Central Arkansas

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Central Arkansas
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR MSA
Metropolitan Statistical Area
Downtown Little Rock
Downtown Little Rock
  Central Arkansas   Pine Bluff MSA   Searcy μSA
  Central Arkansas
  Pine Bluff MSA
  Searcy μSA
Coordinates: 34°44′10″N 92°19′52″W / 34.73611°N 92.33111°W / 34.73611; -92.33111Coordinates: 34°44′10″N 92°19′52″W / 34.73611°N 92.33111°W / 34.73611; -92.33111
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
Principal cities Little Rock
North Little Rock
Conway
Area
 • Urban 258.3 sq mi (669 km2)
 • MSA 4,085.18 sq mi (10,580.6 km2)
 • CSA 7,150.31 sq mi (18,519.2 km2)
Population (2016)
 • Urban 431,388 (US: 89th)
 • MSA 734,622[1] (US: 76th)
 • CSA 905,847[2] (US: 60th)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 501 & 870

Central Arkansas, also known as the Little Rock metro, designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget as the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area, is the most populous metro area in the US state of Arkansas. With an estimated 2016 population of 734,622, it is the most populated area in Arkansas. Located at the convergence of Arkansas's other geographic regions, the region's central location make Central Arkansas an important population, economic, education, and political center in Arkansas and the South. Little Rock is the state's capital, and the city is also home to two Fortune 500 companies, Arkansas Children's Hospital, and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

History[edit]

The site known as "little rock" along the Arkansas River was discovered by explorer Bernard de la Harpe in 1722.[3] The territorial capitol had been located at Arkansas Post in Southeast Arkansas since 1819, but the site had proven unsuitable as a settlement due to frequent flooding of the Arkansas River. Over the years, the "little rock" was known as a waypoint along the river, but remained unsettled. A land speculator from St. Louis, Missouri who had acquired many acres around the "little rock" began pressuring the Arkansas territorial legislature in February 1820 to move the capital to the site, but the representatives could not decide between Little Rock or Cadron (now Conway), which was the preferred site of Territorial Governor James Miller. The issue was tabled until October 1820, by which time most of the legislators and other influential men had purchased lots around Little Rock.[4] The legislature moved the capital to Little Rock, where it has remained ever since.

Geography[edit]

Central Arkansas is located in the Southern United States (commonly known as the South in the US), and within a subregion commonly known as the Upper South. The South is a distinct cultural region reliant upon a plantation economy in the 18th and 19th century, until the secession of the Confederate States of America and the Civil War.

The region is the point of convergence for four other Arkansas regions: the Ozarks to the north, the Arkansas River Valley to the west, the Arkansas Delta to the east, and Piney Woods to the southwest.

Barge traffic passes under the Main Street Bridge on the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock

The Arkansas River crosses the region, and serves as the dividing line between Little Rock and North Little Rock. The Arkansas is an important geographic feature in Central Arkansas, requiring long bridge spans but allowing barge traffic to the Port of Little Rock and points upriver.

Demographics[edit]

Central Arkansas includes both the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway MSA, though the broader Little Rock CSA is also considered Central Arkansas. The MSA is defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget as Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, Pulaski and Saline counties. The CSA definition adds the Pine Bluff metropolitan area adding Cleveland, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties, and the Searcy Micropolitan Area, which adds White County.

It is the core of the broader Little Rock-North Little Rock Combined Statistical Area (CSA). Its economic, cultural, and demographic center is Little Rock, Arkansas's capital and largest city. The Little Rock Combined Statistical area spans ten counties and had an estimated population of 905,847 in 2016.[2]

Prior to 2002, the area consisted of four core counties: Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline and Lonoke. The area was later expanded to include adjoining Perry County to the west, and Grant County to the south. The city of Conway was designated as a third principal city for the MSA by 2007.

Population, land area & population density (2016 Census)
County
Ref.
Population Land
mi²
Land
km²
Pop.
/mi²
Pop.
/km²
Pulaski County[5] 393,250 759.76 1,967.77 503.8 194.52
Faulkner County[6] 122,227 647.88 1,678.00 174.8 67.49
Saline County[7] 118,703 723.60 1,874.12 148.0 57.14
Lonoke County[8] 72,228 770.73 1,996.18 88.7 34.25
Grant County[9] 18,082 631.81 1,636.38 28.3 10.93
Perry County[10] 10,132 551.40 1,428.12 18.9 7.30
Central Arkansas 734,622 4,085.18 10,580.57 179.8 69.42
Jefferson County[11] 70,016 870.75 2,255.23 88.9 34.32
Lincoln County[11] 13,705 561.52 1,454.33 25.2 9.73
Cleveland County[11] 8,241 597.78 1,548.24 14.5 5.60
Pine Bluff MSA 91,962 2,030.05 5,257.81 45.3 17.49
Searcy μSA[12] 79,263 1,035.08 2,680.84 74.5 28.76
CSA 905,847 7,150.31 18,519.22 126.7 48.92
Arkansas 2,988,248 52,035.48 134,771.27 56.0 21.62

2000 Census[edit]

MSA[edit]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 610,518 people, 241,094 households, and 165,405 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 75.40% White, 21.02% African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.07% of the population.

