Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

johnnydr87

Central Arkansas vs. Northwest Arkansas

Recommended Posts

I was wondering what you guys thought about this. Sorry I resorted to "vs." threads, but it makes for an interesting discussion!

You always hear about the differences between central and northwest Arkansas. I've heard Little Rock leaders complain about how much coverage northwest arkansas is getting because of its growth. As I've said many times the northwest's population should out grow Central Arkansas' by 2025.

I personally prefer central Arkansas because of its long history and because it's more dense. Little Rock is the only "urban" city in Arkansas, while the northwest seems more like a giant suburb.

I think that's what separates cities like Little Rock or Memphis from fast growing regions like NW Arkansas. Since the cities started their growth several decades ago, they have many historic buildings which made up the urban core. That's why Little Rock has a nice downtown. If you wanted to create a downtown at the central point of NW Arkansas, what type of buildings would be built? Imagining a downtown completely made up of glass buildings and conventionial architecture would be kind of dreary. And financial parks suck.

In Little Rock, I know that the downtown is very integrated. There are blacks, whites, asians, middle easterners, etc everywhere. Pretty much all the time, every visit. Going to the rivermarket farmer's market (which was extremely packed and full of vendors everywhere), I saw probably: 50% white vendors, 30% black vendors (surprised me), 10% asian vendors (really surprised me), 10% others (Hispanic etc.). I would say there were even more black farmers than white farmers, but many more whites selling other goods besides farm goods. I ate at a Middle Eastern place in the River Market hall, my mom at a Japanese stand.

I saw a large amount of Latinos walking downtown last time I went, obviously because of the LULAC convention. I also saw a large amount of Asian tourists...I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing the Clinton library. There were some of independent acts here and there playing instruments and other little things for pocket change. Downtown Little Rock had characteristics of cities like New York, and it was absolutely awsome.

In my travels to Northwest Arkansas, there was always the feeling of economic progress, but none of the culture. There were lots of whites, and a few blacks and Asians dotting the landscape here and there. I might be wrong, but the area does not seem very integrated. I will not go into the reasons why, but I have my theories.

Anyhoo, I'll stop now. Remember, I'm not trying to be an antagonist. I'm an Arkansan patriot and definitely love Northwest Arkansas more than anything in Oklahoma :-) . I just want to get a discussion going.

My main question is, will northwest Arkansas ever develop something similar culturally and density-wise to Little Rock?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Well you beat me to my 'ace in my sleeve'. I had planned on doing this topic ever since there was an Arkansas forum, but was waiting till things took off before I started. But since there has been some lag recently might as well go for it. I'll post some responses later when I get off work. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay as far as northwest Arkansas being very 'integrated', it's not. Although there is a large hispanic population here now. But the Ozarks have had a long history of being 'white'. Most of that had to do with the land. Very little land is suitable for agriculture and certainly not for plantations so there were few black slaves. To be honest most of the white population comes from the Scotch-Irish. Most other Europeans immigrants didn't think there was much useable land so they went elsewhere. I guess maybe it also doesn't help that the Scotch-Irish sometimes have a tendency to be 'clannish' and kept to themselves. But anyway until the economy picked up here in northwest Arkansas there certainly wasn't much drive for any new people to show up into the area. I think northwest Arkansas is certainly becoming more diverse as time goes on. It's just taking longer because of it's history. The university here in Fayetteville has helped increase a feeling of diversity here in Fayetteville. The Fulbright Program I believe was one of the first to really make strides into bringing international students into the American univeristies. Granted few of the international students tend to stay. Although I hope that as the economy grows here more will be willing to stay. Just remember we do have more hispanics here in northwest Arkansas than central Arkansas. We also have more Native Americans also. Springdale has the largest Marshallese population outside the Marshall Islands.

