West Coast of the United States

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West Coast of the United States
West Coast USA.png
The states shown in purplish-red are included in the term West Coast or Pacific Coast.
Population
(2017 estimate)
  Total51,085,172
Time zones UTC−8 (PST)
UTC−9 (AKST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
UTC−8 (AKDT)

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. [1] 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. [2]

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.

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.

Oregon State of the United States of America

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada. Oregon is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Contents

Population

As of the 2010 Census, the estimated population of the Census Bureau's Pacific Region was approximately 47.8 million – about 15.3% of U.S. population. [3] The largest city on the west coast of the United States is Los Angeles.[ citation needed ]

2010 United States Census 23rd national census of the United States, taken in 2010

The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010. The census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired. The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000.

Major cities

Major cities and metropolitan areas on the West Coast include (from north to south):

Anchorage metropolitan area

The Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of the Municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the south central region of Alaska.

Anchorage, Alaska Consolidated city-borough in Alaska, United States

Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, located in the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.

Spokane metropolitan area Metropolitan area in Washington, United States

The Spokane–Spokane Valley Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of Spokane, Stevens, and Pend Oreille Counties in Washington State, anchored by the city of Spokane and its largest suburb, Spokane Valley. As of 2016 the MSA had a population of 556,634. The Spokane Metropolitan Area and the neighboring Coeur d'Alene metropolitan area, make up the larger Spokane–Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area. The urban areas of the two MSAs largely follow the path of Interstate 90 between Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. In 2010, the Spokane–Spokane Valley MSA had a gross metropolitan product of $20.413 billion.

However, of these aforementioned cities and metropolitan areas, only Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, and San Diego are directly on the open Pacific Ocean.

Long Beach, California City in California, United States

Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. As of 2010, its population was 462,257. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California. Long Beach is the second-largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the third largest in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego. Long Beach is a charter city.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, US

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a city in, and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of, Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

San Diego City in California, United States

San Diego is a city in the U.S. state of California. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.

History

The history of the West Coast begins with the arrival of the earliest known humans of the Americas, Paleo-Indians, crossing the Bering Strait from Eurasia into North America over a land bridge, Beringia, that existed between 45,000 BCE and 12,000 BCE (47,000–14,000 years ago). Small isolated groups of hunter-gatherers migrated alongside herds of large herbivores far into Alaska. Between 16,500 BCE and 13,500 BCE (18,500–15,500 years ago), ice-free corridors developed along the Pacific coast and valleys of North America and possibly by sea. [4]

The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival of the European explorers and colonizers. The west coast of North America today is home to some of the largest and most important companies in the world, as well as being a center of world culture.

Paleo-Indians classification term given to the first peoples who entered the American continents

Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleoamericans is a classification term given by scholars to the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios (παλαιός), meaning "old" or "ancient". The term "Paleo-Indians" applies specifically to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic".

Bering Strait strait between Russia and Alaska, United States

The Bering Strait is a strait of the Pacific, which separates Russia and Alaska slightly south of the Arctic Circle at about 65° 40' N latitude. The present Russia-US east-west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W. The Strait is named after Vitus Bering, an explorer in the service of the Russian Empire.

Alaska Natives, indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, and California indigenous peoples eventually descended from the Paleo-Indians. They developed various languages and established trade routes.[ citation needed ]

Alaska Natives indigenous peoples of Alaska

Alaska Natives are indigenous peoples of Alaska, United States and include: Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures. They are often defined by their language groups. Many Alaska Natives are enrolled in federally recognized Alaska Native tribal entities, who in turn belong to 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations, who administer land and financial claims.

Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast

The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are composed of many nations and tribal affiliations, each with distinctive cultural and political identities, but they share certain beliefs, traditions and practices, such as the centrality of salmon as a resource and spiritual symbol, and many cultivation and subsistence practices. The term Northwest Coast or North West Coast is used in anthropology to refer to the groups of Indigenous people residing along the coast of British Columbia, Washington state, parts of Alaska, Oregon, and northern California. The term Pacific Northwest is largely used in the American context.

Later, Spanish, British, French, Russian, and American explorers and settlers began colonizing the area.[ citation needed ]

Climate

The West Coast of the United States has an oceanic climate in its Northern and Eastern edge towards the Canada–U.S. border, but from the California border towards the Mexico–U.S. border the climate is mediterranean. The coastline sees significantly mild temperatures when compared to the inland areas during summer. In far Northern California there is a difference of 17 °C (30 °F) between Eureka and Willow Creek in spite of only 25 miles (40 km) separating the locations and Willow Creek being located at a 500 metres (1,600 ft) elevation. Slightly narrower fluctuations can be seen all through the coastline, and could partially be explained by the cold currents in the Pacific Ocean moderating coastal temperatures and the mountain ranges blocking the maritime air from moving farther inland than its foothills during summer. Coastal fog is also prevalent in keeping shoreline temperatures cool. This does not only occur in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it also affects Santa Monica in Los Angeles, Southern California, with very little yearly temperature differences but with cool summers similar to those expected in Northern Europe. A short journey inland and summer temperatures are comparable with the rest of the United States on the same latitudes, sometimes warmer due to prevailing winds from the Nevada and Arizona hot desert climate.

