Missouri flag

Capital: Jefferson City

State abbreviation/Postal code: Mo./MO

Governor: Eric Greitens, R (to Jan. 2021)

Lieut. Governor: Mike Parson, R (to Jan. 2021)

Senators: Roy Blunt, R (to Jan. 2023); Claire McCaskill, D (to Jan. 2019)

U.S. Representatives: 8

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Organized as territory: June 4, 1812

Entered Union (rank): Aug. 10, 1821 (24)

Present constitution adopted: 1945

Motto: Salus populi suprema lex esto (The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law)

State symbols:

flowerhawthorn (1923)
birdbluebird (1927)
aquatic animalpaddlefish (1997)
fishchannel catfish (1997)
song“Missouri Waltz” (1949)
fossilcrinoid (1989)
musical instrumentfiddle (1987)
rockmozarkite (1967)
mineralgalena (1967)
insecthoneybee (1985)
treeflowering dogwood (1955)
tree nuteastern black walnut (1990)
animalmule (1995)
dancesquare dance (1995)
Missouri Daythird Wednesday in October (1969)

Nickname: Show-me State

Origin of name: Named after the Missouri Indian tribe. “Missouri” means “town of the large canoes.”

10 largest cities (2012): Kansas City, 464,310; St. Louis, 318,172; Springfield, 162,191; Independence, 117,270; Columbia, 113,225; Lee's Summit, 92,468; O'Fallon, 81,979; St. Joseph, 77,176; St. Charles, 66,463; St. Peter's, 54,078

Land area: 68,886 sq mi. (178,415 sq km)

Geographic center: In Miller Co., 20 mi. SW of Jefferson City

Number of counties: 114, plus 1 independent city

Largest county by population and area: St. Louis, 991,830 (2008); Texas, 1,179 sq mi.

Conservation areas1: leased, 315 (197, 661 ac.); owned, 775 (770,574 ac.)

State parks and historic sites: 81

Residents: Missourian

2015 resident population: 6,083,672

2010 resident census population (rank): 5,988,927 (18). Male: 2,933,477; Female: 3,055,450. White: 4,958,770 (86.54%); Black: 693,391(12.04%); American Indian: 27,376 (1.03%); Asian: 98,083 (1.61%); Other race: 80,457; Two or more races: 124,589; Hispanic/Latino: 212,470. 2010 population 18 and over: 4,563,491; 65 and over: 838,294 median age: 37.6.

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office

1. Includes wildlife areas, natural history areas, state forests, and tower sites.

Hernando de Soto visited the Missouri area in 1541. France's claim to the entire region was based on Sieur de la Salle's travels in 1682. French fur traders established Ste. Genevieve in 1735, and St. Louis was first settled in 1764.

The U.S. gained Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the territory was admitted as a state following the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Throughout the pre–Civil War period and during the war, Missourians were sharply divided in their opinions about slavery and in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops. However, the state itself remained in the Union.

Historically, Missouri played a leading role as a gateway to the West, St. Joseph being the eastern starting point of the Pony Express, while the much-traveled Santa Fe and Oregon trails began in Independence.

Missouri's economy is highly diversified. Service industries provide more income and jobs than any other segment, and include a growing tourism and travel sector. Wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, and agriculture also play significant roles in the state's economy.

Missouri is a leading producer of transportation equipment (including automobile manufacturing and auto parts), beer and beverages, and defense and aerospace technology. Food processing is the state's fastest-growing industry.

Missouri mines produce 90% of the nation's principal (non-recycled) lead supply. Other natural resources include iron ore, zinc, barite, limestone, and timber.

The state's top agricultural products include grain, sorghum, hay, corn, soybeans, and rice. Missouri also ranks high among the states in cattle and calves, hogs, and turkeys and broilers. A vibrant wine industry also contributes to the economy.

Tourism draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to a number of Missouri points of interest: the country-music shows of Branson; Bass Pro Shops national headquarters (Springfield); the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion (St. Louis); Mark Twain's boyhood home (Hannibal); the Harry S. Truman home and library (Independence); the scenic beauty of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways; and the Pony Express and Jesse James museums (St. Joseph). The state's different lake regions also attract fishermen and sun-seekers from throughout the Midwest.

See more on Missouri:
Encyclopedia: Missouri
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
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Selected famous natives and residents:

See also: