All About Missouri Geographic Area
Missouri (see pronunciations) is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is the 21st most extensive, and the 18th most populous of the fifty states. The state comprises 114 counties, and the independent city of St. Louis.
The four largest urban areas in Missouri are: St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, as defined by the US 2010 census. The mean center of the United States population at the 2010 census was at the town of Plato in Texas County. The state's capital is Jefferson City. The land that is now Missouri was acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became known as the Missouri Territory. Part of this territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.
Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains, while the southern portion lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing both regions. The state lies at the intersection of the three greatest rivers of North America, with the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers near St. Louis, and the confluence of the Ohio River with the Mississippi north of the Bootheel. The starting points for the Pony Express, Santa Fe Trail, and Oregon Trail were all located in Missouri.
The state is named for the Missouri River, which was named after the indigenous Missouri Indians, a Siouan-language tribe. They were called the ouemessourita (wimihsoorita), meaning "those who have dugout canoes", by the Miami-Illinois language speakers. As the Illini were the first natives encountered by Europeans in the region, the latter adopted the Illini name for the Missouri people.
The name "Missouri" has several different pronunciations even among its present-day natives— the two most common pronunciations are centralized /ɪ/ ([ɪ̈]), or even ∅ (in other words, a non-existent third syllable). Any combination of these phonetic realizations may be observed coming from speakers of American English.
Politicians often employ multiple pronunciations, even during a single speech, to appeal to a greater number of listeners. Often, "eye dialect" spellings of the state's name, such as "Missour-ee" or "Missour-uh", are used informally to phonetically distinguish pronunciations.
There is no official state nickname. However Missouri's unofficial nickname is the "Show-Me-State", and that appears on its license plates. This phrase has several origins. One is popularly ascribed to a speech by Congressman Willard Vandiver in 1899, who declared that "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to show me." This is in keeping with the saying "I'm from Missouri" which means "I'm skeptical of the matter and not easily convinced." However, according to researchers, the phrase "show me" was already in use before the 1890s. Another states that it is a reference to Missouri miners who were taken to Leadville, Colorado to replace striking workers. As the new men were unfamiliar with the mining methods, they required frequent instruction.
Other nicknames for Missouri include "The Lead State", "The Bullion State", "The Ozark State", "The Mother of the West", "The Iron Mountain State", and "Pennsylvania of the West". It is also known as "The Cave State" because there are more than 6000 recorded caves in Missouri (second to Tennessee). The largest number of caves (and the single longest cave) are all in Perry County.
The official state motto is Latin: "Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto", which means "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law."
Missouri borders eight different states, as does its neighbor, Tennessee. No state in the U.S. touches more than eight states. Missouri is bounded on the north by Iowa; on the east, across the Mississippi River, by Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee; on the south by Arkansas; and on the west by Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska (the last across the Missouri River). The two largest Missouri 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, Kansas City and St. Louis.
Although today the state is usually considered part of the Midwest, historically Missouri was considered by many to be a Southern state, chiefly because of the settlement of migrants from the South and its status as a slave state before the Civil War. 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 202,000 acres (820 km2), giving it $7.41 million in annual revenues, 26.6% of its operating expenditures.
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 the Bootheel region, part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain or Mississippi embayment. This region is the lowest, flattest, and wettest part of the state. It is also among the poorest, as the economy 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 1811–1812.
Missouri generally has a humid continental climate ( Dfa) with cold winters and hot and humid summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel, the climate turns into a humid subtropical climate. Located in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extremes in 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.
Missouri also receives extreme weather in the form of thunderstorms and tornadoes. The most recent tornado in the state to cause damage and casualties was the 2011 Joplin tornado, which destroyed roughly 1/3 of the city of Joplin. The tornado caused an estimated $1–3 billion in damages, killed 159 (+1 non-tornadic), and injured over 1,000 people. The tornado was the first EF5 to hit the state since 1957. The tornado was the deadliest in the U.S. since 1947, making it the 7th deadliest tornado in American history, but the 27th deadliest in the world. St. Louis and its suburbs also have a history of experiencing particularly severe tornadoes; the most recent memorable one being an EF4 tornado that damaged Lambert International Airport on April 22, 2011. In fact, one of the worst tornadoes in American history struck St. Louis on May 27, 1896.
