South Central United States

Last updated

Regional definitions vary from source to source. The states shown in dark red are usually included, while all or portions of the striped states may or may not be considered part of the South Central United States. US map-South Central.PNG
Regional definitions vary from source to source. The states shown in dark red are usually included, while all or portions of the striped states may or may not be considered part of the South Central United States.

The South Central United States or South Central states is a region in the south central portion of the Southern United States. It evolved out of the Old Southwest, which originally was literally the western U.S. South, as can be seen in the now defunct Southwest Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas (which make up what the Census Bureau Division calls West South Central States) are almost always considered the "core" of the region. As part of the East South Central States sub-group of the Census Bureau classification, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky are also frequently listed under the heading. At the highest extent, Kansas, and Missouri, may be included by some sources. All or parts these states are in the Central Time Zone. At different times, all of the above states were/are considered part of the Western United States in American history.



The climate varies from the semi-tropical in the Mississippi Delta, South Louisiana, and Southeast Texas, to the dry Chihuahuan desert in West Texas. The southeastern portions include the Appalachian mountains in Alabama and Tennessee and the Piney Woods of East Texas, Louisiana, and southern Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. A large portion of the northeastern quarter of the region is mountainous, with the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The northwest quarter of the region is dominated by the Great Plains which become progressively drier west of 100° W, forming the North American Llano Estacado. The southwestern portions border the Rio Grande, and are generally drier than other areas of the South Central United States.

Texas is the largest South Central state by both area and population. Texas is still home to over half the region's population. The largest city in the region, Houston, is located in Texas. New Orleans was tied with Oklahoma City in population but, after Hurricane Katrina, the population of the New Orleans metro area declined to approximately 1 million. [1] By 2017, the population of New Orleans had bounced back to almost 1.3 million. [2]

These four states come together in a region known as the Ark-La-Tex region.

Two megaregions exist within this region:

States in the South Central Region
State2010 Pop.Land AreaDensity
Arkansas 2,915,918 (4th)52,068 (3rd)51.34 (3rd)
Louisiana 4,533,372 (2nd)43,562 (4th)102.59 (1st)
Oklahoma 3,751,351 (3rd)68,667 (2nd)50.25 (4th)
Texas 25,145,561 (1st)261,797 (1st)79.65 (2nd)

Major cities

CityCity PopulationMetro PopulationU.S. Rank
Flag of Texas.svg  Texas
Aerial views of the Houston, Texas, skyline in 2014 LCCN2014632225.tif
SATX Skyline.jpg
San Antonio
Xvixionx 29 April 2006 Dallas Skyline.jpg
Fort Worth
El Paso Skyline2.jpg
El Paso [lower-alpha 1]
Flag of Louisiana.svg  Louisiana
New Orleans CBD from Algiers Point at Dusk December 2006.jpg
New Orleans
Baton Rouge Louisiana waterfront aerial view.jpg
Baton Rouge
Flag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma
Oklahoma city downtown.JPG
Oklahoma City
Tulsa, Oklahoma.jpg
Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas
Downtown Little Rock.jpg
Little Rock

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

  1. El Paso is often considered a part of the Southwest Region. In fact, El Paso is the only city on this list that is in Mountain Time Zone instead of the Central Time Zone. El Paso is closer to the Arizona state capital (Phoenix) than it is to the Texas state capital (Austin). El Paso is also closer to the California state line than it is to the Louisiana state line.

[9] [10] [11] [12]


Major Commercial Airports [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

Major Interstate Highways [18] [19] [20] [21]


The history of the South Central states is dominated by the conflict and interaction between three cultural-linguistic groups: the Anglosphere (first Great Britain and then the United States), the Hispanidad (first Spain then Mexico), and the Francophonie (always France). In the 17th and 18th centuries Spain and France maneuvered for control of Texas, with the Spanish based in Mexico and New Mexico and the French in Louisiana. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance hostilities spread to the New World and the French troops from Natchitoches briefly captured the capital of Spanish Texas, Los Adaes in what is now western Louisiana. The French were not able to wrest control of Texas from Spain, and by the early 19th century sold their North American holdings to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, which comprised slightly less than half of what is today the South Central United States.

