rock and roll)) that characterize Southern culture today.

In previous censuses, the largest ancestry group identified by Southerners was English or mostly English,[49][97][98] with 19,618,370 self-reporting “English” as an ancestry on the 1980 census, followed by 12,709,872 listing “Irish” and 11,054,127 “Afro-American”.[49][97][98] Almost a third of all Americans who claim English ancestry can be found in the American South, and over a quarter of all Southerners claim English descent as well.[99] The South also continues to have the highest percentage of African Americans in the country, due to the history of slavery.

Religion

The South has had a majority of its population adhering to evangelical Protestantism ever since the Second Great Awakening,[100] although the upper classes often stayed Anglican/Episcopalian or Presbyterian. The First Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening from about 1742 about 1850 generated large numbers of Methodists and Baptists, which remain the two main Christian confessions in the South.[101] By 1900, the Southern Baptist Convention had become the largest Protestant denomination in the whole United States with its membership concentrated in rural areas of the South.[102][103] Baptists are the most common religious group, followed by Methodists, Pentecostals and other denominations. Roman Catholics historically were concentrated in Maryland, Louisiana, and Hispanic areas such as South Texas and South Florida and along the Gulf Coast. The great majority of black Southerners are either Baptist or Methodist.[104] Statistics show that Southern states have the highest religious attendance figures of any region in the United States, constituting the so-called Bible Belt.[105]Pentecostalism has been strong across the South since the late 19th century.[106]

Sports

American football

Alabama plays Texas in American football for the 2010 BCS National Championship Game

American football, especially at the college and high school level, is by far the most popular team sport in most areas of the Southern United States.

The region is home to numerous decorated and historic college football programs, particularly in the Southeastern Conference (known as the “SEC”), Atlantic Coast Conference (known as the “ACC”), and the Big 12 Conference. The SEC, consisting entirely of teams based in Southern states, is widely considered to be the strongest league in contemporary college football and includes the Alabama Crimson Tide, the program with the most national championships in the sport’s history. The sport is also highly competitive and has a spectator following at the high school level, particularly in rural areas where high school football games often serve as prominent community gatherings.

Though not as popular on a wider basis as the collegiate game, professional football also has a growing tradition in the Southern United States. Before league expansion began in the 1960s, the only established professional team based in the South was the Washington Redskins, who still retain a large following in many pockets of the region. Later on, the merger-era National Football League began to expand into the football-crazed Deep South in the 1960s with franchises like the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, Miami Dolphins, and most prominently the Dallas Cowboys, who overtook Washington as the region’s most popular team and eventually became widely considered the most popular team in the United States. In later decades, NFL expansion into Southern states continued, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Carolina Panthers added to the league, while the Houston Oilers were replaced by the Houston Texans after the Oilers relocated to Nashville to become the Tennessee Titans.

Rank Team Sport League Attendance
(avg/game)[107]
1 Texas A&M Aggies Football NCAA (SEC) 105,123
2 LSU Tigers Football NCAA (SEC) 101,723
3 Alabama Crimson Tide Football NCAA (SEC) 101,534
4 Tennessee Volunteers Football NCAA (SEC) 99,754
5 Texas Longhorns Football NCAA (Big 12) 94,103
6 Georgia Bulldogs Football NCAA (SEC) 92,746
7 Dallas Cowboys Football NFL 90,069
8 Auburn Tigers Football NCAA (SEC) 87,451
9 Florida Gators Football NCAA (SEC) 85,834
10 Oklahoma Sooners Football NCAA (Big 12) 85,162
11 Florida State Seminoles Football NCAA (ACC) 82,211
12 Clemson Tigers Football NCAA (ACC) 81,752
13 South Carolina Gamecocks Football NCAA (SEC) 81,381
14 Arkansas Razorbacks Football NCAA (SEC) 66,521
15 Carolina Panthers Football NFL 74,056
16 Ole Miss Rebels Football NCAA (SEC) 61,547
17 Virginia Tech Hokies Football NCAA (ACC) 61,157
18 Mississippi State Bulldogs Football NCAA (SEC) 61,127
19 West Virginia Mountaineers Football NCAA (Big 12) 60,000
20 Texas Tech Red Raiders Football NCAA (Big 12) 58,934
21 Kentucky Wildcats Football NCAA (SEC) 57,572

Baseball

Houston vs Texas face-off during the Lone Star Series in the American League West division of Major League Baseball

Baseball has been played in the Southern United States since at least the years leading up to the American Civil War. It was traditionally more popular than American football until the 1980s, and still accounts for the largest annual attendance amongst sports played in the South. The first mention of a baseball team in Houston was on April 11, 1861.[108][109] 19th century and early 20th century games were common, especially once the professional leagues such as the Texas League, the Dixie League, and the Southern League were organized.

The short-lived Louisville Colonels were a part of the early National League and American Association, but ceased to exist in 1899. The first Southern Major League Baseball team after the Colonels appeared in 1962 when the Houston Colt .45s (known today as the Houston Astros) were enfranchised. Later, the Atlanta Braves came in 1966, followed by the Texas Rangers in 1972, and finally the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays in the 1990s.

College baseball appears to be more well attended in the Southern U.S. than elsewhere, as teams like Florida State, Arkansas, LSU, Virginia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Texas are commonly at the top of the NCAA’s attendance.[110] The South generally produces very successful collegiate baseball teams as well, with Virginia, Vanderbilt, LSU, and South Carolina winning recent College World Series Titles.

