Arkansas State Info and Higher Education Facts

Arkansas, the 32nd-largest state in the U.S. by population, is a region of natural diversity, many national parks, tourism and manufacturing. The state supports a large number of schools for its size, including several universities, private liberal arts colleges, technical schools and community colleges. Read on to learn more about this state's economy, demographics and educational options.

Information about Arkansas

Arkansas is a Southern state known for its natural beauty and for being the home of the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Arkansas was estimated to be 2,978,204 in 2015, growing about 2% slower than the population of the country as a whole, from 2010-2015. In 2014, nearly 80% of the population was white, almost 16% was African American and 7% was Hispanic or Latino. Approximately 51% of the residents of Arkansas were female in 2014, according to U.S. census data.

The state is known for its natural areas and national parks, including Buffalo National River and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Other attractions include Crater of Diamonds State Park and the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. Arkansas enjoys a seasonal climate. Summers may reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while winters might produce occasional light snow.

Higher Education

The State of Arkansas is home to about 90 public universities, non-profit private colleges and proprietary institutions. It maintains a public land-grant university system, the University of Arkansas. The university's flagship campus is at Fayetteville, where students can study hundreds of different subjects in both undergraduate and graduate programs. UA-Fayetteville has a student population of about 26,000 and is especially well-known for its agricultural, architecture and creative writing programs. Other campuses in the system include the Universities of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Little Rock, Monticello and Pine Bluff.

The Arkansas State University System, a separate public university system, has campuses at Jonesboro, Beebe, Mountain Home and Paragould. There is also a wide selection of private universities and colleges in the state, including Harding University, Hendrix College, Central Baptist College and John Brown University.

Harding University is the largest private, non-profit school in Arkansas with a student population of about 6,000 students. It was ranked 22nd among top universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report in 2016. The publication also named it the 4th best value school in the South.

Economy and Employment

Tourism and manufacturing are the mainstays of the Arkansas economy. Millions of tourists from nearby states come to Arkansas each year to enjoy its diverse landscapes, from mountains to lowland forests and riverways. Manufactured products include diamonds, boats, utensils and ironworks. The agricultural sector, too, is an important contributor to the state economy. Arkansas farmers produce poultry, rice and cotton.

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