Indigenous peoples inhabited Missouri for thousands of years before European exploration and settlement. Archaeological excavations along the rivers have shown continuous habitation for more than 7,000 years. Beginning before 1000 CE, there arose the complex Mississippian culture, whose people created regional political centers at present-day St. Louis and across the Mississippi River at Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Their large cities included thousands of individual residences, but they are known for their surviving massive earthwork mounds, built for religious, political and social reasons, in platform, ridgetop and conical shapes. Cahokia was the center of a regional trading network that reached from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The civilization declined by 1400 CE, and most descendants left the area long before the arrival of Europeans. St. Louis was at one time known as Mound City by the European Americans, because of the numerous surviving prehistoric mounds, since lost to urban development. The Mississippian culture left mounds throughout the middle Mississippi and Ohio river valleys, extending into the southeast as well as the upper river.
The first European settlers were mostly ethnic French Canadians, who created their first settlement in Missouri at present-day Ste. Genevieve, about an hour south of St. Louis. They had migrated about 1750 from the Illinois Country. They came from colonial villages on the east side of the Mississippi River, where soils were becoming exhausted and there was insufficient river bottom land for the growing population. Sainte-Geneviève became a thriving agricultural center, producing enough surplus wheat, corn and tobacco to ship tons of grain annually downriver to Lower Louisiana for trade. Grain production in the Illinois Country was critical to the survival of Lower Louisiana and especially the city of New Orleans.
St. Louis was founded soon after by French from New Orleans in 1764. From 1764 to 1803, European control of the area west of the Mississippi to the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, due to Treaty of Fontainebleau (in order to have Spain join with France in the war against England). The arrival of the Spanish in St. Louis was in September 1767.
St. Louis became the center of a regional fur trade with Native American tribes that extended up the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which dominated the regional economy for decades. Trading partners of major firms shipped their furs from St. Louis by river down to New Orleans for export to Europe. They provided a variety of goods to traders, for sale and trade with their Native American clients. The fur trade and associated businesses made St. Louis an early financial center and provided the wealth for some to build fine houses and import luxury items. Its location near the confluence of the Illinois River meant it also handled produce from the agricultural areas. River traffic and trade along the Mississippi were integral to the state's economy, and as the area's first major city, St. Louis expanded greatly after the invention of the steamboat and the increased river trade.
Napoleon Bonaparte had gained Louisiana for French ownership from Spain in 1800 under the Treaty of San Ildefonso, after it had been a Spanish colony since 1762. But, the treaty was kept secret. Louisiana remained nominally under Spanish control until a transfer of power to France on November 30, 1803, just three weeks before the cession to the United States.
Part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase by the United States, Missouri earned the nickname "Gateway to the West" because it served as a major departure point for expeditions and settlers heading to the West in the 19th century. St. Charles, just west of St. Louis, was the starting point and the return destination of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which departed up the Missouri River in 1804 to explore the western territories to the Pacific Ocean. St. Louis was a major supply point for decades for parties of settlers heading west.
As many of the early American settlers in western Missouri migrated from the Upper South, they brought enslaved African Americans for labor, and a desire to continue their culture and the institution of slavery. They settled predominantly in 17 counties along the Missouri River, in an area of flatlands that enabled plantation agriculture and became known as "Little Dixie". In 1821 the territory was admitted as a slave state as part of the Missouri Compromise with a temporary state capitol in St. Charles. In 1826 the capital was shifted to its current, permanent location of Jefferson City, also on the Missouri.
The state was rocked by the 1812 New Madrid earthquake. Casualties were light due to the sparse population.
Originally the state's western border was a straight line, defined as the meridian passing through the Kawsmouth, the point where the Kansas River enters the Missouri River. The river has moved since this designation. This line is known as the Osage Boundary. In 1836 the Platte Purchase was added to the northwest corner of the state after purchase of the land from the native tribes, making the Missouri River the border north of the Kansas River. This addition increased the land area of what was already the largest state in the Union at the time (about 66,500 square miles (172,000 km2) to Virginia's 65,000 square miles, which then included West Virginia).