The following is a list of best-attended baseball teams in the Southern U.S.:

Rank Team League 2014 overall
annual attendance[111]
1 Texas Rangers American League 2,718,733
2 Baltimore Orioles American League 2,464,473
3 Atlanta Braves National League 2,354,305
4 Houston Astros American League 1,751,829
5 Miami Marlins National League 1,732,283

Auto racing

The start of the 2015 Daytona 500, the biggest race in NASCAR, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida

The Southern states are commonly associated with stock car racing and its most prominent competition NASCAR, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The sport was developed in the Deep South in the early 20th century, with stock car racing’s historic mecca being Daytona Beach, Florida, where cars initially raced on the wide, flat beachfront before the construction of Daytona International Speedway. Though the sport has attained a following throughout the United States, a majority of NASCAR races continue to take place at Southern tracks.

Basketball

Basketball is very popular throughout the Southern United States as both a recreational and spectator sport, particularly in the states of North Carolina and Kentucky which are home to several historically prominent college basketball programs. Prominent NBA teams based in the South include the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Miami Heat.

Golf

Golf is a popular recreational sport in most areas of the South, with the region’s warm climate allowing it to host many professional tournaments and numerous destination golf resorts, particularly in the state of Florida. The region is home to The Masters, an elite invitational competition played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, which has become one of the professional game’s most important tournaments.

Soccer

In recent decades association football, known in the South as in the rest of the United States as “soccer”, has become a popular sport at youth and collegiate levels throughout the region. The game has been historically widespread at the college level in the Atlantic coast states of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, which contain many of the nation’s most successful college soccer programs.

The establishment of Major League Soccer has led to professional soccer clubs in the Southern cities including FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, San Antonio FC, Orlando City, and Atlanta United. The current United States third division soccer league, the United Soccer League, was initially geographically based in the coastal Southeast around clubs in Charleston, Richmond, Charlotte, Wilmington, Raleigh, Virginia Beach, and Atlanta.

Health

Nine Southern states have obesity rates exceeding thirty percent of the population, the highest in the country: Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas.[112][113] Rates for hypertension and diabetes for these states are also the highest in the nation.[113] A study reported that six Southern states have the worst incidence of sleep disturbances in the nation, attributing the disturbances to high rates of obesity and smoking.[114] The South has a higher percentage of obese people[115] and diabetics.[116] It has the largest number of people dying from stroke.[117] and the highest rates of cognitive decline.[118] Life expectancy is lower and death rates are higher in the South than in other regions of the United States for all racial groups.[119][120] This disparity reflects substantial divergence between the South and other regions since the middle of the 20th century.[121]

The East South Central Census Division of the United States (made up of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama) had the highest rate of inpatient hospital stays in 2012. The other divisions, West South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana) and South Atlantic (West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida) ranked seventh and fifth, respectively.[122] The South had a significantly higher rate of hospital discharges in 2005 than other regions of the United States, but the rate had declined to be closer to the overall national rate by 2011.[123]

For cancer in a region, the South, particularly an axis from West Virginia through Texas, leads the nation in adult obesity, adult smoking, low exercise, low fruit consumption, low vegetable consumption, all known cancer risk factors,[124] which matches a similar high risk axis in “All Cancers Combined, Death Rates by State, 2011” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[125]

Politics

While this Confederate Flag pattern is the one most often thought of as the Confederate Flag today, it was actually just one of many used by the Confederate armed forces. Variations of this design served as the Battle Flag of the Armies of Northern Virginia and Tennessee, and as the Confederate Naval Jack, albeit with different shades.

A rally against school integration in 1959.

In the first decades after Reconstruction, when white Democrats regained power in the state legislatures, they began to make voter registration more complicated, to reduce black voting.[citation needed] With a combination of intimidation, fraud and violence by paramilitary groups, they suppressed black voting and turned Republicans out of office. From 1890 to 1908, ten of eleven states ratified new constitutions or amendments that effectively disenfranchised most black voters and many poor white voters. This disfranchisement persisted for six decades into the 20th century, depriving blacks and poor whites of all political representation. Because they could not vote, they could not sit on juries. They had no one to represent their interests, resulting in state legislatures consistently underfunding programs and services, such as schools, for blacks and poor whites.[126]

With the collapse of the Republican Party in nearly all parts of the South, the region became known as the “Solid South”, and the Democratic Party after 1900 moved to a system of primaries to select their candidates. Victory in a primary was tantamount to election. From the late 1870s to the 1960s, only rarely was a state or national Southern politician a Republican, apart from a few Appalachian mountain districts.[127][128] Republicans, however, continued to control parts of the Appalachian Mountains and compete for power in the Border States. Apart from a few states (such as the Byrd Machine in Virginia, the Crump Machine in Memphis), and a few other local organizations, the Democratic Party itself was very lightly organized. It managed primaries but party officials had little other role. To be successful a politician built his own network of friends, neighbors and allies. Reelection was the norm, and the result from 1910 to the late 20th century was that Southern Democrats in Congress had accumulated seniority, and automatically took the chairmanships of all committees.[129] By the 1940s the Supreme Court began to find disfranchisement measures like the “grandfather clause” and the white primary unconstitutional. Southern legislatures quickly passed other measures to keep blacks disfranchised, even after suffrage was extended more widely to poor whites. Because white Democrats controlled all the Southern seats in Congress they had outsize power in Congress and could sidetrack or filibuster efforts by Northerners to pass legislation against lynching, for example.

