Missouri

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Missouri

Missouri is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Ranking 21st in land area, it is bordered by eight states (tied for the most with Tennessee): Iowa to the north, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee to the east, Arkansas to the south and Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to the west. In the south are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center into the Mississippi River, which makes up the eastern border. With more than six million residents, it is the 19th-most populous state of the country. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City.

Etymology

The state is named for the Missouri River, which was named after the indigenous Missouri Indians, a Siouan-language tribe. It is said they were called the ouemessourita (wimihsoorita), meaning “those who have dugout canoes”, by the Miami-Illinois language speakers. This appears to be folk etymology—the Illinois spoke an Algonquian language and the closest approximation that can be made is that of their close neighbors, the Ojibwe, is “You Ought to Go Downriver & Visit Those People.” This would be an odd occurrence, as the French who first explored and attempted to settle the Mississippi River usually got their translations during that time fairly accurate, often giving things French names that were exact translations of the native tongue.

The name Missouri has several different pronunciations even among its present-day natives, the two most common being mə-ZUR-ee and mə-ZUR-ə. Any combination of these phonetic realizations may be observed coming from speakers of American English. In British received pronunciation, the preferred variant is, with being a possible alternative.

Geography

Missouri is landlocked and borders eight different states, a figure equaled only by its neighbor, Tennessee. Missouri is bounded by Iowa on the north; by Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee across the Mississippi River on the east; on the south by Arkansas; and by Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska (the last across the Missouri River) on the west. Whereas the northern and southern boundaries are straight lines, the Missouri Bootheel extends south between the St. Francis and the Mississippi rivers. The two largest rivers are the Mississippi (which defines the eastern boundary of the state) and the Missouri River (which flows from west to east through the state), essentially connecting the two largest metros of Kansas City and St. Louis.

Although today it is usually considered part of the Midwest, Missouri was historically seen by many as a border state, chiefly because of the settlement of migrants from the South and its status as a slave state before the Civil War, balanced by the influence of St. Louis. The counties that made up “Little Dixie” were those along the Missouri River in the center of the state, settled by Southern migrants who held the greatest concentration of slaves. In 2005, Missouri received 16,695,000 visitors to its national parks and other recreational areas totaling 101,000 acres (410 km2), giving it $7.41 million in annual revenues, 26.6% of its operating expenditures.

Topography

North of, and in some cases just south of, the Missouri River lie the Northern Plains that stretch into Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Here, rolling hills remain from the glaciation that once extended from the Canadian Shield to the Missouri River. Missouri has many large river bluffs along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Meramec Rivers. Southern Missouri rises to the Ozark Mountains, a dissected plateau surrounding the Precambrian igneous St. Francois Mountains. This region also hosts karst topography characterized by high limestone content with the formation of sinkholes and caves.

The southeastern part of the state is known as the Missouri Bootheel region, which is part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain or Mississippi embayment. This region is the lowest, flattest, warmest, and wettest part of the state. It is also among the poorest, as the economy there is mostly agricultural. It is also the most fertile, with cotton and rice crops predominant. The Bootheel was the epicenter of the four New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812.

Climate

Missouri generally has a humid continental climate with cool, sometimes cold, winters and hot, humid, and wet summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel, the climate becomes humid subtropical. Located in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extreme temperatures. Without high mountains or oceans nearby to moderate temperature, its climate is alternately influenced by air from the cold Arctic and the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico. Missouri’s highest recorded temperature is 118 °F (48 °C) at Warsaw and Union on July 14, 1954, while the lowest recorded temperature is −40 °F (−40 °C) also at Warsaw on February 13, 1905.

