Jonesboro is a city located in Craighead County, Arkansas. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,515. Jonesboro is the county seat and the largest city in northeast Arkansas. Jonesboro is the home to Arkansas State University and is a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, education, and trade. Jonesboro has over seventy-five churches earning it the nickname, "The City of Churches."
Jonesboro was named after State Senator William A. Jones in recognition of his support in the legislature for the formation of Craighead County.
The city was selected as the county seat in 1859 at the time of the formation of Craighead County.
The Cotton Belt Railroad established a line that reached Jonesboro in 1881.
The Jonesboro 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.
Jonesboro is located at 35°49'41" North, 90°41'39" West (35.828067, -90.694048)1 atop Crowley's Ridge in northeastern Arkansas.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 207.2 km² (80.0 mi²). 206.3 km² (79.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.9 km² (0.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.45% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 55,515 people, 22,219 households, and 14,353 families residing in the city. The population density is 269.1/km² (697.1/mi²). There are 24,263 housing units at an average density of 117.6/km² (304.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 85.37% White, 11.27% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.05% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 2.34% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 22,219 households out of which 30.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% are married couples living together, 12.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% are non-families. 27.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.38 and the average family size is 2.93.
In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $32,196, and the median income for a family is $42,082. Males have a median income of $31,668 versus $21,633 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,884. 17.4% of the population and 12.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 22.4% are under the age of 18 and 12.3% are 65 or older.
Jonesboro is the birthplace of bestselling novelist John Grisham, and was home to the first woman to serve in the United States Senate, Hattie Caraway.