Missouri is known as the Show Me State, and while this nickname has several possible origins, it is now widely used to describe the character of the people of Missouri as generally conservative. Other Missouri nicknames include the Bullion State, the Lead State and the Ozark State. Where better to reside than in a state whose motto - “Salus populi suprema lex esto” - affirms that the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law?
The 21st largest state in terms of land area, Missouri has a population of over 6 million people, making it the 18th largest in terms of residents. The state has a vast number of farms, forests and small towns for those who enjoy the rural life, as well as several cities rich in culture and arts. They include the state capital Jefferson City (over 150,000 people in the metro area), Kansas City (over 2 million in the metro area) and the biggest of all, St. Louis, which has a diverse metro area population of more than 2.8 million and is the 19th largest metropolis in the U.S.
In contrast to the state as a whole – which is 82% white, 11% black, 3% Hispanic, 2% multiracial and 1% Asian – the St. Louis metro area is roughly 50% black. Located right smack along the Illinois border, it is also home to the largest Bosnian community in the nation, with some 70,000 Bosnian refugees living in “Little Bosnia,” a once-dilapidated downtown neighborhood that has been revitalized by this immigrant group.
The Midwest remains one of the most affordable regions in which to live and own a home. As of early 2016, the median home value in Missouri was $140,067 – roughly $40,000 below the national average – while the median rental price was $844. In addition, the state had the 11th lowest cost of living in 2015, thanks to price indexes that were below the national average for every category – from groceries to healthcare to transportation - with the exception of utilities. The statewide median household income as of early 2016 was $47,380.
Real estate is considerably more expensive in some of St. Louis’ upscale suburbs, however. The cities of Ladue and Clayton have median home values above $600,000, while values in Warson Woods and Frontenac top $500,000. If you prefer the peace and quiet of the mountains, look no further than Branson, Branson West and Kimberling City, all located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of southwest Missouri. A popular vacation destination known for its large number of live music venues and dinner theater productions (such as Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede), Branson had a median home value of $165,047 in early 2016.
Agriculture is still a top five industry in Missouri, even with a changing economy that now includes advanced manufacturing, such as aerospace and HVAC technology. Missouri continues to produce significant amounts of beef, pork, turkey, soybeans, corn, grain sorghum, apples, peaches, potatoes and many other agricultural products. Yet the state’s biggest industries in 2015 were healthcare and social assistance (everything from nurses to home health workers) and retail (including salespeople, food servers and cashiers).
What gets the most headlines, however, is the growing number of high-tech and financial services companies, as well as the state’s Fortune 500 employers. In 2015, Missouri claimed ten Fortune 500 companies, including Express Scripts, Monsanto, O’Reilly Automotive, Peabody Energy and Edward Jones. Combined, the ten companies, all of whom are based in St. Louis except one, employed over 28,000 residents and had payrolls totaling $3.1 billion in 2015.