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State Guide

Ohio is a Midwestern state of the United States. Part of the Great Lakes region, Ohio has long been a cultural and geographical crossroads in North America. At the time of European contact and in the years that followed, Native Americans in today's Ohio included the Shawnee, Iroquois, Miamis, and Wyandots. Beginning in the 1700s, the area was settled by people from New England, the Mid-Atlantic 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. Ohio has the highest population density of any state not on the Eastern Seaboard, and it is the seventh-largest state by population in the U.S.

Ohio was the first state admitted to the Union under the Northwest Ordinance. Its U.S. postal abbreviation is OH; its old-style abbreviation was O. Natives of Ohio are known as Ohioans or Buckeyes, after the buckeye tree.


The name "Ohio" is derived from the Seneca word ohi:yo’, meaning "beautiful river" (French mistranslation) or "large creek", which was originally the name of both the Ohio River and Allegheny River.


Native Americans

After the so-called Beaver Wars in the mid-1600s, the powerful Iroquois confederation of the New York-area claimed much of the Ohio country as a hunting and, probably most importantly, a beaver-trapping ground. After the devastation of epidemics and war in the mid-1600s, which had largely emptied the Ohio country of indigenous people by the mid-to-late seventeenth century, the land gradually became repopulated by the mostly Algonquian-speaking descendants of its ancient inhabitants, that is, descendants of the Adena, Hopewell, and Mississippian cultures. Many of these Ohio-country nations were multi-ethnic and sometimes multi-linguistic societies born out of the earlier devastation brought about by disease, war, and the subsequent social instability. They subsisted on agriculture (corn, sunflowers, beans, etc.) supplemented by seasonal hunts. By the 1650s they were very much part of a larger global economy brought about by fur trade.

The indigenous nations to inhabit Ohio in the historical period (most clearly after 1700), included the Miamis (a large confederation), Wyandots (made up of refugees, especially from the fractured Huron confederacy), Delawares (pushed west from their historic homeland in New Jersey), Shawnees (also pushed west, although they may be descended from the Fort Ancient people of Ohio), Ottawas (more commonly associated with the upper Great Lakes region), Mingos (like the Wyandot, a recently formed composite of refugees from Iroquois and other societies), and Eries (gradually absorbed into the new, multi-ethnic "republics," namely the Wyandot).

Ohio country was also the site of Indian massacres, such as the Yellow Creek Massacre and Gnadenhutten.

Colonial and Revolutionary Eras

During the 18th century, the French set up a system of trading posts to control the fur trade in the region.

In 1754, France and Great Britain fought a war known in the United States as the French and Indian War. As a result of the Treaty of Paris, the French ceded control of Ohio and the rest of the Old Northwest to Great Britain. Pontiac's Rebellion in the 1760s challenged British military control, which ended with the American victory in the American Revolution. In the Treaty of Paris in 1783 Britain ceded all claims to Ohio to the United States.

Northwest Territory: 1787–1803

The United States created the Northwest Territory under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Slavery was not permitted. Settlement began with the founding of Marietta by the Ohio Company of Associates, which had been formed by a group of American Revolutionary War veterans. Following the Ohio Company, the Miami Company (also referred to as the "Symmes Purchase") claimed the southwestern section and the Connecticut Land Company surveyed and settled the Connecticut Western Reserve in present-day Northeast Ohio. The old Northwest Territory originally included areas that had previously been known as Ohio Country and Illinois Country. As Ohio prepared for statehood, Indiana Territory was created, reducing the Northwest Territory to approximately the size of present-day Ohio plus the eastern half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and the eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula.

Under the Northwest Ordinance, any of the states to be formed out of the Northwest Territory would be admitted as a state once the population exceeded 60,000. Although Ohio's population numbered only 45,000 in December 1801, Congress determined that the population was growing rapidly and Ohio could begin the path to statehood with the assumption that it would exceed 60,000 residents by the time it would become a state.

