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Missouri

Missouri is a U.S. state situated in the Midwestern United States, surrounded by Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state within the United States and the fifth most heavily populated within the Midwest. It comprises 114 counties and one independent city. The capital of Missouri is Jefferson City. The four biggest urban regions are St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield. Missouri was initially acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became defined as the Missouri Territory. Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

The state of Missouri mirrors the political, demographic and economic makeup of the country with a mix of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. With the exceptions of the years 1958 and 2008, Missouri's results in U.S. presidential elections have accurately predicted the next President of the United States in every election ever since the year 1904. It has both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state. It is also a transition between the Western and Eastern United States, as the city of St. Louis is often known as the "western-most Eastern city" and Kansas City the "eastern-most Western city." The geography of Missouri is highly varied. The northern area of the state lies within dissected till plains whereas the southern area lies in the Ozark Mountains with the Missouri River dividing the two. The confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers is situated near the city of St. Louis. The starting points of the Pony Express Trail and Oregon Trail were both in the state of Missouri. The mean center of United States population as of the the year 2010 Census is at the town of Plato within Texas County, Missouri.

During 2006, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated the state's total state product was $225.9 billion. The state of Missouri ranks 26th within the United States, with a per capita income of $32,705 during the year 2006. Major businesses consist of aerospace, transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, printing/publishing, electrical equipment, beer and light manufacturing.

The agriculture products of Missouri are beef, soybeans, pork, dairy products, corn, hay, sorghum, poultry, cotton, rice, and eggs. Missouri is ranked 6th in the nation for the production of hogs and 7th for cattle. Missouri is ranked in the top five states in the country for production of soy beans. As of 2001, there were 108,000 farms, the second largest number in whichever state after the state of Texas. The state of Missouri actively promotes its fast growing wine business.

There are large quantities of limestone in Missouri, along with the other resources which are mined, including: lead, coal, and crushed stone. Lead production within Missouri leads all other US states. Most of the mines producing lead are located within Missouri's central eastern region. The state of Missouri also ranks first or near first in the production of lime, an important ingredient in Portland cement.