Missouri's borders physically touch a total of eight different states, as does its neighbor, Tennessee. No state
in the U.S. touches more than eight states. Missouri is bounded on the north by Iowa; on the east, across the
Mississippi River, by Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee; on the south by Arkansas; and on the west by Oklahoma,
Kansas, and Nebraska (the latter across the Missouri River.) The two largest Missouri rivers are the Mississippi,
which defines the eastern boundary of the state, and the Missouri, that flows west to east through the state,
connecting the two largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis.
Although today the state is usually considered part of the Midwest, historically Missouri was sometimes
considered a Southern state, chiefly because of the settlement of migrants from the South and its status as a
slave state before the Civil War. The counties that made up "Little Dixie" were those along the Missouri River in the
center of the state, settled by Southern migrants who held the greatest concentration of slaves.
Residents of cities farther north and the state's large metropolitan areas, including those where most of the
state's population resides (Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia), typically consider themselves Midwestern. In rural
areas and cities farther south, such as (Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, and Sikeston), people typically
consider themselves more Southern.