The Natural State

Where is it?

State Flag




South Central
Geographic coordinates:
33°N to 36°30'N
89°41'W to 94°42'W
total: 53,182 sq mi
land: 52,075 sq mi
water: 1,107 sq mi
coastline: 0 miles
shoreline: 0 miles
Bordering States:
Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: 56 ft
highest point: Mount Magazine 2,753 ft
The capital of Arkansas is Little Rock. Arkansas is the first state in the U.S. where diamonds were found naturally (near Murfreesboro, Arkansas). The eastern border for most of Arkansas is the Mississippi River except in Clay and Greene counties where the St. Francis River forms the western boundary of the Missouri Bootheel. Arkansas shares its southern border with Louisiana, its northern border with Missouri, its eastern border with Tennessee and Mississippi, and its western border with Texas and Oklahoma. Arkansas is a beautiful land of mountains and valleys, thick forests and fertile plains. Northwest Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau including the Boston 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. The so called Lowlands are better known as the Delta and the Grand Prairie. The land along the Mississippi river is referred to as the "Delta" of Arkansas. It gets this name from the formation of its rich alluvial soils formed from the flooding of the mighty Mississippi. The Grand Prairie is slightly away from the Mississippi river in the southeast portion of the state and consists of a more undulating landscape. Both are fertile agricultural areas and home to much of the crop agriculture in the state.




2,966,369 (2014)
Largest City:
Little Rock: 431,388 (2010)
Age structure:
0-5 years old: 6.7%
<18 years old: 24.6%
65 years and over: 13.8%
Male: 49.0% Female: 51.0%
Population growth rate:
4.0% (2000-2005)
Population density:
51.34 per sq mi
Race(2000 Census):
White non-Hispanic: 78.6%
Black: 15.7%
Hispanic: 3.2%
Asian: 0.8%
Native American: 0.7%
Multi-Race: 1.3%
Christian: 86%
Other: <1%
Non-Religious: 14%




The first European who arrived in Arkansas was the Spaniard Hernando de Soto, explorer at the end of the 16th Century. The early Spanish or French explorers of the state gave it its name, which is probably a phonetic spelling for the French or Catalan word for "downriver" people, a reference to the Quapaw people and the river along which they settled. Other Native American nations that lived in Arkansas prior to westward movement were the Quapaw, Caddo, and Osage Nations. While moving westward, the Five Civilized Tribes inhabited Arkansas during the territorial period. The Five Civilized Tribes are the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole. They were recognized as the "civilized tribes" because they eventually adopted Western customs such as plantation living and Christianity. Prior to statehood, it was known as the Arkansaw Territory. On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state of the United States as a slave state. Arkansas refused to join the Confederate States of America until after Abraham Lincoln called for troops to respond to the unprovoked attack of Fort Sumter by Confederates in South Carolina. It seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861. The state was the scene of numerous small-scale battles during the American Civil War. Under the Military Reconstruction Act, Congress readmitted Arkansas in June 1868. In 1881, the Arkansas state legislature enacted a bill that adopted "arkansaw" as the official pronunciation - note the distinctive pronunciation of the last syllable.




Little Rock
June 15, 1836 (25th State)
State Tree:
Loblolly Pine
State Bird:
State Flower:
The Democratic Party holds super-majority status in the Arkansas General Assembly. Republicans lost seats in the State House in 2004. A majority of local and statewide offices are also held by Democrats. This arrangement is extremely rare in the modern South, where a majority of statewide offices are held by Republicans. Arkansas had the distinction in 1992 of being the only state in the entire country to give the majority of its vote to a single candidate in the presidential election—native son Bill Clinton— while every other state's electoral votes were won by pluralities of the vote between the three candidates. Most Republican strength lies mainly in northwest Arkansas in the area around Fort Smith, while the rest of the state is strongly Democratic. Arkansas has only elected one Republican to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction. The Arkansas General Assembly has not been controlled by the Republican Party since Reconstruction and is the fourth most heavily Democratic Legislature in the country, after Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Connecticut. Arkansas is also the only state among the states of the former Confederacy that sends two Democrats to the U.S. Senate and the overwhelming majority of registered voters in the state are Democrats. However, the state is perceived as being socially conservative – its voters passed a ban on gay marriage, the Arkansas Constitution protects right to work, and the state is one of a handful that has legislation on its books banning abortion in the event Roe vs. Wade is ever overturned. In Arkansas, the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor and thus can be from a different political party. Each officer's term is four years long. Office holders are term-limited to two full terms plus any partial terms prior to the first full term. Some of Arkansas' counties have two county seats, as opposed to the usual one seat. The arrangement dates back to when travel was extremely difficult in the states. The seats are usually on opposite sides of the county. Though travel is no longer the difficulty it once was, there are few efforts to eliminate the two seat arrangement where it exists, since the county seat is a source of pride (and jobs) to the city involved.




The state's total gross state product for 2003 was $76 billion. Its Per Capita Personal Income for 2003 was $24,384, 50th in the nation. 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, paper products, bromine, and vanadium. In recent years, automobile parts manufacturers have opened factories in eastern Arkansas to support auto plants in other states (though Arkansas does not yet have an auto plant itself, it is rumored to be a future site for a Toyota plant as well as for a truck plant to be built by Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors). Tourism is also very important to the Arkansas economy; the official state nickname "The Natural State" was originally created (as "Arkansas Is A Natural") for state tourism advertising in the 1970's, and is still regularly used there to this day. The effect of Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt and other multinational companies located in NW Arkansas cannot be overstated. The area is currently in a long-running economic boom due to being the forefront of Global Trade. Wal-Mart alone accounts for $8.90 out of every $100 spent in U.S.