Increasing support for civil rights legislation by the national Democratic Party beginning in 1948 caused segregationist Southern Democrats to nominate Strom Thurmond on a third-party “Dixiecrat” ticket in 1948. These Dixiecrats returned to the party by 1950, but Southern Democrats held off Republican inroads in the suburbs by arguing that only they could defend the region from the onslaught of northern liberals and the civil rights movement. In response to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling of 1954, 101 Southern congressmen (19 senators, 82 House members of which 99 were Southern Democrats and 2 were Republicans) in 1956 denounced the Brown decisions as a “clear abuse of judicial power [that] climaxes a trend in the federal judiciary undertaking to legislate in derogation of the authority of Congress and to encroach upon the reserved rights of the states and the people.” The manifesto lauded, “…those states which have declared the intention to resist enforced integration by any lawful means”. It was signed by all Southern senators except Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, and Tennessee senators Albert Gore, Sr. and Estes Kefauver. Virginia closed schools in Warren County, Prince Edward County, Charlottesville, and Norfolk rather than integrate, but no other state followed suit. Democratic governors Orval Faubus of Arkansas, Ross Barnett of Mississippi, John Connally of Texas, Lester Maddox of Georgia, and, especially, George Wallace of Alabama resisted integration and appealed to a rural and blue-collar electorate.[130]

US president Lyndon B. Johnson signs the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The northern Democrats’ support of civil rights issues culminated when Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ended legal segregation and provided federal enforcement of voting rights for blacks. In the presidential election of 1964, Barry Goldwater’s only electoral victories outside his home state of Arizona were in the states of the Deep South where few blacks could vote before the 1965 Voting Rights Act.[131]

Pockets of resistance to integration in public places broke out in violence during the 1960s by the shadowy Ku Klux Klan, which caused a backlash among moderates.[132] Major resistance to school busing extending into the 1970s.[133]

National Republicans such as Richard Nixon began to develop their Southern strategy to attract conservative white Southerners, especially the middle class and suburban voters, in addition to migrants from the North and traditional GOP pockets in Appalachia. The transition to a Republican stronghold in the South took decades. First, the states started voting Republican in presidential elections, except for native sons Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Then the states began electing Republican senators and finally governors. Georgia was the last state to do so, with Sonny Perdue taking the governorship in 2002.[134] In addition to its middle class and business base, Republicans cultivated the religious right and attracted strong majorities from the evangelical or Fundamentalist vote, mostly Southern Baptists, which had not been a distinct political force prior to 1980.[135]

After the 2012 elections, the eleven states of the former Confederacy were represented by 98 Republicans, 40 Democrats.[136]

Presidents from the South

The South produced nine of the first twelve Presidents prior to the Civil War. For more than a century after the Civil War, no politician from an antebellum slave state became President unless he either moved North (like Woodrow Wilson) or was vice president when the president died in office (like Andrew Johnson, Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson). In 1976, Jimmy Carter defied this trend and became the first Southerner to break the pattern since Zachary Taylor in 1848. The South has produced five of the last nine American Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–69), Jimmy Carter (1977–81), George H. W. Bush (1989–93), Bill Clinton (1993–2001) and George W. Bush (2001–2009). Johnson was a native of Texas, while Carter is from Georgia, and Clinton from Arkansas. While George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush began their political careers in Texas, they were both born in New England and have their ancestral roots in the region.

Other politicians and political movements

Bill Clinton, newly-elected Governor of Arkansas speaking with Jimmy Carter in 1978. Carter and Clinton were both Southern Democrats and elected to the presidencies in 1976 and 1992.

The South has produced various nationally known politicians and political movements. In 1948, a group of Democratic congressmen, led by Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, split from the Democrats in reaction to an anti-segregation speech given by Minneapolis mayor and future senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. They founded the States Rights Democratic or Dixiecrat Party. During that year’s Presidential election, the party ran Thurmond as its candidate and he carried four Deep South states.

In the 1968 Presidential election, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace ran for President on the American Independent Party ticket. Wallace ran a “law and order” campaign similar to that of Republican candidate, Richard Nixon. Nixon’s Southern Strategy of gaining electoral votes downplayed race issues and focused on culturally conservative values, such as family issues, patriotism, and cultural issues that appealed to Southern Baptists.

In the 1994 mid-term elections, another Southern politician, Newt Gingrich, led the Republican Revolution, ushering in twelve years of GOP control of the House. Gingrich became Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 1995 and served until his resignation in 1999. Tom DeLay was the most powerful Republican leader in Congress[citation needed] until he was indicted under criminal charges in 2005 and was forced to step aside by Republican rules.[citation needed] Apart from Bob Dole from Kansas (1985–96), the recent Republican Senate Leaders have been Southerners: Howard Baker (1981–1985) of Tennessee, Trent Lott (1996–2003) of Mississippi, Bill Frist (2003–2006) of Tennessee, and Mitch McConnell (2007–present) of Kentucky.

The Republicans candidates for President have won the South in elections since 1972, except for 1976. The region is not, however, entirely monolithic, and every successful Democratic candidate since 1976 has claimed at least three Southern states. Barack Obama won Florida, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, and Virginia in 2008 but did not repeat his victory in North Carolina during his 2012 reelection campaign.[137]

Race relations

Native Americans

Native Americans had lived in the south for nearly 12,000 years. They were defeated by settlers in a series of wars ending in the War of 1812 and the Seminole Wars, and most were removed west to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma and Kansas), but large numbers of Native Americans managed to stay behind by blending into the surrounding society. This was especially true of the wives of Euro-American merchants and miners.

Civil rights

Racial segregation was commonplace in the South until the 1960s.

The South witnessed two major events in the lives of 20th century African Americans: the Great Migration and the American Civil Rights Movement.