You are correct on the description of northwest Arkansas feeling like the suburbs. Without any one dominant city it does hinder having a more centralized urban area. I do think northwest Arkansas does lack in some ways compared to Little Rock. We don't have all the 'perks' that a city like Little Rock has. Although I also think being the capitol has also helped Little Rock in many ways. But you also have to look at all the studies that always seem to rank northwest Arkansas very highly. I believe there was yet another in the last week that ranked the Fayetteville metro in the top 10 in the mid-sized metros. Northwest Arkansas has always had the lowest unemployment rates in the state. I can't remember it ever being above 3.6% since I've lived here the last 12 years. There was also another study ranking Fayetteville at number 11 as the less stressful metro to live. We've also had very low crime rates compared to most other areas.

I think one reason people in Little Rock have problems with northwest Arkansas is because Little Rock has always been the center of attention in the state. Until recently there never was another area that it any way could compete and I think people in Little Rock got used to that. I also think people in northwest Arkansas are frustrated by Little Rock and central Arkansas because we feel we are off in the corner and have been sometimes ignored. Personally I prefer northwest Arkansas, although I do wish at times we had some of the amenities that Little Rock has. Although I think given time things well keep getting better up here. I'm not sure if how dense northwest Arkansas will get in the future. There are still many people who seem hesitant to try to become another 'Little Rock'. There were quite a few people who didn't like the idea of I-540 becoming 6 to 8 lanes. There seems to be a feeling that some development is okay but at the same time a resistance to becoming overly urban at the same time. Personally I'd like to see northwest Arkansas become more dense and urban and not sprawl out into the neighboring counties and keeping that suburb type feel. But I'm not sure how willing all the cities involved in working together. Each city seems to have a particular 'feel' to it and a sense of staying independant from the other cities. I think eventually northwest Arkansas will have to look into becoming more of a urban area, but I think it might take longer than it should also.

By the way there is some history in northwest Arkansas too. But because this area didn't grow like Little Rock did when it became the capitol there isn't as much of it. But Fayetteville isn't that much younger than Little Rock. It has also has historical areas, just on a smaller scale because Fayetteville stayed small for a longer period of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been a little surprised that there seem to be a number of people here in northwest Arkansas who don't think too highly of Little Rock and central Arkansas. I wouldn't say they hate it or anything but it doesn't seem to be anywhere many of them would prefer to go. Now before I go on I would like to say not everyone is that way, but I have been surprised there seems to be more than just a few. Some of it seems to come from an attitude Little Rock being the 'big city' as far as Arkansas standards. There do seem to be a lot of people who want northwest Arkansas to not be quite so 'urban'. I also think some people have gotten a little spoiled by the low crime rate and freak out thinking something will happen to them if the go down there. I hear a lot of jokes about me being shot at anytime I go visit family in Pine Bluff. Although Pine Bluff is a different story. To finally get to my own personal view. I have been somewhat frustrated that we seem to sometimes be overlooked. It used to be a lot worse in the past than it is now. I think it will take a different mindset for people to get used to the fact that in the future not everything will necessarily revolve around Little Rock. I could see how people in Little Rock might be tired of hearing about northwest Arkansas though. Especially when there's talk of Benton County passing up Pulaski County and so on. But as I said before I think people in Little Rock have gotten used to being the center of attention because there wasn't anything else in Arkansas that was even remotely close to the size of Little Rock. I just hope when it comes to getting funding for projects here in northwest Arkansas we won't be 'forgotten' off in our corner of the state. I think there is great potential here in northwest Arkansas I'd hate to see all the growth die off because we can't get the funding to help build all of the infrastructure needed to keep up with all the growth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay as far as northwest Arkansas being very 'integrated', it's not.  Although there is a large hispanic population here now.  But the Ozarks have had a long history of being 'white'.  Most of that had to do with the land.  Very little land is suitable for agriculture and certainly not for plantations so there were few black slaves.  To be honest most of the white population comes from the Scotch-Irish.  Most other Europeans immigrants didn't think there was much useable land so they went elsewhere.  I guess maybe it also doesn't help that the Scotch-Irish sometimes have a tendency to be 'clannish' and kept to themselves.  But anyway until the economy picked up here in northwest Arkansas there certainly wasn't much drive for any new people to show up into the area.  I think northwest Arkansas is certainly becoming more diverse as time goes on.  It's just taking longer because of it's history.  The university here in Fayetteville has helped increase a feeling of diversity here in Fayetteville.  The Fulbright Program I believe was one of the first to really make strides into bringing international students into the American univeristies.  Granted few of the international students tend to stay.  Although I hope that as the economy grows here more will be willing to stay.  Just remember we do have more hispanics here in northwest Arkansas than central Arkansas.  We also have more Native Americans also.  Springdale has the largest Marshallese population outside the Marshall Islands. 

