is a state
in the Midwestern
region of the United States
With more than six million residents, it is the 19th-most populous
state of the country. The largest urban areas are St. Louis
, Kansas City
; the capital
is Jefferson City
. The state is the 21st-most extensive
in area. Missouri is bordered by eight states (tied for the most with Tennessee): Iowa
to the north, Illinois
(via the Mississippi River
) to the east, Arkansas
to the south and Oklahoma
to the west. In the south are the Ozarks
, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River
, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River
, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.
Humans have inhabited the land now known as Missouri for at least 12,000 years. The Mississippian culture
built cities and mounds
, before declining in the 14th century. When European
explorers arrived in the 17th century, they encountered the Osage
nations. The French
, a part of New France
, founding Ste. Genevieve
in 1735 and St. Louis
in 1764. After a brief period of Spanish rule
, the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase
in 1803. Americans from the Upland South
, including enslaved African Americans
, rushed into the new Missouri Territory
. Missouri was admitted as a slave state as part of the Missouri Compromise
. Many from Virginia
settled in the Boonslick
area of Mid-Missouri
. Soon after, heavy German immigration formed the Missouri Rhineland
Well-known Missourians include Chuck Berry
, Sheryl Crow
, Walt Disney
, Edwin Hubble
, Brad Pitt
, Harry S. Truman
, and Mark Twain
. Some of the largest companies based in the state include Cerner
, Express Scripts
, Emerson Electric
, Edward Jones
, H&R Block
, Wells Fargo Advisors
, Centene Corporation
, and O'Reilly Auto Parts
. Well-known universities in Missouri include the University of Missouri
, Missouri Western State University
, Saint Louis University
, Washington University in St. Louis
Missouri has been called the "Mother of the West" and the "Cave State", but its most famous nickname is the "Show Me State".
Etymology and pronunciation
The state is named for the Missouri River
, which was named after the indigenous Missouri Indians
, a Siouan-language
tribe. It is said they were called the ouemessourita
meaning "those who have dugout canoes
", by the Miami-Illinois language
This appears to be folk etymology
—the Illinois spoke an Algonquian language and the closest approximation that can be made is that of their close neighbors, the Ojibwe, is "You Ought to Go Downriver & Visit Those People."
This would be an odd occurrence, as the French who first explored and attempted to settle the Mississippi River usually got their translations during that time fairly accurate, often giving things French names that were exact translations of the native tongue(s).
Assuming Missouri were deriving from the Siouan language, it would translate as "It connects to the side of it,"
in reference to the river itself.
This is not entirely likely either, as this would be coming out as "Maya Sunni"
(Mah-yah soo-nee). Most likely, though, the name Missouri comes from Chiwere
, a Siouan language spoken by people who resided in the modern-day states of Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri & Nebraska.
The name "Missouri" has several different pronunciations even among its present-day natives,
the two most common being /
The linguistic history was treated definitively by Donald M. Lance, who acknowledged that the question is sociologically complex, but no pronunciation could be declared "correct", nor could any be clearly defined as native or outsider, rural or urban, southern or northern, educated or otherwise.
Politicians often employ multiple pronunciations, even during a single speech, to appeal to a greater number of listeners.
In informal contexts respellings of the state's name, such as "Missour-ee
" or "Missour-uh
", are occasionally used to distinguish pronunciations phonetically.
There is no official state nickname.
However, Missouri's unofficial nickname is the "Show Me State," which 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 one states that it is a reference to Missouri miners who were taken to Leadville, Colorado
to replace striking workers. Since 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 7,300 recorded caves in the state (second to Tennessee
). Perry County
is the county with the largest number of caves and the single longest cave.
The official state motto is Latin
: "Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto"
, which means "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law."
, Westminister College Gymnasium in Fulton, Missouri
excavations along river valleys have shown continuous habitation since about 9000 BCE.
Beginning before 1000 CE
, the people of the Mississippian culture
created regional political centers at present-day St. Louis
and across the Mississippi River
, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois
. Their large cities included thousands of individual residences. Still, they are known for their surviving massive earthwork mounds
, built for religious, political and social reasons, in platform
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 and the upper river.
The land that became the state of Missouri was part of numerous different territories possessed changing and often indeterminate borders and had many different Native American and European names between the 1600s and statehood. For much of the first half of the 1700s, the west bank of the Mississippi River that would become Missouri was mostly uninhabited, something of a no man's land that kept peace between the Illinois on the east bank of the Mississippi River and to the North, and the Osage and Missouri Indians of the lower Missouri Valley. In the early 1700s, French traders and missionaries explored the whole of the Mississippi Valley, named the region “Louisiana.” Around the same time, a different group of French Canadians who established five villages on the east bank of the Mississippi River placed their settlements in the le pays des Illinois, “the country of the Illinois.” When habitants - settlers of French Canadian descent - began crossing the Mississippi River to establish settlements such as Ste. Genevieve, they continued to place their settlements in the Illinois Country. At the same time, the French settlements on both sides of the Mississippi River were part of the French province of Louisiana. To distinguish the settlements in the Middle Mississippi Valley from French settlements in the lower Mississippi Valley around New Orleans, French officials and inhabitants referred to the Middle Mississippi Valley as La Haute Louisiane, “The High Louisiana,” or “Upper Louisiana.”
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. The early Missouri settlements included many enslaved Africans and Native Americans, and slave labor was central to both commercial agriculture and the fur trade. 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 fur traders
, Pierre Laclède
and stepson Auguste Chouteau
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. 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 significant departure point for expeditions and settlers heading to the West during 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 ascended the Missouri River in 1804, to explore the western lands to the Pacific Ocean. St. Louis
was a major supply point for decades, for parties of settlers heading west.
As many of the early settlers in western Missouri migrated from the Upper South
, they brought enslaved African Americans
as agricultural laborers, and they desired 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
Admission as a state in 1821
The states and territories of the United States as a result of Missouri's admission as a state on August 10, 1821. The remainder of the former Missouri Territory
became unorganized territory.
In 1821, the former Missouri Territory was admitted as a slave state
, under the Missouri Compromise
, and with a temporary state capital in St. Charles. In 1826, the capital
was shifted to its current, permanent location of Jefferson City
, also on the Missouri River.
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 of militias
along the border.
With increasing migration, from the 1830s to the 1860s, Missouri's population almost doubled with every decade. Most 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
. Many settled in cities, creating 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.
While many German immigrants were strongly anti-slavery,
many Irish immigrants living in cities were pro-slavery, fearing that liberating African-American slaves would create a glut of unskilled labor, driving wages down.
Most Missouri farmers practiced subsistence farming
before the American Civil War
. The majority of those who held slaves had fewer than five each. Planters
, defined by some 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 chiefly had 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.
American Civil War
After the secession of Southern states began in 1861, the Missouri legislature called for the election of a special convention on secession. 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 Neosho, Missouri
, Jackson called the state legislature into session to call for secession. However, the elected legislative body was split between pro-Union and pro-Confederate. As such, few of the pro-unionist attended the session called in Neosho, and the ordinance of secession was quickly adopted. The Confederacy recognized Missouri secession 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 twenty who 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 and 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
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
in St. Louis was the world's largest and busiest train station when it opened in 1894.
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 the 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 statutes, 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. Several 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
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.
In 2014, Missouri received national attention for the protests and riots
that followed the shooting of Michael Brown
by a police officer of Ferguson
which led Governor Jay Nixon
to call out the Missouri National Guard
A grand jury
declined to indict
the officer, and the U.S. Department of Justice
concluded, after careful investigation, that the police officer legitimately feared for his safety.
However, in a separate investigation, the Department of Justice also found that the Ferguson Police Department and the City of Ferguson relied on unconstitutional practices in order to balance the city's budget through racially motivated excessive fines and punishments,
that the Ferguson police "had used excessive and dangerous force and had disproportionately targeted blacks,"
and that the municipal court "emphasized revenue over public safety, leading to routine breaches of citizens' constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law."
On June 7, 2017, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
issued a warning to prospective African-American travelers to Missouri. This is the first NAACP warning ever covering an entire state.
According to a 2018 report by the Missouri Attorney General
's office, for the past 18 years, "African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are disproportionately affected by stops, searches and arrests."
The same report found that the biggest discrepancy was in 2017, when "black motorists were 85% more likely to be pulled over in traffic stops".
In 2018 the USDA announced its plans to relocate Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) to Kansas City. They have since decided on a specific location in downtown Kansas City, MO.
With the addition of the KC Streetcar project and construction of the Sprint Center Arena, the downtown area in KC has attracted investment in new offices, hotels, and residential complexes. Both Kansas City and Saint Louis are undergoing a rebirth in their downtown areas with the addition of the new Power & Light (KC) and Ballpark Village (STL) districts and the renovation of existing historical buildings in each downtown area.