In the early 1830s, Mormon migrants from northern states and Canada began settling near Independence and areas just north of there. Conflicts over religion and slavery arose between the 'old settlers' (mainly from the South) and the Mormons (mainly from the North). The Mormon War erupted in 1838. By 1839, with the help of an "Extermination Order" by Governor Lilburn Boggs, the old settlers forcefully expelled the Mormons from Missouri and confiscated their lands.
Conflicts over slavery exacerbated border tensions among the states and territories. From 1838 to 1839, a border dispute with Iowa over the so-called Honey Lands resulted in both states' calling up militias along the border.
With increasing migration, from the 1830s to the 1860s Missouri's population almost doubled with every decade. Most of the newcomers were American-born, but many Irish and German immigrants arrived in the late 1840s and 1850s. As a majority were Catholic, they set up their own religious institutions in the state, which had been mostly Protestant. Having fled famine and oppression in Ireland, and revolutionary upheaval in Germany, the immigrants were not sympathetic to slavery. Many settled in cities, where they created a regional and then state network of Catholic churches and schools. Nineteenth-century German immigrants created the wine industry along the Missouri River and the beer industry in St. Louis.
Most Missouri farmers practiced subsistence farming before the Civil War. The majority of those who held slaves had fewer than five each. Planters, defined by historians as those holding twenty slaves or more, were concentrated in the counties known as "Little Dixie", in the central part of the state along the Missouri River. The tensions over slavery had chiefly to do with the future of the state and nation. In 1860 enslaved African Americans made up less than 10% of the state's population of 1,182,012. In order to control the flooding of farmland and low-lying villages along the Mississippi, the state had completed construction of 140 miles (230 km) of levees along the river by 1860.
After the secession of Southern states began in 1861, the Missouri legislature called for the election of a special convention on secession. The convention voted decisively to remain within the Union. Pro-Southern Governor Claiborne F. Jackson ordered the mobilization of several hundred members of the state militia who had gathered in a camp in St. Louis for training. Alarmed at this action, Union General Nathaniel Lyon struck first, encircling the camp and forcing the state troops to surrender. Lyon directed his soldiers, largely non-English-speaking German immigrants, to march the prisoners through the streets, and they opened fire on the largely hostile crowds of civilians who gathered around them. Soldiers killed unarmed prisoners as well as men, women and children of St. Louis in the incident that became known as the "St. Louis Massacre".
These events heightened Confederate support within the state. Governor Jackson appointed Sterling Price, president of the convention on secession, as head of the new Missouri State Guard. In the face of Union General Lyon's rapid advance through the state, Jackson and Price were forced to flee the capital of Jefferson City on June 14, 1861. In the town of Neosho, Missouri, Jackson called the state legislature into session. They enacted a secession ordinance. However, even under the Southern view of secession, only the state convention had the power to secede. Since the convention was dominated by unionists, and the state was more pro-Union than pro-Confederate in any event, the ordinance of secession adopted by the legislature is generally given little credence. The Confederacy nonetheless recognized it on October 30, 1861.
With the elected governor absent from the capital and the legislators largely dispersed, the state convention was reassembled with most of its members present, save 20 that fled south with Jackson's forces. The convention declared all offices vacant, and installed Hamilton Gamble as the new governor of Missouri. President Lincoln's administration immediately recognized Gamble's government as the legal Missouri government. The federal government's decision enabled raising pro-Union militia forces for service within the state as well as volunteer regiments for the Union Army.
Fighting ensued between Union forces and a combined army of General Price's Missouri State Guard and Confederate troops from Arkansas and Texas under General Ben McCulloch. After winning victories at the battle of Wilson's Creek and the siege of Lexington, Missouri and suffering losses elsewhere, the Confederate forces retreated to Arkansas and later Marshall, Texas, in the face of a largely reinforced Union Army.