Statehood: 1803–present

Eight U.S. presidents hailed from Ohio at the time of their elections, giving rise to the nickname "Mother of Presidents", a sobriquet it shares with Virginia. Seven presidents were born in Ohio, making it second to Virginia's eight, but Virginia-born William Henry Harrison lived most of his life in Ohio and is also buried there. Harrison conducted his political career while living on the family compound, founded by William's father-in-law John Cleves Symmes, in North Bend, Ohio.

The seven presidents born in Ohio were Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison (grandson of William Henry Harrison), William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding.

In 1835, Ohio fought with Michigan in the Toledo War, a mostly bloodless boundary war over the Toledo Strip. Congress intervened and, as a condition for admittance as a state of the Union, Michigan was forced to accept the western two-thirds of the Upper Peninsula, in addition to the eastern third that was already part of the state, in exchange for giving up its claim to the Toledo Strip.

Ohio's central position and its population gave it an important place during the Civil War, and the Ohio River was a vital artery for troop and supply movements, as were Ohio's railroads. At the end of the Civil War, three top Union generals were all from Ohio: Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan. Ohio also contributed more soldiers per-capita than any other state in the Union.

In 1912 a Constitutional Convention was held with Charles B. Galbreath as Secretary. The result reflected the concerns of the Progressive Era. It introduced the initiative and the referendum, allowed the General Assembly to put questions on the ballot for the people to ratify laws and constitutional amendments originating in the Legislature as well. Under the Jeffersonian principle that laws should be reviewed once a generation, the constitution provided for a recurring question to appear on Ohio's general election ballots every 20 years. The question asks whether a new convention is required. Although the question has appeared in 1932, 1952, 1972, and 1992, it has never been approved. Instead constitutional amendments have been proposed by petition to the legislature hundreds of times and adopted in a majority of cases.

On February 19, 1803, President Jefferson signed an act of Congress that approved Ohio's boundaries and constitution. However, Congress had never passed a resolution formally admitting Ohio as the 17th state. The current custom of Congress declaring an official date of statehood did not begin until 1812, with Louisiana's admission as the 18th state. Although no formal resolution of admission was required, when the oversight was discovered in 1953, Ohio congressman George H. Bender introduced a bill in Congress to admit Ohio to the Union retroactive to March 1, 1803. At a special session at the old state capital in Chillicothe, the Ohio state legislature approved a new petition for statehood that was delivered to Washington, D.C. on horseback. On August 7, 1953 (the year of Ohio's 150th anniversary), President Eisenhower signed an act that officially declared March 1, 1803 the date of Ohio's admittance into the Union.

Law and government

Ohio's capital is Columbus, located close to the center of the state. The executive branch is made up of six officers: Governor and lieutenant governor, Secretary of state, Attorney general, Auditor, and Treasurer. Governor Ted Strickland took office as governor in January 2007. The legislative branch of Ohio government, the Ohio General Assembly, is made up of two houses--the senate, which has 33 members, and the house of representatives, which has 99 members.The judicial branch is headed by the supreme court, which has one chief justice and six associate justices.

In the United States federal government, Ohio has 18 seats in the United States House of Representatives.


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 Canada, 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 nearly all of the river itself belongs to Kentucky and West Virginia. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, based on the wording of the cessation of territory by Virginia (which, at that time included what is now Kentucky and West Virginia), the boundary between Ohio and Kentucky (and by implication, West Virginia) is the northern low-water mark of the river as it existed in 1792. Ohio has only that portion of the river between the river's 1792 low-water mark and the present high-water mark.

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.

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. Geologically similar to parts of West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania, this area's coal mining legacy, dependence on small pockets of old manufacturing establishments, and 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 typically hot and humid throughout the State, while winters generally range from cool to cold. Precipitation in Ohio is moderate year-round. Severe weather is not uncommon in the state, although there are typically fewer tornadoes in Ohio than in states located in the so-called Tornado Alley. Severe lake effect snowstorms are also not uncommon on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, which is located in an area designated as the Snowbelt.

Although predominantly not in a subtropical climate, some warmer-climate flora and fauna does reach well into Ohio. For instance, a number of trees with more southern ranges, such as the blackjack oak, Quercus marilandica, are found at their northernmost in Ohio just north of the Ohio River. Also evidencing this climatic transition from a subtropical to continental climate, several plants such as the Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), 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.