The 2019 announcement of an MLS expansion team in Saint Louis is driving even more development in the downtown west area of Saint Louis.
Missouri is landlocked and borders eight different states, a figure equaled only by its neighbor, Tennessee. Missouri is bounded by Iowa
on the north; by Illinois
, and Tennessee
across the Mississippi River on the east; on the south by Arkansas
; and by Oklahoma
, and Nebraska
(the last across the Missouri River) on the west. Whereas the northern and southern boundaries are straight lines, the Missouri Bootheel
extends south between the St. Francis
and the Mississippi
rivers. The two largest 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 of Kansas City and St. Louis.
Although today it is usually considered part of the Midwest
Missouri was historically seen by many as a border state
, chiefly because of the settlement of migrants from the South and its status as a slave state before the Civil War, balanced by the influence of St. Louis. 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 101,000 acres (410 km2
), giving it $7.41 million in annual revenues, 26.6% of its operating expenditures.
A physiographic map of Missouri
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 known as the Missouri Bootheel
region, which is part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain or Mississippi embayment
. This region is the lowest, flattest, warmest, and wettest part of the state. It is also among the poorest, as the economy there 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 and 1812
Köppen climate types of Missouri
Missouri generally has a humid continental climate
with cool, sometimes cold, winters and hot, humid, and wet summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel
, the climate becomes humid subtropical
. Located in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extreme 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
on July 14, 1954, while the lowest recorded temperature is −40 °F (−40 °C) also at Warsaw on February 13, 1905.
Located in Tornado Alley
, Missouri also receives extreme weather in the form of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. On May 22, 2011, a massive EF-5 tornado
, killed 158 people and destroyed roughly one-third of the city of Joplin
. The tornado caused an estimated $1–3 billion in damages, killed 159 people and injured more than a thousand. It was the first EF5 to hit the state since 1957 and the deadliest in the U.S. since 1947, making it the seventh deadliest tornado in American history and 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 that damaged Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
on April 22, 2011. One of the worst tornadoes in American history
struck St. Louis on May 27, 1896, killing at least 255 and causing $10 million in damage (equivalent to $3.9 billion in 2009 or $4.65 billion in today's dollars).
The Lake of the Ozarks
is one of several man-made lakes in Missouri, created by the damming of several rivers and tributaries. The lake has a surface area of 54,000 acres and 1,150 miles of shoreline and has become a popular tourist destination.
Recreational and commercial uses of public forests, including grazing, logging, and mining, increased after World War II. Fishermen, hikers, campers, and others started lobbying to protect forest areas with a "wilderness character." During the 1930s and 1940s Aldo Leopold
, Arthur Carhart
and Bob Marshall
developed a "wilderness" policy for the Forest Service. Their efforts bore fruit with the Wilderness Act of 1964
, which designated wilderness areas "where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by men, where man himself is a visitor and does not remain." This included second growth
public forests like the Mark Twain National Forest
Missouri population density map
Missouri had a population of 5,988,927, according to the 2010 Census; an increase of 137,525 (2.3 percent) since the year 2010. From 2010 to 2018, 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. More than 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).
Missouri racial breakdown of population
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
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, 25.5 percent younger than 18, and 13.5 percent 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 homeownership 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 was 14.0 percent (1,018,118) of Missourians living below the poverty line in 2010.
The mean commute time to work was 23.8 minutes.
In 2011, 28.1% of Missouri's population younger than age 1 were minorities.
Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.
Live Births by Single Race/Ethnicity of Mother
Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic
origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic
group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
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.
Religion in Missouri (2014)
According to a Pew Research study
conducted in 2014, 80% of Missourians identify with a religion. 77% affiliate with Christianity and its various denominations and the other 3% are adherents of non-Christian religions. The remaining 20% have no religion, with 2% specifically identifying as atheists and 3% identifying as agnostics (the other 15% do not identify as "anything in particular").
