Joplin is a city in southern Jasper County and northern Newton County in the southwestern corner of the US state of Missouri. Joplin is the largest city in Jasper County, though it is not the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 50,150. In 2009, the surrounding Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 174,300.
Although often believed to have been named for the ragtime composer Scott Joplin, who lived in Sedalia, Missouri, Joplin is named for Reverend Harris Joplin, an early settler and the founder of the area's first Methodist congregation. Joplin was established in 1873 and expanded significantly from the wealth created by the mining of zinc; its growth faltered after World War II when the price of the mineral collapsed. The city gained travelers as Route 66 passed through it; "Joplin, Missouri" is among the lyrics to Bobby Troup's legendary song, immortalizing the city among others on the famous highway.
On May 22, 2011, Joplin was struck by an extremely powerful EF-5 tornado, resulting in at least 160 deaths and more than 900 injuries, along with total destruction of thousands of houses, and severe damage to numerous apartments and businesses, St. John's Medical Center, and multiple school buildings.