The highest recorded temperature was 113 °F (45 °C), near Gallipolis on July 21, 1934. The lowest recorded temperature was -39 °F (-39 °C), at Milligan on February 10, 1899.


Earthquakes are rare, but not unheard of, in Ohio. More than 30 earthquakes occurred in Ohio between 2002 and 2007, and more than 200 quakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or higher have occurred since 1776.

The most substantial known earthquake in Ohio history was the Anna (Shelby County) earthquake, which occurred on March 9, 1937. It was centered in western Ohio, and had a magnitude of 5.4, and was of intensity VIII.

Other significant earthquakes in Ohio include: one of magnitude 4.8 near Lima on September 19, 1884; one of magnitude 4.2 near Portsmouth on May 17, 1901; and one of 5.0 in northeast Ohio on January 31, 1986, which continued to trigger 13 aftershocks of magnitude 0.5 to 2.4 for two months.

The most recent earthquake in Ohio of any appreciable magnitude occurred on January 8, 2008, at 8:34:46 PM local time. It had a magnitude of 3.1, and its epicenter was under Lake Erie, northeast of Cleveland, approximately 9.7 km (6 mi) west of Mentor-on-the-Lake.

The Ohio Seismic Network (OhioSeis), a group of seismograph stations at several colleges, universities, and other institutions, and coordinated by the Division of Geological Survey of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, maintains an extensive catalog of Ohio earthquakes from 1776 to the present day, as well as earthquakes located in other states whose effects were felt in Ohio.

Major cities

Columbus (home of The Ohio State University, Franklin University, Capital University, and Ohio Dominican University) is the capital of Ohio, near the geographic center of the state.

Other Ohio cities functioning as centers of United States metropolitan areas include:

  • Akron (home of University of Akron and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company)
  • Canton (home of Pro Football Hall of Fame, Malone College, and The Timken Company)
  • Cincinnati (home of University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Procter & Gamble)
  • Cleveland (home of Cleveland State University, Playhouse Square Center, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Orchestra, Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Clinic, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Forest City Enterprises, and University Hospitals)
  • Dayton (home of University of Dayton and National Museum of the United States Air Force)
  • Lima (home of University of Northwestern Ohio)
  • Mansfield (home of North Central State College and Mansfield Motorsports Park)
  • Sandusky (home of Cedar Point, and Kalahari Resort and Convention Center)
  • Springfield (home of Wittenberg University)
  • Steubenville (home of Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  • Toledo (home of The University of Toledo)
  • Youngstown (home of Youngstown State University).

Note: The Cincinnati metropolitan area extends into Kentucky and Indiana, and the Youngstown metropolitan area extends into Pennsylvania.

Ohio cities that function as centers of United States micropolitan areas include:

  • Ashland (home of Ashland University)
  • Ashtabula
  • Athens (home of Ohio University)
  • Bellefontaine
  • Bucyrus
  • Cambridge
  • Celina
  • Chillicothe (home of Ohio University-Chillicothe)
  • Coshocton
  • Defiance (home of Defiance College)
  • East Liverpool-Salem
  • Findlay (home of The University of Findlay)
  • Fremont
  • Greenville
  • Marion (home of Marion Popcorn Festival)
  • Mount Vernon (home of Mount Vernon Nazarene University)
  • New Philadelphia-Dover
  • Norwalk (home of the NHRA venue Summit Motorsports Park)
  • Oxford (home of Miami University)
  • Portsmouth (home of Shawnee State University)
  • Sidney
  • Tiffin (home of Heidelberg College and Tiffin University)
  • Urbana (home of Urbana University)
  • Van Wert
  • Wapakoneta
  • Washington Court House
  • Wilmington (home of Wilmington College)
  • Wooster (home of The College of Wooster)
  • Zanesville (home of Zane State College).


Ohio is a major producer of machines, tires and rubber products, steel, processed foods, tools, and other manufactured goods. This is not immediately obvious because Ohio specializes in capital goods (goods used to make other goods, such as machine tools, automobile parts, industrial chemicals, and plastic moldings). Nevertheless, there are well known Ohio consumer items including some Procter & Gamble products, Smuckers jams and jellies, and Day-Glo paints.

There are also numerous automobile plants in Ohio that manufacture cars, most notably the Jeep plant in Toledo, where the vehicles have been made since their initial release in World War II. Honda, Ford, and General Motors also have or had automobile plants in Ohio; in the case of the latter, one of their plants in Ohio (Lordstown Assembly, near Youngstown) is located right off the Ohio Turnpike with its own exit.

Ohio is the site of the invention of the airplane, resulting from the experiments of the Wright brothers in Dayton. (Wright State University located in Dayton is named in their honor.) Production of aircraft in the USA is now centered elsewhere, but a large experimental and design facility, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been located near Dayton and serves in the co-ordination of production of US military aircraft. On the base are located Wright Hill and Huffman Prairie, where many of the earliest aerodynamic experiments of the Wright brothers were performed. Ohio today also has many aerospace, defense, and NASA parts and systems suppliers scattered throughout the state.

As part of the Corn Belt, agriculture also plays an important role in the state's economy. There is also a small commercial fishing sector on Lake Erie, and the principal catch is yellow perch. In addition, Ohio's historical attractions, varying landscapes, and recreational opportunities are the basis for a thriving tourist industry. Over 2,500 lakes and 43,000 miles (70,000 km) of river landscapes are a paradise for boaters, fishermen, and swimmers. Of special historical interest are the Native American archaeological sites—including grave mounds[33] and other sites. According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture Ohio in 2001 ranked as 1st in Swiss cheese, 2nd in eggs,3rd in tomatoes, 5th in milk, 6th in corn, 6th in soybean, 8th in grapes, 9th in hogs, 9th in floriculture, and 11th in apples.

Two major amusement parks, Cedar Point, and Kings Island, are also important to the tourism industry. Ohio's Amish country is also a major pull for the State's tourism industry. Though still forming itself, tourism is becoming a major industry in Cleveland, especially medical tourism.

In 2006 the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Ohio's gross state product was $461.3 billion ranking it 7th in the nation. If Ohio was its own nation in would be ranked 17th in GDP ranked behind the Netherlands and above Belgium. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $30,129, 25th in the nation. Ohio's agricultural outputs are soybeans, dairy products, corn, tomatoes, hogs, cattle, poultry, and eggs. Its industrial outputs are transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery, food processing, and electricity equipment. According to the 2007 Fortune list Ohio had 28 Fortune 500 companies (ranked 5th nationally) and 60 Fortune 1000 companies (also ranked 5th nationally). 3 Ohio cities (Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland) have 5 or more Fortune 500 Companies (ranked 2nd behind Texas among the states.

Ohio's budget could face a deficit as high as $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2009.

Ohio is recognized for its health care, due to several flagship hospitals that operate in the northeast region of the state. The Cleveland Clinic, ranked among the three leading hospitals in the U.S., has its world headquarters and main campus in Cleveland. Its partner, the University Hospitals of Cleveland health system, includes the Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, ranked among the top ten children's hospitals in the country. Cincinnati Children's Hospital is the leading center for research into childhood diseases in the state.


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 to a growth of 92,101 people, most coming from southeast and south 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.

As of 2004, Ohio's population included about 390,000 foreign-born (3.4%).

The largest ancestry groups in Ohio are German (25.2%), Irish (12.7%), African American (11.5%), English (9.2%), American (8.5%), and Italian (6.0%).

German is the largest reported ancestry in most of the counties in Ohio, especially in the northwest, central, and the extreme southwest. Ohioans who cited American and British ancestry are present throughout the state as well, particularly in the south-central part of the state. Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton have large African American communities. Cleveland and Toledo have sizable Hispanic populations, while the Cleveland and Columbus areas have the largest Asian populations. Greater Cleveland is home to a notably large Jewish community. Other Ohio cities, such as Cincinnati, also have sizable Hungarian and Jewish populations.

6.6% of Ohio's population were reported as under 5, 25.4% under 18, and 13.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.4% of the population.

