Sun Belt

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The Sun Belt
Sun belt.svg
Regional statistics
Composition Flag of Alabama.svg Alabama
Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona
Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas
Flag of California.svg California
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado
Flag of Florida.svg Florida
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas
Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico
Flag of North Carolina.svg North Carolina
Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina
Flag of Texas.svg Texas
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee
Flag of Utah.svg Utah
Demonym Sun Belter
Population
 - Total

 - Density

144,460,016 (2016 est.) [1]
Largest city Los Angeles (pop. 3,971,883, est. 2015) [2]
Largest Metropolitan Area Greater Los Angeles (pop. 18,679,763, est. 2016)

The Sun Belt is a region of the United States generally considered to stretch across the Southeast and Southwest. Another rough definition of the region is the area south of the 36th parallel. Within the region, desert/semi-desert (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas), Mediterranean (California), humid subtropical (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee), and tropical (South Florida) climates can be found.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Southern United States Cultural region of the United States

The southern United States, also known as the American South, Dixie, Dixieland, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the western United States, with the midwestern United States and northeastern United States to its north and the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico to its south.

36th parallel north circle of latitude

The 36th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 36 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean. In the ancient Mediterranean world, its role for navigation and geography was similar to that played by the Equator today.

Contents

The Sun Belt has seen substantial population growth since the 1960s from an influx of people seeking a warm and sunny climate, a surge in retiring baby boomers, and growing economic opportunities. The advent of air conditioning created more comfortable summer conditions and allowed more manufacturing and industry to locate in the sunbelt. Since much of the construction in the sun belt is new or recent, housing styles and design are often modern and open. Recreational opportunities in the sun belt are often not tied strictly to one season, and many tourist and resort cities, such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, and San Diego support a tourist industry all year. [3] [4]

Las Vegas City in Nevada, United States

Las Vegas, officially the City of Las Vegas and often known simply as Vegas, is the 28th-most populated city in the United States, the most populated city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The Las Vegas Valley as a whole serves as the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Miami City in Florida, United States

Miami, officially the City of Miami, is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida. Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. The city covers an area of about 56.6 square miles (147 km2), between the Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay on the east; with a 2017 estimated population of 463,347, Miami is the sixth most densely populated major city in the United States. The Miami metropolitan area is home to 6.1 million people and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Miami's metro area is the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S. Miami has the third tallest skyline in the United States with over 300 high-rises, 80 of which stand taller than 400 feet.

Definition

The Sun Belt comprises the southern tier of the United States, including the states of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, roughly two-thirds of California (up to Greater Sacramento), and parts of North Carolina, Nevada, and Utah. Five of the states—Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, and Texas—are sometimes collectively called the Sand States because of their abundance of beaches or deserts. [5]

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

First employed by political analyst Kevin Phillips in his 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority, [6] the term "Sun Belt" became synonymous with the southern third of the nation in the early 1970s. In this period, economic and political prominence shifted from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and West. Factors such as the warmer climate, the migration of workers from Mexico, and a boom in the agriculture industry allowed the southern third of the United States to grow economically. The climate spurred not only agricultural growth, but also the migration of many retirees to retirement communities in the region, especially in Florida and Arizona.

Kevin Price Phillips is an American writer and commentator on politics, economics, and history. Formerly a Republican Party strategist before becoming an Independent, Phillips became disaffected with the party from the 1990s, and became a critic. He is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Harper's Magazine, and National Public Radio, and was a political analyst on PBS' NOW with Bill Moyers.

Western United States Region in the United States

The Western United States is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. As European settlement in the U.S. expanded westward through the centuries, the meaning of the term the West changed. Before about 1800, the crest of the Appalachian Mountains was seen as the western frontier. The frontier moved westward and eventually the lands west of the Mississippi River were considered the West.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Industries such as aerospace, defense, and oil boomed in the Sun Belt as companies took advantage of the low involvement of labor unions in the region (due to more recent industrialization, 1930s–1950s) and the proximity of military installations that were major consumers of their products. The oil industry helped propel states such as Texas and Louisiana forward, and tourism grew in Florida and Southern California. More recently, high tech and new economy industries have been major drivers of growth in California, Florida, Texas, and other parts of the Sun Belt. Texas and California rank among the top five states in the nation with the most Fortune 500 companies. [7]

Petroleum industry activities linked to handling oil and gas products

The petroleum industry, also known as the oil industry or the oil patch, includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting, and marketing of petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum (oil) is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and plastics. The extreme monetary value of oil and its products has led to it being known as "black gold". The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream, and downstream.

A trade union is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organisation, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.

Military base facility directly owned and operated by or for the military

A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. A military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a command center, training ground or proving ground. In most cases, military bases rely on outside help to operate. However, certain complex bases are able to endure on their own for long periods because they are able to provide food, water and other life support necessities for their inhabitants while under siege. Military bases for military aviation are called military air bases. Military bases for military ships are called naval bases.

