Main Births etc
Jonesboro, Arkansas
—  City  —
Clockwise from top: Craighead County Courthouse, house in the West Washington Avenue Historic District, downtown Jonesboro, and Arkansas State University's Dean B. Ellis Library
Official seal of Jonesboro, Arkansas
Motto: People, Pride, Progress Nicknames: JoBro, the Borough, J Town, J-Boogie
Location in the state of Arkansas

Jonesboro, Arkansas is located in the USA
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°49′41″N 90°41′39″W / 35.82806, -90.69417Coordinates: 35°49′41″N 90°41′39″W / 35.82806, -90.69417
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Craighead
Incorporated February 19, 1859
 • Mayor Harold Perrin
 • City 79.3 sq mi (205.4 km2)
 • Land 79.9 sq mi (206.9 km2)
 • Water 0.6 sq mi (1.5 km2)
Elevation 259 ft (79 m)
Population (2012 United States Census Estimate)
 • City 70,187
 • Density 879/sq mi (339.3/km2)
 • Metro 124,042
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 72401-72404
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-35710
GNIS feature ID 0077389

Jonesboro is a city in Craighead County, Arkansas, United States. According to the 2013 Census, the population of the city was 71,551. [1] A college town, Jonesboro is the largest city in northeastern Arkansas and the fifth most populous city in the state. It is the principal city of and is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 121,026[2] and a population of 163,116 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.[3]

Jonesboro is home to Arkansas State University and is a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, education, and trade.

History[edit | edit source]

The Jonesboro area was first inhabited by Indian tribes which included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw.[4] The name of the state of Arkansas actually comes from the Quapaw language.[4] American settlers eventually made their way to the area where Jonesboro is located and began exploring, hunting, trapping, and trading with the local Indian tribes. A permanent settlement of Jonesboro was set up shortly after 1815.

In 1859, land was taken from nearby Greene, Mississippi, and Poinsett counties and was used to form Craighead County. Jonesboro was the original county seat, and later Lake City was named as the second seat.[5] The population of the city at the time was 150. Jonesboro was named after State Senator William A. Jones[6] in recognition of his support in the legislature for the formation of Craighead County. Originally spelled Jonesborough, it was later shortened to its present-day spelling.

The Bell House is one of twelve Jonesboro sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During the late 19th century, the city tried to develop its court system and downtown infrastructure. Shortly after being named county seat, the highest point in Jonesboro was identified and a court house was planned for construction. This was delayed for several years as the locals did not want to ruin their deer hunting. The first court house was finally completed but was destroyed by a fire in 1869. A store across from this site was then rented and used as a court house until it too was destroyed by fire in 1876. Another building was then constructed on the same site only to be consumed by fire in 1878. This fire destroyed most of downtown Jonesboro when it occurred. Soon afterwards, another court house was constructed, and the structure still stands today in the city.

The Cotton Belt Railroad brought Jonesboro its first set of railroad tracks, located just north of the center of the city. During the first train's voyage it became stuck and supplies had to be carried into town.[4] Other major railways began to construct tracks to and from Jonesboro including the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, Burlington Northern Railroad, and Missouri Pacific Railroad. Some of the rail companies still own and use the tracks that run through Jonesboro today.

Many entities established themselves in Jonesboro around and during the early 20th century. In 1899, the Jonesboro School District was set up in the city.[7] In 1900, St. Bernard's Regional Medical Center was established by the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters.[8] The Grand Leader Department Store, the first department store in the city, was opened in 1900. 1904 saw the establishment of Woodland College and the opening of two more schools within the Jonesboro School District. Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University) was established in 1909,[9] and the first horseless carriages were seen in the city that same year. The two oldest churches still in the city today were started in the 1910s. First Baptist Church was established in 1911, and First Methodist Church was established in 1916.

On September 10, 1931, Governor Harvey Parnell authorized the Arkansas National Guard to be deployed in Jonesboro to quell the Church War, a clash between the followers of Joe Jeffers and Dow H. Heard, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro. Jeffer's adherents also attacked the mayor and police chief, resulting in front page coverage of the incident in The New York Times.

The Westside Middle School massacre occurred on March 24, 1998. Two young boys (aged 11 and 13 years) fired upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in woodlands near the school. Four students and one teacher were killed and ten injured.

In the 2007-2008 school year the Jonesboro Public School District elementary schools became magnet schools.[10]

Geography[edit | edit source]

Jonesboro is located at 35°49′41″N 90°41′39″W / 35.82806, -90.69417 (35.828067, -90.694048)[11] atop Crowley's Ridge in northeastern Arkansas.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 80.5 square miles (208.4 km2), of which 79.9 square miles (206.9 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2), or 0.72%, is water.[1]

Climate[edit | edit source]

Jonesboro has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).

