Blytheville is the county seat and the largest city in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. It is approximately north of West Memphis. The population was 13,406 at the 2020 census, down from 15,620 in 2010.
Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office the same year, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.
Forestry was an early industry, spurred by the massive harvesting of lumber needed to rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871. The lumber industry brought sawmills and a rowdy crowd, and the area was known for its disreputable saloon culture during the 1880s and 1890s.
The cleared forests enabled cotton farming to take hold, encouraged by ongoing levee building and waterway management; the population grew significantly after 1900. On Blytheville's western edge lies one of the largest cotton gins in North America. Soybeans and rice have also become important crops.
The area around Blytheville continues to be farmed, though family farms have given way to large factory operations.
In the 1980s, Blytheville began to develop an industrial base, much of which centered on the steel industry.
Until 1991, Blytheville was home to Blytheville Air Force Base (renamed Eaker Air Force Base in 1988), a major airfield that was part of the Strategic Air Command.
James Sanders is Blytheville's mayor, the first African-American to serve in that position.
Blytheville is located in northeastern Arkansas and northeastern Mississippi County at (35.930735, -89.913940). It is the easternmost incorporated place in the state. The Missouri state line is to the north, and the Mississippi River, forming the Tennessee border, is to the east.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which , or 0.29%, are water.
Blytheville is situated along the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Blytheville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 13,406 people, 5,674 households, and 3,644 families residing in the city.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 15,620 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 55.9% Black, 38.8% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 1.2% from two or more races. 3.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,272 people, 7,001 households, and 4,746 families living in the city. The population density was 887.5 people per square mile (342.6/km2). There were 8,533 housing units at an average density of 414.5 per square mile (160.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 45.15% White, 52.15% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.31% of the population.
There were 7,001 households, out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 20.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city, the population was well distributed, with 29.9% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,683, and the median income for a family was $32,816. Males had a median income of $30,889 versus $20,710 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,426. About 23.3% of families and 28.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.2% of those under age 18 and 17.4% of those age 65 or over.
Blytheville's population continues to decline. The 2010 Census reported Blytheville's population at 15,620, and the 2014 Census estimate was 14,884. The 2015 City-data.com crime index for Blytheville, Arkansas is 946.2. The U.S. average is only 284.1.
Nucor Steel is the largest employer for both Blytheville and Mississippi County, with four locations (Nucor Yamato Steel, Nucor Steel Arkansas, Nucor Castrip, and Nucor Skyline). Nucor Steel Arkansas announced plans for a new cold mill in 2019.
Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) is headquartered at Arkansas International Airport in Blytheville and employs approximately 120 employees. In February 2015, ART laid off between 50 and 75 employees.
Tenaris, a manufacturer and supplier of seamless and welded steel pipe products, operates 4 ERW (electric resistance welded) pipe manufacturing, threading and coating facilities. In January 2015, Tenaris laid off about 300 employees. In January 2016, Tenaris laid off 100 more employees.
thumb|upright|That Bookstore in Blytheville is reputedly one of John Grisham's favorites.
Blytheville Public Schools serves the majority of the city. The schools include:
Other portions of the city limits are zoned to Armorel Public Schools and Gosnell Public Schools. In addition KIPP Delta operates the KIPP Delta Blytheville Charter School.
A Catholic school, Immaculate Conception School, operated in Blytheville until its 2007 closure.
Blytheville is home to Arkansas Northeastern College (formerly Mississippi County Community College until its merger with Cotton Boll Technical Institute). It offers a two-year program, and is the nation's first community college with a solar photovoltaic prototype facility.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Blytheville, AR, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.