|City of Little Rock|
Clockwise from top: Little Rock skyline, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, War Memorial Stadium, the River Market District, and the Arkansas State Capitol
|Nickname(s): The Rock, Rock Town, LR|
Location in Pulaski County and the state of Arkansas
|• City||116.8 sq mi (302.5 km2)|
|• Land||116.2 sq mi (300.9 km2)|
|• Metro||4,090.34 sq mi (10,593.94 km2)|
|Elevation||335 ft (102 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||199,500|
|• Rank||US: 118th|
|• Urban||431,388 (US: 88th)|
|• Metro||724,385 (US: 75th)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP code(s)||72002, 72103, 72201, 72202, 72204, 72205, 72206, 72207, 72209, 72210, 72211, 72212, 72223, 72227|
|GNIS feature ID||0083350|
|Major airport||Adams Field (LIT)|
Little Rock is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is also the county seat of Pulaski County. It was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the geographic center of the state. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named "le petit rocher" by the French in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 193,524 at the 2010 census. The six county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 75th in terms of population in the United States with 724,385 residents according to the 2013 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.
Little Rock is a cultural, economic, government, and transportation center within Arkansas and the South. Several cultural institutions are located in Little Rock, such as the Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the hiking, boating, and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Little Rock's history is available through history museums, historic districts or neighborhoods like the Quapaw Quarter, and historic sites such as Little Rock Central High School. The city is the headquarters of Dillard's, Windstream Communications, Acxiom, Stephens Inc., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Heifer International, the Clinton Foundation, and the Rose Law Firm. Other large corporations, such as Dassault Falcon Jet and LM Wind Power have large operations in the city. State government is a large employer, with many offices being located in downtown Little Rock. Two Interstate highways, Interstate 30 and Interstate 40, meet in Little Rock, with the Port of Little Rock serving as a shipping hub.
Little Rock derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called "le petit rocher" (French: "the little rock"). The "little rock" was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing. The "little rock" is across the river from "big rock," a large bluff at the edge of the river, which was once used as a rock quarry.
Archeological artifacts provide evidence of Native Americans inhabiting Central Arkansas for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. The early inhabitants may have been the Folsom people, Bluff Dwellers, and Mississippian culture peoples who built earthwork mounds recorded in 1541 by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. Historical tribes of the area were the Caddo, Quapaw, Osage, Choctaw, and Cherokee.
Little Rock was named for a stone outcropping on the bank of the Arkansas River used by early travelers as a landmark. Le Petit Rocher (French for "the Little Rock"), named in 1722 by French explorer and trader Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, marked the transition from the flat Mississippi Delta region to the Ouachita Mountain foothills. Travelers referred to the area as "the Little Rock," and the landmark name stuck.
Little Rock is located at(34.736009, −92.331122).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 116.8 square miles (303 km2), of which, 116.2 square miles (301 km2) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) of it (0.52%) is water.
Little Rock is located on the south bank of the Arkansas River in Central Arkansas. Fourche Creek and Rock Creek run through the city, and flow into the river. The western part of the city is located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Northwest of the city limits are Pinnacle Mountain and Lake Maumelle, which provides Little Rock's drinking water.
The city of North Little Rock is located just across the river from Little Rock, but it is a separate city. North Little Rock was once the 8th ward of Little Rock. An Arkansas Supreme Court decision on February 6, 1904, allowed the ward to merge with the neighboring town of North Little Rock. The merged town quickly renamed itself Argenta (the local name for the former 8th Ward), but returned to its original name in October 1917.
Inside Little Rock's city limits, there are numerous different neighborhoods. They are Apple Gate, Birchwood, Breckenridge, Broadmoor, Brodie Creek, Candlewood, Capitol Hill, Capitol View, Capitol View/Stifft's Station, Chenal Ridge, Cloverdale, Colony West, Downtown, East End, Echo Valley, Fair Park, Foxcroft, Geyer Springs, Gibraltar Heights, Granite Mountain, Gum Springs, Hall High, The Heights, Highland Park, Hillcrest, John Barrow, Leawood, Mabelvale, Mushroom Pass, Oak Forest, Otter Creek, Parkway Place, Pleasant Valley, Quapaw Quarter, River Mountain, River Ridge, Riverdale, Robinwood, Rock Creek, Rosedale, St. Charles, Santa Fe Heights, South End, South Little Rock, Southwest Little Rock, Stagecoach, Sturbridge, University District, the Villages of Wellington, Wakefield, West End and Woodland Edge.
The 2013 U.S. Census population estimate for the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area was 724,385. The MSA covers the following counties: Pulaski, Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, and Saline. The largest cities are Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Jacksonville, Benton, Sherwood, Cabot, Maumelle, and Bryant.
Little Rock lies in the humid subtropical climate zone, with hot, humid summers and mild winters, with usually little snow. It has experienced temperatures as low as −12 °F (−24 °C), which was recorded on February 12, 1899, and as high as 114 °F (46 °C), which was recorded on August 3, 2011.
|Climate data for Little Rock (Little Rock Nat'l Airport), 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1875−present|
|Record high °F (°C)||83
|Average high °F (°C)||50.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||40.8
|Average low °F (°C)||31.2
|Record low °F (°C)||−8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.55
|Snowfall inches (cm)||1.6
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||8.9||9.1||9.8||9.4||11.1||8.7||8.2||6.4||7.3||8.2||8.9||9.7||105.7|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.6||0.6||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||1.7|
|Source: NOAA (sun 1961−1990 at North Little Rock Airport), The Weather Channel|
As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 52.7% of Little Rock's population; of which 49.4% were non-Hispanic whites, down from 74.1% in 1970. Blacks or African Americans made up 42.1% of Little Rock's population, with 42.0% being non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.4% of Little Rock's population while Asian Americans made up 2.1% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 1.2% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.4% of the city's population; of which 1.1% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 4.7% of Little Rock's population.
