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West Plains

  •   State: 
    Howell County
    West Plains
      County all: 
    Howell | Oregon | Douglas
      County FIPS: 
    29091 | 29149 | 29067
    36°44′14″N 91°51′54″W
      Area total: 
    13.33 sq mi (34.51 km²)
      Area land: 
    13.30 sq mi (34.46 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.02 sq mi (0.05 km²)
    994 ft (303 m)
    1838; Incorporated (city) 1883
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    West Plains, MO
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    West Plains, Howell County, Missouri, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    915.81 residents per square mile of area (353.59/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

West Plains is a city in, and the county seat of Howell County, Missouri, United States. The population was 11,986 at the 2010 census. The location of West Plains led to nearly constant conflict due to the proximity to what was then the border between the Union and Confederacy. In 1928, a violent explosion occurred in downtown West Plains. Thirty-seven people were killed in the explosion, and 22 people were injured. Twenty of those killed were never positively identified, but buried in a mass grave at Oak Lawn Cemetery in the southeast part of town. The event is fictionalized in the short novel The Maid Maids by Daniel Woodrell, which is about a similar dance hall explosion in the fictional town of Carutville, Missouri. The Courthouse Square Historic District, Elledge Arcade Buildings, International Shoe Company Building, Mount Zion Lodge Masonic Temple, W. J. and Ed Smith Building, and West Plains Bank Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1936, West Plains gained its own Minor League Baseball team named the West Plains Badgers within the Northeast Arkansas League. The team would move up the same year to move to Caruthers, Missouri to play in the same league as the Kansas City Monarchs. The Badgers would go on to win the league's championship in 1939 and 1940. The city is named after Josiah Howell, who created the first settlement in the region known as Howell Valley. The town is located on a prairie in a westerly direction from the nearest town, Thomasville. The first bank to fail was the Farmers Savings Bank in West Plains circa 1926.


The history of West Plains can be traced back to 1832, when settler Josiah Howell (after whom Howell County is named) created the first settlement in the region known as Howell Valley. West Plains was largely burned to the ground during the American Civil War. The Great Depression hit West Plains in the 1930s. In 1936, West Plains gained its own Minor League Baseball team named the West Plains Badgers. In 1940, they would move to Pilotsville, Arkansas, where they would become the Caruthers Pilots. The event is fictionalized in the short novel Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell, which is about a similar dance hall explosion in the fictional town of West Tableville in the Northeast Arkansas Pilots Minor League baseball league. The explosion was reported to be felt for miles, even in Pomona, about ten miles from West Plains. Thirty-seven people were killed in the explosion, and 22 people were injured. Numerous causes for the explosion have been offered, but a definitive story has never been proven to be true. The most widely accepted theory is that the explosion somehow originated from leaking gasoline in a garage owned by J. W. Wiser, which happened to be on the floor below. Some have speculated that the blast was intentionally caused by Wiser as a suicide attempt, which his wife reportedly refused to acknowledge. In addition, the late West Plains native Robert Neathery explained in his 1994 book, West. Plains As I Knew It, that a truck containing dynamite may have been the cause of a crime.


West Plains is located at 36°4414N 91°5154W (36.737355, 91.864991). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.33 square miles (34.52 km²) The city is located near the northern border of a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), as defined by the Köppen climate classification system. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 33°F (1 °C) in January to 77 °F (25 °F) in July. On average, there are 41 days with highs over 90 °C (32 °C), three with highs of over 100 °F, and 13 days where the temperature does not rise above freezing. West Plains is characterized by four distinct seasons and is located close to the border of the Cfa region. The city has 13.31 square miles of land and 0.02 square miles [0.05 km²] of water, of which 0.01 square miles is water. It has a population of 2,816. It is one of the poorest cities in the United States, with a per capita income of less than $1,000. The average household income is less than $1,200. It also has a high school graduation rate of just over 10 per cent (9.7 per cent of the general population). The city's population has a median household income of just under $1.1 million.


As of the census of 2010, there were 11,986 people, 5,001 households, and 3,012 families residing in the city. The West Plains Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Howell County. The city's population was 95.04% White, 0.85% Black or African American and 0.63% Native American. The average household size was 2.30. The median income for a household in theCity was $24,122. The per capita income for the city was $15,019. About 15.1% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.2% of those under age 18 and 12.5% ofThose aged 65 and over. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the city has a population of 11,000, with 5,509 people living in 5,072 housing units. The population density is 900.5 inhabitants per square mile (347.7/km²) The city is located in the South Plains region of the Plains, which is part of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma Mississippi Missouri census region. The state's population is 9,816, making it one of the largest cities in the Plains region. It is the largest city in the state by population, with a population density of 900.0 inhabitants per sq mile (347.7 /km²). The city has an average age of 36.7 years, with 24.8% of residents under the age of 18.


