Table of contents
Updated November 30, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Arkansas flag


Arkansas State Information

Capital: Little Rock

Official Name: State of Arkansas

Organized as a territory/republic: March 2, 1819

Entered Union (rank): June 15, 1836 (25)

Present constitution adopted: 1874

State Abbreviation/Postal Code: Ark./AR

Area codes: 479, 501, and 870

Fun Facts About Arkansas

Motto: “Regnat Populus” (“The people rule”)

Origin of name: From the language of the Quapaw Native Americans.

Slogan: "The Natural State"

State symbols

Flower: Apple Blossom (1901)

Tree: Pine (1939)

Animal: White-tailed Deer (1993)

Bird: Mockingbird (1929)

Fish: Alligator Gar (1965)

Vegetables: South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato (1987)

Gem: Diamond (1967)

Colors: Cardinal and White (1987)

Song: "Arkansas" (1917)

Poem: "How Arkansas Got Its Name" (1953)

Grass: None

Fossil: Arkansaurus (2017)

Dinosaur: Arkansaurus fridayi (2017)

Cookie: None

Insect: Honeybee (1973)


Governor: Sarah Huckabee Sanders (inaugurated 2023)

Lieut. Governor: Leslie Rutledge (Inaugurated 2023)

Secretary of State: John Thurston (R)

Treasurer: Mark Lowery (R)

Attorney General: Tim Griffin (R)

U.S. Representatives: 4

Senators: John Boozman (R) (to Jan 2029); Tom Cotton (R) (to Jan 2027)

Historical Biographies of Congressional Members:

State Website:


Residents: Arkansan

Resident population: 3.011 million (32nd largest state, 2020)[3]

10 largest cities (2021): Little Rock, 201,893; Fayetteville, 92,070; Fort Smith, 89,116; Springdale, 85,887; Jonesboro, 77,520; North Little Rock, 64,444; Conway, 63,746; Bentonville, 52,565; Pine Bluff, 41,964; Hot Springs, 38,050.[1]

Race/Ethnicity: White: 2,227,020 (71.6%); Black: 458,086 (15.1%); American Indian or Alaskan Native: 17,459 (.5%); Asian: 10,627 (1.5%); Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 87,626 (.34%); Other race: 159,103 (3.4%); Two or more races: 236,001 (2.3%); Hispanic/Latino: 103,305 (8.3%).[3]

Religion: Protestant: (70%); Catholic: (8%); Mormon: (1%); Jewish: (<1%); Muslim: (2%); Other world religions: (<1%); Non-religious: (18%).[3]

Sex: Male: 1,479,695; Female: 1,532,178.[3]

Age: Under 18: 23%; 18 and over: 59%; 65 and over: 17%; Median age: Male 37; Female 40.[3]


GDP: 165.22 billion dollars (Rank 34 in U.S., 2022)

Unemployment: 2.6% (2023)


Land area: 52,068 sq mi. (134,856 sq km)

Geographic center: In Pulaski Co., 12 mi. SW of Little Rock

Number of counties: 75

Largest county by population and area: Pulaski, 399,145 (2022); Union, 1,055 sq mi.[2]

State parks: 52

National parks: 8

See additional census data

Tourism office


The state of Arkansas is full of natural beauty from mountain ranges to powerful rivers. It is also a state steeped in conflict. Battles from the Civil War to Civil Rights have been prominent in Arkansas. This state is also a source of art, with a rich history of folk music and hillbilly culture.

Arkansas Geography

Arkansas is a landlocked state in the southern United States. It borders Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. The Mississippi River marks the eastern border.

The state of Arkansas can be divided into six distinct geographic regions. The state’s eastern side is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (or the Arkansas Delta). A second region, Crowley’s Ridge, runs through the northeastern part of the Mississippi alluvial plain. The west side of the state can be divided into four regions. From north to south, the regions are the Ozark Mountains, the Arkansas River Valley, The Ouachita Mountains, and the West Gulf Coastal Plain.[4]

The Ozarks in northwest Arkansas are a wonderland of experiences for visitors and residents alike. Nature lovers can hike the Ozark Highlands Trail, see a 95-foot waterfall at Petit Jean State Park, or go trout fishing at Bull Shoals-White River State Park.[5, 6] Art lovers can visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or slow down and enjoy the folk culture in the Ozark Folk Center State Park.[6] The major cities in this region are Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Eureka Springs, and Fort Smith.