Located in Tornado Alley, Missouri also receives extreme weather in the form of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. On May 22, 2011, a massive EF-5 tornado killed 158 people and destroyed roughly one-third of the city of Joplin. The tornado caused an estimated $1–3 billion in damages, killed 159 people and injured more than a thousand. It was the first EF5 to hit the state since 1957 and the deadliest in the U.S. since 1947, making it the seventh deadliest tornado in American history and 27th deadliest in the world. St. Louis and its suburbs also have a history of experiencing particularly severe tornadoes, the most recent one of note being an EF4 that damaged Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on April 22, 2011. One of the worst tornadoes in American history struck St. Louis on May 27, 1896, killing at least 255 people and causing $10 million in damage (equivalent to $3.9 billion in 2009 or $4.7 billion in today’s dollars).

Demographics

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Missouri was 6,137,428 on July 1, 2019, a 2.48% increase since the 2010 United States census.

Missouri had a population of 5,988,927, according to the 2010 census; an increase of 137,525 (2.3 percent) since the year 2010. From 2010 to 2018, this includes a natural increase of 137,564 people since the last census (480,763 births less 343,199 deaths) and an increase of 88,088 people due to net migration into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 50,450 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 37,638 people. More than half of Missourians (3,294,936 people, or 55.0%) live within the state’s two largest metropolitan areas—St. Louis and Kansas City. The state’s population density 86.9 in 2009, is also closer to the national average (86.8 in 2009) than any other state.

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Missouri was 6,137,428 on July 1, 2019, a 2.48% increase since the 2010 United States census.

 

Missouri had a population of 5,988,927, according to the 2010 census; an increase of 137,525 (2.3 percent) since the year 2010. From 2010 to 2018, this includes a natural increase of 137,564 people since the last census (480,763 births less 343,199 deaths) and an increase of 88,088 people due to net migration into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 50,450 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 37,638 people. More than half of Missourians (3,294,936 people, or 55.0%) live within the state’s two largest metropolitan areas—St. Louis and Kansas City. The state’s population density 86.9 in 2009, is also closer to the national average (86.8 in 2009) than any other state.

Language

The vast majority of people in Missouri speak English. Approximately 5.1% of the population reported speaking a language other than English at home. The Spanish language is spoken in small Latino communities in the St. Louis and Kansas City Metro areas.

Missouri is home to an endangered dialect of the French language known as Missouri French. Speakers of the dialect, who call themselves Créoles, are descendants of the French pioneers who settled the area then known as the Illinois Country beginning in the late 17th century. It developed in isolation from French speakers in Canada and Louisiana, becoming quite distinct from the varieties of Canadian French and Louisiana Creole French. Once widely spoken throughout the area, Missouri French is now nearly extinct, with only a few elderly speakers able to use it.

Religion

According to a Pew Research study conducted in 2014, 80% of Missourians identify with a religion. 77% affiliate with Christianity and its various denominations and the other 3% are adherents of non-Christian religions. The remaining 20% have no religion, with 2% specifically identifying as atheists and 3% identifying as agnostics (the other 15% do not identify as “anything in particular”).

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 749,685; the Roman Catholic Church with 724,315; and the United Methodist Church with 226,409.

Economy

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated Missouri’s 2016 gross state product at $299.1 billion, ranking 22nd among U.S. states. Per capita personal income in 2006 was $32,705, ranking 26th in the nation. Major industries include aerospace, transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, printing/publishing, electrical equipment, light manufacturing, financial services and beer.

The agriculture products of the state are beef, soybeans, pork, dairy products, hay, corn, poultry, sorghum, cotton, rice, and eggs. Missouri is ranked 6th in the nation for the production of hogs and 7th for cattle. Missouri is ranked in the top five states in the nation for production of soy beans, and it is ranked fourth in the nation for the production of rice. In 2001, there were 108,000 farms, the second-largest number in any state after Texas. Missouri actively promotes its rapidly growing wine industry. According to the Missouri Partnership, Missouri’s agriculture industry contributes $33 billion in GDP to Missouri’s economy, and generates $88 billion in sales and more than 378,000 jobs.

