|Other Municipalities||Bella Vista
|• Total||3,213.01 sq mi (8,321.7 km2)|
|• Total||491,966 (1st)|
|• Density||153/sq mi (59/km2)|
|Time zone||Central Time Zone (UTC-6)|
|Area code(s)||479, 417|
|Highest elevation 2515 ft/767 m
Lowest elevation 800 ft/244 m (sea level) at Beaver Lake.
Northwest Arkansas (NWA, officially designated by the United States Census Bureau as the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area) includes Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville, the third, fourth, eighth and tenth largest cities in Arkansas. These cities are located within Benton and Washington counties; NWA also includes Madison County in Arkansas and McDonald County, Missouri per the Census Bureau definition.
As per the 2014 United States Census Bureau estimates, NWA is the 105th largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States (501,653 residents) and the 23rd fastest growing in the US. The MSA covers 3,213.01 sq mi (8,322 km2), located within the Boston Mountains and Springfield Plateau subsets of The Ozarks. The Arkansas counties are within the The South, a culturally and historically diverse region with customs, musical styles, and cuisines which have distinguished it from the rest of the United States.
Northwest Arkansas doubled in population between the 1990 and 2010. Growth has been driven by the three Fortune 500 companies based in NWA: Walmart Stores, Inc., Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., as well as over 1,300 suppliers and vendors drawn to the region by these large businesses and NWA's business climate. The region has also seen significant investment in amenities; including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Walmart AMP, and the NWA Razorback Regional Greenway.
- 1 Definition
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Entertainment and recreation
- 6 Education
- 7 Transportation
- 8 See also
- 9 References
Constituent counties of the MSA include:
Fayetteville is a city in Washington County and home to the University of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 76,899. The city is the third most populous in Arkansas and serves as the county seat of Washington County. It's also known for Dickson Street, perhaps the most prominent entertainment district in the state of Arkansas, which itself contains the Walton Arts Center. Blocks from Dickson Street is the Fayetteville Historic Square, which hosts the nation's number one ranked Fayetteville's Farmer's Market. Fayetteville was also ranked 8th on Forbes Magazine's Top 10 Best Places in America for Business and Careers in 2007.
Springdale is a city in Washington and Benton Counties. According to 2010 Census Bureau, the population of the city is 73,123. Springdale is currently Arkansas's fourth-largest city, behind Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Fayetteville. Springdale is the location of the headquarters of Tyson Foods Inc., the largest meat producing company in the world, and has been dubbed the "Chicken Capital of the World" by several publications. In 2008, the Wichita Wranglers of AA minor league baseball's Texas League moved to Springdale and play in Arvest Ballpark as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Rogers is a city in Benton County. As of the 2010 census, the city is the eighth most populous in the state, with a total population of 58,895. Rogers is famous as the location of the first Wal-Mart. In June 2007, BusinessWeek magazine ranked Rogers 18th in the 25 best affordable suburbs in the South. In 2010, CNN Money magazine ranked Rogers as the 10th Best Place to Live in the United States. The city is the home town of American country music singer/songwriter Joe Nichols, and Marty Perry, as well as David Noland. It is also where comedian Will Rogers married Betty Blake.
Bentonville is a city in Benton County. At the 2010 census, the population was 38,284, up from 20,308 in 2000 ranking it as the state's 10th largest city. Bentonville also is the county seat of Benton County and home to the headquarters of Wal-Mart, which is the largest retailer in the world. Bentonville has the location of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Founded by Sam Walton's daughter Alice Walton and designed by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie, this museum is home to some of America's finest works of art.
NWA is located within the Ozark Mountains, a deeply dissected plateau within the U.S. Interior Highlands, the largest mountainous region between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains. Although the topography varies widely within the region, the Ozark geology is present throughout. Roughly at Fayetteville, the geology splits between the Boston Mountains to the south and the Springfield Plateau to the north. The Ouachita orogeny exposed the older limestones of the Springfield Plateau, resulting in a softer terrain, while the Boston Mountains retained steep, sharp grade changes. The Ozarks are covered by an oak-hickory forest, with large portions of protected forestland remaining NWA. Approximately 25% of this forest has been cleared for development and agricultural uses.