The Ouachita Mountains in the central area of the state offer unique features. The Crater of Diamonds state park allows visitors to search for and keep diamonds and other gems they find. Hot Springs is also in this area, where visitors can hike through the wilderness, feel the heat of the springs, and even drink the water.[7] Major cities in this region are Hot Springs, Arkadelphia, and Texarkana.

Arkansas People and Population

Arkansas is home to a diverse population. The people are known for their hospitality and Southern charm. The state has experienced an increase in population over the past few decades, mostly due to migration from other states. In recent estimates, Arkansas was estimated to have a population of over 3 million people, with most living in the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway metropolitan area. Let’s dive deeper into the people and population Arkansas!

Native Americans

Native Americans lived in the Arkansas region long before Europeans traveled to North America. The Osage, Caddo, and Quapaw were the primary groups recognized in the 1700s. Today, though many Native Americans live in Oklahoma, where they were forced to move by the American Government, others remain in Arkansas near their ancestral homelands. According to the 2020 census, less than 1% of Arkansas’ people identified themselves as Native Americans.[8]

African Americans

In the 1700s, African people were brought to the U.S. to serve as a slave labor source. Arkansas was no different. After the Civil War, Black people made great strides in improving their lives through education and religion by organizing Black colleges, seminaries, and denominational churches separate from similar white organizations. Though the civil rights movement made some improvements in the lives of Black citizens, there are still many obstacles to overcome today. Black citizens' educational opportunities, employment rates, and pay scales are much lower.[8]

Whites and Latinos

Some of the first European explorers in this area came from Spain and France. After they reported their findings, white Europeans began immigrating into the region. Today, white people in Arkansas are the descendants of German, Swiss, Polish, French, Jewish, Greek, and Italian immigrants and settlers. Latino immigrants began to arrive after World War II, but the most significant influx of Latinos immigrated in the 1990s. Each new cultural group added to the rich tapestry of life in Arkansas.[8]


Little Rock, the state’s capital, is located in Pulaski County, right in the center of the state. As both the capital and the largest city, this metropolitan area covers about six counties and includes approximately 533.000 residents. Other major urban areas include Hot Springs, Arkansas with 100,000 residents, Fayetteville (92,000) and Fort Smith (89,000) are in the northwestern corner of the state. Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana all touch in the state’s southwestern corner. This city of 29,300 residents takes part of its name from each state: Texarkana (Tex - ark - ana).[9]

Arkansas Government

Arkansas’ official website,, provides in-depth information about current elected officials, laws that are currently being debated in the House and the Senate, and even information on how to get a hunting and fishing license.

The government of Arkansas has a similar structure to that of the United States. The governor’s office is the executive branch, the state court system is the judicial branch, and the Arkansas General Assembly is the state legislature.

Little Rock, AR, is the state capital. The Capitol building was started in 1899. It is a neo-classic style building with a dome on the top. The interior has marble floors quarried in Vermont, and the exterior is made from limestone from Arkansas.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Republican) was elected in 2023 along with Lt. Gov. Leslie Rutledge (Republican).[10][11] Both women have made history by being the first women to hold these two offices in Arkansas. Gov. Sanders is currently the youngest governor in the country. Lt. Gov. Rutledge was the state’s first woman Attorney General from 2015-2023.

John Boozman and Tom Cotton are the Arkansan senators to the U.S. Senate. The state’s U.S. House of Representatives legislators were in the U.S. House of Representatives and Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman. All of these legislators are Republican.

Arkansas has traditionally been a Democratic state. Every governor from 1874 to 1967 was a Democrat. One famous Democrat, Bill Clinton, was the governor of Arkansas from 1978-1979 and 1982-1992. He was the 42nd president of the United States from 1993-2001.