Energy

In 2012, Missouri had roughly 22,000 MW of installed electricity generation capacity. In 2011, 82% of Missouri's electricity was generated by coal. Ten percent was generated from the state's only nuclear power plant, the Callaway Plant in Callaway County, northeast of Jefferson City. Five percent was generated by natural gas. One percent was generated by hydroelectric sources, such as the dams for Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks. Missouri has a small but growing amount of wind and solar power—wind capacity increased from 309 MW in 2009 to 459 MW in 2011, while photovoltaics have increased from 0.2 MW to 1.3 MW over the same period. As of 2016, Missouri's solar installations had reached 141 MW. Oil wells in Missouri produced 120,000 barrels of crude oil in fiscal 2012. There are no oil refineries in Missouri.

Transportation

Airports

Missouri has two major airport hubs: St. Louis Lambert International Airport and Kansas City International Airport. Southern Missouri has the Springfield–Branson National Airport (SGF) with multiple non-stop destinations. Residents of Mid-Missouri use Columbia Regional Airport (COU) to fly to Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW) or Denver (DEN).

Rail

Two of the nation's three busiest rail centers are in Missouri. Kansas City is a major railroad hub for BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad, and every class 1 railroad serves Missouri. Kansas City is the second-largest freight rail center in the US (but is first in the amount of tonnage handled). Like Kansas City, St. Louis is a major destination for train freight. Springfield remains an operational hub for BNSF Railway. Amtrak passenger trains serve Kansas City, La Plata, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Lee's Summit, Independence, Warrensburg, Hermann, Washington, Kirkwood, Sedalia, and Poplar Bluff. A proposed high-speed rail route in Missouri as part of the Chicago Hub Network has received $31 million in funding.

Bus

Many cities have regular fixed-route systems, and many rural counties have rural public transit services. Greyhound and Trailways provide inter-city bus service in Missouri. Megabus serves St. Louis, but discontinued service to Columbia and Kansas City in 2015.

Rivers

The Mississippi River and Missouri River are commercially navigable over their entire lengths in Missouri. The Missouri was channelized through dredging and jetties, and the Mississippi was given a series of locks and dams to avoid rocks and deepen the river. St. Louis is a major destination for barge traffic on the Mississippi.

Roads

Following the passage of Amendment 3 in late 2004, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) began its Smoother, Safer, Sooner road-building program with a goal of bringing 2,200 miles (3,500 km) of highways up to good condition by December 2007. From 2006 to 2011 traffic deaths have decreased annually from 1,257 in 2005, to 1,096 in 2006, to 992 in 2007, to 960 in 2008, to 878 in 2009, to 821 in 2010, to 786 in 2011.

Cities and Towns

Jefferson City is the capital city of Missouri, while the state’s five largest cities are Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia, and Independence. St. Louis is the principal city of the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, composed of 17 counties and the independent city of St. Louis; eight of its counties are in Illinois. As of 2019, St. Louis was the 21st-largest metropolitan area in the nation with 2.91 million people. However, if ranked using Combined Statistical Area, it is 20th-largest with 2.91 million people in 2019. Some of the major cities making up the St. Louis metro area in Missouri are O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Peters, Florissant, Chesterfield, Wentzville, Wildwood, University City, and Ballwin.

Kansas City is Missouri’s largest city and the principal city of the fourteen-county Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area, including five counties in the state of Kansas. As of 2019, it was the 31st-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 2.16 million people. In the Combined Statistical Area in 2019, it ranked 27th with 2.51 million. Some of the other major cities comprising the Kansas City metro area in Missouri include Independence, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Liberty, Raytown, Gladstone, and Grandview.

Education

Primary and Secondary Schools

Education is compulsory from ages seven to seventeen. It is required that any parent, guardian, or another person with custody of a child between the ages of seven and seventeen, the compulsory attendance age for the district, must ensure the child is enrolled in and regularly attends public, private, parochial school, home school or a combination of schools for the full term of the school year. Compulsory attendance also ends when children complete sixteen credits in high school. Children in Missouri between the ages of five and seven are not required to be enrolled in school. However, if they are enrolled in a public school, their parent, guardian, or custodian must ensure they regularly attend.