Projections

In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau projected that approximately 88% of the nation's population growth between 2000 and 2030 would occur in the Sun Belt. [8] California, Texas, and Florida were each expected to add more than 12 million people during that time, which would make them by far the most populous states in America. Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Texas were expected to be the fastest-growing states.

Events leading up to and including the 2008–2009 recession led some to question whether growth projections for the Sun Belt had been overstated. [9] The economic bubble that led to the recession appeared, to some observers, to have been more acute in the Sun Belt than other parts of the country. Additionally, the traditional lure of cheaper labor markets in the region compared with America's older industrial centers has been eroded by overseas outsourcing trends.

One of the greatest threats facing the belt in the coming decades is water shortages. [10] Communities in California are making plans to build multiple desalination plants to supply fresh water and avert near-term crises. [11] Texas, Georgia, and Florida also face increasingly serious shortages because of their rapidly expanding populations. [12]

Lingering effects from the Great Recession slowed down, and in some places even stopped, the migration from the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt, according to data tracking people's movements over the year from July 2012 – 2013. Americans remained cautious about moving to a different state over this period. [13] However, migration to the Sun Belt from the Frost Belt resumed again, according to 2015 Census data estimates, with growing migration to the Sun Belt and out of the Frost Belt and California. [14] [15]

Environment

The environment in the belt is extremely valuable, not only to local and state governments, but to the federal government. Eight of the ten states have extremely high biodiversity (ranging from 3,800 to 6,700 species, not including marine life). [16] The Sun Belt also has the highest number of distinct ecosystems: chaparral, deciduous, desert, grasslands, temperate rainforest, and tropical rainforest.

American crocodile, a vulnerable species only found in southernmost Florida Crocodylus acutus mexico 02.jpg
American crocodile, a vulnerable species only found in southernmost Florida

Some endangered species live within the belt, [17] [18] including:

Major cities in the Sun Belt

Largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas [19] [20]
Principal cityPopulation (2017 est.)
(million)
GMP (2017)
(US$ billion)
Los Angeles 13.3$1.043
Dallas 7.4$535.5
Houston 6.9$490.0
Miami 6.1$344.8
Atlanta 5.8$385.5
Phoenix 4.7$242.9
Inland Empire 4.5$157.9
San Diego 3.3$231.8
Tampa 3.1$146.3
Charlotte 2.5$174.0
Orlando 2.5$132.4
San Antonio 2.4$129.3
Las Vegas 2.2$112.2
International regions
San Diego–Tijuana 5.0 (2009 est.)$176
El Paso–Juárez 2.7 (2012 est.)

The five largest metropolitan statistical areas are Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Atlanta. The Los Angeles area is by far the largest, with over 13 million inhabitants as of 2012. The ten largest metropolitan statistical areas are found in California, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona. [20] Additionally, the cross-border metropolitan areas of San Diego-Tijuana and El Paso–Juárez lie partially within the Sun Belt. Seven of the ten largest cities in the United States are located in the Sun Belt: Los Angeles (2), Houston (4), Phoenix (6), San Antonio (7), San Diego (8), Dallas (9), and San Jose (10).

Major cities
StateCity
Alabama Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville
California Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach,
Los Angeles, Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino,
San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco
Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Reno
Arizona Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale,
Gilbert, Tempe, Peoria, Surprise, Yuma, Prescott, Flagstaff
New Mexico Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe
Texas Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso,
Ft. Worth, Houston, Irving, Laredo, Lubbock, Plano, San Antonio
Louisiana New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport
Mississippi Jackson, Tupelo, Meridian, Gulfport, Southaven, Hattiesburg
Georgia Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah
Tennessee Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro
Utah St. George
Arkansas Fayetteville, Little Rock
Florida Cape Coral, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami,
Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach
North Carolina Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington
South Carolina Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach

See also

Related Research Articles

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Geography of California

California is a U.S. state on the western coast of North America. Covering an area of 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2), California is geographically diverse. The Sierra Nevada, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, and the arid Mojave Desert of the south are some of the major geographic features of this U.S. state. It is home to some of the world's most exceptional trees: the tallest, most massive, and oldest. It is also home to both the highest and lowest points in the 48 contiguous states. The state is generally divided into Northern and Southern California, although the boundary between the two is not well defined. San Francisco is decidedly a Northern California city and Los Angeles likewise a Southern California one, but areas in between do not often share their confidence in geographic identity. The US Geological Survey defines the geographic center of the state at a point near North Fork, California.

Southern California Place in California, United States

Southern California is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises California's southernmost counties, and is the second most populous urban agglomeration in the United States. The region contains ten counties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Kern counties.

Greater Los Angeles Megacity in California

Greater Los Angeles is the second-largest urban region in the United States, encompassing five counties in southern California, extending from Ventura County in the west to San Bernardino County and Riverside County on the east, with Los Angeles County in the center and Orange County to the southeast. It consists of three metropolitan areas in Southern California; the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the Inland Empire, and the Ventura/Oxnard metropolitan area.

