Conway: Where quality of life leads to sustained growth
The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to Conway shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it Conway Station, in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office. Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is contributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.
Conway was long the home of the late Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice James D. Johnson (1924- 2010), who ran unsuccessful races for governor in 1956 against then fellow Democrat Orval Eugene Faubus and in 1966 against the Republican Winthrop Rockefeller. Johnson, a leading segregation activist during the confrontation over forced integration at Little Rock Central High School, went on to switch affiliation to the Republican Party in the 1980s, after the death of his nemesis Rockefeller. Johnson also lost an important race in 1968 for the United States Senate against the incumbent James William Fulbright. His wife, the late Virginia Johnson (1928- 2007), ran for governor in 1968, while he was running for U.S. Senator.
Conway's strong community spirit, high-performing schools and colleges, family friendly recreation, and vibrant economy continue to attract visitors, residents, and businesses to the city It is this quality of life in Conway and the surrounding area that has made Faulkner County the 72nd fastest-growing county in the nation, out of 3007 counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The growth is no accident. Three institutions of higher learning - the University of Central Arkansas, Central Baptist College, and Hendrix College - produce graduates who choose to stay in the area and enter the workforce. As a result, nearly 40 percent of Conway's adults have a post-secondary degree. This educational level is a boon to employers in all sectors, and Conway has a variety - manufacturing, education, health services, and technology and information services, to name a few. For two consecutive years, CNN Money- a service of CNN, Fortune Magazine, and Money Magazine - has listed Faulkner County among the top 25 places in the nation for job growth.
Retail growth also continues to escalate. In 2017, central Arkansas residents will have access to a new shopping center at the site of the current airport, further establishing Conway as a regional shopping hub. The downtown area is also luring residents with trendy boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants. Furthermore, a mix of national chains and locally owned stores offer convenient neighborhood shopping throughout Conway.
Whether you are attending college, searching for employment, raising a family, settling into retirement, or simply looking for a place to shop and dine, Conway is a smart choice.
In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau listed Faulkner County as the 72nd fastest-growing county in the nation among counties with populations greater than 10,000. The county had a growth rate of 4.8 percent from 2010-2012.
Conway, the county seat, is home to three institutions of higher education, making the city's population relatively young and well educated. Large numbers of college students choose to stay in the community upon graduation and contribute to the city's demographic profile
Graph of Population Growth in Conway from 1990 to 2012
Graph of Educational
Attainment in Conway
Median Family Income: $63,860
Mean Family Income: $79,274
Median Income (Married-Couple Families): $76,297
Median Household Income: $42,640
Mean Household Income: $59,871
Median Age: 25.6
• U.S. Census Bureau, 2010-2012 American Community Sur;ey
• U.S. Census Bureau I American FactFinder
• U.S. Census Bureau: State and County OuickFacts