The Great Migration began during World War I, hitting its high point during World War II. During this migration, blacks left the South to find work in Northern factories and other sectors of the economy.[138]

The migration also empowered the growing Civil Rights Movement. While the movement existed in all parts of the United States, its focus was against disfranchisement and the Jim Crow laws in the South. Most of the major events in the movement occurred in the South, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the March on Selma, Alabama, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.. In addition, some of the most important writings to come out of the movement were written in the South, such as King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. Most of the civil rights landmarks can be found around the South. The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Birmingham includes the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute which details Birmingham’s role as the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement. The 16th Street Baptist Church served as a rallying point for coordinating and carrying out the Birmingham campaignas well as the adjacent Kelly Ingram Park that served as ground zero for the infamous children’s protest that eventually led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been rededicated as a place of “Revolution and Reconciliation” and is now the setting of moving sculptures related to the battle for Civil Rights in the city, both are center pieces of the Birmingham Civil Rights District. The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site in Atlanta includes a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement as well as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s boyhood home on Auburn Avenue. Additionally, Ebenezer Baptist Church is located in the Sweet Auburn district as is the King Center, location of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King’s gravesites.

The Civil Rights Movement ended Jim Crow laws across the South. A second migration appears to be underway, with African Americans from the North moving to the South in record numbers.[139] While race relations are still a contentious issue in the South, the region surpasses the rest of the country in many areas of integration and racial equality. According to 2003 report by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Nashville-Davidson, and Jacksonville were the five most integrated of the nation’s fifty largest cities, with Memphis at number six.[140] Southern states tend to have a low disparity in incarceration rates between blacks and whites relative to the rest of the country.[141]

Symbolism

Some Southerners use the Confederate flag to identify themselves with the South, states’ rights and Southern tradition.
Groups, such as the League of the South, have a high regard for the secession movement of 1860, citing a desire to protect and defend Southern heritage.[142] Numerous political battles have erupted over flying the Confederate flag over state capitols, and the naming of public buildings or highways after Confederate leaders, the prominence of certain statues, and the everyday display of Confederate insignia.[143]

Other symbols of the South include the Bonnie Blue Flag, magnolia trees, and the song “Dixie”.[144]

Major cities

The South was heavily rural as late as the 1940s, but now the population is increasingly concentrated in metropolitan areas. The following tables show the twenty largest cities, metropolitan, and combined statistical areas in the South. Houston is the largest city in the South.

Houston

San Antonio

Dallas

Austin

Jacksonville

Fort Worth

Charlotte

Washington D.C.

El Paso

Nashville

Rank City State Population
(2017 est.)[145]
1 Houston TX 2,312,717
2 San Antonio TX 1,511,946
3 Dallas TX 1,341,075
4 Austin TX 950,715
5 Jacksonville FL 892,062
6 Fort Worth TX 874,168
7 Charlotte NC 859,035
8 Washington DC 693,972
9 El Paso TX 683,577
10 Nashville TN 667,560
11 Memphis TN 652,236
12 Oklahoma City OK 643,648
13 Louisville KY 621,349
14 Baltimore MD 611,648
15 Atlanta GA 486,290
16 Raleigh NC 464,758
17 Miami FL 463,347
18 Virginia Beach VA 450,435
19 Tulsa OK 401,800
20 Arlington TX 396,394

Major metropolitan areas

Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area State(s) Population
(2017 est.)[146]
1 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington TX 7,399,662
2 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land TX 6,892,427
3 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria VA-MD-WV-DC 6,216,589
4 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach FL 6,158,824
5 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell GA 5,884,736
6 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL 3,091,399
7 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson MD 2,808,175
8 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia NC-SC 2,525,305
9 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford FL 2,509,831
10 San Antonio-New Braunfels TX 2,473,974
11 Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky*[147] OH-IN-KY 2,179,082
12 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos TX 2,115,827
13 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin TN 1,903,045
14 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC 1,725,246
15 Jacksonville FL 1,504,980
16 Oklahoma City-Norman OK 1,383,737
17 Memphis-Forrest City TN-MS-AR 1,348,260
18 Raleigh-Cary NC 1,335,079
19 Richmond-Petersburg VA 1,294,204
20 Louisville-Jefferson County*[148] KY-IN 1,293,953

* Asterisk indicates part of the metropolitan area is outside the states classified as Southern.

Major combined statistical areas

Rank Combined Statistical Area State(s) Population (2017 est.) [149]
1 Washington-Baltimore-Arlington DC-MD-VA-WV-PA 9,764,315
2 Dallas-Fort Worth TX 7,846,293
3 Houston-The Woodlands-Baytown TX 7,093,190
4 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie FL 6,828,241
5 Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs GA 6,555,956
6 Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach FL 3,284,198
7 Charlotte-Concord NC-SC 2,684,121
8 Cincinnati-Wilmington-Maysville OH-KY-IN 2,238,265
9 Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill NC 2,199,459
10 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro TN 2,027,489
11 Virginia Beach-Norfolk VA-NC 1,829,195
12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point NC 1,663,532
13 Jacksonville-St. Marys-Palatka FL-GA 1,631,488
14 Louisville/Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Madison KY-IN 1,522,112
15 New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond LA-MS 1,510,162
16 Oklahoma City-Shawnee OK 1,455,935
17 Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson SC 1,460,036
18 Memphis-Forrest City TN-MS-AR 1,374,190
19 Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega AL 1,364,062
20 Tulsa-Muskogee-Bartlesville OK 1,160,612

See also

  • Portal-puzzle.svg Southern United States portal
  • Black Belt (U.S. region)
  • Cuisine of the Southern United States
  • Culture of honor (Southern United States)
  • King Cotton
  • List of plantations in the United States
  • Rice Belt
  • Southern American English
  • Southern art
  • Southern hospitality
  • Southern literature
  • Territories of the United States on stamps
  • White Southerner Admixture