You are correct on the description of northwest Arkansas feeling like the suburbs.  Without any one dominant city it does hinder having a more centralized urban area.  I do think northwest Arkansas does lack in some ways compared to Little Rock.  We don't have all the 'perks' that a city like Little Rock has.  Although I also think being the capitol has also helped Little Rock in many ways.  But you also have to look at all the studies that always seem to rank northwest Arkansas very highly.  I believe there was yet another in the last week that ranked the Fayetteville metro in the top 10 in the mid-sized metros.  Northwest Arkansas has always had the lowest unemployment rates in the state.  I can't remember it ever being above 3.6% since I've lived here the last 12 years.  There was also another study ranking Fayetteville at number 11 as the less stressful metro to live.  We've also had very low crime rates compared to most other areas.

I think one reason people in Little Rock have problems with northwest Arkansas is because Little Rock has always been the center of attention in the state.  Until recently there never was another area that it any way could compete and I think people in Little Rock got used to that.  I also think people in northwest Arkansas are frustrated by Little Rock and central Arkansas because we feel we are off in the corner and have been sometimes ignored.  Personally I prefer northwest Arkansas, although I do wish at times we had some of the amenities that Little Rock has.  Although I think given time things well keep getting better up here.  I'm not sure if how dense northwest Arkansas will get in the future.  There are still many people who seem hesitant to try to become another 'Little Rock'.  There were quite a few people who didn't like the idea of I-540 becoming 6 to 8 lanes.  There seems to be a feeling that some development is okay but at the same time a resistance to becoming overly urban at the same time.  Personally I'd like to see northwest Arkansas become more dense and urban and not sprawl out into the neighboring counties and keeping that suburb type feel.  But I'm not sure how willing all the cities involved in working together.  Each city seems to have a particular 'feel' to it and a sense of staying independant from the other cities.  I think eventually northwest Arkansas will have to look into becoming more of a urban area, but I think it might take longer than it should also.

By the way there is some history in northwest Arkansas too.  But because this area didn't grow like Little Rock did when it became the capitol there isn't as much of it.  But Fayetteville isn't that much younger than Little Rock.  It has also has historical areas, just on a smaller scale because Fayetteville stayed  small for a longer period of time.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The University of Arkansas is doing a pretty good job with diversity, from what I've heard. Last night they were mentioned on "Now" on PBS. The story was about the Earth Conservation Corp in Washington D.C. made up of inner city students. A lot of interesting stuff. They're brought from their home and shown the beauty of the environment. On average, one member dies per year just because of gang vioence. The main character was an African American who had grown a strong love for biology because of the program. The U of A was impressed and gave him a full scholarship. Sadly he died; it turned out he had leukemia, but without health insurance, he was never able to catch it before spreading. So the U of A offers two full scholarships to students in the Earth Conservation Corp per year in honor of the kid. Pretty nice story. You can watch it here: http://www.pbs.org/now/society/eccupdate.html .

