Where are new home owners moving? Take a look at some of NEA’s fastest growing cities.

Northeast Arkansas is a wonderful place to move to! With numerous amenities, low cost of living, top schools, and endless outdoor activities, the entire region offers something for everyone. When looking for a home, the physical characteristics are usually the at the front of everyone’s mind such as square footage, the size of the yard, how many bathrooms, etc. But for many homebuyers, the next big concern on their mind is location. The old real estate adage is a common phrase for anyone looking to buy property: location, location, location.

So, where are the hotspots in Northeast Arkansas that are seeing growth and why are people moving there? Many factors can impact the growth of a particular area, including good schools, job opportunities, short commutes, and cost of living. Lets take a look at the places in Northeast Arkansas that are experiencing large growth and the reasons why so many want to move there.

Brookland, AR

Photo courtesy of cityofbrookland.com

The small town of Brookland is located a few minutes northeast of Jonesboro, Arkansas, just off Hwy 49. Originally a small farming community between Jonesboro and Paragould, Brookland has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade and is now becoming a town all on its own. In 2010, the population was 1,600 and featured a school, a gas station, and a small convenience store. By 2020, the newest census indicated that Brookland’s population had rising to over 4,000 people with a whopping 80% growth in population. The city now features a bank, new restaurants, and a healthcare clinic. What was drawing so many people to Brookland? Firstly, Brookland’s school district is one of the best in the region, offering students many paths to quality education as well as extracurricular activities. The district consistently scores well in reading and math, and instills in its students a strong sense of community. Brookland is also nearby to Jonesboro’s newly built NEA Baptist hospital, providing the area with many job opportunities and a short commute to one of the region’s best medical centers. Finally, Brookland is a small, quiet place to live, with many preferring to live in a more rural area. Opportunities to acquire property that features lots of land and living space are plentiful in Brookland.

Paragould, AR

Photo courtesy of Roberto Galan, Getty Images

Paragould is a modest sized town located about 30 minutes north of Jonesboro at the busy intersection of Hwy 49 and Hwy 412. The area has been a major transport hub for the region since the time of early railroads and is now a stop along the way of many truck routes. As of 2020, the town’s population sits around 28,000, a 13% increase from 26,000 in 2010. The city features two main school districts: Paragould Schools and Green County Tech. Additionally Paragould is home to the private school of Crowley’s Ridge academy, giving its citizens many quality choices for educating their kids. Paragould is also home to Black River Tech, a community college that specializes in programs such a nursing, IT, and technical skills. Paragould also has access to its own hospital, Methodist Memorial Hospital that features over 100 beds, numerous clinics, and a community wellness center. Paragould has many opportunities for jobs, with numerous industrial centers offering different opportunities for those with technical and industrial skills. The city is situated on Crowley’s Ridge, a small land formation consisting of hills that rise up from the delta at around 400 feet above sea level. This makes for an excellent opportunity to take a drive in the rolling hills along the Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Parkway, which is especially beautiful to see in the spring months. Two state parks are located near Paragould: Crowley’s Ridge State Park and Lake Frierson State Park, both giving ample opportunities to fish, hike, camp, or to simply enjoy the beauty of the natural state. The city itself is also seeing a revitalization to its downtown, with many new restaurants and food trucks offering tasty food as well as venues for live music. The newly completed 8 mile Creek Trail Project offers a nice walking/biking trail along 8 mile creek that connects many of Paragould’s parks and sports complexes. Whether you want to live in town, or in the country, Paragould can offer a little of both.

Manila, AR

Photo courtesy of greatriverroad.com

Manila, Arkansas is a small town in Mississippi County, situated on the intersection of Hwy 18 and Hwy 77. With a current population of 3,682, up from 3,055 in 2000, Manila has experienced modest growth for a city of its size in rural Arkansas. The town was originally a stop on the now defunct Jonesboro, Lake City, and Eastern Railroad that hauled goods and people to and from Jonesboro to Armorel, Arkansas. The station is now a museum that features historic artifacts from the area and pays homage to American War hero Herman Davis. (The city has erected a statue in his honor in the town center). While Manila may seem to be a small stop on the highway to I-55, the city has actually experienced growth in the past few years for a few reasons. First, the Manila school district has some of the best scores in the region, with consistent high marks in reading and math and features a brand new campus with lots of opportunities for extracurricular activities. The city is also a short drive from the state’s largest steel mill, NUCOR-Yamato Steel Plant near Blytheville, which provides the region with thousands of well paying jobs, making Manila an ideal small town to live for many who work there. Manila is also home to Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a vast park that features a large lake full of wooded swampland that hosts numerous species of waterfowl, fish, and native plant life. The record for Arkansas’ largest bass was caught at Big Lake and weighed a massive 16 lbs. Mississippi county also has one of the lowest costs of living in the state, making the area a great place for a starter home for a new family. If you’re looking for something quieter, inexpensive, but easily commutable to and from the job centers of Blytheville and Jonesboro, Manila just might be the place for you!

Jonesboro, AR

Jonesboro, Arkansas is the largest metropolitan area in Northeast, Arkansas, with a population of over 80,000. The city has seen a 20% growth in population, up from 67,000 in 2010, making it one of the fast growing areas in the region. Located in Craighead County, Jonesboro is one of Arkansas’ largest cities, and is expected to keep growing in the coming years. Many move here for the comparatively low cost of living and the plentiful and diverse job opportunities. Jonesboro is home to many factories that serve the agricultural, manufacturing, and medical industries, with plans for an Amazon distribution center to be built in Jonesboro in the coming years. The city also features two large hospitals that serve the region, St. Bernard’s and NEA Baptist, both receiving local, state, and national accolades for quality care and are great places to work. The city also has many school districts that serve the metro area, including private parochial schools that give its citizens many choices on where to send their kids to school. Located in Jonesboro is Arkansas State University, home of the Red Wolves, which offers numerous certifications and degrees, offering associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The city has revitalized its downtown in the past few decades, which has attracted many new local businesses to set up shop here, including restaurants, local pubs, breweries, and venues for music. The city is also the region’s main retail center, with many department stores and specialty shops that make shopping for what you need a breeze. Jonesboro also contains a large park in the southern part of town, Craighead Forest Park, where Jonesboro citizens can relax, hike, and fish, all within a short drive from any part of the city. Other amenities include numerous sports complexes, an arena that hosts numerous sports events and concerts, as well as 2 cinemas, great restaurants that feature local and ethnic cuisines, as well as great neighborhoods. Jonesboro’s historic West End neighborhood features numerous houses found on the list of historic national homes built from many eras of American history, giving the area its own unique flavor and charm. With this much to offer, there’s no question that Jonesboro’s growth will only continue.

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