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  92. ^ Cooper, Christopher A.; Knotts, H. Gibbs (2004). “Defining Dixie: A State-Level Measure of the Modern Political South”. American Review of Politics. 25: 25–39.
  93. ^ Reed, John Shelton (1982). One South: An Ethnic Approach to Regional Culture. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8071-1003-4.
  94. ^ Smith, William L. (2009). “Southerner and Irish? Regional and Ethnic Consciousness in Savannah, Georgia” (PDF). Southern Rural Sociology. 24 (1): 223–239.
  95. ^ Smith, M. G. (1982). “Ethnicity and ethnic groups in America: the view from Harvard” (PDF). Ethnic and Racial Studies. 5 (1): 1–22. doi:10.1080/01419870.1982.9993357. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2015.
  96. ^ David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 633–639
  97. ^ ab “Table 3a. Persons Who Reported a Single Ancestry Group for Regions, Divisions and States: 1980″ (PDF). census.gov.
  98. ^ ab “Table 1. Type of Ancestry Response for Regions, Divisions and States: 1980” (PDF). census.gov.
  99. ^ Wilson, Charles Reagan. Ferris, William R. Encyclopedia of Southern culture, p. 556
  100. ^ Christine Leigh Heyrman, Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (1998)
  101. ^ Donald G. Mathews, Religion in the Old South (1979)
  102. ^ Edward L. Queen, In the South the Baptists Are the Center of Gravity: Southern Baptists and Social Change, 1930–1980 (1991)
  103. ^ “Baptists as a Percentage of all Residents”. Department of Geography and Meteorology, Valparaiso University. 2000. Archived from the original on May 22, 2010.
  104. ^ Samuel S. Hill, Charles H. Lippy, and Charles Reagan Wilson, eds. Encyclopedia of Religion in the South (2005)
  105. ^ “The most and least religious states in the US – Mississippi comes out top, Vermont is bottom – Christian News on Christian Today”. christiantoday.com.
  106. ^ Blanton, Anderson, Hittin’ the Prayer Bones: Materiality of Spirit in the Pentecostal South. (University of North Carolina Press, 2015)
  107. ^ “2014 National College Football Attendance” (PDF).
  108. ^ Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration on the State of Texas (1942). Houston: A History and Guide. American Guide Series. The Anson Jones Press. p. 215. LCCN 87890145. OL 2507140M.
  109. ^ “Base Ball Club”. The Weekly Telegraph. April 16, 1861. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  110. ^ Cutler, Tami (March 31, 2014). “2014 Division I Baseball Attendance” (PDF). National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  111. ^ “MLB Attendance”. ESPN. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  112. ^ “Adult Obesity Facts”. Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 13, 2012.
  113. ^ ab Baird, Joel Banner (June 30, 2010). “Study: Vermont among least obese states”. The Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. pp. 1A, 4A. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  114. ^ “The Six Worst States for Sleep”. 247wallst.com. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  115. ^ Rachel Pomerance, “Most and Least Obese U.S. States”, U.S. News & World Report, August 16, 2012.
  116. ^ “Diabetes Most Prevalent In Southern United States, Study Finds”, Science Daily, September 25, 2009
  117. ^ “Southern Diet Might Explain the ‘stroke Belt'”, HealthDay, February 7, 2013
  118. ^ Rick Nauert, “U.S. South Has Higher Risk of Cognitive Decline”, Psych Central, May 27, 2011
  119. ^ Cullen, Mark R.; Cummins, Clint; Fuchs, Victor R. (2012). “Geographic and Racial Variation in Premature Mortality in the U.S.: Analyzing the Disparities”. PLOS ONE. 7 (4): e32930. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032930. PMC 3328498. PMID 22529892.
  120. ^ CDC. “Death in the United States”.
  121. ^ Fenelon, A. (2013). “Geographic Divergence in Mortality in the United States”. Population and Development Review. 39 (4): 611–634. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2013.00630.x. PMC 4109895. PMID 25067863.
  122. ^ Wiess, AJ and Elixhauser A (October 2014). “Overview of Hospital Utilization, 2012”. HCUP Statistical Brief #180. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  123. ^ Torio CM, Andrews RM (September 2014). “Geographic Variation in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations for Acute and Chronic Conditions, 2005–2011”. HCUP Statistical Brief #178. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  124. ^ Matt Stiles, “The State of the Cancer Nation”, NPR, April 17, 2015.
  125. ^ 2nd map in “Cancer Prevention and Control, Cancer Rates by State”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 25, 2014.
  126. ^ Michael Perman, Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American South (2009)
  127. ^ Key; Southern Politics State and Nation (1984)
  128. ^ Gordon B. McKinney (2010); Southern Mountain Republicans 1865–1900. University of North Carolina Press.
    ISBN 978-0-8078-9724-9
  129. ^ The classic study is V.O. Key, Southern politics in State and Nation (1949)
  130. ^ Numan V. Bartley, The New South, 1945–1980 (1995) pp 455–70
  131. ^ Bernard Cosman, Five States for Goldwater Continuity and Change in Southern Presidential Voting Patterns (1966)
  132. ^ David M. Chalmers, Backfire: how the Ku Klux Klan helped the civil rights movement (2003)
  133. ^ Bartley, The New South pp 408–11
  134. ^ Earl Black and Merle Black, The Rise of Southern Republicans (2003)
  135. ^ William C. Martin, With God On Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (2005)
  136. ^ Michael Barone, “Republicans Find Refuge in the House,” The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 9, 2012) p. A13.
  137. ^ “Romney Bus Tour Charts Course for Battlegrounds Obama Won”. Businessweek. August 10, 2012.
  138. ^ Katzman, 1996
  139. ^ “Tracking New Trends in Race Migration”. News & Notes. National Public Radio. March 14, 2006. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
  140. ^ “Study shows Memphis among most integrated cities”. Memphis Business Journal. January 13, 2003.
  141. ^ Mauer, Marc; Ryan S. King (July 2007). “Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration By Race and Ethnicity” (PDF). Washington, D.C.: The Sentencing Project. p. 16. Retrieved April 20, 2010. (Report.)
  142. ^ “League of the South Core Beliefs Statement”. League of the South. June 1994. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
  143. ^ Tony Horowitz, Confederates in the Attic (1998)
  144. ^ Martinez, James Michael; Richardson, William Donald; McNinch-Su, Ron, eds. (2000). Confederate Symbols. University Press of Florida. ISBN 9780813017587.
  145. ^ “Table 1. City and Town Population Totals: 2010-2017: (CBSA-EST2012-01)”. March 2016 United States Census. United States Census Bureau, Population Division.
  146. ^ “Table 4. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical (CBSA-EST2012-01)”. March 2017 United States Census. United States Census Bureau, Population Division.
  147. ^ The 2012 Census population estimate for the part within the South (Kentucky) is 431,997.
  148. ^ The 2010 Census population for the part within the South (Kentucky) is 973,271.
  149. ^ “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 – United States — Combined Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico”. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  • Ayers, Edward L. What Caused the Civil War? Reflections on the South and Southern History (2005)
  • Cash, Wilbur J. The Mind of the South (1941),
  • Cooper, Christopher A. and H. Gibbs Knotts, eds. The New Politics of North Carolina (U. of North Carolina Press, 2008)
    ISBN 978-0-8078-5876-9
  • Flynt, J. Wayne Dixie’s Forgotten People: The South’s Poor Whites (1979). deals with 20th century.
  • David M. Katzman. “Black Migration”. The Reader’s Companion to American History. Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • James Grossman (1996). “Chicago and the ‘Great Migration“. Illinois History Teacher. 3 (2). Archived from the original on September 3, 2006.
  • McWhiney, Grady. In Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South (1988)
  • John O. Allen and Clayton E. Jewett (2004). Slavery in the South: A State-by-State History. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-32019-4.
  • Rayford Logan (1997). The Betrayal of the Negro from Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80758-9.
  • William B. Hesseltine (1936). A History of the South, 1607–1936. Prentice-Hall.
  • Mark, Rebecca, and Rob Vaughan. The South: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures (2004)
  • Robert W. Twyman. and David C. Roller, ed., ed. (1979). Encyclopedia of Southern History. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-0575-7.CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
  • Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, ed., ed. (1989). Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1823-7.CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)

