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Whether you’re thinking of moving to Arkansas, or you’ve lived here your entire life, these quick facts about Arkansas give a broad view of what life is like in the Natural State.
Arkansas was the 25th state accepted into the union in 1836. Its name comes from a Quapaw word for the area, which was adopted by early French explorers.
The Natural State
As of July 2021, the state had 3,025,891 residents.
Little Rock population: 202,591
Fort Smith: 89,142
Arkansas has a humid, subtropical climate with hot summers and cool, mild winters. The hottest month is July, with an average temperature of 93℉, while January is the coldest, with an average temperature of 51℉. Average rainfall is between 40 and 60 inches a year.
Arkansas is #1 in rice production, #3 in cotton, #3 in poultry and #10 in soybeans.
Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, Dillard’s, Sam’s Club and J.B. Hunt Transportation Services all started in Arkansas.
$149,120 but in Northwest Arkansas the average home value is $320,000 and in Little Rock it is $220,000.
50, with 12 four-year public universities, 22 two-year public colleges and 16 private colleges and universities. (Arkansas Division of Higher Education)
52. Arkansas State Parks offer camping, cabins, yurts, hiking, mountain biking, beautiful vistas and much more.
Bentonville has staked its claim as the mountain biking capital with over 40 miles of trails within the city and another 150 miles in the regional trail network in Northwest Arkansas.
Hiking Petit Jean State Park’s Cedar Falls Trail
Over 1,800 miles of trails including 300 miles in Arkansas State Parks, the 165-mile Ozark Highlands Trail, the 14-mile Delta Heritage Trail, 100 miles of trail in the Buffalo National River area, and 300 miles of OZ shared-use trails in Northwest Arkansas.
33 rivers pass through the state, with major rivers like the Mississippi River, Arkansas River, Red River, White River, St. Francis River and the Ouachita River. These rivers and their streams create over 90,000 miles of waterways.
Arkansas has over 2,340 named lakes, creating 600,000 acres of lakes. Many of the largest were created through dam projects completed from the 1940s through the 1970s. Lake Ouachita is the largest lake in the state, with a surface area of 66,324 acres.
Arkansas has two beautiful mountain ranges. The Ozark Mountains run north to south in northwest Arkansas. Their karst topography provides a wide variety of features, like caves, springs, rugged drops and high plateaus The Ouachita Mountains in central to southern Arkansas run east to west and are dotted with lakes and breathtaking views. Find out more about Arkansas’s 10 highest peaks.
The Ozark Mountains
Arkansas has its share of famous people, most notably Bill and Hillary Clinton, but others include musicians Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell, actor Billy Bob Thornton and actress Mary Steenburgen, basketball star Scottie Pippen, author John Grisham and businessman and Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
Five military installations are in Arkansas: Little Rock Air Force Base, Pine Bluff Arsenal, Fort Chaffee Army Base, Camp Robinson (National Guard) and Ebbing Air National Guard Base.
Aircraft, including parts, rice, wood pulp, eggs, frozen chicken and cotton.
Fixed-wing aircraft, automatic data processing machines, tricycles, scooters and pedal cars, textiles, clothing and footwear.
Although no major professional sports teams call Arkansas home, there are still plenty of opportunities to be an avid sports fan in the state. Arkansas has two Double-A baseball teams- the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and the Arkansas Travelers. The Arkansas Razorbacks from the University of Arkansas compete in 19 NCAA Division I sports and enjoy broad support across the state. The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship is an LPGA tournament held every year. Semi-professional soccer teams in the state are the Little Rock Rangers, Arkansas Wolves and Ozark FC.
Craft and Microbreweries have exploded in the last decade and Arkansas boasts a strong Brewery Trail with 53 breweries and counting listed on beerinarkansas.com.
Arkansas is traditionally known for Southern cuisine, which includes many fried specialties like fried chicken, catfish, okra and pies. While these remain famous, other foods found in Arkansas run the gamut from chocolate gravy, BBQ and smoked meats, cinnamon rolls, tacos, cheese dip and more. There is a growing vegetarian and farm-to-table movement as well. Read more about Arkansas restaurants and food from several of Arkansas’s most respected food writers: The Mighty Rib, Lyndi Fultz of Simple Joyful Food and Lacie Ring of Easy, Peasy Pleasy.
Arkansas has a dizzying array of festivals for music, food, famous people and more held across the state every year. Some of the most popular are Toad Suck Daze in Conway, Bikes, Blues & BBQ in Northwest Arkansas and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena. Find out upcoming festivals at arkansas.com.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville
Arkansas isn’t short on museums, with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the US Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, the Gangster Museum in Hot Springs and the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Discovery, Clinton Presidential Library and Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.
The state’s GDP is expected to grow 3% in 2022. The population is also projected to grow, with a 3.3% increase overall noted in the 2020 census. The northwest part of the state has seen the most growth, with Benton County experiencing a 28.5% increase in population since 2010 and Washington County seeing a 21% increase.
These are just a handful of interesting, quick facts about Arkansas. Whether you want to visit, move here, or just know more, Arkansas is a unique state with much to offer.
Photos courtesy of Arkansas Parks and Tourism.
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