West Helena, Arkansas

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West Helena, Arkansas
Location of West Helena, Arkansas
Location of West Helena, Arkansas
Coordinates: 34°32′45″N 90°38′40″W / 34.54583°N 90.64444°W / 34.54583; -90.64444Coordinates: 34°32′45″N 90°38′40″W / 34.54583°N 90.64444°W / 34.54583; -90.64444
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Phillips
 • Total 4.4 sq mi (11.5 km2)
 • Land 4.4 sq mi (11.5 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 256 ft (78 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 8,689
 • Density 1,956.6/sq mi (755.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 72390
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-74450
GNIS feature ID 0058852

West Helena is the western portion of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, a city in Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2000 census, this portion of the city population was 8,689.

Historically, West Helena and its sister city Helena, located on the Mississippi River, have been two of the focal points in the history of the development of the blues.[citation needed] The cities consolidated on January 1, 2006. Helena is the birthplace of Arkansas' former Senior United States Senator Blanche Lincoln and Actor/Director/Filmmaker Chuck Williams.


West Helena is located at 34°32′45″N 90°38′40″W / 34.54583°N 90.64444°W / 34.54583; -90.64444 (34.545702, -90.644346).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, West Helena had a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km2), all of it land.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 8,689 people, 3,204 households, and 2,223 families residing in West Helena. The population density was 1,956.6 people per square mile (755.6/km²). There were 3,518 housing units at an average density of 792.2 per square mile (305.9/km²). The racial makeup of West Helena is 32.77% White, 65.69% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. 1.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,204 households out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 29.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.32.

In West Helena, the population is spread out with 34.1% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 80.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.5 males.

The median income for a household in West Helena is $21,130, and the median income for a family was $25,014. Males had a median income of $22,971 versus $17,225 for females. The per capita income for West Helena is $11,234. About 30.9% of families and 35.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.5% of those under age 18 and 27.2% of those age 65 or over.


Helena-West Helena School District operates schools in what was West Helena.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, West Helena has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[3]

Notable people[edit]

  • Odessa Harris (June 8, 1936 – August 18, 2007) was an American blues and jazz singer, born in West Helena.
  • Lonnie Shields (born April 17, 1956), is a present-day electric blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, who was born in West Helena.[4]


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Climate Summary for West Helena, Arkansas
  4. ^ Bob L. Eagle; Eric S. LeBlanc (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Praeger Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-0313344237. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 

External links[edit]