Further reading

  • Edward L. Ayers (1993). The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-508548-8.
  • Monroe Lee Billington (1975). The Political South in the 20th Century. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-13983-8.
  • Earl Black and Merle Black (2002). The Rise of Southern Republicans. Belknap press. ISBN 978-0-674-01248-6.
  • W. J. Cash (1935). The Mind of the South. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-679-73647-9.
  • Pete Daniel (2000). Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4848-7.
  • Davis, Donald, and Mark R. Stoll. Southern United States: An Environmental History (2006)
  • Edwards, Laura F. “Southern History as U.S. History,” Journal of Southern History, 75 (Aug. 2009), 533–64.
  • Frederickson, Kari. (2013). Cold War Dixie: Militarization and Modernization in the American South. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
  • Michael Kreyling (1998). Inventing Southern Literature. University Press of Mississippi. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-57806-045-0.
  • Heather A. Haveman (2004). “Antebellum literary culture and the evolution of American magazines”. Poetics. 32: 5–28. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2003.12.002.
  • Eugene D. Genovese (1976). Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. New York: Vintage Books. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-394-71652-7.
  • Morris, Christopher (2009). “A More Southern Environmental History”. Journal of Southern History. 75 (3): 581–598.
  • Howard N. Rabinowitz (September 1976). “From Exclusion to Segregation: Southern Race Relations, 1865–1890”. Journal of American History. 43: 325–350.
  • Nicol C. Rae (1994). Southern Democrats. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-508709-3.
  • Jeffrey A. Raffel (1998). Historical Dictionary of School Segregation and Desegregation: The American Experience. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-29502-7.
  • J. Mills Thornton III. Archipelagoes of My South: Episodes in the Shaping of a Region, 1830–1965 (2016) online
  • Virts, Nancy (2006). “Change in the Plantation System: American South, 1910–1945”. Explorations in Economic History. 43 (1): 153–176. doi:10.1016/j.eeh.2005.04.003.
  • Wells, Jonathan Daniel (2009). “The Southern Middle Class”. Journal of Southern History. 75 (3): 651–.
  • C. Vann Woodward (1955). The Strange Career of Jim Crow. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514690-5.
  • Gavin Wright (1996). Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy Since the Civil War. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-2098-9.

External links

  • Southern United States travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • DocSouth: Documenting the American South – multimedia collections from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Center for the Study of Southern Culture – the research center at the University of Mississippi, with a graduate program and undergraduate major in southern studies
  • University of Mississippi Libraries. “Southern Studies”. Library Guides.
  • University of North Carolina, Southern Studies. “Southern Studies Jumpgate”. Annotated list of sites

Coordinates: 33°N 88°W / 33°N 88°W / 33; -88


Louisiana

State of the United States of America
State of Louisiana

.mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}
État de Louisiane  (French)
Flag of Louisiana State seal of Louisiana
Flag Seal
Nickname(s):

Bayou State • Creole State • Pelican State (official)
Sportsman’s Paradise • The Boot
Motto(s): Union, Justice, Confidence
State song(s): ““Give Me Louisiana”
“You Are My Sunshine”
“State March Song”
“Gifts of the Earth”
Map of the United States with Louisiana highlighted
Official language No official language
Spoken languages As of 2010[1]