NW arkansas' hispanic and marshallese populations are impressive....but it's hard to know how accepted they are by society in General. The vast majority work in low incomce jobs: janitorial, manafactural, etc. It's obvious some forthrightly don't accept them (same everywhere in Arkansas, but I'd argue it's worse where there isn't much diversity to begin with). I wonder how bad it will get once more start competing for middle class and upper class jobs. I don't want to play too much politics...but, it obviously has a major part to do with acceptance.

I definitely understand your feeling about Little Rockians thinking they should get more attention. I remember growing up in Arkansas always considering Little Rock the "big city" and not thinking much about the rest of the state. Certainly, I never thought it would every gain a metro population of comparable size, especially in such a short amount of time! I always thought of us as another "Mississippi." Bill Clinton did volumes to put Little Rock and Arkansas on the map. And of course all the businessmen.

I kind of view NW arkansas metro and little rock as a reflection of Oklahoma City and Tulsa over the state borders. Tulsa is in the northeast and Fayettevilles in the northwest. OK city in the center of OK, Little Rock in the center of AR. I love the fact that we could have two major cities of huge reputations in the next 20 years. I remember traveling in Tulsa, OK City, and OK in general, and being amazed at the comraderie between OK's two major cities. There was so much travel soley between the two cities, and a LOT of trucks that seemed to have "Oklahoma city" and "Tulsa" plastered on them as their two base locations. Now, if Arkansan companies do the same, it will be a pretty nice partnership.

With history, I realize Fayetteville is very historical with the establishment of U of A and whatnot. Fort Smith too, if you consider it part of the general area. But Little Rock, obviously because of its location, is by far steeped in much more history. Especially because it's the capital. I realize that history is nothing NW Arkansas can help since it is generally a young place. But personally, I love the history and culture of established places.

If NW AR does go through with the light rail plans, it could definitely encourage the city to go urban, which would be a dream come true ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be nice to have more comraderie between the two areas. Especially when further into the future these two areas will make up a bigger percentage of Arkansas's overall population. Although a little friendly competition wouldn't be so bad either. I have been frustrated at times with Little Rock but I don't want to give the impression I hate it. It would certainly be to Arkansas's advantage to have Little Rock develop into something more than what is even now. But people in Little Rock will have to get used to not being the total 'center' of Arkansas except in geographically speaking of course. But as I said before I'm not sure how dense and urban northwest Arkansas will go. I imagine over time things will have to go that way whether people like it or not. I just hope that they don't wait too long and let things simply keep spreading out. It is curious to see how things will change with the hispanic population here. There is a move within Tyson and Wal-mart to have more hispanics move up into more than just the lower end jobs. They have a different culture than what most Arkansans might be used to but I haven't had any animosity towards them. I can see where some people might feel 'threatened' because Arkansas's culture will change. But things don't stay the same and I think it will simply add on to what is already here not take anything away from it. Well I will stop here because this is moving into an area better discussed in another topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay this will be a very small aspect, but one thing I really do enjoy about northwest Arkansas compared to the rest of the state is the climate. We tend to stay a bit cooler up here than most of the rest of the state. Of course I believe Arkansawyer pointed out it also gets colder up here in the winter. But I'd also like to point out you can always put on more clothing. You can only take so much off before the police arrest you for public indecency. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see. I really had no idea that NW Arkansas feels like it's ignored, especially since it get so much attention. I might even argue that more attention needs to be spent on poorer areas of the state that are blessed by the luck of having 3 goliath companies plus the flagship University of the state.

I'm not from Little Rock, but I guess I am sort of in Central Arkansas, even though Hot Springs has its own metro. I have never felt the competition between Hot Springs and Little Rock (well maybe the occasional concert and convention)...mainly because Little Rock is way out of our league.

Houston used to be called the "whitest" city in America. Now it has one of the largest Hispanic populations. Same with Los Angeles. That's all very interesting, because it looks as if NW Arkansas could be headed in this direction. Once the population hits a critical mass, they will probably integrate into most segments of the population. Sure there will be the occasional country club and group of neighborhoods......

