Ohio is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Of the fifty U.S. states, it is the 34th-largest by area, and with a population of nearly 11.8 million, is the seventh-most populous and tenth-most densely populated. The state’s capital and largest city is Columbus, with the Columbus metro area, Greater Cincinnati, and Greater Cleveland being the largest metropolitan areas. Ohio is bordered by Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the east, West Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Indiana to the west, and Michigan to the northwest. Ohio is historically known as the “Buckeye State” after its Ohio buckeye trees, and Ohioans are also known as “Buckeyes”. Its state flag is the only non-rectangular flag of all the U.S. states.
Ohio’s geographic location has proven to be an asset for economic growth and expansion. Because Ohio links the Northeast to the Midwest, much cargo and business traffic passes through its borders along its well-developed highways. Ohio has the nation’s 10th largest highway network and is within a one-day drive of 50% of North America’s population and 70% of North America’s manufacturing capacity. To the north, Ohio has 312 miles (502 km) of coastline with Lake Erie, which allows for numerous cargo ports such as Cleveland and Toledo. Ohio’s southern border is defined by the Ohio River. Ohio’s neighbors are Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Lake Erie to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast. Ohio’s borders were defined by metes and bounds in the Enabling Act of 1802 as follows:
Ohio is bounded by the Ohio River, but nearly all of the river itself belongs to Kentucky and West Virginia. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, based on the wording of the cessation of territory by Virginia (which at the time included what is now Kentucky and West Virginia), the boundary between Ohio and Kentucky (and, by implication, West Virginia) is the northern low-water mark of the river as it existed in 1792. Ohio has only that portion of the river between the river’s 1792 low-water mark and the present high-water mark. The border with Michigan has also changed, as a result of the Toledo War, to angle slightly northeast to the north shore of the mouth of the Maumee River.
The climate of Ohio is a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa/Dfb) throughout most of the state, except in the extreme southern counties of Ohio’s Bluegrass region section, which are located on the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate (Cfa) and Upland South region of the United States. Summers are typically hot and humid throughout the state, while winters generally range from cool to cold. Precipitation in Ohio is moderate year-round. Severe weather is not uncommon in the state, although there are typically fewer tornado reports in Ohio than in states located in what is known as the Tornado Alley. Severe lake effect snowstorms are also not uncommon on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, which is located in an area designated as the Snowbelt.
Although predominantly not in a subtropical climate, some warmer-climate flora and fauna do reach well into Ohio. For instance, some trees with more southern ranges, such as the blackjack oak, Quercus marilandica, are found at their northernmost in Ohio just north of the Ohio River. Also evidencing this climatic transition from a subtropical to continental climate, several plants such as the Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Albizia julibrissin (mimosa), Crape Myrtle, and even the occasional Needle Palm are hardy landscape materials regularly used as street, yard, and garden plantings in the Bluegrass region of Ohio; but these same plants will simply not thrive in much of the rest of the state. This interesting change may be observed while traveling through Ohio on Interstate 75 from Cincinnati to Toledo; the observant traveler of this diverse state may even catch a glimpse of Cincinnati’s common wall lizard, one of the few examples of permanent “subtropical” fauna in Ohio.
Ohio’s three largest cities are Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, all three of which anchor major metropolitan areas. Columbus is the capital of state, located near its geographic center and is well known for Ohio State University. In 2019, the city had six corporations named to the U.S. Fortune 500 list: Alliance Data, Nationwide Mutual
Insurance Company, American Electric Power, L Brands, Huntington Bancshares, and Cardinal Health in suburban Dublin. Other major employers include hospitals (among others, Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital), high tech research and development including the Battelle Memorial Institute, information-based companies such as OCLC and Chemical Abstracts Service, manufacturer Worthington Industries, and financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase and Huntington Bancshares. Fast food chains Wendy’s and White Castle are also headquartered in Columbus.
Located in Northeast Ohio along the Lake Erie shore, Cleveland is characterized by its New England heritage, ethnic immigrant cultures, and history as a major American manufacturing and healthcare center. It anchors the Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area, of which the cities of Akron and Canton are constituent parts. Mansfield and Youngstown are also major cities in the region. Northeast Ohio is known for major industrial companies Goodyear Tire and Rubber and Timken, top-ranked colleges Case Western Reserve University, Oberlin College, and Kent State University, the Cleveland Clinic, and cultural attractions including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Big Five member Cleveland Orchestra, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Playhouse Square, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame..
The Cincinnati metropolitan area extends into Kentucky and Indiana, the Steubenville metropolitan area extends into West Virginia, and the Youngstown metropolitan area extends into Pennsylvania.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total number for employment in 2016 was 4,790,178. The total number of unique employer establishments was 252,201, while the total number of non-employer establishments was 785,833. In 2010, Ohio was ranked second in the country for best business climate by Site Selection magazine, based on a business-activity database. The state has also won three consecutive Governor’s Cup awards from the magazine, based on business growth and developments. As of 2016, Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $626 billion. This ranks Ohio’s economy as the seventh-largest of all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council ranked the state No. 10 for best business-friendly tax systems in their Business Tax Index 2009, including a top corporate tax and capital gains rate that were both ranked No. 6 at 1.9%. Ohio was ranked No. 11 by the council for best friendly-policy states according to their Small Business Survival Index 2009. The Directorship’s Boardroom Guide ranked the state No. 13 overall for best business climate, including No. 7 for best litigation climate. Forbes ranked the state No. 8 for best regulatory environment in 2009. Ohio has five of the top 115 colleges in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 rankings, and was ranked No. 8 by the same magazine in 2008 for best high schools.
Ohio’s system of public education is outlined in Article VI of the state constitution, and in Title XXXIII of the Ohio Revised Code. Ohio University, the first university in the Northwest Territory, was also the first public institution in Ohio. Substantively, Ohio’s system is similar to those found in other states. At the State level, the Ohio Department of Education, which is overseen by the Ohio State Board of Education, governs primary and secondary educational institutions. At the municipal level, there are approximately 700 school districts statewide. The Ohio Board of Regents coordinates and assists with Ohio’s institutions of higher education which have recently been reorganized into the University System of Ohio under Governor Strickland. The system averages an annual enrollment of more than 400,000 students, making it one of the five largest state university systems in the U.S.
Ohio is home to eight professional sports teams across the five different major leagues in the United States. Current teams include the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians of Major League Baseball, the Columbus Crew SC and FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer, the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, and the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League.
Ohio has brought home seven World Series titles (Reds 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, 1990; Indians 1920, 1948), two MLS Cups (Crew 2008, 2020), one NBA Championship (Cavaliers 2016), and nine NFL Championships (Pros 1920; Bulldogs 1922, 1923, 1924; Rams 1945; Browns 1950, 1954, 1955, 1964). Despite this success in the NFL in the first half of the 20th century, no Ohio team has won the Super Bowl since its inception in 1967. No Ohio team has made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.
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