As of the 2010 census, there were 193,524 people, 77,352 households, and 46,488 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,576.0 people per square mile (608.5/km²). There were 84,793 housing units at an average density of 729.7 per square mile (281.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.9% White, 42.3% Black, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 2.7% of the population is Hispanic or Latino.
There were 77,352 households, out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,572, and the median income for a family was $47,446. Males had a median income of $35,689 versus $26,802 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,209. 14.3% of the population is below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.9% of those under the age of 18 and 9.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Arts and culture
- See also: Culture of Arkansas
Kiplinger names Little Rock as the #1 place to live among metropolitan areas under one million people in July 2013.
Many cultural sites are located in Little Rock, including:
- Arkansas Arboretum – Located at Pinnacle Mountain, it has a trail with flora and tree plantings.
- Arkansas Arts Center – The state's largest art museum, containing drawings, collections, children's theater productions, works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and other works in eight art galleries, a museum school, gift shop and restaurant.
- Community Theatre of Little Rock – Founded in 1956, it is the area's oldest performance art company.
- Arkansas Repertory Theatre – The state's largest professional, not-for-profit theatre company, in its 34th season. "The Rep" produces works such as contemporary comedies, dramas, world premiers, and dramatic literature.
- Arkansas Symphony Orchestra – In its 41st season, the orchestra performs over 30 concerts a year and many events.
- Ballet Arkansas – The state's only professional ballet company.
- Heifer International – Headquarters of the global hunger and poverty relief organization, located adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Center
- Quapaw Quarter – Start of the 20th century Little Rock consists of three National Register historic districts with at least a hundred buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Robinson Center Music Hall – The main performance center of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
- Villa Marre – Built in 1881, it comprises Italianate and Second Empire styles refurbished in the 1960s and shown in the opening scenes of the television show "Designing Women."
- Wildwood Park for the Arts – The largest park dedicated to the performing arts in the South. It features seasonal festivals and cultural events.
- The Arkansas Arts Center, the state's largest cultural institution, is a museum of art and an active center for the visual and performing arts.
- The Museum of Discovery features hands-on exhibits in the fields of science, history and technology.
- The William J. Clinton Presidential Center includes the Clinton presidential library and the offices of the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton School of Public Service. The Library facility, designed by architect James Polshek, cantilevers over the Arkansas River, echoing Clinton's campaign promise of "building a bridge to the 21st century". The archives and library contains 2 million photographs, 80 million pages of documents, 21 million e-mail messages, and nearly 80,000 artifacts from the Clinton presidency. The museum within the library showcases artifacts from Clinton's term and has a full-scale replica of the Clinton-era Oval Office. Opened on November 18, 2004, the Clinton Presidential Center cost $165 million to construct and covers 150,000 square feet (14,000 m²) within a 28-acre (113,000 m²) park.
- The Historic Arkansas Museum is a regional history museum focusing primarily on the frontier time period.
- The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History opened in 2001, the last remaining structure of the original Little Rock Arsenal and one of the oldest buildings in central Arkansas, it was the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur who went on to be the supreme commander of US forces in the South Pacific during World War II.
- The Old State House Museum is a former state capitol building now home to a history museum focusing on Arkansas' recent history.
- The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is a state operated history museum focusing on African American history and culture in Arkansas.
Founded in 1976, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state's largest nonprofit professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT D), The Rep has produced more than 300 productions, such as 40 world premieres, in its building located in downtown Little Rock. Producing Artistic Director, Robert Hupp leads a resident staff of designers, technicians and administrators in the creation of eight to ten productions for an annual audience in excess of 70,000 for MainStage productions, educational programming and touring. The Rep produces works that range from contemporary comedies and dramas to world premiers and the classics of dramatic literature.
Outside magazine named Little Rock one of its 2013 Best Towns. Dozens of parks such as Pinnacle Mountain State Park are located in Little Rock.
- American Taekwondo Association World Headquarters. The American Taekwondo Association [ATA] is based in Little Rock where it hosts the World Taekwondo Championships each summer. The ATA World Headquarters is also headquarters for all of the Songahm Taekwondo organizations such as the American Taekwondo Association, the Songahm Taekwondo Federation and the World Traditional Taekwondo Union. These combined organizations have millions of members in the USA and worldwide.
- Arkansas River Trail
- Arkansas State Capitol – a neo-classical structure with many restored interior spaces, constructed from 1899 to 1915.
- Big Dam Bridge – The longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in North America that has never been used by cars or trucks.
- Clinton Presidential Library
- Heifer International
- Little Rock Marathon
- Little Rock Zoo – Consists of at least 725 animals and over 200 species.
- Pinnacle Mountain State Park
- Willow Springs Water Park – one of the first water theme parks in the U.S. built in 1928.
- A poster traced back to the Cicada 3301 mystery was discovered in downtown Little Rock.
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan – 1983
- Hanam, Gyeonggi, South Korea – 1992
- Changchun, People's Republic of China – 1994
- Ragusa, Italy (Emeritus)
- Mons, Belgium (Emeritus)
- Pachuca, Mexico (Emeritus)
- Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom – 1999
- La Petite-Pierre, France (Emeritus)
Images for kids
Little Rock, Arkansas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.