Sometimes, I wish that the NW Arkansas metro was located farther inside the state borders :-D . It's so strange that the counties making the most extreme corner of the state would house it's next metropolis. I wish Arkansas could keep all the developments and progress to itself...haha. The NW Arkansas metro is almost like Kansas City, except on the corner of 3 states. In 20-30 years, I could imagine the thick of urban NW Arkansas spread into OK and MO, especially since the Boston mountains sort of block them off to the south and east! Then again, a lot of nice homes could be built near those mountains...With KC, most of the urban area is in MO...but there are huge counties in Kansas just made up of rich suburbs. In fact, the suburbs in Kansas have become so powerful that they actually have satellite cities competiting with KC itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see.  I really had no idea that NW Arkansas feels like it's ignored, especially since it get so much attention.  I might even argue that more attention needs to be spent on poorer areas of the state that are blessed by the luck of having 3 goliath companies plus the flagship University of the state. 

I'm not from Little Rock, but I guess I am sort of in Central Arkansas, even though Hot Springs has its own metro.  I have never felt the competition between Hot Springs and Little Rock (well maybe the occasional concert and convention)...mainly because Little Rock is way out of our league. 

Houston used to be called the "whitest" city in America.  Now it has one of the largest Hispanic populations.  Same with Los Angeles.  That's all very interesting, because it looks as if NW Arkansas could be headed in this direction.  Once the population hits a critical mass, they will probably integrate into most segments of the population.  Sure there will be the occasional country club and group of neighborhoods......

Sometimes, I wish that the NW Arkansas metro was located farther inside the state borders :-D .  It's so strange that the counties making the most extreme corner of the state would house it's next metropolis.  I wish Arkansas could keep all the developments and progress to itself...haha.  The NW Arkansas metro is almost like Kansas City, except on the corner of 3 states.  In 20-30 years, I could imagine the thick of urban NW Arkansas spread into OK and MO, especially since the Boston mountains sort of block them off to the south and east!  Then again, a lot of nice homes could be built near those mountains...With KC, most of the urban area is in MO...but there are huge counties in Kansas just made up of rich suburbs.  In fact, the suburbs in Kansas have become so powerful that they actually have satellite cities competiting with KC itself.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well in all fairness it's not as bad as it used to be. Some of it wasn't even big things. It was frustrating when the Ark Dem-Gaz bought out the Northwest Arkansas Times. It had always been the paper I read. The northwest edition is done a lot better now than it was for quite a while. So much of the 'northwest edition' was basically stuff taken from the main paper. A lot of articles in the northwest section of the paper tended to always have some Little Rock stories that didn't pertain to us. There were movie listings for Little Rock and not our local movie theaters. That and so other picky things like that got on my nerves for a while. Although it's a different discussion in some ways we are having that problem now with our tv stations. Traditionally they were all based out of Ft Smith. Sometimes they also had a additional studio up here. Even though the population of Benton and Washington Counties are easily much larger than the Ft Smith area. Ft Smith still tends to control the local tv news. But anyway enough of that topic. I do see reasons to why it seemed to take so long for us to get recognized up here. It doesn't help we are so far off in the corner. I think southwest Missouri has also been growing a lot too but I haven't heard too much about the OKlahoma counties just west of us. The Boston Mtns have also traditionally cut us off from the rest of the state. I think in some ways it's helped establish a different 'feel' to northwest Arkansas and the rest of the state. But really both areas really should work together. It's for the best interest of Arkansas and for both metros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as northwest Arkansas not being very ethnically diverse, I have found something stating otherwise. At least for Washington County. The map lists counties that are above the national average and Washington County was ranked with multiethnic while it looks like Pulaski County was ranked with black. Here's a link to the site.