Within NWA, the White River is impounded at several locations; the most important of which is at Beaver Dam, forming the 13,700 acres (5,500 ha) Beaver Lake. This reservoir was created in the 1960s for flood control, recreational, and energy production uses. It also serves as the water supply for most of NWA, with Beaver Water District treating potable water and selling it directly to the four largest NWA municipalities.
The Illinois River watershed is a sensitive watershed that has been the subject of controversy within the area for many years. The phosphorus load of the Illinois has been subject of controversy, eventually resulting in litigation between Oklahoma and Arkansas reaching the United States Supreme Court in 1992. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified the Illinois as Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, listing it as an "impaired and threatened water" due to the high phosphorus loads.
As of the census of 2000, there were 347,045 people, 131,939 households, and 92,888 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 89.70% White, 1.22% African American, 1.53% Native American, 1.19% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 4.03% from other races, and 2.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.32% of the population. Over the past decade or more, Northwest Arkansas has been one of the fastest growing regions in the south.
The median income for a household in the MSA was $32,469, and the median income for a family was $38,118. Males had a median income of $27,025 versus $20,295 for females. The per capita income for the MSA was $16,159.
Booming prosperity accompanying a tremendous increase in the area’s population has made Northwest Arkansas a recognized economic success. Many migrants come from Northeast Arkansas, South-Central Arkansas, and North Central Arkansas, to work in this booming area. The area is now seeking residents from places like Southwest Arkansas, and even Southeast Arkansas. The state’s population grew 13.7 percent between 1990 and 2000, but the two-county metropolitan statistical area accounted for one-third of that growth. Benton and Washington counties grew 47 percent between 1990 and 2000. Almost all of the people who moved to those counties then were from California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Texas and other parts of Arkansas. Estimates put the two-county population at roughly 373,055 by December 2004. Even during national economic turmoil, Northwest Arkansas has experienced 8.2 percent job growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in February 2008 the Northwest Arkansas region as a whole had an unemployment rate of 4.1%. This unemployment rate gave Northwest Arkansas a rank of 41 out of 369 metropolitan areas in the United States. Per capita income in Northwest Arkansas is $31,191, according to the most recent figures from the United States Census Bureau. This is approximately $7,000 below the average per capita income.
Bentonville is world renowned as a retail capital of the world, as it is headquarters to Wal-Mart Stores Incorporated. Springdale is home to Fortune 75 company Tyson Foods, the world’s leading producer of poultry and beef, and second-largest producer of pork. J.B. Hunt Transport Services in Lowell, is the nation’s largest publicly owned truckload carrier, with international networks in Canada and Mexico.
Entertainment and recreation
The Northwest Arkansas region is widely known for its natural beauty, and outdoor recreation. A local outdoor favorite is Devil's Den State Park, located outside of Fayetteville in West Fork, Arkansas. The park offers scenic camping, climbing, fishing, caves, trails, and hiking through the Ozark Mountains. The park is located just off Highway 74.
The favorite water destination would be Beaver Lake. Beaver Lake has some 487 miles (784 km) of natural shoreline. With towering limestone bluffs, natural caves, and a wide variety of trees and flowering shrubs, it is a popular tourist destination. Paved access roads wind through twelve developed parks. These parks have modern campsites offering electricity and fire rings with drinking water, showers, and restrooms nearby. Other facilities, such as picnic sites, swimming beaches, hiking trails, boat launching ramps, and sanitary dump stations are also available in the parks.
The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, which covers 86 acres (350,000 m2), is a new botanical garden now taking shape near Fayetteville. The site is located at the Fayetteville-Springdale border on Crossover Road (Highway 265) and currently includes seasonal plantings in a small area, a wildflower meadow, a lakeside hiking trail, and a self-guided tree identification tour. The garden's history dates to 1993 with a 2001 master plan. Construction will be undertaken in three phases. Phase 1 will build the garden gateway and entry road, parking area, visitor center, cafe and dining terrace, exhibit gallery, conference room, and 1/3 of the core gardens with 1/2 of the horticulture and maintenance facilities. Phase 2 will create additional gardens, offices, classrooms, boat rental facility, amphitheater, observatory, demonstration gardens, and the remaining core gardens. Phase 3 will add trails, tropical conservatory, and lakeside overlooks, with the western 50 acres (200,000 m2) dedicated to native woodland plant restoration and wayside interpretive stations.