The official West and East South Central states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee were members of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Kentucky was often considered a "non-official" Confederate state. Oklahoma, although Indian Territory at the time, was home to 5 Native-American tribes, of which a majority allied themselves with the Confederacy. Thus, all these states are usually considered to make up a large part of the American South both historically and culturally, as well as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Major Professional Teams
Cowboys huddle.jpeg
Dallas Cowboys
Football NFL AT&T Stadium 5
Dirk Nowitzki 2.jpg
Dallas Mavericks
Basketball NBA American Airlines Center 1
Brenden Dillon - Dallas Stars.jpg
Dallas Stars
Hockey NHL American Airlines Center 1
FC Dallas v. Orlando City SC July 2016 36.jpg
FC Dallas
Soccer MLS Toyota Stadium 0
John Mallee and Jose Altuve May 2014.jpg
Houston Astros
Baseball MLB Minute Maid Park 1
Minnesota United - Houston Dynamo - TCF Bank Stadium - Minneapolis - MLS (39977875910).jpg
Houston Dynamo
Soccer MLS BBVA Stadium 2
James Harden (30735342912).jpg
Houston Rockets
Basketball NBA Toyota Center 2
Andre Johnson 2010.jpg
Houston Texans
Football NFL NRG Stadium 0
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram (49487799403).jpg
New Orleans Pelicans
Basketball NBA Smoothie King Center 0
Drew Brees Saints 2008.jpg
New Orleans Saints
Football NFL Mercedes-Benz Superdome 1
Russell Westbrook (32891950495).jpg
Oklahoma City Thunder
Basketball NBA Chesapeake Energy Arena 1 [lower-alpha 1]
Tony Parker, Nando de Colo.jpg
San Antonio Spurs
Basketball NBA AT&T Center 5
Texas Rangers
Baseball MLB Globe Life Field 0

[22] [23] [24]

  1. The Oklahoma City Thunder won their NBA title in 1979 before their relocation to Oklahoma City when the team was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.
Major College Teams
Darren McFadden.jpg
University of Arkansas
Razorbacks SEC
Gameday (66235265).jpeg
Baylor University
Bears Big 12
Siaki Ika LSUvsGASouth 403 (49079216492).jpg
Louisiana State University
Tigers SEC
University of Oklahoma
Sooners Big 12
Markelle Martin before Texas A&M game.jpg
Oklahoma State University
Cowboys Big 12
Vince Young 2005.jpg
University of Texas
Longhorns Big 12
Johnny Manziel.jpg
Texas A&M University
Aggies SEC
Andy Dalton.jpg
Texas Christian University
Horned Frogs Big 12
Potts handoff to batch2.jpg
Texas Tech University
Red Raiders Big 12

[25] [26] [27] [28]

Related Research Articles

Gulf Coast of the United States Coastline in the United States

The Gulf Coast of the United States is the coastline along the Southern United States where they meet the Gulf of Mexico. The coastal states that have a shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico are Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and these are known as the Gulf States.

Interstate 10 (I-10) is the southernmost cross-country highway in the American Interstate Highway System. I-10 is the fourth-longest Interstate in the United States at 2,460.34 miles (3,959.53 km), following I-90, I-80, and I-40. This freeway is part of the originally planned network that was laid out in 1956, and its last section was completed in 1990.

Interstate 40 Interstate across south-central US

Interstate 40 (I-40) is a major east-west Interstate Highway running through the south-central portion of the United States generally north of I-10, I-20 and I-30 but south of I-70. The western end is at I-15 in Barstow, California; its eastern end is at a concurrency of U.S. Route 117 (US 117) and North Carolina Highway 132 in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is the third-longest Interstate Highway in the United States, behind I-80 and I-90. Much of the western part of I-40, from Oklahoma City to Barstow parallels or overlays the historic US 66, east of Oklahoma City the route generally parallels US 64 and US 70. I-40 runs through or near many major cities including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Amarillo, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; Knoxville, Tennessee; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

