Rural Life in Northwest Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas: Initial installment on series of the best sections of North America in which to pursue rural life, including population, jobs and crime, real estate and taxes, and education and health.

| September/October 1986

Cream of the country: northwest Arkansas. The first in a series of the best sections of America to live a rural lifestyle. 

Rural Life in Northwest Arkansas

A great plateau once covered some 60,000 square miles of northern Arkansas, a large section of southern and central Missouri, and small bits of Oklahoma and Kansas. Over millions of years, however, that flat-topped mountain has eroded to produce the limestone bluffs, mountainous woodlands, sweeping meadows, trout streams, lakes, and rivers that we call the Ozarks. While the lover of rural life can find beauty and tranquility in abundance throughout this region, we selected four counties in extreme northwest Arkansas (Washington, Benton, Carroll, and Madison) because of the diversity of lifestyles — from urban to remote rural — that can be found within an area some 55 miles long and 75 miles wide.

U.S. Highways 71 and 62 intersect at Fayetteville, the area's largest city, which is 192 miles from Little Rock and 126 miles from Tulsa. Its airport offers daily flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Tulsa, and Little Rock.

Southern portions of Washington and Madison Counties are covered by the huge Ozark National Forest, another small section of which can be found on the border between Washington and Benton. In the north, man-made Beaver Lake, which looks from the air like a great flying dragon, stretches into Washington, Benton, and Carroll Counties. The lake is popular with campers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts.

All, however, is not a rural paradise. Along U.S. 71, strip-building worthy of Los Angeles borders almost the entire straight line from Fayetteville north through Springdale to Rogers. "The Corridor," as this section is called by the locals, may soon evolve into Arkansas's first megalopolis. However, go a mile or so in either direction off this route, and you're right back in a rural setting.

Northwest Arkansas Population, Jobs, and Crime

When it comes to the point of trying to choose your own special spot within these four vastly different counties, amenities and economics will probably play a big role.

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