Arkansas is a state in the Southern United States with a population of 2,990,671 and land area of 52,035 square miles. It ranks as the 19th smallest state by population and the 24th smallest state by area.
Race and Ethnicity
According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 72.70% of state residents identify as white, 15.30% as Black or African American, 0.60% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.50% as Asian, 0.30% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 7.30% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.40% as some other race or combination of races.
Nationally, some 61.1% of Americans identify as white, 12.3% as Black or African American, 0.7% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.4% as Asian, 0.2% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 17.8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% as some other race or combination of races.
Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in Arkansas include American, Irish, German, English, and French. Measured by location quotient -- comparing the state share to the national share -- some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in Arkansas are Dutch West Indian, Cajun, and American.
Native and foreign-born population
An estimated 95.20% of Arkansas residents are native-born, meaning they were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area, or abroad to a U.S. citizen.
Of the 4.80% of the population that is foreign-born, 32.00% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Nationwide, 86.5% of Americans are native-born. And of the 13.5% of Americans who are foreign-born, 48.8% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
The population of Arkansas is about as old as the United States as a whole. The median age in the state is 37.9 years old, equivalent to the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 16.30% of the population is 65 years and over, compared to 15.2% of the U.S. population.
Family and household composition
Family and household composition also varies heavily across the United States. In Arkansas, 48.50% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 4.60% of households are occupied by single male householders, 13.30% by single female householders, and 33.60% by non-family occupants. Nationwide, 4.9% of households are occupied by single male householders, 12.6% by single female householders, and 34.3% by non-family occupants. An estimated 65.70% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.
As is the case across the United States, English is the most commonly spoken language in Arkansas. Of the 2,800,400 people aged 5 and up living in Arkansas, 96.7% speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. Not only is English the predominantly spoken language in the state, its usage is even more common than it is nationwide where an average of 91.5% of the 5 and older population only speaks English, or speak it very well.
Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States. In Arkansas, 5.3% of the population aged 5 and older speaks Spanish, the 25th smallest share among all states. Nationwide, 13.3% of all Americans in the same age group speak Spanish.
Residents of Arkansas are more likely to be married than the typical American. Of the 2.4 million Arkansas residents aged 15 and older, 49.8% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Divorceis also more common in the state than it is nationwide. In Arkansas, 13% of the 15 and older population is divorced, compared to the 10.8% share of the same age group across the U.S. as a whole.
An estimated 27.9% of Arkansas residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of Americans in the same age group.
In Arkansas, 8.9% of the 18 and over population are veterans -- above the 7.5% of adult civilians who have served in the military nationwide. Compared to other states, Arkansas is home to the 19th largest share of military veterans.
As is the case nationwide, the largest share of veterans living in the state served in the Vietnam era. Of Arkansas’s 202,600 resident veterans, 3.6% served in World War II, 38.1% served in the Vietnam War, 20.7% served in the period between the beginning of the Gulf War and 2001, and 17.8% served since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. An additional 16,900 men and women served during the Korean War.
In Arkansas, adults are less likely to have a high school education than the typical American adult, and are also less likely to have a four-year college education. Among Arkansas residents 25 and older, 86.2% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 22.6% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively.
Though it is not always the case, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment rates across broad populations -- and Arkansas is no exception. With a lower than average bachelor’s degree attainment rate, the state also has a lower than average median income. The typical household in Arkansas earns $45,726 a year, about $14,600 less than the national median household income of $60,293.
Additionally, Arkansas has a lower than average concentration of wealthy residents. An estimated 3.3% of households in the state earn $200,000 or more annually, compared to 7.0% of households nationwide.
With the lower than average median household income, serious financial hardship is more common in the state than it is nationwide. The poverty rate in Arkansas stands at 17.6%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%.
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