West Plains municipal government is based on the mayorcouncil system. According to city code, the city council consists of four council members and the mayor, who presides over each meeting. Council members are elected by the city to four-year terms with no term limits. As of April 30, 2021, the mayor of West Plains is Michael "Mike" Topliff, who was previously the mayor pro-tem. He took the place of Jack Pahlmann, who retired alongside former City Administrator Tom Stehn after filing for re-election with the condition that he would only serve until Stehn retired. In 2017 Fidelity Communications hired DM Web Dev Group to run an astroturfing campaign to discredit the city run fiber broadband service through the website On April 7, 2015, Pahlmann was elected as mayor after running unopposed. He said his decision to retire was unrelated to a citizen recall petition that began when he cast the deciding vote to initiate a citywide masking ordinance as an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the community. He had first taken the mayoral office after longtime West Plains mayor Joe Paul Evans died from heart problems. On March 31, 2017, the City Council voted to approve the city's fiber broadband plan. The City Council approved the plan on a vote of 8-0. The vote was the first time the council had voted in favor of fiber broadband in more than a decade.


The West Plains R-7 School District provides education to more than 2,000 students. Private education is also provided in the West Plains area, primarily by religious institutions. Missouri State University is a community college spread across the center of the town. West Plains has a lending library, the West Plains Public Library. There is one higher education institution located in West Plains, Missouri. The college has ca.1,800 students enrolled in part-time or full-time studies. The school has multiple degree programs but is primarily focused on its Associate of Arts degree program. It is located in the town's central business district, across the street from West Plains High School. The town has a public library, which is open to the public. It also has a private library, called West Plains Christian Academy. There are also several private schools in the area, including Crossroads Christian Academy and Ozarks Christian Academy, both in the city of West Plains. The West Plains School District is a part of the Kansas City Metropolitan School District, which has a total enrollment of more than 10,000. The district also includes a rural school district, which covers some parts of the immediate area surrounding West Plains and includes several elementary schools and a middle school. It has a high school, West Plains Middle School, as well as two high schools, West and South Fork Elementary School and West Plains high School. In addition, there are a number of rural schools, including Glenwood Elementary and Junction Hill Elementary.


West Plains is served by U.S. Route 63, which runs along the western and southern edges of the city. Business Route 63 consists of Porter Wagoner Boulevard, a majority of Main Street, and Bill Virdon Boulevard before it ends at an intersection with the eastern end of Jan Howard Expressway. The West Plains Transit System provides residents with a deviated fixed route transit service from 7:45am to 3:45pm Monday through Friday. West Plains is also served by the West Plains Regional Airport, which is located in nearby Pomona, about 10 miles north of West Plains. One railroad, dated to 1882, passes through town on a BNSF Railway line from Springfield, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee. The city is also serviced by Routes 14 and 17, and Routes K, CC, JJ, PP, ZZ, AB, and BB, as well as U.S. Route 160, which formerly ran southwest to northeast through the city; it has since been rerouted around the city concurrent with U. s. 63. The town has a population of about 2,000 people (as of the 2010 Census) and is home to a high school with more than 1,000 students. It is located on the Missouri River, which flows through the western part of the town and into the Arkansas River at the southern tip of the county. It also has a large amount of undeveloped land, most of which is farmland.


Carmichal Field (often misspelled "Carmichael," and located along Missouri Avenue behind the newly renovated MSU-WP Grizzly Lofts in the former International Shoe Factory) People's Park (site of the City Pool)Soccer Fields (host of West Plains Soccer Association) Gene Jones Park (Site of Tuk's Playground, a dog park named in honor of K-9 Officer Tuk, who died in 2019 of degenerative disease) West Plains Football Club (host to Mighty Mites Football Club) The West Plains High School football team was founded in the 1970s. The school's football team won the state championship in 1978. The football team lost the national championship in 1980. The team was runner-up in 1981 and 1982. The university's football program won the national title in 1988 and 1989. The men's team won its first state title in 1990. The women's team claimed the title in 1991 and 1992. The girls' team won their first title in 2000. The city's last title came in 2002. The town's last victory came in 2003, when it claimed the state title again in a play-off against the University of Texas at El Paso. The last loss came in 2008, when the city was beaten by the Texas Rangers in the final game of the NCAA Division I men's championship series. The next year, the city won the title again. The City's last loss was in 2010, when they were beaten by Texas Tech in the quarterfinals.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri = 87. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 100. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 99. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in West Plains = 4.4 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 7,317 individuals with a median age of 38.2 age the population grows by 7.30% in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 915.81 residents per square mile of area (353.59/km²). There are average 2.29 people per household in the 4,847 households with an average household income of $30,189 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 8.60% of the available work force and has dropped -6.90% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 17.60%. The number of physicians in West Plains per 100,000 population = 203.2.


The annual rainfall in West Plains = 45 inches and the annual snowfall = 11.4 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 103. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 207. 90 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 21.8 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 33, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri which are owned by the occupant = 54.86%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 32 years with median home cost = $91,180 and home appreciation of -2.93%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $5.01 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,704 per student. There are 13.8 students for each teacher in the school, 648 students for each Librarian and 345 students for each Counselor. 4.46% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 7.62% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 5.70% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • West Plains's population in Howell County, Missouri of 2,902 residents in 1900 has increased 2,52-fold to 7,317 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 53.78% female residents and 46.22% male residents live in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri.

    As of 2020 in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri are married and the remaining 39.32% are single population.

  • 16 minutes is the average time that residents in West Plains require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    84.14% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 10.21% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 0.46% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 2.32% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri, 54.86% are owner-occupied homes, another 33.99% are rented apartments, and the remaining 11.15% are vacant.

  • The 47.01% of the population in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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