The Missouri Partnership is a public-private economic development partnership and a top economic development organization in the US

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The South Central region - On the right path

In 2013, Missouri was named the “Best Trails State” in the nation by American Trails, and the south central region figured heavily in that decision.  As home to significant portions of the Mark Twain National Forest, the 12-county area is known for its bubbling springs and forested hills.  Over one hundred miles of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways afford visitors almost countless recreational opportunities.  The area’s 300+ caves attract the truly adventurous!

Business costs and living costs are lower in this region than in other parts of the state, but little is compromised.  The area is has excellent highway access via US 60, 63, 67 and 160.  Class I rail service is provided by BNSF and UP.  The region is about an hour by truck from the Southeast Missouri Port. 

Companies in Missouri’s South Central Region share the state’s business benefits:

  • Low business costs and taxes
  • An above-average, below-market work force
  • A low cost of living
  • A strong transportation network: 
    • Highways 60, 63, 67 and 160
    • Class I rail via BNSF and UP
    • Regional airports
    • Mississippi River access nearby

Major cities

Poplar Bluff (Pop: 17,287)
West Plains (12,268)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013










Businesses and industry

The region's major employers include:

South Central Missouri profile

Educational attainment:

High School Diploma  58,519
Some College 30,518
Associate's Degree 8,526
Bachelor's Degree 11,387
Graduate Degree 6,757
Total Degrees 115,707

Download data (Excel or PDF) for all Missouri regions and counties.


Population 2014 209,600
Population Projection 2030 207,009
Civilian Labor Force (July 2015) 85,956
Employment (July 2015) 79,304
Unemployment (July 2015) 6,652
Unemployment Rate (July 2015) 7.70%

Download data (Excel or PDF) for all Missouri regions and counties.


Recent investment projects

Recent investments in the South Central region include:

  • Mid Continent Nail - adding 91 new workers
  • Piney River Brewing - $1.2 million capital investment
  • Robinson Laser - manufacturer of laser cut steel parts relocated to Pomona

Next steps

Download regional data  or find available sites and buildings in the region.

Related downloads

Related maps

Local economic development contacts


Ozark Heritage Region 


City of West Plains

Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce

Contact Us
Phone: +1.314.725.0949
Toll Free: +1.877.725.0949
Fax: +1.314.725.0743
Online Form

120 South Central Avenue, Suite 1535
Saint Louis, MO 63105

12200 NW Ambassador Drive, Suite 205
Kansas City, MO 64163