Though regular Confederate troops staged some large-scale raids into Missouri, the fighting in the state for the next three years consisted chiefly of guerrilla warfare. "Citizen soldiers" or insurgents such as Captain William Quantrill, Frank and Jesse James, the Younger brothers, and William T. Anderson made use of quick, small-unit tactics. Pioneered by the Missouri Partisan Rangers, such insurgencies also arose in portions of the Confederacy occupied by the Union during the Civil War. Historians have portrayed stories of the James brothers' outlaw years as an American "Robin Hood" myth. The vigilante activities of the Bald Knobbers of the Ozarks in the 1880s were an unofficial continuation of insurgent mentality long after the official end of the war, and they are a favorite theme in Branson's self-image.
The Progressive Era (1890s to 1920s) saw numerous prominent leaders from Missouri trying to end corruption and modernize politics, government and society. Joseph "Holy Joe" Folk was a key leader who made a strong appeal to middle class and rural evangelical Protestants. Folk was elected governor as a progressive reformer and Democrat in the 1904 election. He promoted what he called "the Missouri Idea", the concept of Missouri as a leader in public morality through popular control of law and strict enforcement. He successfully conducted antitrust prosecutions, ended free railroad passes for state officials, extended bribery statues, improved election laws, required formal registration for lobbyists, made racetrack gambling illegal, and enforced the Sunday-closing law. He helped enact Progressive legislation, including an initiative and referendum provision, regulation of elections, education, employment and child labor, railroads, food, business, and public utilities. A number of efficiency-oriented examiner boards and commissions were established during Folk's administration, including many agricultural boards and the Missouri library commission.
Between the Civil War and the end of World War II, Missouri transitioned from a rural economy to a hybrid industrial-service-agricultural economy as the Midwest rapidly industrialized. The expansion of railroads to the West transformed Kansas City into a major transportation hub within the nation. The growth of the Texas cattle industry along with this increased rail infrastructure and the invention of the refrigerated boxcar also made Kansas City a major meatpacking center, as large cattle drives from Texas brought herds of cattle to Dodge City and other Kansas towns. There, the cattle were loaded onto trains destined for Kansas City, where they were butchered and distributed to the eastern markets. The first half of the twentieth century was the height of Kansas City's prominence and its downtown became a showcase for stylish Art Deco skyscrapers as construction boomed.
In 1930, there was a diphtheria epidemic in the area around Springfield, which killed approximately 100 people. Serum was rushed to the area, and medical personnel stopped the epidemic.
During the mid-1950s and 1960s, St. Louis and Kansas City suffered deindustrialization and loss of jobs in railroads and manufacturing, as did other Midwestern industrial cities. In 1956 St. Charles claims to be the site of the first interstate highway project. Such highway construction made it easy for middle-class residents to leave the city for newer housing developed in the suburbs, often former farmland where land was available at lower prices. These major cities have gone through decades of readjustment to develop different economies and adjust to demographic changes. Suburban areas have developed separate job markets, both in knowledge industries and services, such as major retail malls.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Missouri was 6,063,589 on July 1, 2014, a 1.25% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
Missouri had a population of 5,988,927, according to the 2010 Census; an increase of 392,369 (7.0 percent) since the year 2000. From 2000 to 2007, 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. Over 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.
In 2011, the racial composition of the state was:
In 2011, 3.7% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race). In 2011, 28.1% of Missouri's population younger than age 1 were minorities.
The U.S. Census of 2000 found that the population center of the United States is in Phelps County, Missouri. The center of population of Missouri itself is located in Osage County, in the city of Westphalia.
In 2004, the population included 194,000 foreign-born (3.4 percent of the state population).
The five largest ancestry groups in Missouri are: German (27.4 percent), Irish (14.8 percent), English (10.2 percent), American (8.5 percent) and French (3.7 percent).