Culture

Since the West Coast has been populated by immigrants and their descendants more recently than the East Coast, its culture is considerably younger. Additionally, its demographic composition underlies its cultural difference from the rest of the United States. California's history first as a major Spanish colony, and later Mexican territory, has given the lower West Coast a distinctive Hispanic tone, which it also shares with the rest of the Southwest. Similarly, two of the three cities in which Asian Americans have concentrated, San Francisco and Los Angeles, [5] [6] [7] are located on the West Coast, with significant populations in other West Coast cities. San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest in North America, is a vibrant cultural center.

The West Coast also has a proportionally large share of green cities within the United States, which manifests itself in different cultural practices such as bicycling and organic gardening. [8]

On the other hand, French writer Guillaume Faye, comparing California to Europe, wrote that "as super-America, California stands out as the absolute antithesis of authentic Europe[...] California has set itself up as the world center of the simulacrum and the inauthentic, as the absolute synthesis of "cool" Stalinism. An hysterical land; focus and meeting-place for the rootless, California is the land of non-history, of the non-event, but at the same time the site of the constant swirl, the uninterrupted rhythm of fashion, that is to say, the site of tremors going nowhere, those tremors which so obsess it, constantly threatened as it is by earthquakes." [9] Other writers, like Jean Baudrillard, Mike Davis, and Umberto Eco, have made related statements on Californian culture. [10] [11] [12]

In the Pacific Northwest, Portland and Seattle are both considered among the coffee capitals of the world. [13] While Starbucks originated in Seattle, both towns are known for small-scale coffee roasters and independent coffeeshops. The culture has also been significantly shaped by the environment, especially by its forests, mountains, and rain. This may account for the fact that the Northwest has many high-quality libraries and bookshops (most notably Powell's Books and the Seattle Central Library) and a "bibliophile soul". [14] The region also has a marginal, but growing independence movement based on bioregionalism and a Cascadian identity. [15] The Cascadian flag has become a popular image at Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers games.

Alaska is widely known for its outdoors and its inhabitants engage in a range of activities which are unique to the state. Some of these activities can be experienced through the state’s annual events, such as the Iron Dog snowmobile race from Anchorage to Nome and on to Fairbanks. Other events include the World Ice Art Championships (Fairbanks) and the Sitka Whalefest (Sitka).

See also

Related Research Articles

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 is traditionally described as eight counties, based on demographics and economic ties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. The more extensive 10-county definition, which includes Kern and San Luis Obispo counties, is also used and is based on historical political divisions.

Interstate 5 Interstate along the West Coast of the US

Interstate 5 (I-5) is the main Interstate Highway on the West Coast of the United States, running largely parallel to the Pacific coast of the contiguous U.S. from Mexico to Canada. It travels through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, serving several large cities on the U.S. West Coast, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. It is currently the only continuous Interstate highway to touch both the Mexican border and the Canadian border. Upon crossing the Mexican border at its southern terminus, Interstate 5 continues to Tijuana, Baja California as Mexico Federal Highway 1. Upon crossing the Canadian border at its northern terminus, it continues to Vancouver as British Columbia Highway 99.

Pacific Northwest Region that includes parts of Canada and the United States

The Pacific Northwest (PNW), sometimes referred to as Cascadia, is a geographic region in western North America bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and (loosely) by the Cascade Mountain Range on the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common conception includes the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) and the U.S. states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Broader conceptions reach north into Southeast Alaska and Yukon, south into northern California, and east to the Continental Divide to include Western Montana and parts of Wyoming. Narrower conceptions may be limited to the coastal areas west of the Cascade and Coast mountains. The variety of definitions can be attributed to partially overlapping commonalities of the region's history, culture, geography, society, and other factors.

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.

Central Valley (California) Flat valley that dominates central California

The Central Valley is a flat valley that dominates the geographical center of the U.S. state of California. It is 40 to 60 miles wide and stretches approximately 450 miles (720 km) from north-northwest to south-southeast, inland from and parallel to the Pacific Ocean coast. It covers approximately 18,000 square miles (47,000 km2), about 11% of California's total land area. The valley is bounded by the Sierra Nevada to the east and the Coast Ranges to the west.

Imperial Beach, California City in California, United States

Imperial Beach is a residential beach city in San Diego County, California, with a population of 26,324 at the 2010 census. The city is the southernmost city in California and the West Coast of the United States. It is in the South Bay area of San Diego County, 14.1 miles (22.7 km) south of downtown San Diego and 5 miles (8 km) northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico.

Northern California Place in California, United States

Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. Spanning the state's northernmost 48 counties its main population centers include the San Francisco Bay Area, the Greater Sacramento area, and the Metropolitan Fresno area. Northern California also contains redwood forests, along with the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite Valley and part of Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta, and most of the Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.