http://www.censusscope.org/us/map_common_race.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at some of the other maps at that site, none of the counties showed up higher than the lowest category for Native Americans and obly one for Asians. Sebastian County which is where Ft Smith has a large Vietnamese population. Washington County does show up for the Pacific Island because of our Marshallese population in Springdale. Of course there are a number of counties that show up under the hispanic category. Although only one county in the southwest was high enough to be in the middle ranking. I don't know the name of the county but I do know it is where DeQueen is. I believe it had the first hispanic influx before anyone else did. Then of course for the Afro-American map quite a few counties show up of course and some of them had the highest ranking. You can almost come close to drawing a line, with the exception of a couple of counties along the line. It also looks like Ft Smith shows up also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at population growth, it's really interesting that Pulaski county is surrounded by green, but is itself orange. Its satellite counties are grow pretty well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at population growth, it's really interesting that Pulaski county is surrounded by green, but is itself orange.  Its satellite counties are grow pretty well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah right now Pulaski County isn't growing a whole lot, but just about all the surrounding counties are. Except for Jefferson County that is. Although with some of the development that's going on in Little Rock, I've wondered if you might start drawing more people into the city. Are there many condos or anything around the River Market area? That or maybe around the Clinton Library sionce that seems to also be an area that is going to experiance a lot of new development and growth. Seems like a good idea to have people who can easily live within walking distance to these areas would be very useful and also help increase a more dense and urban city center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also had planned on starting this thread eventually, but hadn't gotten around to it. I must say that while it is interesting to compare the two areas, it shouldn't be seen as NWA vs. LR. I support the state of Arkansas first and foremost, and what is good for one city is good for the entire state. What are would they competing for anyway? If Little Rock does well, it doesn't subtract from Fayetteville, and vice versa.

The cities themselves really are very different, which is probably good so that our state can experience both. LR has the capitol, and NWA has the flagship university. Things that are bad about one, are generally good about the other, e.g. Little Rock doesn't have the same type of growth, but its steady growth has allowed it to develop into a denser urban city.

Little Rock is a city that, as I mentioned, has had a pretty steady growth rate throughout its history. That gives it an older, more urban feel. Being the first incorporated town in Arkansas, and being by far the biggest city for so long, it has acquired a rich history for a city its size. What separates it from similar Southern cities, such as Jackson, Baton Rouge, or Mongtomery (all capitals) is that along with its character, it has maintained a healthy, growing economy.

Little Rock also has a more Arkansas flavor than NWA, whose growth is being driven largely by outsiders. I found some numbers from 2003 from the Census Bureau, and 404,996 of the LR metro area's 585,631 residents are estimated to be from Arkansas, compared to 158,588 of the NWA metro area's 333,520 residents. In a few years, I would be surprised if most of the people in NWA are from Arkansas. That's why I really view the tremendous growth up there with mixed feelings. I love the amenities that are being given to the region, but I wish it didn't erode so much of the region's character. I think it makes for a somewhat bland, Anywhere, USA feel. The exception to that is Fayetteville. I think it stomps the other cities up there in terms of charm and history, and I'm glad that its leadership has focused on preserving its character at the cost of some growth. When the dust settles, and growth rates slow down, Fayetteville will be happy that it didn't sell out for the short term.

Racially, the cities reflect their different histories. Little Rock's MSA was 74.5% white, 21.9% black, with mostly Asians and Hispanics comprising the rest, as of 2000. Inside the city limits of Little Rock, the black population was over 40%. These numbers are typical of a large Southern city, mostly black and white. The fact that Little Rock has been the largest city, the capital city, and sits on the western edge of the Delta surely attracted the sizeable black population. NWA on the other hand, being in a mountainous, historically isolated region, developed into an almost all white region. It had no need for black farm labor. Now the area is enduring a large influx of Hispanics, which began with the rise of the poultry industry. I don't have the numbers for NWA, but maybe someone else will provide them. Of course it would be impossible to document the number of Hispanics in the area with any accuracy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also had planned on starting this thread eventually, but hadn't gotten around to it. I must say that while it is interesting to compare the two areas, it shouldn't be seen as NWA vs. LR. I support the state of Arkansas first and foremost, and what is good for one city is good for the entire state. What are would they competing for anyway? If Little Rock does well, it doesn't subtract from Fayetteville, and vice versa.