Climate data for Jonesboro
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46
Average low °F (°C) 26
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.29
Source: [12]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1890 2,065
1900 4,508 118.3%
1910 7,123 58.0%
1920 9,384 31.7%
1930 10,326 10.0%
1940 11,729 13.6%
1950 16,310 39.1%
1960 21,418 31.3%
1970 27,050 26.3%
1980 31,530 16.6%
1990 46,534 47.6%
2000 55,515 19.3%
2010 67,263 21.2%
Est. 2014 72,210 [13] 30.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

A flock of Canadian geese at Craighead Forest Park

As of the census[15] of 2013, there were 71,551 people, 26,111 households, and 16,637 families residing in the city. The population density was 697.1 people per square mile (269.1/km²). There were 28,321 housing units at an average density of 304.7 per square mile (117.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.7% White, 18.4% Black, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. 5.2% of the population were Hispanic.

There were 26,111 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. There are 878 unmarried partner households: 776 heterosexual, 50 same-sex male, and 52 same-sex female households. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,196, and the median income for a family was $42,082. Males had a median income of $21,633 versus $31,633 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,884. About 12.9% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 12.3% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Air[edit | edit source]

The region is served by Jonesboro Municipal Airport. Scheduled flights between Jonesboro and St. Louis, Missouri, are offered daily by Air Choice One.

Public transport[edit | edit source]

The area is served by the Jonesboro Economic Transit System (JETS). As of 2011, JETS operates three fixed routes, as well as para-transit service for disabled persons.

List of highways[edit | edit source]

Education[edit | edit source]

Elementary and secondary education[edit | edit source]

The Dean B. Ellis Library at Arkansas State University's main campus

There are four public school districts operating within the city limits of Jonesboro. They include:

Postsecondary education[edit | edit source]

Jonesboro is the main campus of the following Division I school:

In popular culture and trivia[edit | edit source]

Centennial Bank Stadium, home of Jonesboro's ASU Red Wolves

  • Jonesboro is the place of death of the fictional character Rooster Cogburn in Charles Portis' novel True Grit, and in its 1969 and 2010 film adaptations.
  • Numerous references to the city are made in Jonesboro native John Grisham's book A Painted House and in the 2003 movie of the same title. The story takes place in Craighead County, and the movie was filmed in the town of Lepanto in neighboring Poinsett County.
  • Elvis Presley, who frequently played the high school and college dance circuit in the Jonesboro area, became an honorary member of Tau Kappa Epsilon of Arkansas State University.[20]
  • Nettleton, a community annexed to Jonesboro in the 1960s, made national headlines in 1939 when a local minister's teenaged daughter wore short pants in public.[21]
  • In the 2012 bestseller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the female lead buys a used car in Jonesboro, meeting the sellers in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart.

Notable people[edit | edit source]

Shopping[edit | edit source]

Entrance into The Mall at Turtle Creek

The Mall at Turtle Creek, opened in 2006, is the largest mall in northeast Arkansas. Before the opening of the mall, the Indian Mall was the primary shopping destination in northeast Arkansas. In 2012, Indian Mall, named for the former mascot of Arkansas State University, was demolished. The only store to remain in its original location was Sears.

In 2012, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Jonesboro ninth of the "Ten Best Cities for Cheapskates".[23]

Local television and radio[edit | edit source]




  • KASU-FM 91.9 FM Public Radio
  • K224DW (KDXY-FM/HD2) 92.7 FM Sports ESPN Jonesboro
  • K237FI (KNEA-AM) 95.3 FM Sports 95.3 The Ticket
  • K253BQ (KJBX-FM/HD2) 98.5 FM Religious Sunny 98.5
  • KEGI-FM 100.5 FM Classic Rock 100.5 The Eagle Rocks
  • K267AS (KBTM-AM) 101.3 FM News/Talk News Talk 1230
  • KIYS-FM 101.7 FM Top 40 101.7 KISS-FM
  • KDXY-FM 104.9 FM Country 104.9 The Fox
  • KJBX-FM 106.3 FM Hot AC The Mix 106.3
  • K298AV (KDXY-FM/HD3) 107.5 FM Top 40 107.5 The Party Station
  • KFIN-FM 107.9 FM Country 107.9 K-FINE


  • KNEA-AM 970 AM Sports 95.3 The Ticket
  • KBTM-AM 1230 AM News/Talk News Talk 1230

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Jonesboro city, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Jonesboro, AR Metro Area, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c History of Jonesboro
  5. ^ "Craighead County Arkansas Genealogy Trails". 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off.. pp. 170. 
  7. ^ Jonesboro Public School System
  8. ^ St. Bernard's Medical Center: History & Facts
  9. ^ About Arkansas State University
  10. ^ KAIT - Jonesboro, AR: Teachers get Ready for Magnet Schools
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  12. ^ "Average weather for Jonesboro, Arkensas". July 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ Jonesboro Public Schools
  17. ^ Valley View School District, Jonesboro AR
  18. ^ Nettleton Public Schools
  19. ^ Westside Schools
  20. ^ "Elvis Presley : October 24, 1960 : Arkansas State College and the - Man of the Year Award". Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Arkansas Community Split by Knee Issue".,867752&dq=shorts+nettleton+arkansas&hl=en. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  22. ^ "Michelle Gray's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  23. ^ "10 Best Cities for Cheapskates". Kiplinger. 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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