German Americans are an ancestry group present throughout Missouri. African Americans are a substantial part of the population in St. Louis (56.6% of African Americans in the state lived in St. Louis or St. Louis County as of the 2010 census), Kansas City, Boone County and in the southeastern Bootheel and some parts of the Missouri River Valley, where plantation agriculture was once important. Missouri Creoles of French ancestry are concentrated in the Mississippi River Valley south of St. Louis (see Missouri French). Kansas City is home to large and growing immigrant communities from Latin America esp. Mexico, Africa (i.e. Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria), and Southeast Asia including China and the Philippines; and Europe like the former Yugoslavia (see Bosnian American). A notable Cherokee Indian population exists in Missouri.
In 2004, 6.6 percent of the state's population was reported as younger than 5 years old, 25.5 percent younger than 18, and 13.5 percent was 65 or older. Females were approximately 51.4 percent of the population. 81.3 percent of Missouri residents were high school graduates (more than the national average), and 21.6 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher. 3.4 percent of Missourians were foreign-born, and 5.1 percent reported speaking a language other than English at home.
In 2010, there were 2,349,955 households in Missouri, with 2.45 people per household. The home ownership rate was 70.0 percent, and the median value of an owner-occupied housing unit was $137,700. The median household income for 2010 was $46,262, or $24,724 per capita. There were 14.0 percent (1,018,118) Missourians living below the poverty line in 2010.
The mean commute time to work was 23.8 minutes.
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.
Of those Missourians who identify with a religion, three out of five are Protestants of various denominations. The largest classified demographic in the state are Southern Baptists at 22%. The second largest, at 19%, are Roman Catholics with populations located in Jefferson City, St. Louis and stretches west and south of St. Louis. The third ranked demographic are the non religious at 15%.
The religious affiliations of the people of Missouri according to the American Religious Identification Survey:
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.
Among the other denominations there are approximately 93,000 Mormons in 253 congregations, 25,000 Jewish adherents in 21 temples, 12,000 Muslims in 39 masjids, 7,000 Buddhists in 34 temples, 7,000 Hindus in 17 temples, 2,500 Unitarians in 9 congregations, 2,000 Baha'i in 17 temples, 5 Sikh temples, a Zorastrian temple, a Jain temple and an uncounted number of neopagans.
Several religious organizations have headquarters in Missouri, including the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, which has its headquarters in Kirkwood, as well as the United Pentecostal Church International in Hazelwood, both outside St. Louis.
Independence, near Kansas City, is the headquarters for the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and the group Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This area and other parts of Missouri are also of significant religious and historical importance to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which maintains several sites and visitors centers.
Springfield is the headquarters of the Assemblies of God USA and the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. The General Association of General Baptists has its headquarters in Poplar Bluff. The Unity Church is headquartered in Unity Village.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Missouri's total state product in 2006 was $225.9 billion. 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, 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.
Missouri has vast quantities of limestone. Other resources mined are lead, coal, and crushed stone. Missouri produces the most lead of all of the states. Most of the lead mines are in the central eastern portion of the state. Missouri also ranks first or near first in the production of lime, a key ingredient in Portland cement.
Missouri also has a growing science and biotechnology field. Monsanto, one of the largest gene companies in America is based in St. Louis.
Tourism, services and wholesale/retail trade follow manufacturing in importance.
Missouri is the only state in the Union to have two Federal Reserve Banks: one in Kansas City (serving western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado, northern New Mexico, and Wyoming) and one in St. Louis (serving eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and all of Arkansas).
As of November 2014, the state's unemployment rate was 4.8%, while the nation overall was 5.5%.
Personal income is taxed in ten different earning brackets, ranging from 1.5% to 6.0%. Missouri's sales tax rate for most items is 4.225% with some additional local levies. More than 2,500 Missouri local governments rely on property taxes levied on real property (real estate) and personal property.
Most personal property is exempt, except for motorized vehicles. Exempt real estate includes property owned by governments and property used as nonprofit cemeteries, exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges and for purely charitable purposes. There is no inheritance tax and limited Missouri estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.
In 2012, Missouri had roughly 22,000 MW of installed electricity generation capacity. In 2011, 82% of Missouri's electricity was generated by coal. 10% was generated from the state's only nuclear power plant, the Callaway Plant in Callaway County, northeast of Jefferson City. 5% was generated by natural gas. 1% 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.