Pacific Coast Ranges

ThePacific Coast Ranges, are the series of mountain ranges that stretch along the West Coast of North America from Alaska south to Northern and Central Mexico.

Los Angeles metropolitan area Metropolitan area in California, United States

The Los Angeles metropolitan area, also known as Metropolitan Los Angeles or the Southland, is the 30th largest metropolitan area in the world and the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States. It is the 3rd largest city by GDP in the world with a $1 trillion+ economy. It is entirely in the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. The tallest building in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is the Wilshire Grand Center at 1,100 feet in Downtown Los Angeles.

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport airport

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is 7 miles (11 km) west of downtown Santa Barbara, California. SBA covers 948 acres of land.

Samoan Americans are Americans of Samoan origin, including those who emigrated from the Independent State of Samoa or American Samoa to the United States. Samoan Americans are Pacific Islanders in the United States Census, and are the second largest Pacific Islander group in the U.S., after Native Hawaiians.

San Francisco fog

Fog is a common weather phenomenon in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as along the entire coastline of California extending south to the northwest coast of the Baja California Peninsula. The frequency of fog and low-lying stratus clouds is due to a combination of factors particular to the region that are especially prevalent in the summer. Another type of fog, tule fog, can occur during the winter. There are occasions when both types can occur simultaneously in the Bay Area.

Pacific Islands Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, Pacific Islander Americans or Native Hawaiian and/or other Pacific Islander Americans, are Americans who have ethnic ancestry among the indigenous peoples of Oceania. For its purposes, the U.S. Census also counts Indigenous Australians as part of this group.

Transportation in California

California's transportation system is complex and dynamic. Although known for its car culture and extensive network of freeways and roads, the state also has a vast array of rail, sea, and air transport. Several subway, light rail, and commuter rail networks are found in many of the state's largest population centers. In addition, with the state's location on the West Coast of the United States, several important ports in California handle freight shipments from the Pacific Rim and beyond. A number of airports are also spread out across the state, ranging from small general aviation airports to large international hubs like Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.

Climate of Los Angeles

The Climate of Los Angeles is a year-round mild-to-hot and mostly dry climate for the LA metropolitan area in California. The climate is classified as a Mediterranean climate, which is a type of dry subtropical climate. It is characterized by seasonal changes in rainfall—with a dry summer and a winter rainy season. Under the modified Köppen climate classification, the coastal areas are classified as Csb, and the inland areas as Csa.

Cleveland S. Rockwell American artist

Cleveland Salter Rockwell was an American topographical engineer, cartographer, military officer, investor, and landscape painter. He spent his professional career as a survey engineer in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. Rockwell conducted numerous coastal surveys and mapped harbors and river systems on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. He also surveyed areas in South America. During the American Civil War, Rockwell served as a captain in the Union Army. After retiring from the Coastal Survey, he became a successful investor and landscape painter. Today, Cleveland Rockwell's topographical maps are important historical documents and his art work is well known in the Pacific Northwest.

San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area

The San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area is a 14-county Combined Statistical Area (CSA) designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget in Northern California that includes the San Francisco Bay Area. The CSA is more extensive than the popular local definition of the Bay Area, which consists of only the nine counties bordering San Francisco and San Pablo Bays: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. This group of counties also elects boards for regional planning and air quality control regulation. The CSA includes Merced, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Stanislaus counties, which do not directly border the San Francisco or San Pablo bays, but are economically connected to the other nine counties that do. Merced and Stanislaus Counties were added to the CSA in September 2018.

References

  1. "Pacific Coast". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  2. "U. S. Census Regions and Divisions". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  3. "United States Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey. Summed estimates for CA, OR, WA, AK, and HI". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  4. "First Americans Endured 20,000-Year Layover – Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News" . Retrieved 2009-11-18. Archaeological evidence, in fact, recognizes that people started to leave Beringia for the New World around 40,000 years ago, but rapid expansion into North America did not occur until about 15,000 years ago, when the ice had literally broken.
  5. "Selected Population Profile in the United States". United States Census Bureau . United States Department of Commerce . Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  6. Lee, Sharon M. (1998). "Asian Americans: Diverse and Growing" (PDF). Population Bulletin. Population Reference Bureau. 53 (2). Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  7. Ng, Franklin (1998). The History and Immigration of Asian Americans. Taylor & Francis. p. 211. ISBN   978-0-8153-2690-8 . Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  8. "Top ten green U.S. cities". Mother Nature Network. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  9. "Utopia Achieved: How Can Anyone Be European?". International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. Archived from the original on 2015-03-21. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  10. Baudrillard, Jean (1989). America. Verso.
  11. Davis, Mike (1990). City of Quartz . Verso.
  12. Eco, Umberto (1990). Travels in Hyperreality . Mariner Books.
  13. "World's 10 best cities for coffee". USA Today. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  14. "Pacific Northwest: bicycles, bookshops, weirdness and coffee". The Guardian. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  15. "The People Who Wouldn't Mind if the Pacific Northwest Were Its Own Country". Vice . Retrieved February 22, 2015.

Coordinates: 39°N122°W / 39°N 122°W / 39; -122