Religion in Ohio

The first religious settlement in Ohio was founded in 1751 among the Huron Indians in what is now the Sandusky area. Shortly afterward, Moravian missionaries converted some Delaware Indians to Christianity; the first Protestant church was founded by Congregationalist ministers at Marietta in 1788. Dissident religious sects such as the Shakers, Amish, and Quakers moved into Ohio from the early 18th century onward, but the majority of settlers in the early 19th century were Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Disciples of Christ, and Episcopalians.

According to the 2000 Census, Ohio's reported Roman Catholic population was 2,231,832, and state's Jewish population was 142,255, with the largest Jewish communities being in the Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus metro areas. Muslims in Ohio accounted for 41,281 people, while Ohio's communities of Amish and Mennonites -- among the largest in the nation -- tallied over 24,000 Amish and over 20,000 Mennonites respectively, located primarily in central Ohio.[citation needed]

The largest Protestant denominations and their adherents in 2000 were the United Methodist Church, 566,084; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 301,749; the Southern Baptist Convention, 200,232; the Presbyterian Church USA, 160,800; the United Church of Christ, 157,180; Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 142,571; and the American Baptist Churches USA, 117,757. About 6.2 million people (55.1% of the population) declined to be counted as members of any religious organization.

Political demographics and history

Politically, Ohio is considered a swing state. The Economist notes that, "This slice of the mid-west contains a bit of everything American—part north-eastern and part southern, part urban and part rural, part hardscrabble poverty and part booming suburb,"

The mixture of urban and rural areas, and the presence of both large blue-collar industries and significant white-collar commercial districts leads to a balance of conservative and liberal population that (together with the state's 20 electoral votes, more than most swing states) makes the state very important to the outcome of national elections. Ohio was a deciding state in the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry. Bush narrowly won the state's 20 electoral votes by a margin of 2 percentage points and 50.8% of the vote. The state supported Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, but supported Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Ohio was also a deciding factor in the 1948 presidential election when Democrat Harry S. Truman defeated Republican Thomas Dewey (who had won the state four years earlier) and in the 1976 presidential election when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Republican Gerald Ford by a slim margin in Ohio and took the election.

Ohio's demographics cause many to consider the state as a microcosm of the nation as a whole. A Republican presidential candidate has never won the White House without winning Ohio, and Ohio has gone to the winner of the election in all but two contests since 1892, backing only losers Thomas E. Dewey in 1944 (Ohio's John Bricker was his running mate) and Richard M. Nixon in 1960. Consequently, the state is very important to the campaigns of both major parties. Ohio had 20 electoral votes in the Electoral College in 2004.

Many political analysts divide the state into five distinct regions: a central region and one in each corner. These regions are as different from each other as most states, and the largest (northeast) is only twice the size of the smallest (southeast). The northeast, including Cleveland, Youngstown, Lorain/Elyria, and other industrial areas, votes solidly Democrat largely due to its traditionally strong unions. The northwest is largely farmland with a few small manufacturing cities such as Toledo and Lima, and leans slightly Republican. The southwest is the most heavily Republican part of the state, especially in the suburbs in between Dayton and Cincinnati. Libertarian candidates also run surprisingly strongly in this area. The Appalachian regions in the Southeast are a swing bloc, tending to favor the candidates who have strong economic agendas. The central part of the state, consisting of Columbus and its suburbs, is typical of many newly large cities: a poor urban Democratic core surrounded by a rich suburban Republican ring.

Ohio is known as the "Modern Mother of Presidents", having sent eight of its native sons to the White House. Seven of them were Republicans, and the other was a member of the Whig Party.

"Ohio has excelled as a recruiting-ground for national political leaders. Between the Civil War and 1920, seven Ohioans were elected to the presidency, ending with Harding's election in 1920. At the same time, six Ohioans sat on the US Supreme Court and two served as Chief Justices....'Not since the Virginia dynasty dominated national government during the early years of the Republic' notes historian R. Douglas Hurt, 'had a state made such a mark on national political affairs.'