Art and entertainment
Northwest Arkansas is also quickly becoming more and more of an urban recreation destination as well, many projects currently underway.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville has recently been completed. The museum, funded by Sam Walton's daughter, Alice Walton, and designed by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie, is home to some of America's finest works of art and has immediately become one of the nation's premier art museums.
The Walton Arts Center is Arkansas' largest performing arts center. It is located in Fayetteville near the campus of the University of Arkansas and serves as a cultural center for the Northwest Arkansas area. The building was opened in 1992 in large part because of funds donated by the Walton family (of Wal-Mart). The center is host to many musicals, plays, and other artistic and educational events throughout the year. The Walton Arts Center is also home to the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, currently under the direction of Paul Haas.
TheatreSquared is Northwest Arkansas's regional professional theatre. Its four-play season and annual Arkansas New Play Fest are attended by an audience of 22,000, including educational outreach program to approximately 10,000 students and their teachers. The company was recognized by the American Theatre Wing in 2011 as one of the nation's ten most promising emerging theatres.
The Arts Center of the Ozarks is the region's oldest community theatre. Since its inception in 1967, the ACO has grown from a small arts organization into a cultural center of regional significance. Located in downtown Springdale, the ACO offers a full season of mainstage plays and musicals, children's programs, visual arts exhibits, and classes in a variety of creative outlets.
Visitors to the area might also stop by the Wal-Mart Visitor Center. Located in Sam Walton's original Bentonville variety store, the Wal-Mart Visitors Center traces the origin and growth of Wal-Mart. The center was created as an educational and informative facility for those interested in this American retailing success story.
Anyone looking for a night on the town should head to the famous Dickson Street in downtown Fayetteville, just off the University of Arkansas campus. Lined with popular bars, restaurants, and shops, Dickson Street is always lively, especially after large sporting events. Dickson Street is home to the Walton Arts Center, the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Festival, and many parades.
The sporting scene is large in Northwest Arkansas, primarily due to the presence of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas’ most successful, followed, and loved sports teams. The Razorbacks have a huge economic impact on the area, drawing fans from every corner of the state during football, basketball, and baseball seasons.
The Razorbacks currently field 19 total men's and women's varsity teams (8 men's and 11 women's) in 13 sports. The men's varsity teams are baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field; the 11 women's varsity teams are basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and diving, indoor and outdoor track, tennis, softball and volleyball. The Razorbacks compete in the NCAA's Division I (Division I FBS in football) and are currently members of the Southeastern Conference (Western Division).
In early 2008, Northwest Arkansas welcomed a Double-A minor league baseball team, formerly known as the Wichita Wranglers, to Springdale, where they became the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The Naturals play at the newly completed Arvest Ballpark.
Depending on the source, Fayetteville’s Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Festival is the third to fifth largest motorcycle rally in the United States. The relatively new festival, which is based around the famous Dickson Street and held each fall, drew 350,000 visitors in 2006 and 75,000–100,000 bikes. The festival includes live bands, a parade, bike show, bike giveaway, and barbecue contest, among other events.
Since 1974, the Dogwood Festival has brought around 30,000 people to Siloam Springs and its parks for a 3-day event. Food, crafts, entertainment, flea market items, and KidZone activities make for a fun day for all ages. Held the weekend of the last Sunday in April each year.
In 2009, the City of Fayetteville began assisting in the sponsorship of All Out June, Northwest Arkansas' pride festival for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The event is considered Arkansas' largest, and is organized by the NWA Center for Equality and the NWA Pride Parade Organization.
Northwest Arkansas is home to a wide variety of public and private schools, as well as a few institutions of higher learning, including Arkansas flagship university, the University of Arkansas. Known for their state-of-the-art facilities, the area's public schools are also widely seen as some of the finest in the state, measured by academic and athletic success.