The median income for a household in the MSA was $37,912, and the median income for a family was $44,572. Males had a median income of $31,670 versus $23,354 for females. The per capita income for the MSA was $18,305.

CSA[edit]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 785,024 people, 304,335 households, and 210,966 families residing within the CSA. The racial makeup of the CSA was 73.97% White, 22.73% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.80% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.93% of the population.

The median income for a household in the CSA was $35,301, and the median income for a family was $41,804. Males had a median income of $31,192 versus $22,347 for females. The per capita income for the CSA was $16,898.

Communities[edit]

Communities are categorized based on their populations in the 2000 U.S. Census.

Places with more than 100,000 inhabitants[edit]

Places with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants[edit]

Places with 10,000 to 50,000 inhabitants[edit]

Places with 1,000 to 10,000 inhabitants[edit]

Places with 500 to 1,000 inhabitants[edit]

Places with fewer than 500 inhabitants[edit]

Population trends[edit]

Year Metropolitan
Statistical Area
Combined
Statistical Area
2014 est. 729,135 902,443
2005 est. 645,706 820,846
2000 Census 610,518 785,024

Economy[edit]

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the oldest association in Arkansas, has produced the following list of largest employers in Central Arkansas.

Employer Number of employees
State of Arkansas 32,200
Local government 28,800
Federal government 9,200
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 8,500
Baptist Health 7,000
Little Rock Air Force Base 4,500
Acxiom 4,380
Little Rock School District 3,500
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System 3,500
Entergy Arkansas 2,740
Pulaski County Special School District 2,700
AT&T 2,600
CHI St. Vincent Health System 2,600
Arkansas Children’s Hospital 2,470
Dillard's 2,400
Verizon Wireless 2,000
Union Pacific Railroad 2,000
Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield 1,800
Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. 2,000
CenterPoint Energy 1,800

Source: Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce

Higher education[edit]

Notable colleges and universities[edit]

School Enrollment Location Type Mascot Athletic Affiliation
(Conference)
UALR SSC1.jpg
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
11,848 Little Rock Public
State University
Trojans NCAA Division I
(Sun Belt)
Non-Football
TorrLib.jpg
University of Central Arkansas
11,487 Conway Public
State University
Bears and Sugar Bears NCAA Division I FCS
(Southland)
HendrixCollegeMainEntrance.JPG
Hendrix College
1,348 Conway Private
liberal arts college
Warriors NCAA Division III
(SAA)

Infrastructure[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Major highways[edit]

I-30 terminates at I-40 in North Little Rock
US 167 in Sheridan
U.S. Route 270 in Sheridan, Arkansas.

Aviation[edit]

Clinton National Airport

The Clinton National Airport in Little Rock is the largest commercial airport in the state, with more than 100 flights arriving or departing each day and nonstop jet service to eighteen cities.[14] North Little Rock Municipal Airport, located across the Arkansas River, is designated as a general aviation reliever airport for Clinton National by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).[15] Central Arkansas also has several smaller municipally owned general aviation airports: Conway Airport at Cantrell Field in Conway, Saline County Regional in Benton, Grider Field in Pine Bluff.

Professional sports[edit]

Dickey Stephens Park

The city of Little Rock is home to the Arkansas Travelers. The Travelers are the AA Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. They compete in the Texas League and play their home games at Dickey-Stephens Park.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Metropolitan Statistical Area". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Combined Statistical Area". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ "History" (2002), p. 96.
  4. ^ "History" (2002), pp. 96-97.
  5. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Pulaski County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  6. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Faulkner County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  7. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Saline County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  8. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Lonoke County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  9. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Grant County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  10. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Perry County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  11. ^ a b c U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), Jefferson, Lincoln, and Cleveland County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  12. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (July 1, 2016), White County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts, retrieved December 18, 2017 
  13. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ "Airport Info - Little Rock". Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. Archived from the original on January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Airport Info - North Little Rock". Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. Archived from the original on January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  • Arnold, Morris S.; DeBlack, Thomas A.; Sabo III, George; Whayne, Jeannie M. (2002). Arkansas: A narrative history (1st ed.). Fayetteville, Arkansas: The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-724-4. OCLC 49029558.