Ohioans dominated national politics for seventy years, because Ohio was to a large extent a microcosm of the nation. Hurt writes that the elements of that microcosm were 'the diversity of the people, the strength of the industrial and agricultural economy, and the balance between rural and urban populations.' He continues: 'The individuals who played major roles in national affairs appealed to broad national constituencies because they learned their skills in Ohio, where political success required candidates to reconcile wide differences among the voters. Ohioans were northerners and southerners as well as easterners and westerners. Consequently, Ohio's politicians addressed constituencies that were the same as those across the nation.' Finally, the pragmatic and centrist character of Ohio politics, Hurt asserts, has made it 'job-oriented rather than issue oriented.'"


Ohio's system of public education is outlined in Article VI of the state constitution, and in Title XXXIII of the Ohio Revised Code. Substantively, Ohio's system is similar to those found in other states. At the State level, the Ohio Department of Education, which is overseen by the Ohio State Board of Education, governs primary and secondary educational institutions. At the municipal level, there are approximately 700 school districts statewide. The Ohio Board of Regents coordinates and assists with Ohio's institutions of higher education which have recently been reorganized into the University System of Ohio under Governor Strickland. The system averages an annual enrollment of over 400,000 students, making it one of the five largest state university systems in the U.S.

Colleges and universities

  • 13 state universities
    • The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
    • Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
    • Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio
    • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
    • Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
    • Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
    • Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
    • The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
    • Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio
    • University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
    • Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio (Fairborn, Ohio)
    • Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio
  • 24 state university branch and regional campuses
  • 46 private colleges and universities a b
  • 6 free-standing state-assisted medical schools
    • University of Toledo College of Medicine (formerly Medical University of Ohio)
    • Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine
    • The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health
    • Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
    • Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • 15 community colleges
  • 8 technical colleges
  • 24 independent non-profit colleges
a Included among these is the University of Dayton, which is a private, Roman Catholic university run by the Society of Mary.
b Two of these institutions are ranked among the top 40 in the nation: Case Western Reserve University, and Oberlin College.


Ohio is home to some of the nation's highest-ranking public libraries. The 2006 study by Thomas J. Hennen Jr. ranked Ohio as number one in a state-by-state comparison. For 2006, Ohio's three largest library systems were all ranked in the top ten for American cities of 500,000 or more:

  • Cuyahoga County Public Library (first)
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library (third)
  • The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (eighth)

The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) is an organization that provides Ohio residents with internet access to their 251 public libraries. OPLIN also provides Ohioans with free home access to high-quality, subscription research databases.

Ohio also offers the OhioLINK program, allowing Ohio's libraries (particularly those from colleges and universities) access to materials in other libraries. The program is largely successful in allowing researchers access to books and other media that might not otherwise be available.



The first openly all-professional sports team called Ohio home: The Cincinnati Red Stockings of Major League Baseball formed in 1869. Today, Ohio is home to several professional sports teams, including seven major professional sports league franchises.

Ohio is currently the only state to have teams in each of the major leagues without one city or metro area that can lay claim to the "Grand Slam," though Cleveland briefly held this status from 1976 to 1978. Major professional sporting teams in Ohio include:

  • Major League Baseball
    • Cincinnati Reds - NL
    • Cleveland Indians - AL
  • National Football League
    • Cincinnati Bengals
    • Cleveland Browns
  • National Basketball Association
    • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • National Hockey League
    • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Major League Soccer
    • Columbus Crew

Former major league teams:

  • Akron Pros (NFL) (1920-1925)
  • Canton Bulldogs (NFL) (1920-1923 and 1925-1926)
  • Portsmouth Spartans (NFL) (1930-1933)
  • Cincinnati Red Stockings (NL)(1876-1880)
  • Cleveland Blues (NL) (1879-1884)
  • Cleveland Spiders (AA-NL) (1887-1899)
  • Cleveland Rams (NFL) (1936-1945)
  • Cleveland Rebels ( BAA) (1946-1947)
  • Cincinnati Royals (NBA) (1957-1972)
  • Cleveland Barons (NHL) (1976-1978)
  • Cleveland Crusaders (WHA) (1972-1976)
  • Cincinnati Stingers (WHA) (1975-1979).
  • Dayton Triangles (NFL) (1920-1929)
  • Cleveland Rockers (WNBA) (1997-2003)