Oil wells in Missouri produced 120,000 barrels of crude oil in fiscal 2012. There are no oil refineries in Missouri.
Missouri has two major airport hubs: Lambert–St. Louis International Airport and Kansas City International Airport.
Two of the nation's three busiest rail centers are located in Missouri. Kansas City is a major railroad hub for BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad. 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.
The only urban light rail/subway system operating in Missouri is MetroLink, which connects the city of St. Louis with suburbs in Illinois and St. Louis County. It is one of the largest systems (by track mileage) in the United States. A streetcar line in downtown Kansas City is scheduled to open in 2015.
The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center in St. Louis is the largest active multi-use transportation center in the state. It is located in downtown St. Louis, next to the historic Union Station complex. It serves as a hub center/station for MetroLink, the MetroBus regional bus system, Greyhound, Amtrak, and taxi services.
Many cities have regular fixed-route systems, and many rural counties have rural public transit services. Greyhound, Trailways, and Megabus all provide inter-city bus service in Missouri.
The Mississippi River and Missouri River are commercially navigable over their entire lengths in Missouri. The Missouri was channelized through dredging and jettys 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.
Several highways, detailed below, traverse the state.
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 2006–2010 traffic deaths have decreased annually from 1,257 in 2005, to 1,096 in 2006, to 992 for 2007, to 960 for 2008, to 878 in 2009, to 821 in 2010.
The only section of freeway in Missouri to have High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane (HOV) is Interstate 55 from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to Interstate 270-255 Interchange in St. Louis County. They were striped, registered, and opened on February 10, 2013. HOV Lanes are also being striped on Interstate 70 in St. Charles County through Interstate 270 in Saint Louis County, and on the North-South corridor of Interstate 270 in central St. Louis County.
The current Constitution of Missouri, the fourth constitution for the state, was adopted in 1945. It provides for three branches of government: the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. The legislative branch consists of two bodies: the House of Representatives and the Senate. These bodies comprise the Missouri General Assembly.
The House of Representatives has 163 members who are apportioned based on the last decennial census. The Senate consists of 34 members from districts of approximately equal populations. The judicial department comprises the Supreme Court of Missouri, which has seven judges, the Missouri Court of Appeals (an intermediate appellate court divided into three districts), sitting in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield, and 45 Circuit Courts which function as local trial courts. The executive branch is headed by the Governor of Missouri and includes five other statewide elected offices. Following the death of Tom Schweich in 2015, all but one of Missouri's statewide elected offices are held by Democrats.
Harry S Truman (1884–1972), the 33rd President of the United States (Democrat, 1945–1953), was born in Lamar. He was a judge in Jackson County and then represented the state in the United States Senate for ten years, before being elected Vice-President in 1944. He lived in Independence after retiring.
Missouri is widely regarded as a bellwether in American politics, often making it a swing state. The state had a longer stretch of supporting the winning presidential candidate than any other state, having voted with the nation in every election since 1904 with three exceptions: in 1956 it voted for Democratic Governor Adlai Stevenson of neighboring Illinois over the winner, incumbent Republican President Dwight Eisenhower of neighboring Kansas, and in 2008 it voted for Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona over national winner Senator Barack Obama of neighboring Illinois. Missouri was still the closest state in the nation in both of these races, which were decided by extremely narrow margins of fewer than 4,000 votes each. However, in 2012, Missouri swung strongly Republican when it voted for former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts over the winner, incumbent President Barack Obama, by a nearly 10-point margin. On October 24, 2012, there were 4,190,936 registered voters. At the state level, both Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Democratic Governor Jay Nixon were re-elected.
Missouri has been known for its population's generally "stalwart, conservative, noncredulous" attitude toward regulatory regimes, which is one of the origins of the state's unofficial nickname, the "Show-Me State." As a result, and combined with the fact that Missouri is one of America's leading alcohol and tobacco-producing states, regulation of alcohol and tobacco in Missouri is among the most laissez-faire in America. For 2013, the annual "Freedom in the 50 States" study prepared by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked Missouri as #3 in America for alcohol freedom and #1 for tobacco freedom (#7 for freedom overall). The study notes that Missouri's "alcohol regime is one of the least restrictive in the United States, with no blue laws and taxes well below average," and that "Missouri ranks best in the nation on tobacco freedom."