The cities themselves really are very different, which is probably good so that our state can experience both. LR has the capitol, and NWA has the flagship university. Things that are bad about one, are generally good about the other, e.g. Little Rock doesn't have the same type of growth, but its steady growth has allowed it to develop into a denser urban city.

Little Rock is a city that, as I mentioned, has had a pretty steady growth rate throughout its history. That gives it an older, more urban feel. Being the first incorporated town in Arkansas, and being by far the biggest city for so long, it has acquired a rich history for a city its size. What separates it from similar Southern cities, such as Jackson, Baton Rouge, or Mongtomery (all capitals) is that along with its character, it has maintained a healthy, growing economy.

Little Rock also has a more Arkansas flavor than NWA, whose growth is being driven largely by outsiders. I found some numbers from 2003 from the Census Bureau, and 404,996 of the LR metro area's 585,631 residents are estimated to be from Arkansas, compared to 158,588 of the NWA metro area's 333,520 residents. In a few years, I would be surprised if most of the people in NWA are from Arkansas. That's why I really view the tremendous growth up there with mixed feelings. I love the amenities that are being given to the region, but I wish it didn't erode so much of the region's character. I think it makes for a somewhat bland, Anywhere, USA feel. The exception to that is Fayetteville. I think it stomps the other cities up there in terms of charm and history, and I'm glad that its leadership has focused on preserving its character at the cost of some growth. When the dust settles, and growth rates slow down, Fayetteville will be happy that it didn't sell out for the short term.

Racially, the cities reflect their different histories. Little Rock's MSA was 74.5% white, 21.9% black, with mostly Asians and Hispanics comprising the rest, as of 2000. Inside the city limits of Little Rock, the black population was over 40%. These numbers are typical of a large Southern city, mostly black and white. The fact that Little Rock has been the largest city, the capital city, and sits on the western edge of the Delta surely attracted the sizeable black population. NWA on the other hand, being in a mountainous, historically isolated region, developed into an almost all white region. It had no need for black farm labor. Now the area is enduring a large influx of Hispanics, which began with the rise of the poultry industry. I don't have the numbers for NWA, but maybe someone else will provide them. Of course it would be impossible to document the number of Hispanics in the area with any accuracy.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

it is true about so many people from out of state coming into northwest Arkansas. But if we had to rely on mainly Arkansas people our metro wouldn't be growing too much. But yes there are people who probably aren't happy to have so many people who don't have an Arkansas history. But even before all the growth and all of the out of state people, I think northwest Arkansas has always been rather different from the rest of the state. Historically northwest Arkansas was isolated from most of the rest of the state by the Boston Mtns. Even compared to the rest of the Ozarks northwest Arkansas has been a bit different. North of Fayetteville it is relatively flat and really the only place in the Arkansas Ozarks to have some sizeable agricutural land. Most of the Ozarks have a southern type of accent. You have that in northwest Arkansas but it also seems a lot more influenced by the midwest more than anywhere else in the state. But one positive way to look at it is that with so many people from outside the area it at least helps in the diversity. I imagine that's something that this area still could use. There are very few blacks outside of Fayetteville, but you can certainly tell there are more and more living in Fayetteville. And it's not just college students either. But I'd still say percentage wise you're probably only talking about 5-6% in Fayetteville and much lower anywhere else in northwest Arkansas. The hispanic population is harder to judge, and I don't mean because of illegal immigrants. The hispanic has grown so quickly in such a short period of time it's hard to judge just how big it's gotten. I've always gotten the impression that despite all the news coverage Little Rock gets for it's hispanic community and growth is that there are still more in northwest Arkansas than anywhere else in Arkansas. It's really hard to guess but if I had to, I guess I'd go somewhere around 30,000 to 50,000. That's in the whole metro of course. I think in mainy ways the hispanic community is what's going to help northwest Arkansas and it's ethnic diversity. Before they came the population up here was probably around 95% white. But I do think in many ways Fayetteville will be more likely to hold onto it's identity. And although it's sometimes frustrating to see Fayetteville turn down so much growth I do believe it will benefit it in the long run also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it is true about so many people from out of state coming into northwest Arkansas.  But if we had to rely on mainly Arkansas people our metro wouldn't be growing too much.  But yes there are people who probably aren't happy to have so many people who don't have an Arkansas history. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I wholeheartedly advocate growth, and it's necessary that much of the growth must come from outside of Arkansas for the good of the state, but I would prefer a more moderate growth than what is occuring for several reasons. One is that growth puts a lot of strain on a city's infrastructure, as is the case in Northwest Arkansas. Another is that in the flurry of development, the best decisions are not always made for the longterm. If new office buildings or shopping amenities are needed, they just seem to spring up all over the place, rather than in a carefully planned area. Then the cultural factor is that if an area is just swamped with outsiders, without them having the time to be assimilated into an area, then it just erodes the culture, as has happened in most of Florida.