Missouri schools are commonly but not exclusively divided into three tiers of primary and secondary education: elementary school, middle school or junior high school and high school. The public school system includes kindergarten to 12th grade. District territories are often complex in structure. In some cases, elementary, middle, and junior high schools of a single district feed into high schools in another district. As another example, special education and related services for students in the twenty-two school districts of St. Louis County are provided by staff employeed by a special school sistrict, a local education agency that serves students county-wide. High school athletics and competitions are governed by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA).

Colleges and Universities

The University of Missouri System is Missouri's statewide public university system. The flagship institution and largest university in the state is the University of Missouri in Columbia. The others in the system are University of Missouri–Kansas City, University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the state established a series of normal schools in each region of the state, originally named after the geographic districts: Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) (1867), Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri) (1871), Southeast Missouri State University (1873), Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) (1905), Northwest Missouri State University (1905), Missouri Western State University (1915), Maryville University (1872) and Missouri Southern State University (1937). Lincoln University and Harris–Stowe State University were established in the mid-nineteenth century and are historically black colleges and universities.

Education

Music

Many well-known musicians were born or have lived in Missouri. These include guitarist and rock pioneer Chuck Berry, singer and actress Josephine Baker, "Queen of Rock" Tina Turner, pop singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, and rappers Nelly, Chingy and Akon, all of whom are either current or former residents of St. Louis. Country singers from Missouri include Perryville native Chris Janson, New Franklin native Sara Evans, Cantwell native Ferlin Husky, West Plains native Porter Wagoner, Tyler Farr of Garden City, and Mora native Leroy Van Dyke, along with bluegrass musician Rhonda Vincent, a native of Greentop. Rapper Eminem was born in St. Joseph and also lived in

Savannah and Kansas City. Ragtime composer Scott Joplin lived in St. Louis and Sedalia. Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker lived in Kansas City. Rock and Roll singer Steve Walsh of the group Kansas was born in St. Louis and grew up in St. Joseph.

Literature

Missouri is the native state of Mark Twain. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are set in his boyhood hometown of Hannibal. Authors Kate Chopin, T. S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams were from St. Louis. Kansas City-born writer William Least Heat-Moon resides in Rocheport. He is best known for Blue Highways, a chronicle of his travels to small towns across America, which was on The New York Times Bestseller list for 42 weeks in 1982–1983. Novelist Daniel Woodrell, known for depicting life in the Missouri Ozarks, was born in Springfield and lives in West Plains.

Film

Filmmaker, animator, and businessman Walt Disney spent part of his childhood in the Linn County town of Marceline before settling in Kansas City. Disney began his artistic career in Kansas City, where he founded the Laugh-O-Gram Studio.

Several film versions of Mark Twain's novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have been made. Meet Me in St. Louis, a musical involving the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, starred Judy Garland. Part of the 1983 road movie National Lampoon's Vacation was shot on location in Missouri, for the Griswolds' trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. The Thanksgiving holiday film Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was partially shot at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport. White Palace was filmed in St. Louis. The award-winning 2010 film Winter's Bone was shot in the Ozarks of Missouri.

Up in the Air starring George Clooney was filmed in St. Louis. John Carpenter's Escape from New York was filmed in St. Louis during the early 1980s due to a large number of abandoned buildings in the city. The 1973 movie Paper Moon, which starred Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, was partly filmed in St. Joseph. Most of HBO's film Truman (1995) was filmed in Kansas City, Independence, and the surrounding area; Gary Sinise won an Emmy for his portrayal of Harry Truman in the film. Ride With the Devil (1999), starring Jewel and Tobey Maguire, was filmed in the countryside of Jackson County (where the historical events of the film actually took place). Gone Girl, a 2014 film starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry, was filmed in Cape Girardeau.

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