- University of Arkansas
- The University of Arkansas, known also as the U of A, is a public co-educational land-grant university. It is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System and is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is noted for its strong architecture, agriculture (particularly poultry science), creative writing, and business programs. Sports are also important to the university, as they are home to the state's beloved Arkansas Razorbacks.
- John Brown University
- Northwest Arkansas Community College
- Ecclesia College
Primary and secondary education
- Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville
- Fayetteville, Arkansas is the home of Fayetteville High School. In 2006 the Fayetteville Bulldogs/Lady Bulldogs were ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the nation's Top 20 High School Athletic Programs having won 24 state-titles in ten sports in 10 years.
- Springdale High School, Springdale
- In 2005, the Springdale Bulldogs football team won the State Championship, winning every game of the season by the mercy rule.
- Har-Ber High School, Springdale
- Bentonville High School, Bentonville
- Perhaps the most distinguished public school in the state, Bentonville High School was one of only 37 public high schools in the nation to be named to the US Department of Education’s list of Blue Ribbon Schools . BHS is heavily funded by Wal-Mart, which was founded in Bentonville. Additionally, in 2003, 2005, and 2006 Bentonville High School has been ranked in the top 1000 best high schools in the nation according to Newsweek magazine's Top 1200 US Schools, and, in April 2007, Bentonville High School was approved as an International Baccalaureate World School. As of 2012, BHS ranked 968 out of 1001 schools. In 2007, BHS ranked 597 out of 1200 high schools by Newsweek.
- Rogers High School, Rogers
- The original Rogers Mounties High School. Rated by Newsweek as being one of the top 1300 high schools in the country.
- Rogers Heritage High School, Rogers
- The 2nd high school in Rogers, opening for the 2008–2009 school year.
- Farmington High School, Farmington
- Siloam Springs High School, Siloam Springs
- Pea Ridge High School, Pea Ridge
- Haas Hall Academy, Fayetteville, Arkansas
- The highest rated public school in Arkansas.
Benton County School of the Arts
- Shiloh Christian School, Springdale
- Ozark Adventist Academy, Gentry
- Life Way Christian School, Centerton
- Providence Academy, Rogers
- Fayetteville Christian School, Fayetteville
The region is served almost solely by the undersized Interstate 49. I-49 has been the cause of much frustration in the area due to frequent traffic jams and accidents caused by the sudden growth of the area. Expansion of the interstate and its interchanges are currently in the planning and building stages.  Other major highways that serve the area include US 62, US 71, US 71B, and US 412.
Air traffic in the area relies on the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport for all commercial passengers. The airport provides nonstop service to thirteen US cities. The airport has seen a consistent rise in usage, with over 50,000 passenger emplanements per month.
Two public transit agencies serve the area; Ozark Regional Transit is a general transit agency with around a dozen local routes, plus commuter, paratransit, and special purpose routes. Razorback Transit primarily serves University of Arkansas students, is fare-free, and has a service area limited to Fayetteville. It is also open to the general public.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2008)|
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013 - United States -- Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 – Metropolitan Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico - 2014 Population Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Arkansas' 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting" (URL). United States Census Bureau. February 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- "America's Current Favorite Farmer's Markets ™: Top 20 Large". American Farmland Trust. Retrieved 03-05-2013. Check date values in:
- "Best Places For Business And Careers, #8 Fayetteville, AR". Forbes, Inc. 04-05-2007. Retrieved 2011-09-14. Check date values in:
- "Primary Distinguishing Characteristics of Level III Ecoregions of the Continental United States". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. April 2000. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- "Illinois River Watershed". Environmental Protection Agency. May 22, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Forbes http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2011/migration.html. Missing or empty
- Unemployment Rates for Metropolitan Areas
- 3W Magazine, , Symphony of Northwest Arkansas Announces Paul Haas as Music Director August 25, 2010
- Bikes, Blues & BBQ
- Annual Dogwood Festival – Siloam Springs, Arkansas
- University Of Arkansas
- America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools | Newsweek.com
- Rogers School District – Index