The hispanic population is harder to judge, and I don't mean because of illegal immigrants.  The hispanic has grown so quickly in such a short period of time it's hard to judge just how big it's gotten.  I've always gotten the impression that despite all the news coverage Little Rock gets for it's hispanic community and growth is that there are still more in northwest Arkansas than anywhere else in Arkansas.  It's really hard to guess but if I had to, I guess I'd go somewhere around 30,000 to 50,000.  That's in the whole metro of course.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

First of all, of course illegal immigrants are why the Hispanic population is hard to judge. The ones here legally are accounted for in the census just like everyone else. Secondly, there's really not much news coverage in Little Rock about the Hispanic community, relatively speaking. Other than the LULAC convention, I can't think of any major coverage. The Little Rock metro's Hispanic population as of 2003, according to the Census Bureau was around 2%, and that population in Northwest Arkansas was around 10%, over 34,000. The numbers are surely much higher since illegals aren't counted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wholeheartedly advocate growth, and it's necessary that much of the growth must come from outside of Arkansas for the good of the state, but I would prefer a more moderate growth than what is occuring for several reasons. One is that growth puts a lot of strain on a city's infrastructure, as is the case in Northwest Arkansas. Another is that in the flurry of development, the best decisions are not always made for the longterm. If new office buildings or shopping amenities are needed, they just seem to spring up all over the place, rather than in a carefully planned area. Then the cultural factor is that if an area is just swamped with outsiders, without them having the time to be assimilated into an area, then it just erodes the culture, as has happened in most of Florida.

First of all, of course illegal immigrants are why the Hispanic population is hard to judge. The ones here legally are accounted for in the census just like everyone else. Secondly, there's really not much news coverage in Little Rock about the Hispanic community, relatively speaking. Other than the LULAC convention, I can't think of any major coverage. The Little Rock metro's Hispanic population as of 2003, according to the Census Bureau was around 2%, and that population in Northwest Arkansas was around 10%, over 34,000. The numbers are surely much higher since illegals aren't counted.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes such rapid growth isn't always such a good thing as you mentioned. This is the one area that Fayetteville has done well with. Although it does mean they've pushed a lot of the growth outside of Fayetteville into the rest of northwest Arkansas. This hasn't made everyone in Fayetteville happy. It also means there is a good chance that one of the other cities could likely outgrow Fayetteville and be the largest city in the area not too far into the future. As far as hispanics are concerned I don't think it's all because of illegal immigrants. Since they are less likely to be fluent in English and tend to keep to themselves more it's not as easy for and 'anglo' to learn everything that's going on. And as far as the census figure are concerned there's always people especially up here who think areas were missed and their numbers don't reflect the 'true' figures. I'm not saying there aren't illegal immigrants up here but I don't think it all revolves around them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.