El Paso, Illinois City in Illinois, United States

El Paso is a city in Woodford and McLean counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 2,810 at the 2010 census. The Woodford County portion of El Paso is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Texarkana, Texas City in Texas, United States

Texarkana is a city in Bowie County, Texas, United States, located in the Ark-La-Tex region. Located approximately 180 miles (290 km) from Dallas, Texarkana is a twin city with neighboring Texarkana, Arkansas. The population of the Texas city was 36,411 at the 2010 census. The city and its Arkansas counterpart form the core of the Texarkana Metropolitan Statistical Area, encompassing all of Bowie County, Texas, and Miller County, Arkansas. The two cities had a combined population of 67,592 at the 2017 census, and the metropolitan area had a total population of 150,098.

El Paso, Texas City in Texas, United States

El Paso is a city and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, in the far western part of the state. The 2019 population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 681,728, making it the 22nd largest city in the United States. Its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and has a population of 840,758.

Socorro, Texas City in Texas, United States

Socorro is a city in El Paso County, Texas, United States. It is located on the north bank of the Rio Grande southeast of El Paso, and on the border of Mexico. El Paso adjoins it on the west and the smaller city of San Elizario on the southeast; small unincorporated areas of El Paso County separate it from the nearby municipalities of Horizon City to the north and Clint to the east. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 27,152. By the 2010 census, the number had grown to 32,013. As of July 1, 2018, the population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 34,533. It is part of the El Paso Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is El Paso County's second-largest municipality, after El Paso. It has a council-manager type of government with five city council members. Socorro is the 93rd largest community in the state of Texas.

Greenville, Texas City in Texas, United States

Greenville is a city in Hunt County, Texas, United States, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Dallas. It is the county seat and largest city of Hunt County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,557, and in 2018 the estimated population was 28,263.

Longview, Texas City in Texas, United States

Longview is the forty-fifth largest city in the state of Texas. The city is mostly located in Gregg County, of which it is the county seat; a small part of Longview extends into the western part of neighboring Harrison County. Longview is located in East Texas, where Interstate 20 and U.S. Highways 80 and 259 converge just north of the Sabine River. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the city had a population of 80,455. The estimated population in 2018 was 81,647. Longview is the principal city of the Longview metropolitan statistical area, comprising Gregg, Upshur, and Rusk counties. The population of the metropolitan area as of 2017 census estimates is 217,481.

Ark-La-Tex Region

The Ark-La-Tex is a socio-economic tri-state region where the Southern U.S. states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas abut and join together. The region contains portions of Northwest Louisiana, Northeast Texas, and South Arkansas as well as the extreme southeastern tip of Oklahoma, partly centered upon the Red River, which flows along the Texas–Oklahoma state line into Southwestern Arkansas and Northwest Louisiana.

Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex Conurbation in Texas, United States

The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, officially designated Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, is a conurbated metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. state of Texas encompassing 11 counties. It is the economic and cultural hub of North Texas. Residents of the area also refer to it as DFW, or the Metroplex. The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan statistical area's population is 7,573,136 according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 population estimates, making it the most populous metropolitan area in both Texas and the Southern United States, the fourth-largest in the U.S., and the tenth-largest in the Americas. In 2016, the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex ascended to the number one spot in the U.S. in year-over-year population growth.

Southeastern United States Eastern portion of the Southern United States

The Southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is, broadly, the eastern portion of the Southern United States and the southern portion of the Eastern United States. It comprises at least a core of states on the lower East Coast of the United States and eastern Gulf Coast. Expansively, it includes everything south of the Mason–Dixon line, the Ohio River and the 36°30' parallel, and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana. There is no official U.S. government definition of the region, though various agencies and departments use different definitions.

West South Central states U.S. Census Bureau region

The West South Central States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States that are officially designated by the United States Census Bureau.