Currently, Arkansas is considered to be a conservative Republican state. The population is mainly evangelical Christians, and those values are represented in the government.

One interesting law in Arkansas says atheists cannot hold an elected office or testify as witnesses in court. This law was created in 1874. Of course, this law is not enforced; it would violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[12]

Arkansas Economy

Arkansas has a variety of industries that form the bedrock of its economy: aerospace and defense, corporate and shared services, distribution and logistics services, food and beverage, metals, paper and timber products, software development, and transportation equipment manufacturing.[13]

The aerospace industry is Arkansas’ primary export. Aerospace companies support defense contracts by manufacturing parts and completing aircraft construction.

Arkansas food and agricultural businesses are another essential component of the economy. Arkansas produces 49% of the rice grown in the U.S. The state is also the home of large food production companies like Tyson, Kraft, PepsiCo, and Nestle.

The state is also a major producer of steel and lumber. The companies producing these items are committed to maintaining the ecology and renewing natural resources.

The median household income in Arkansas is $49.000. Of the 3.1 million people living in Arkansas, 1.24 million between 18-65 are employed.

The industries with the most employees in Arkansas are primary and secondary education, the restaurant and food industry, and construction.

Arkansas does not have a state property tax. Instead, individual cities collect the tax. The managed funds are used to fund public schools.

Arkansas History

The land that became Arkansas was inhabited by Native American groups living in sophisticated societies for thousands of years. The first European explorers, like Hernando de Soto, brought new technologies and knowledge to the Americas, but also diseases that led to the deaths of thousands of Native Americans.

Arkansas became a state in 1836. Like other U.S. states, Arkansas has a history of removing the native peoples to make way for white settlers. The state was part of the slave-holding states during the American Civil War, as delineated by the Missouri Compromise.

After the Civil War, the state’s economy relied on agriculture. The farmers were typically poor white sharecroppers who raised cotton.

Arkansas instituted Jim Crow laws in the late 1900s until the United States government abolished those laws. Arkansas was a battleground state during the Civil Rights Movement.

In the late 1900s and early 2000s, the Walmart corporation became a financial powerhouse. Multiple political figures from Arkansas also became well-known across the U.S.

Pre-Colonial History

The Caddo people of southwest Arkansas were farmers. Their traditional homes were circular or oval shapes made from long poles connected at the top. The roofs were thatched, made of long woven grasses. The Spanish explorers who first recorded meeting the Caddo people wrote that the houses looked something like beehives. The Caddo people were skilled at salt making, hunting, and creating beautiful pottery. Like other Native groups, the Caddo were forced from their ancestral home into what is now Caddo Country, Oklahoma, where they currently maintain their official seat of government.[8]

The Quapaw Nation is related to the Osage, Ohama, Ponca, and Kansa peoples. The Quapaw lived along the Mississippi River. They lived in longhouses around a central plaza where the people would meet. The Quapaw peoples were divided into the Sky clans and the Earth clans. The villages were laid out with the people from the Sky clan living across the circle from the Earth clans. Today, many Quapaw live in Quapaw, Oklahoma, in the northeastern part of the state. They are one of the tribes consulted under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act whenever archaeological remains are found in Arkansas relating to Native Americans.[8]

The third major Native group in Arkansas was the Osage. They lived in the southwest part of the state. They were closely related to the Quapaw in cultural practices and language families. They shared the concept of the Sky and Earth peoples and lived in longhouses that multiple families shared. They tended farms around their villages and gathered other wild foods. When the crops were growing steadily, the people traveled to hunt buffalo in the lands that would become Kansas and Nebraska.[8]

Colonial History

The first recorded interaction between the Native Americans and Europeans was the de Doto Expedition. Hernando De Soto and his expedition entered the region in 1541 and spent 11 months exploring the state. After De Soto died in 1542, the expedition moved on to Mexico.[14]

In 1673, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet found their way into Arkansas by way of the Mississippi River. Another group of French explorers, Robert La Salle and his partner Henri de Tonti, traced the Mississippi through Arkansas and Louisiana to the mouth of the river.[14]