Other Ohio professional sports teams

  • Baseball
    • Minor League Baseball
      • Akron Aeros
      • Chillicothe Paints
      • Columbus Clippers
      • Dayton Dragons
      • Lake County Captains
      • Mahoning Valley Scrappers
      • Toledo Mud Hens
  • Softball
    • National Pro Fastpitch
      • Akron Racers
  • Football
    • Arena Football League
      • Columbus Destroyers
      • Cleveland Gladiators
    • Arena Football 2 (AF2) League
      • Mahoning Valley Thunder
    • National Indoor Football League
      • Cincinnati Marshals
    • Continental Indoor Football League
      • Marion Mayhem
      • Miami Valley Silverbacks
    • American Indoor Football Association
      • Canton Legends
    • National Women's Football Association
      • Cleveland Fusion
      • Columbus Comets
      • Cincinnati Sizzle
    • United States Australian Football League
      • Cincinnati Dockers
  • Hockey
    • American Hockey League
      • Cleveland Lake Erie Monsters
    • Central Hockey League
      • Youngstown Steelhounds
    • East Coast Hockey League
      • Cincinnati Cyclones
      • Dayton Bombers
      • Toledo Walleye (beginning 2009)
    • North American Hockey League
      • Mahoning Valley Phantoms
    • Mid-Atlantic Hockey League
      • Auburn(Geauga) Lake Erie Vikings
  • Soccer
    • United Soccer Leagues
      • Cincinnati Kings
      • Cleveland City Stars

College and high school

Ohio is also known for being full of enthusiastic fans of college and high school football. Ohio State is the 5th winningest program in NCAA history and has 7 National Championships and 7 Heisman Trophy winners. Akron, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami University, Ohio and Toledo all also compete in Division I-A Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of College Football. Toledo holds one of the nation's longest Division I football winning streaks, winning 35 consecutive games from 1969 to 1971 under quarterback Chuck Ealey. Youngstown State is a perennial power in Division I-AA Football Championship Subdivision having won 4 I-AA Championships under Jim Tressel (now OSU Head Coach). Mount Union College is the dynasty of Division III college football with 11 National Championships and a record 62 game winning streak at one point.

Massillon Washington High School in Massillon has won 9 high school football national championship polls and 31 state championships. Colerain High School is rising to be a dynasty in its own right, and is scheduled to face Massillon at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 2008.

Cincinnati's Greater Catholic League, consisting of boy's Catholic high schools from the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas, is one of the most competitive leagues in the state and the country. Not including its all-girls counterpart, the GGCL, the GCL has laid claim to more than 110 state titles and more than 315 individual state titles, as well as numerous national championships. In particular, the GCL South Division has achieved a great deal of success. Consisting of the four, large all-male schools of Elder, LaSalle, Moeller and St. Xavier, four of the last six Division I State Football Championships have come from this division.

Recent Team State Championships for the GCL South:

  • Elder Panthers: Football (2002, 2003), Baseball (2004)
  • LaSalle Lancers: Cross Country (2005, 2006)
  • Moeller Crusaders: Baseball (2004), Basketball (2003, 2007), Volleyball (2004, 2007)
  • St. Xavier Bombers: Baseball (2003), Cross Country (2003), Football (2005, 2007), Tennis (2006, 2007), Swimming (2002-2004, 2006, 2007), Volleyball (2006)

Ohio High School's Federal League (including the McKinley Bulldogs, Perry Panthers, Jackson Polar Bears, North Canton Hoover Vikings, Lake Blue Streaks, GlenOak Eagles, Austintown Fitch Falcons, and the Boardman Spartans) is one of the most competitive high school athletic leagues in Ohio.

Recent Championships for Federal League: Jackson Polar Bears- State Finalist-Mens Soccer- 2007 Jackson Polar Bears-State Runner-ups-Women's Cross Country-2005 Hoover Vikings- State Finalist- Softball- 2007- D1- Beat by Hudson. Hoover Vikings- State Champs- Softball- 2006- WP- Jessica Simpson- D1. Lake Blue Streaks- State Champs- Softball- 2005 WP- Julie Boyes- D1. Lake Blue Streaks- State Finalist- Softball- 2004- D1- Beat by St. Ursala. Lake Blue Streaks- Mike Miller, three-time Ohio Wrestling State Champion 2003, 2004, 2005 Canton Mckinley Bulldogs - State Champs - Basketball - 2005/2006. First team to win the title back to back.


Many major east-west transportation corridors go through Ohio. One of those pioneer routes, known in the early 1900s as "Main Market Route 3", was chosen in 1913 to become part of the historic Lincoln Highway which was the first road across America, connecting New York City to San Francisco. In Ohio, the Lincoln Highway linked many towns and cities together, including Canton, Mansfield, Lima, and Van Wert. The arrival of the Lincoln Highway to Ohio was a major influence on the development of the state. Upon the advent of the federal numbered highway system in 1926, the Lincoln Highway through Ohio became U.S. Highway 30.

Ohio also is home to 228 miles (367 km) of the Historic National Road, now U.S. Route 40.

Ohio has a highly developed network of roads and interstate highways. Major east-west through routes include the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90) in the north, I-76 through Akron to Pennsylvania, I-70 through Columbus and Dayton, and the Appalachian Highway (Ohio 32) running from West Virginia to Cincinnati. Major north-south routes include I-75 in the west through Toledo, Dayton, and Cincinnati, I-71 through the middle of the state from Cleveland through Columbus and Cincinnati into Kentucky, and I-77 in the eastern part of the state from Cleveland through Akron, Canton, New Philadelphia and Marietta down into West Virginia. Interstate 75 between Cincinnati and Dayton is one of the heaviest traveled sections of interstate in Ohio.

Air travel includes Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which is a major hub for Continental Airlines, as well as Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (located in the state of Kentucky), which is a major hub for Delta Air Lines. Other major airports are located in Dayton, Toledo, Columbus, and Akron-Canton

Transportation Lists

  • List of Ohio state highways
  • List of Ohio train stations
  • List of Ohio railroads
  • List of Ohio rivers
  • Historic Ohio Canals

State symbols

  • State animal: White-tailed Deer (1987)
  • State beverage: Tomato juice (1965)
  • State bird: Cardinal (1933)
  • State capital: Columbus
  • State flower: Scarlet Carnation (1904)
  • State fossil: Trilobite genus Isotelus (1985)
  • State herb capital: Gahanna (1972)
  • State insect: Ladybug Beetle (1975)
  • State motto: "With God all things are possible." (1959)
  • State rock song: "Hang On Sloopy" (1985)
  • State song: "Beautiful Ohio" (1969)
  • State tree: Buckeye (1953)
  • State reptile: Black racer snake (1995)
  • State stone: Ohio Flint (1965)
  • State wildflower: Large white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) (1986)
  • Slogans
    • "Ohio, the heart of it all!" Used on Ohio's license plates and welcome signs between the years 1985-2001 (license plates) and 1991-2005 (welcome signs).The connotation being that the state's shape resembles a heart symbol -- and also that most people consider Ohio the beginning of the US Heartland. The town of North Baltimore, Ohio in Wood County makes the claim of being "The Cross Roads of The Heartland" in yet another claim of Ohio being the Heart of it all and the start of the Heartland.
    • "Ohio, so much to discover." Adopted as part of state bicentennial campaign. Also used on welcome signs since 2001, although the signs on I-75 still were the blue "The Heart of It All Signs" until August of 2005)
    • "Birthplace Of Aviation" Used on Ohio license plates and welcome signs since 2001. It also appears similarly in Ohio's design for the 50 State Quarters program with the addition of the word "Pioneers".
    • "The Buckeye State" Common state nickname (Ohio residents are often called Buckeyes)
  • The Ohio-class SSBN program and the first ship of the program, the USS Ohio (SSBN-726), were named after Ohio.

There has been an attempt to make the pawpaw the state fruit, but this has been blocked by others who wish to make the apple the state fruit. This has resulted in a bumper sticker seen in southeastern Ohio saying "I'm pro-pawpaw - and I vote!"

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