Central United States Geographical region of the USA

The Central United States is sometimes conceived as between the Eastern and Western as part of a three-region model, roughly coincident with the U.S. Census' definition of the Midwestern United States plus the western and central portions of the U.S. Census' definition of the Southern United States. The Central States are typically considered to consist of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama are also considered to be central states. Chicago is the area's largest city and metropolitan area, other large cities with large metropolitan areas would be Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, Topeka, Wichita, Omaha, Nebraska and Lincoln, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Madison and Milwaukee, St. Louis, Louisville, Lexington, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, Rockford, Peoria, Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne and South Bend.

Geography of Texas

The geography of Texas is diverse and large. Occupying about 7% of the total water and land area of the U.S., it is the second largest state after Alaska, and is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which end in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico. Texas is in the South Central United States of America, and is considered to form part of the U.S. South and also part of the U.S. Southwest.

Interstate 10 (I-10) is the major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States. In the U.S. state of Texas, it runs east from Anthony, at the border with New Mexico, through El Paso, San Antonio and Houston to the border with Louisiana in Orange, Texas. At just under 880 miles (1,420 km), the Texas segment of I-10, maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation, is the longest continuous untolled freeway in North America that is operated by a single authority. It is also the longest stretch of highway with a single designation within a single state. Mile marker 880 and its corresponding exit number in Orange, Texas, are the highest numbered mile marker and exit on any freeway in North America. After widening was completed in 2008, a portion of the highway west of Houston is now also believed to be the widest in the world, at 26 lanes when including feeders.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is a governmental agency and its purpose is to "provide safe, effective, and efficient movement of people and goods" throughout the state. Though the public face of the agency is generally associated with maintenance of the state's immense highway system, the agency is also responsible for aviation in the state and overseeing public transportation systems.

El Paso–Juárez Transborder agglomeration

El Paso–Juárez, also known as Juárez–El Paso, the Borderplex or Paso del Norte, is a transborder agglomeration, on the border between Mexico and the United States. The region is centered on two large cities: Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, U.S. Additionally, nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S. is sometimes included as part of the region, referred to as El Paso–Juárez–Las Cruces or El Paso–Juárez–Southern New Mexico. With over 2.7 million people, this binational region is the 2nd largest conurbation on the United States–Mexico border. The El Paso–Juárez region is the largest bilingual, binational work force in the Western Hemisphere.

The Louisiana Eagle was a long distance night train operated by the Texas and Pacific Railway that from New Orleans to Fort Worth, Texas. The route was distinct in contrast to other routes running west from New Orleans to major Texas cities. It ran northwest-ward from New Orleans to northwest Louisiana and to the major North Texas cities of Dallas and Fort Worth with continuing service to El Paso on the Missouri Pacific's Texas Eagle, whereas other east-west trains from New Orleans into Texas went to the south, to Houston and San Antonio.


  1. Zimmermann, Kim Ann; August 27, Live Science Contributor |; ET, 2015 12:47pm. "Hurricane Katrina: Facts, Damage & Aftermath". Live Science. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  2. "New Orleans metro area population 2010-2017 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  3. "Texas Demographic Center". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  4. "Demographics and Geography - The official website of Louisiana". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  5. "Oklahoma Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  6. "Arkansas Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  7. "Louisiana Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  8. "Texas Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  9. "Distance from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  10. "Distance from El Paso, TX to Austin, TX". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  11. "Distance from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  12. "Distance from El Paso, TX to Orange, TX". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  13. "Aviation and Airports". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  14. "Aviation and Aerospace". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  15. "Official Home - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport". Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  16. "Clinton National Airport". Clinton National Airport. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  17. "Tulsa International Airport | Tulsa Airports". Tulsa Airport. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  18. "Texas Department of Transportation". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  19. "LaDOTD". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  20. "Arkansas Department of Transportation - ArDOT". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  21. "Oklahoma Department of Transportation - Oklahoma Department of Transportation". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  22. "Texas Sports Teams". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  23. "Louisiana Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  24. "Oklahoma City Sports | Professional & Collegiate Sports". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  25. "Sports in Louisiana". Louisiana Travel. December 4, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  26. "Texas Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  27. "Arkansas Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  28. "Oklahoma Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.