  • English 91.26%
  • French 3.45% (incl. Cajun and Creole)
  • Spanish 3.30%
  • Vietnamese 0.59%
Demonym Louisianian (French: Louisianais)
Capital Baton Rouge
Largest city New Orleans[2][3][4]
Largest metro Greater New Orleans
Area Ranked 31st
 • Total 52,378.13 sq mi
(135,382 km2)
 • Width 130 miles (210 km)
 • Length 379 miles (610 km)
 • % water 15
 • Latitude 28° 56′ N to 33° 01′ N
 • Longitude 88° 49′ W to 94° 03′ W
Population Ranked 25th
 • Total 4,684,333 (2017 est.)[5]
 • Density 93.6/sq mi  (34.6/km2)
Ranked 24th
 • Median household income $45,992[6] (45th)
Elevation
 • Highest point Driskill Mountain[7][8]
535 ft (163 m)
 • Mean 100 ft  (30 m)
 • Lowest point New Orleans[7][8]
−8 ft (−2.5 m)
Before statehood Territory of Orleans
Admission to Union April 30, 1812 (18th)
Governor John Bel Edwards (D)
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser (R)
Legislature State Legislature
 • Upper house State Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R)
John Kennedy (R)
U.S. House delegation 5 Republicans
1 Democrat (list)
Time zone Central: UTC −6/−5
ISO 3166 US-LA
Abbreviations LA, La.
Website louisiana.gov
Louisiana state symbols
Flag of Louisiana.svg

The Flag of Louisiana
Seal of Louisiana.svg

The Seal of Louisiana
Living insignia
Bird Brown pelican
Dog breed Catahoula Leopard Dog
Fish White perch
Flower Magnolia
Insect Honeybee
Mammal Black bear
Reptile Alligator
Tree Bald cypress
Inanimate insignia
Beverage Milk
Fossil Petrified palmwood
Gemstone Agate
Instrument Diatonic accordion
State route marker
Louisiana state route marker
State quarter
Louisiana quarter dollar coin

Released in 2002
Lists of United States state symbols

Louisiana entrance sign off Interstate 20 in Madison Parish east of Tallulah

Louisiana (/luˌziˈænə/ (About this soundlisten), /ˌlzi-/ (About this soundlisten))[a] is a state in the Deep South region of the southeastern United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and the state of Texas to the west. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state’s capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.

Much of the state’s lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp.[10][self-published source] These contain a rich southern biota; typical examples include birds such as ibis and egrets. There are also many species of tree frogs, and fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape, and has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas. These support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of terrestrial orchids and carnivorous plants.[10] Louisiana has more Native American tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten that are state recognized, and four that have not received recognition.[11]

Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so strongly influenced by a mixture of 18th-century French, Haitian, Spanish, Native American, and African cultures that they are considered to be exceptional in the US. Before the American purchase of the territory in 1803, present-day Louisiana State had been both a French colony and for a brief period a Spanish one. In addition, colonists imported numerous African people as slaves in the 18th century. Many came from peoples of the same region of West Africa, thus concentrating their culture. In the post-Civil War environment, Anglo-Americans increased the pressure for Anglicization, and in 1921, English was for a time made the sole language of instruction in Louisiana schools before a policy of multilingualism was revived in 1974.[12][13] There has never been an official language in Louisiana, and the state constitution enumerates “the right of the people to preserve, foster, and promote their respective historic, linguistic, and cultural origins.”[12]

Contents

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Geology
  • 3 Geography

    • 3.1 Climate
    • 3.2 Hurricanes since 1950
  • 4 Publicly-owned land

    • 4.1 National Park Service
    • 4.2 US Forest Service
    • 4.3 State parks and recreational areas
    • 4.4 Wildlife management areas
    • 4.5 Natural and Scenic Rivers
  • 5 Transportation

    • 5.1 Interstate highways
    • 5.2 United States highways
  • 6 History

    • 6.1 Pre-colonial history
    • 6.2 Exploration and colonization by Europeans
    • 6.3 Expansion of slavery
    • 6.4 Haitian migration and influence
    • 6.5 Purchase by the United States (1803)
    • 6.6 Statehood (1812)
    • 6.7 Secession and the Civil War (1860–1865)
    • 6.8 Post-Civil War to mid-20th century (1865–1945)
    • 6.9 Post-World War II (1945–)
    • 6.10 2000 to present
  • 7 Demographics

    • 7.1 Race and ethnicity
    • 7.2 Religion
    • 7.3 Major cities
  • 8 Economy

    • 8.1 Federal subsidies and spending
    • 8.2 Energy
  • 9 Law and government

    • 9.1 Administrative divisions
    • 9.2 Civil law
    • 9.3 Marriage
    • 9.4 Elections
    • 9.5 Law enforcement
    • 9.6 Judiciary
  • 10 National Guard
  • 11 Media
  • 12 Education
  • 13 Sports
  • 14 Culture

    • 14.1 African culture
    • 14.2 Louisiana Creole culture
    • 14.3 Acadian culture
    • 14.4 Isleño culture
    • 14.5 Languages
    • 14.6 Literature
    • 14.7 Music
  • 15 See also
  • 16 Notes
  • 17 References
  • 18 Bibliography
  • 19 External links

    • 19.1 Geology links
    • 19.2 Government
    • 19.3 U.S. government
    • 19.4 News media
    • 19.5 Ecoregions
    • 19.6 Tourism

Etymology

Louisiana was named after Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715. When René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claimed the territory drained by the Mississippi River for France, he named it La Louisiane.[14] The suffix -ana (or -ane) is a Latin suffix that can refer to “information relating to a particular individual, subject, or place.” Thus, roughly, Louis + ana carries the idea of “related to Louis.” Once part of the French Colonial Empire, the Louisiana Territory stretched from present-day Mobile Bay to just north of the present-day Canada–United States border, including a small part of what is now the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Geology