The religious demographics of Missouri are as follows:
- Christian 77%
- Protestant 58%
- Evangelical Protestant 36%
- Mainline Protestant 16%
- Historically Black Protestant 6%
- Catholic 16%
- Mormon 1%
- Orthodox Christian <1%
- Jehovah's Witness <1%
- Other Christian <1%
- Non-Christian Religions 3%
- Jewish <1%
- Muslim <1%
- Buddhist 1%
- Hindu <1%
- Other World Religions <1%
- Unaffiliated (No religion) 20%
- Atheist 2%
- Agnostic 3%
- Nothing in particular 15%
- Don't know <1%
Among the other denominations there are approximately 93,000 Mormons in 253 congregations, 25,000 Jewish adherents in 21 synagogues
, 12,000 Muslims in 39 masjids
, 7,000 Buddhists in 34 temples, 20,000 Hindus in 17 temples, 2,500 Unitarians
in nine congregations, 2,000 of the Baháʼí Faith
in 17 temples, five Sikh
temples, a Zoroastrian
temple, a Jain
temple and an uncounted number of neopagans
- Total employment in 2016: 2,494,720
- Total Number of employer establishments in 2016: 160,912
The U.S. Department of Commerce
's Bureau of Economic Analysis
estimated Missouri's 2016 gross state product
at $299.1 billion, ranking 22nd among U.S. states. Per capita personal income
in 2006 was $32,705,
ranking 26th in the nation. Major industries include aerospace
, transportation equipment
, food processing
, printing/publishing, electrical equipment
, light manufacturing
, financial services
The agriculture products of the state are beef, soybeans
, pork, dairy products
, poultry, sorghum
, 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
. According to the Missouri Partnership, Missouri's agriculture industry contributes $33 billion in GDP to Missouri's economy, and generates $88 billion in sales and more than 378,000 jobs.
Missouri has vast quantities of limestone
. Other resources mined are lead, coal, and crushed stone
. Missouri produces the most lead of all 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
The Landing, located on Lake Taneycomo
in Branson, Missouri
. Branson is a popular tourist destination for live music, entertainment theaters, natural recreation, and shopping.
Missouri also has a growing science, agricultural technology, and biotechnology field. Monsanto
, formerly one of the largest biotech companies in America, was based in St. Louis
until it was acquired by Bayer AG
in 2018. It is now part of the Crop Science Division of Bayer Corporation
, Bayer’s U.S. subsidiary.
Missouri state quarter (reverse)
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).
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April 2017 was 3.9 percent.
In 2017, Missouri became a right-to-work state,
but in August 2018, Missouri voters rejected a right-to-work law
with 67% to 33%.
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 purely charitable purposes. There is no inheritance tax
and limited Missouri estate tax
related to federal estate tax
In 2017, the Tax Foundation rated Missouri as having the 5th-best corporate tax index,
and the 15th-best overall tax climate.
Missouri's corporate income tax rate is 6.25%; however, 50% of federal income tax payments may be deducted before computing taxable income, leading to an effective rate of 5.2%.
In 2012, Missouri had roughly 22,000 MW of installed electricity generation capacity.
In 2011, 82% of Missouri's electricity was generated by coal
Ten percent was generated from the state's only nuclear power plant
the Callaway Plant
in Callaway County, northeast of Jefferson City
. Five percent was generated by natural gas
One percent was generated by hydroelectric
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.
As of 2016, Missouri's solar installations had reached 141 MW.
Two of the nation's three busiest rail centers are in Missouri. Kansas City
is a major railroad hub for BNSF Railway
, Norfolk Southern Railway
, Kansas City Southern Railway
, and Union Pacific Railroad
, and every class 1 railroad serves Missouri. 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.
passenger trains serve Kansas City
, La Plata
, Jefferson City
, St. Louis
, Lee's Summit
, 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. The KC Streetcar
in downtown Kansas City opened in May 2016.
The proposed Missouri Hyperloop
would connect St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia, reducing travel times to around a half hour.
Many cities have regular fixed-route systems, and many rural counties have rural public transit services. Greyhound
provide inter-city bus service in Missouri. Megabus
serves St. Louis, but discontinued service to Columbia and Kansas City in 2015.
The Mississippi River and Missouri River are commercially navigable over their entire lengths in Missouri. The Missouri was channelized through dredging and jetties, 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.
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 to 2011 traffic deaths have decreased annually from 1,257 in 2005, to 1,096 in 2006, to 992 in 2007, to 960 in 2008, to 878 in 2009, to 821 in 2010, to 786 in 2011.
Law and government
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 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 State Auditor Tom Schweich
in 2015, only one of Missouri's statewide elected offices is held by a DemocratNicole Galloway
Former status as a political bellwether
Missouri was 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 from 1904 to 2004 with a single exception: 1956
when Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson
of neighboring Illinois lost the election despite carrying Missouri. However, in recent years, areas of the state outside Kansas City, St. Louis, and Columbia have shifted heavily to the right, and so the state is no longer considered a bellwether by most analysts. Missouri twice voted against Democrat Barack Obama
, who won in 2008 and 2012. Missouri voted for Mitt Romney
by nearly 10% in 2012 and voted for Donald Trump
by almost 18% in 2016 and 15% in 2020.