Henri de Tonti organized the first successful European settlement in the region. Arkansas Post was established near the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers meet. The French moved the post up and down the river several times for political reasons and to avoid flooding.[14]

After the American Revolutionary War, the Spanish controlled the region. When Napoleon Bonaparte defeated Spain, the French claimed the Louisana Territory which stretched from Louisiana to Canada. The Louisiana Purchase, which included Arkansas, doubled the size of the United States.[14]

The Dunbar Hunter Expedition, founded by Thomas Jefferson, was sent to identify the southern border of the U.S. They wanted to explore the Red River, but due to problems with the Spanish, they took the Ouachita River instead. This led them to find the hot springs.[14]

Pre-Civil War History

Arkansas was home to several cotton and rice plantations which relied on slave labor for production. When Arkansas was applying to be a state, there was significant debate in the U.S. government as to whether states could join the Union as slave-holding states or free states. The Missouri Compromise (1820) was drafted to allow slave states to join only if a free state joined to maintain an even number. In the compromise, Arkansas became a slave territory.[15]

The capital of the territory was established at Arkansas Post. It was larger than the state is today, including all of Arkansas and most of Oklahoma. In 1821, the state capitol was moved to Little Rock, where it remains today.[15]

As the American government spread settlers west and added more land to the Union, they forcibly removed Native Americans from their traditional homes. The Osage, Quapaw, and Caddo were made to move to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Arkansas also saw the immigration of other Native groups as they were forced to move westward.[15]

In the 1830s, Arkansas tried to apply for statehood; under the Missouri Compromise, Michigan was also applying to maintain the balance between slave and free states. The applications of both states were initially denied. Finally, Arkansas was granted statehood in 1836.[15]

As tensions increased over slavery and the potential for war, the southern states, including Arkansas, seceded from the Union. Geographically, Arkansas allowed the Confederate Army access to the Mississippi River and blocked Union access to some western states and territories.[15]

Arkansas was the site of hundreds of skirmishes and a few significant battles during the war. In 1863, Little Rock was captured, and the desire of the Confederates to fight in Arkansas died down. More than ten thousand Arkansans died, and thousands of others were injured in the Civil War. It would take many years to repair the physical damage to the state and longer to heal the emotional damage and bitterness.[16]

Post-Civil War History

Arkansas was readmitted as a state in 1868. Like the rest of the country, Arkansas saw big changes with improvements in industry, transportation, and commercial agriculture. Due to technological advancements, and the construction of factories and other industrial centers, the population began moving into cities.

Railroads became more common and were a convenient way to ship goods like cotton, timber, iron, and coal. The railroads also increased the ease of travel, and some towns, like Hot Springs, began to rely on tourism as an industry.

While many people found new economic successes, independent farmers faced losses. Productivity all across America and the ability to ship produce made the supply of the products outpace the demand. As a result, the price of farm products began to fall.

These pressures caused many farmers to live in poverty. They began a tenant farming and sharecropping system where one person owned the land while another worked it and paid a portion of the crop. Both white and African-American farmers were forced into sharecropping and poverty.[16]

Modern History

Segregation continued to be a problem, with Blacks aspiring to equal rights, pay, and representation, while whites attempted to prevent these accomplishments.

Arkansans participated in both World War I and World War II. Approximately 72,000 Arkans joined the military for World War I and 200,000 for WWII.

In 1976, William J. (Bill) Clinton (Democrat) was elected as Arkansas's attorney-general. This was his first political posting. Others soon followed: in 1978, 1982, 1984, and 1986 he was elected governor of Arkansas. In 1986, Arkansans approved a bill making the terms of political office four years instead of two. Again, in 1990, Bill Clinton was re-elected as governor, and in 1991 he announced his intention to run for U.S. President. His campaign was successful, and Clinton became the 42nd president.

Today, Arkansas celebrates the successes of its citizens in medicine, science, art, music, sports, and other ventures.

Arkansas Interesting Facts

Famous for its hot springs, diverse wildlife, and the stunning Ozark Mountains, Arkansas is not just a place of scenic beauty but also a hub of innovation and business, being the headquarters of retail giant Walmart.

