Ohio is a midwestern state in the United States. Part of the Great Lakes region, Ohio has long been a cultural and geographical crossroads. At the time of European contact and in the years which followed, Native Americans in today's Ohio included the Iroquois, Miamis, and Wyandots. Beginning in the 1700s, the area was settled by people from New England, the Middle States, Appalachia, and the upper south.
Prior to 1984, the United States Census Bureau considered Ohio part of the North Central Region. That region was renamed "Midwest" and split into two divisions. Ohio is now in the East North Central States division.
The name "Ohio" derives from the Seneca word ohi:yo’, meaning "beautiful river" or "large creek", which was originally the name of both the Ohio River and Allegheny River.
Ohio's geographic location has proved to be an asset for economic growth and expansion. Because Ohio links the Northeast to the Midwest, much cargo and business traffic passes through its borders on its well-developed highways. Ohio has the nation's 10th largest highway network, and is within a one-day drive of 50% of North America's population and 70% of North America's manufacturing capacity. To the North, Lake Erie gives Ohio 312 miles (502 km) of coastline, which allows for numerous seaports. Ohio's southern border is defined by the Ohio River (with the border being at the 1793 low-water mark on the north side of the river), and much of the northern border is defined by Lake Erie. Ohio's neighbors are Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Ontario to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.
Ohio's borders were defined by metes and bounds in the Enabling Act of
1802 as follows:
“ Bounded on the east by the Pennsylvania line, on the south by the Ohio River, to the mouth of the Great Miami River, on the west by the line drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami aforesaid, and on the north by an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, running east after intersecting the due north line aforesaid, from the mouth of the Great Miami until it shall intersect Lake Erie or the territorial line, and thence with the same through Lake Erie to the Pennsylvania line aforesaid. ”
Note that Ohio is bounded by the Ohio River, but the river itself belongs mostly to Kentucky and West Virginia. The border with Michigan, has also changed, as a result of the Toledo War, to angle slightly northeast to the north shore of the mouth of the Maumee River.
Much of Ohio features glaciated plains, with an exceptionally flat area in the northwest being known as the Great Black Swamp. This glaciated region in the northwest and central state is bordered to the east and southeast first by a belt known as the glaciated Allegheny Plateau, and then by another belt known as the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. Most of Ohio is of low relief, but the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau features rugged hills and forests.
As of 2006, Ohio has an estimated population of 11,478,006, which is an increase of 7,321 from the prior year and an increase of 124,861 since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 263,004 people (that is 938,169 births minus 675,165 deaths) and a decrease from net migration of -145,718. Immigration from outside the United States contributed of a growth of 92,101 people, most coming from Asia, yet net migration within the country resulted in a decrease of 237,819 people. Ohio has witnessed an increase in the Laotian American and Thai American populations, as well as Asian Indians and Latin Americans.
The center of population of Ohio is also located in Morrow County, in the county seat of Mount Gilead
The rugged southeastern quadrant of Ohio, stretching in an outward bow-like arc along the Ohio River from the West Virginia Panhandle to the outskirts of Cincinnati, forms a distinct socio-economic unit. Known somewhat erroneously as Ohio's "Appalachian Counties" (they are actually in the Allegheny Plateau), this area's coal mining legacy, dependence on small pockets of old manufacturing establishments, and even distinctive regional dialect set this section off from the rest of the state and, unfortunately, create a limited opportunity to participate in the generally high economic standards of Ohio. In 1965 the United States Congress passed the Appalachian Regional Development Act, at attempt to "address the persistent poverty and growing economic despair of the Appalachian Region." This act defines 29 Ohio counties as part of Appalachia. While 1/3 of Ohio's land mass is part of the federally defined Appalachian region, only 12.8% of Ohioans live there (1.476 million people.)
Significant rivers within the state include the Cuyahoga River, Great Miami River, Maumee River, Muskingum River, and Scioto River. The rivers in the northern part of the state drain into the northern Atlantic Ocean via Lake Erie and the St. Lawrence River, and the rivers in the southern part of the state drain into the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and then the Mississippi. The worst weather disaster in Ohio history occurred along the Great Miami River in 1913. Known as the Great Dayton Flood, the entire Miami River watershed flooded, including the downtown business district of Dayton. As a result, the Miami Conservancy District was created as the first major flood plain engineering project in Ohio and the United States.
Grand Lake St. Marys in the west central part of the state was constructed as a supply of water for canals in the canal-building era of 1820–1850. For many years this body of water, over 20 square miles (52 km²), was the largest artificial lake in the world. It should be noted that Ohio's canal-building projects were not the economic fiasco that similar efforts were in other states. Some cities, such as Dayton, owe their industrial emergence to location on canals, and as late as 1910 interior canals carried much of the bulk freight of the state.
The climate of Ohio is a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa) throughout most of the state except in the extreme southern counties of Ohio's Bluegrass region section which are located on the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate and Upland South region of the United States. Summers are hot and humid throughout the State, while winters are generally cool to cold. Precipitation is moderate year-round. Severe weather is not uncommon in the State as it is a battleground between cold Arctic air and warm Gulf air for much of the year, although there are fewer tornadoes in Ohio than in states farther to the west. Severe lake effect snowstorms are also not uncommon on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, which also provides a moderating effect on the climate there.
Although predominantly not in a subtropical climate, some warmer-climate flora and fauna does reach well into Ohio. Evidencing this climatic transition from a subtropical to continental climate, several plants such as the Southern magnolia, Albizia julibrissin(mimosa), Crape Myrtle, and even the occasional Needle Palm are hardy landscape materials regularly used as street, yard, and garden plantings in the Bluegrass region of Ohio; but, these same plants will simply not thrive in much of the rest of the State. This interesting change may be observed while traveling through Ohio on Interstate 75 from Cincinnati to Toledo; the observant traveler of this diverse state may even catch a glimpse of Cincinnati's common wall lizard, one of the few examples of permanent "subtropical" fauna in Ohio.
Ohio was the first state admitted to the Union under the Northwest Ordinance. Its U.S. postal abbreviation is OH; its old-style abbreviation is O.
Natives of Ohio are known as Ohioans.
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