The Gulf of Mexico did not exist 250 million years ago when there was but one supercontinent, Pangea. As Pangea split apart, the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico opened. Louisiana slowly developed, over millions of years, from water into land, and from north to south.[10] The oldest rocks are exposed in the north, in areas such as the Kisatchie National Forest. The oldest rocks date back to the early Cenozoic Era, some 60 million years ago. The history of the formation of these rocks can be found in D. Spearing’s Roadside Geology of Louisiana.[15]

The youngest parts of the state were formed during the last 12,000 years as successive deltas of the Mississippi River: the Maringouin, Teche, St. Bernard, Lafourche, the modern Mississippi, and now the Atchafalaya.[16] The sediments were carried from north to south by the Mississippi River.

In between the Tertiary rocks of the north, and the relatively new sediments along the coast, is a vast belt known as the Pleistocene Terraces. Their age and distribution can be largely related to the rise and fall of sea levels during past ice ages. In general, the northern terraces have had sufficient time for rivers to cut deep channels, while the newer terraces tend to be much flatter.[17]

Salt domes are also found in Louisiana. Their origin can be traced back to the early Gulf of Mexico, when the shallow ocean had high rates of evaporation. There are several hundred salt domes in the state; one of the most familiar is Avery Island.[18] Salt domes are important not only as a source of salt; they also serve as underground traps for oil and gas.[19]

Geography

Map of Louisiana

Aerial view of Louisiana wetland habitats.

A field of yellow wildflowers in Saint Bernard Parish

Honey Island Swamp

Sign upon a trail in the woods

Entrance to the Bald Eagle Nest Trail at South Toledo Bend State Park

Bogue Chitto State Park

Louisiana is bordered to the west by Texas; to the north by Arkansas; to the east by Mississippi; and to the south by the Gulf of Mexico.

The state may properly be divided into two parts, the uplands of the north, and the alluvial along the coast.

The alluvial region includes low swamp lands, coastal marshlands and beaches, and barrier islands that cover about 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2). This area lies principally along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, which traverses the state from north to south for a distance of about 600 mi (970 km)) and empties into the Gulf of Mexico; the Red River; the Ouachita River and its branches; and other minor streams (some of which are called bayous).

The breadth of the alluvial region along the Mississippi is from 10 to 60 miles (15 to 100 km), and along the other rivers, the alluvial region averages about 10 miles (15 km) across. The Mississippi River flows along a ridge formed by its own natural deposits (known as a levee), from which the lands decline toward a river beyond at an average fall of six feet per mile (3 m/km). The alluvial lands along other streams present similar features.

The higher and contiguous hill lands of the north and northwestern part of the state have an area of more than 25,000 square miles (65,000 km2). They consist of prairie and woodlands. The elevations above sea level range from 10 feet (3 m) at the coast and swamp lands to 50 and 60 feet (15–18 m) at the prairie and alluvial lands. In the uplands and hills, the elevations rise to Driskill Mountain, the highest point in the state at only 535 feet (163 m) above sea level. From years 1932 to 2010 the state lost 1,800 sq. miles due to rises in sea level and erosion. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) spends around $1 billion per year to help shore up and protect Louisiana shoreline and land in both federal and state funding.[20]

Besides the waterways already named, there are the Sabine, forming the western boundary; and the Pearl, the eastern boundary; the Calcasieu, the Mermentau, the Vermilion, Bayou Teche, the Atchafalaya, the Boeuf, Bayou Lafourche, the Courtableau River, Bayou D’Arbonne, the Macon River, the Tensas, Amite River, the Tchefuncte, the Tickfaw, the Natalbany River, and a number of other smaller streams, constituting a natural system of navigable waterways, aggregating over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) long.

The state also has political jurisdiction over the approximately 3-mile (4.8 km)-wide portion of subsea land of the inner continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. Through a peculiarity of the political geography of the United States, this is substantially less than the 9-mile (14 km)-wide jurisdiction of nearby states Texas and Florida, which, like Louisiana, have extensive Gulf coastlines.[21]

The southern coast of Louisiana in the United States is among the fastest-disappearing areas in the world. This has largely resulted from human mismanagement of the coast (see Wetlands of Louisiana). At one time, the land was added to when spring floods from the Mississippi River added sediment and stimulated marsh growth; the land is now shrinking. There are multiple causes.[22][23]

Artificial levees block spring flood water that would bring fresh water and sediment to marshes. Swamps have been extensively logged, leaving canals and ditches that allow saline water to move inland. Canals dug for the oil and gas industry also allow storms to move sea water inland, where it damages swamps and marshes. Rising sea waters have exacerbated the problem. Some researchers estimate that the state is losing a land mass equivalent to 30 football fields every day. There are many proposals to save coastal areas by reducing human damage, including restoring natural floods from the Mississippi. Without such restoration, coastal communities will continue to disappear.[24] And as the communities disappear, more and more people are leaving the region.[25] Since the coastal wetlands support an economically important coastal fishery, the loss of wetlands is adversely affecting this industry.

Climate

Baton Rouge
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
5.9
 
 
62
42
 
 
5
 
 
65
44
 
 
5
 
 
72
51
 
 
5.3
 
 
78
57
 
 
5.2
 
 
84
64
 
 
5.8
 
 
89
70
 
 
5.4
 
 
91
73
 
 
5.7
 
 
91
72
 
 
4.5
 
 
88
68
 
 
3.6
 
 
81
57
 
 
4.8
 
 
71
48
 
 
5.2
 
 
64
43
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: [26]