Missouri law makes it "an improper employment practice" for an employer to refuse to hire, to fire, or otherwise to disadvantage any person because that person lawfully uses alcohol and/or tobacco products when he or she is not at work.
With a large German immigrant population and the development of a brewing industry, Missouri always has had among the most permissive alcohol laws in the United States. It never enacted statewide prohibition. Missouri voters rejected prohibition in three separate referenda in 1910, 1912, and 1918. Alcohol regulation did not begin in Missouri until 1934.
Today, alcohol laws are controlled by the state government, and local jurisdictions are prohibited from going beyond those state laws. Missouri has no statewide open container law or prohibition on drinking in public, no alcohol-related blue laws, no local option, no precise locations for selling liquor by the package (allowing even drug stores and gas stations to sell any kind of liquor), and no differentiation of laws based on alcohol percentage. Missouri has no laws prohibiting "consumption" of alcohol by minors (as opposed to possession), and state law protects persons from arrest or criminal penalty for public intoxication.
Missouri law expressly prohibits any jurisdiction from going dry. Missouri law also expressly allows parents and guardians to serve alcohol to their children. The Power & Light District in Kansas City is one of the few places in the United States where a state law explicitly allows persons over the age of 21 to possess and consume open containers of alcohol in the street (as long as the beverage is in a plastic cup).
As for tobacco (as of June 2014), Missouri has the lowest cigarette excise taxes in the United States, at 17 cents per pack, and the state electorate voted in 2002, 2006, and 2012 to keep it that way. In 2007, Forbes named Missouri's largest metropolitan area, St. Louis, America's "best city for smokers."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 Missouri had the fourth highest percentage of adult smokers among U.S states, at 24.5%. Although Missouri's minimum age for purchase and distribution of tobacco products is 18, tobacco products can be distributed to persons under 18 by family members on private property.
No statewide smoking ban ever has been seriously entertained before the Missouri General Assembly, and in October 2008, a statewide survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found that only 27.5% of Missourians support a statewide ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants. Missouri state law permits restaurants seating less than 50 people, bars, bowling alleys, and billiard parlors to decide their own smoking policies, without limitation.
Missouri has 114 counties and one independent city (St. Louis).
The largest county by size is Texas County (1,179 sq. miles) and Shannon County is second (1,004 sq. miles). Worth County is the smallest (266 sq. miles). The independent city of St. Louis has only 62 square miles (160 km2) of area. St. Louis City is the most densely populated area (5,140.1 per sq. mi.) in Missouri.
The largest county by population (2012 estimate) is St. Louis County (1,000,438 residents), with Jackson County second (677,377 residents), St. Charles third (368,666), and St. Louis fourth (318,172). Worth County is the least populous with 2,171 (2010 census) residents.
Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri.
The five largest cities in Missouri are Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Independence, and Columbia.
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 those counties lie in Illinois. As of 2009, St. Louis was the 18th largest metropolitan area in the nation with 2.83 million people. However, if ranked using Combined Statistical Area, it is 15th largest with 2.89 million people. Some of the major cities making up the St. Louis Metro area in Missouri are St. Charles, St. Peters, Florissant, Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Wildwood, Maryland Heights, O'Fallon, Clayton, Ballwin, and University City.
Kansas City is Missouri's largest city and the principal city of the fifteen-county Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area, including six counties in the state of Kansas. As of 2009, it was the 29th largest metropolitan area in the nation, with 2.068 million people. Some of the other major cities comprising the Kansas City metro area in Missouri include Independence, Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, Raytown, Liberty, and Gladstone.
Branson is a major tourist attraction in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri.
The Missouri State Board of Education has general authority over all public education in the state of Missouri. It is made up of eight citizens appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate.