With its vibrant music scene, mouth-watering cuisine, and warm hospitality, Arkansas exudes a charm that is uniquely its own. As we delve deeper, prepare to discover some truly interesting facts about Arkansas that make it an extraordinary place.

Arkansas or Arkansaw?

The name Arkansas comes from the French Explorers who met the Quapaw Indians. Quapaw was pronounced OO-GAQ-PA and the name Arkansas developed from there. It has been spelled in many different ways throughout the years: Akansea, Acansa, and Arkansaw.[17]

Hillbilly Culture

A common stereotype of poor white farmers in Arkansas is the hillbilly. They are often portrayed as barefoot, wearing worn-out clothes, floppy hats, and doing farm work. Some Arkansans feel the term hillbilly is derogatory and should not be used. Others, though, lean into it as a source of cultural pride.

Besides being rural, hard-working folks, hillbillies are also responsible for pop culture characters like Ma and Pa Kettle and the Beverly Hillbillies. Another product of hillbilly culture is a distinctive folk music style that blends work songs, gospel hymns, and blues music. Hillbilly music is often played on fiddle and banjo.[18]


The Crater of Diamonds State Park is the eroded surface of a volcanic crater. Visitors to the Park can search the 37 acres with hand-powered mining tools and may keep any minerals or diamonds they find.[19]

People Also Ask...

If you are interested in more information about the state of Arkansas, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common FAQs below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our quiz on U.S. States: Safest and Dangerous!

Additionally, check out more information about the Geography of Arkansas and see what you know about U.S. Presidents and their pets.

Is Arkansas a Good Place To Live?

Arkansas is a great place to live because it has the third lowest cost of living in the U.S. The state is family-friendly, with plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities and mild weather throughout the year.

Why Is Arkansas the Natural State?

Arkansas is called the Natural State due to the beautiful wilderness areas, natural resources, and wildlife. Visitors and residents can hike in the state parks, feel the warmth of the Hot Springs and enjoy the abundance of natural resources.

What Is the State of Arkansas Known For?

College Football is the answer. The Razorbacks from the University of Arkansas take the field every fall to compete in the Southeastern Conference. A razorback is a wild pig that was chosen as the team’s mascot in 1910. Attend a game and be prepared to call “Woo Pig Sooie” to cheer the team to victory.



Selected famous natives and residents:

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Sources +

[1] Cubit. (2023). Arkansas cities by population. Arkansas Demographics by Cubit.

[2] U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts: Pulaski County, Arkansas. United States Census Bureau. (2022).

[3] Arkansas. Data USA. (2023).

[4] Geography and geology. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (2023, February 14).

[5] The trail. Ozark Highlands Trail Association. (2023).

[6] Karlin, A. (2022, May 2). Make the most of the mountains with these 10 best things to do in the Ozarks. Lonely Planet.

[7] U.S. Department of the Interior. (2022, December 29). Experience the water. National Parks Service.

[8] Ethnic groups. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (2023a).

[9] Wright, A. (2022, May 26). Arkansas population by Race & Ethnicity 1980-2020. Arkansas State Data Center.

[10] Governor Sanders. Arkansas Governor - Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (2023, January 9).

[11] Lieutenant governor Leslie Rutledge. Lieutenant Governor. (2023, January 27).

[12] Mitchell, K. (2022, April 14). Absurd Arkansas laws: Fact or fiction?. Only In Arkansas.

[13] Arkansas Division of Workforce Services. (2019). Key Industries. Discover Arkansas.

[14] European exploration and settlement (1541 - 1802). Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (2023b).

[15] Louisiana Purchase through early statehood, 1803 through 1860. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (2023d, March 16).

[16] Civil War through Reconstruction, 1861 through 1874. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (2023a, May 16).

[17] Arkansas history. Arkansas Secretary of State. (n.d.).

[18] Hillbillies. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (2019, March 19).

[19] Crater of diamonds state park. Crater of Diamonds State Park | Arkansas State Parks. (2023, June 17).

See also: