The 2011 Joplin tornado was a catastrophic EF5-rated multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, late in the afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011. It was part of a larger late-May tornado outbreak and reached a maximum width of nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) during its path through the southern part of the city. This particular tornado was unusual in that it intensified in strength and grew larger in size at a very fast rate. The tornado tracked eastward across the city, and then continued eastward across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Jasper County and Newton County. It was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971.
More than 20,000 people residing in 659 census blocks were directly impacted by the EF-5 tornado that traveled for more than 22 miles in southwestern Missouri on May 22, 2011. The census blocks that intersected the tornado damage swath, as identified by the National Weather Service, contained a 2010 Census population count of 20,820 as the tornado moved east through the city of Joplin.
According to the latest Census Bureau statistics, the median housing value for owner-occupied homes for the city of Joplin, Mo., was $94,000. The median household income was $36,459. Nearly 18 percent of the population lived in poverty. These data come from the 2007-2009 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates.
A census block is the smallest unit of geography for which the Census Bureau provides decennial census data and is bounded by visible features, such as streets, roads, streams, and railroad tracks, and by nonvisible boundaries, such as selected property lines and city, township, school district, and county limits and short line-of-sight extensions of streets and roads.