West Coast of the United States Coastline

The West Coast or Pacific Coast is the coastline along which the continental Western United States meets the North Pacific Ocean. As a region, this term most often refers to the coastal states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. More specifically, it refers to an area defined on the east by the Alaska Range, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and Mojave Desert, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The United States Census groups the five states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii together as the Pacific States division.

Southwestern United States Geographical region of the USA

The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.

<i>Helianthus</i> genus of plants

Helianthus or sunflower is a genus of plants comprising about 70 species. Except for three species in South America, all Helianthus species are native to North America. The common name, "sunflower", typically refers to the popular annual species Helianthus annuus, or the common sunflower, whose round flower heads in combination with the ligules look like the sun. This and other species, notably Jerusalem artichoke, are cultivated in temperate regions and some tropical regions as food crops for humans, cattle, and poultry, and as ornamental plants. The species H. annuus typically grows during the summer and into early fall, with the peak growth season being mid-summer.

"Snowbird" is a North American term for a person who migrates from the higher latitudes and colder climates of the northern United States and Canada in the southward direction in winter to warmer locales such as Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt of the southern United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean. Although snowbirds used to be associated with retired or older persons, snowbirds increasingly are of all ages. Many residents in the colder areas of the USA and Canada vacation in warmer southern locations to escape winter weather.

<i>Washingtonia robusta</i> species of plant

Washingtonia robusta is a palm tree native to western Sonora, and Baja California Sur in northwestern Mexico. It is reportedly naturalized in Florida, California, Hawaii, Texas, parts of the Canary Islands, Italy, Spain, and Réunion,

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Lower Colorado River Valley

The Lower Colorado River Valley ("LCRV") is the river region of the lower Colorado River of the southwestern United States in North America that rises in the Rocky Mountains and has its outlet at the Colorado River Delta in the northern Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico, between the states of Baja California and Sonora. This north–south stretch of the Colorado River forms the border between the U.S. states of California/Arizona and Nevada/Arizona, and between the Mexican states of Baja California/Sonora.

Metropolitan Fresno Metropolitan area in California, United States

Metropolitan Fresno, officially Fresno–Madera, CA CSA, is a metropolitan area in the San Joaquin Valley, in the United States, consisting of Fresno and Madera counties. It is the third-largest metropolitan region in Northern California, behind the Bay Area and Greater Sacramento. It is also the 49th-largest CSA in the U.S. as of 2010 census.

Mountain states region of the United States

The Mountain States form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western United States.

Inland Empire Metropolitan area in California ----, United States

The Inland Empire (IE) is a metropolitan area and region in Southern California. The term may be used to refer to the cities of western Riverside County and southwestern San Bernardino County, sometimes including the desert communities of Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley; a much larger definition includes all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, or Climate Mayors, is an association of United States mayors with the stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Founded by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, former Houston mayor Annise Parker, and former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, the group represents 407 cities and nearly 20% of the U.S. population.

References

  1. "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  2. "Los Angeles city, California - QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  3. Kaid Benfield. "Where Pittsburgh Has the Sun Belt Beat". CityLab.
  4. Woods, Michael (18 January 1981). "Desert-Like Conditions Hurt Sun Belt". The Blade (Toledo, OH), reprinted by Google News Archive
  5. Shayna M. Olesiuk and Kathy R. Kalser (27 April 2009). "The Sand States: Anatomy of a Perfect Housing-Market Storm" (pdf). FDIC.gov. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. Phillips, Kevin (2 April 2006). "How the GOP Became God's Own Party". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  7. "States with the most Fortune 500 companies". Fortune. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  8. Sun Belt Growth Shapes Housing's Future, Professional Builder, 1 May 2005 Archived 24 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Lewan, Todd: Has economic twilight come to the Sun Belt? , MSNBC, 31 May 2009
  10. Cetron, Marvin J.; O'Toole, Thomas: Encounters with the future: a forecast of life into the 21st century , Mcgraw-Hill, April 1982, pg. 34
  11. Shankman, Sabrina: California Gives Desalination Plants a Fresh Look , Wall Street Journal, 10 July 2009
  12. McGovern, Bernie: Florida Almanac 2007-2008 , Pelican Publishing Company, March 2007, pg. 53
  13. New data show 'snowbelt-to-sunbelt' migration sluggish to return, Los Angeles Times, 2014
  14. Jotkin, Joel (March 28, 2016). "The Sun Belt Is Rising Again, New Census Numbers Show". Forbes . Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  15. Frey, William H. (January 4, 2016). "Sun Belt Migration Reviving, New Census Data Show". The Brookings Institution . Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  16. "Biodiversity in the United States (Map)". Archived from the original on 2011-01-26.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2011-01-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. Retrieved 2011-01-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Archived 2014-07-22 at the Wayback Machine , United States Census Bureau, July 2012
  20. 1 2 U.S. Metro Economies: Gross Metropolitan Product with Housing Update Archived 2012-08-13 at the Wayback Machine , The United States Conference of Mayors, July 2012

Further reading

Coordinates: 32°N100°W / 32°N 100°W / 32; -100