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 (however their offices are currently held by Republicans Josh Hawley and Mike Parson respectively). On November 8, 2016, there were 4,223,787 registered voters, with 2,811,549 voting (66.6%).
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results (1900–2020)
Laissez-faire alcohol and tobacco laws
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 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 outside of 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 has 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. 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 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 July 2016), Missouri has the lowest cigarette excise taxes in the United States, at 17 cents per pack,
and the state electorate voted in 2002, 2006, 2012, and twice in 2016 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.
of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election
Missouri Cannabis Laws
In 2014, a Republican-led legislature and Democratic governor Jay Nixon
enacted a series of laws to partially decriminalize possession of cannabis by making first-time possession of up to 10 grams no longer punishable with jail time and legalizing CBD
oil. In November 2018, 66% of voters approved
a constitutional amendment that established a right to medical marijuana and a system for licensing, regulating, and taxing medical marijuana.
Missouri has 114 counties and one independent city
, St. Louis, which is Missouri's most densely populated—5,140 people per square mile.
The largest counties by population are St. Louis
(698,895), and St. Charles
(395,504). Worth County is the smallest (2,057).
Cities and towns
Jefferson City is the capital city of Missouri, while the state's five largest cities are Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia
, and Independence.
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 its counties are in Illinois. As of 2019, St. Louis was the 21st-largest metropolitan area
in the nation with 2.91 million people. However, if ranked using Combined Statistical Area
, it is 20th-largest with 2.91 million people
in 2019. Some of the major cities making up the St. Louis metro area in Missouri are O'Fallon
, St. Charles
, St. Peters
, University City
, and Ballwin
Kansas City is Missouri's largest city and the principal city of the fourteen-county Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area
, including five counties in the state of Kansas. As of 2019, it was the 31st-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 2.16 million people. In the Combined Statistical Area
in 2019, it ranked 27th with 2.51 million. Some of the other major cities comprising the Kansas City metro area in Missouri include Independence
, Lee's Summit
, Blue Springs
, and Grandview
Springfield is Missouri's third-largest city and the principal city of the Springfield-Branson Metropolitan Area
, which has a population of 549,423 and includes seven counties in southwestern Missouri. Branson
is a major tourist attraction in the Ozarks
in southwest Missouri. Some of the other major cities comprising the Springfield-Branson metro area include Nixa
, and Republic
Missouri State Board of Education
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.
Primary and secondary schools
Education is compulsory from ages seven to seventeen. It is required that any parent, guardian, or another person with custody of a child between the ages of seven and seventeen, the compulsory attendance age for the district, must ensure 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 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 school 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
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
Colleges and universities
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 was chiefly expressed through football and basketball games between the two universities, but since Missouri left the Big 12 Conference
in 2012, the teams no longer regularly play one another. It was the oldest college rivalry west of the Mississippi River
and the second-oldest in the nation. Each year when the universities met to play, the game was coined the "Border War." Following the game, an exchange occurred where the winner took a historic Indian War Drum, which had been passed back and forth for decades. Though Missouri and Kansas no longer have an annual game after the University of Missouri moved to the Southeastern Conference
, rivalry still exists between them.
A tree map depicting Missouri schools sized by total awarded degrees relative to the total degrees awarded in Missouri. Data sourced from the 2014 NCES IPEDS
report authored by the US Dept. of Education
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 Griswolds' 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 Carpenter
's Escape from New York
was filmed in St. Louis during the early 1980s due to a large number of abandoned buildings in the city. The 1973 movie Paper Moon
, which starred Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, was partly filmed in St. Joseph. Most of HBO's film Truman
(1995) was filmed in Kansas City, Independence, and the surrounding area; Gary Sinise won an Emmy for his portrayal of Harry Truman in the film. Ride With the Devil
(1999), starring Jewel and Tobey Maguire, was filmed in the countryside of Jackson County (where the historical events of the film actually took place). Gone Girl
, a 2014 film starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry, was filmed in Cape Girardeau
A mural honoring the Kansas City Chiefs on the wall of the Westport Alehouse in Kansas City, MO.
Professional major league teams:
Former professional major league teams:
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