Education is compulsory from ages seven to seventeen, and it is required that any parent, guardian or other person with custody of a child between the ages of seven and seventeen the compulsory attendance age for the district, must ensure that 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 that 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 schools 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. High school athletics and competitions are governed by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA).
Homeschooling is legal in Missouri and is an option to meet the compulsory education requirement. It is neither monitored nor regulated by the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
A supplemental education program, the Missouri Scholars Academy, provides an extracurricular learning experience for gifted high school students in the state of Missouri. The official MSA website describes the goals of the Academy to be as such: "The academy reflects Missouri's desire to strive for excellence in education at all levels. The program is based on the premise that Missouri's gifted youth must be provided with special opportunities for learning and personal development in order for them to realize their full potential."
Another gifted school is the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, which is located at the Northwest Missouri State University.
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), 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.
Among private institutions Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University are two top ranked schools in the US. There are numerous junior colleges, trade schools, church universities and other private universities in the state. A.T. Still University was the first osteopathic medical school in the world. Hannibal–LaGrange University in Hannibal, Missouri, was one of the first colleges west of the Mississippi (founded 1858 in LaGrange, Missouri, and moved to Hannibal in 1928).
The state funds a $2000, renewable merit-based scholarship, Bright Flight, given to the top three percent of Missouri high school graduates who attend a university in-state.
The 19th century border wars between Missouri and Kansas have continued as a sports rivalry between the University of Missouri and University of Kansas. The rivalry is chiefly expressed through football and basketball games between the two universities. It is the oldest college rivalry west of the Mississippi River and the second oldest in the nation. Each year when the universities meet to play, the game is coined "Border War." An exchange occurs following the game where the winner gets to take a historic Indian War Drum, which has been passed back and forth for decades.
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 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.
The Kansas City Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra are the state's major orchestras. The latter is the nation's second-oldest symphony orchestra and achieved prominence in recent years under conductor Leonard Slatkin.
Branson is well known for its music theaters, most of which bear the name of a star performer or musical group. These facilities have made Branson one of America's most popular tourist destinations..
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.
Kansas City-born writer William Least Heat-Moon currently resides in Rocheport. He is best known for Blue Highways, a chronicle of his travels to small towns across America. The book was on the New York Times Bestseller list for nearly a year in 1982-1983.
Famed authors Kate Chopin, T. S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams were all from St. Louis.
Filmmaker, animator, and businessman Walt Disney spent part of his childhood in the Linn County town of Marceline before moving to Kansas City, Missouri. 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 Griswold's 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 Carpernter's Escape from New York was filmed in Saint Louis in the early eighties, due to the high number of abandoned buildings in the city.
Part of the 1973 movie, Paper Moon, which starred Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, was filmed in St. Joseph.
Most of HBO's film "Truman" were filmed in Kansas City, Independence, and the surrounding area. Gary Sinise won an Emmy for his portrayal of Harry Truman in the 1995 film.
"Ride With the Devil" starring Jewel and Tobey Maguire were also filmed in the countryside of Jackson County (also where the historic events of the film took place).
Missouri hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics at St. Louis, the first time the games were hosted in the United States.
Four US Navy vessels have been named after the state.
Missouri is home to a diversity of both flora and fauna. There is a large amount of fresh water present due to the Mississippi River, Missouri River, and Lake of the Ozarks, with numerous smaller tributary rivers, streams, and lakes. North of the Missouri River, the state is primarily rolling hills of the Great Plains, whereas south of the Missouri River, the state is dominated by the Oak-Hickory Central U.S. hardwood forest.
Some of the native species found in Missouri include:
Within historic times, pronghorn, gray wolf, and brown bear were all found in Missouri, but have since been eliminated. Wapiti and American bison were formerly common, but are currently confined to private farms and parks.
Within historic times, the passenger pigeon, the carolina parakeet, and the ivory-billed woodpecker were all found in Missouri, but they have since been eliminated.
The trees and shrubs growing in Missouri include the following:
There has also been a migration of insects from the south to Missouri. One example of this is the wasp Polistes exclamans.
See entire collection at List of people from Missouri.