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The SUN BELT is a region of the United States
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 . The region is noted for its mild winter, frequent sunny skies, and growing economic opportunities. The sun belt is the fastest growing region in the United States. Within the region, desert /semi-desert ( California
California
, Nevada
Nevada
, Arizona
Arizona
, New Mexico
New Mexico
, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
, and Texas
Texas
), Mediterranean (California), humid subtropical (Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana
Louisiana
, Mississippi
Mississippi
, Alabama
Alabama
, Arkansas
Arkansas
, Florida
Florida
, Georgia , South Carolina , North Carolina
North Carolina
), and tropical (Florida) climates can be found.

The Sun Belt
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 Miami
Miami
, Los Angeles , Las Vegas
Las Vegas
, Orlando
Orlando
, Myrtle Beach , Tucson
Tucson
, and Palm Springs support a tourist industry all year.

CONTENTS

* 1 Definition * 2 Projections * 3 Environment * 4 Major cities in the Sun Belt
Sun Belt
* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading

DEFINITION

The Sun Belt
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
California
(up to Greater Sacramento ), and parts of Arkansas
Arkansas
, North Carolina, and Nevada. 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.

First employed by political analyst Kevin Phillips in his 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority, 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
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
Florida
and Arizona.

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
Texas
and Louisiana
Louisiana
forward, and tourism grew in Florida
Florida
and Southern California
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
Texas
and California rank among the top five states in the nation with the most Fortune 500 companies.

PROJECTIONS

In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau
projected that approximately 88% of the nation's population growth between 2000 and 2030 would occur in the Sun Belt. California, Texas, and Florida
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
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
Sun Belt
had been overstated. The economic bubble that led to the recession appeared, to some observers, to have been more acute in the Sun Belt
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. Communities in California
California
are making plans to build multiple desalination plants to supply fresh water and avert near-term crises. Texas, Georgia, and Florida
Florida
also face increasingly serious shortages because of their rapidly expanding populations.

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. 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
Sun Belt
and out of the Frost Belt and California.

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). The Sun Belt
Sun Belt
also has the highest number of distinct ecosystems: chaparral , deciduous , desert , grasslands , and tropical rainforest . American crocodile, a vulnerable species.

Some endangered species live within the belt, including:

* American crocodile
American crocodile
* Black-capped vireo * California
California
condor * Florida
Florida
panther * Red-cockaded woodpecker * Longleaf Pine

MAJOR CITIES IN THE SUN BELT

This section needs to be UPDATED. In particular: More recent data needed. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2016)

Largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas PRINCIPAL CITY Population
Population
(2012 est.) (million) GMP (2011) (US$ billion)

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
13.0 $755.0

Dallas
Dallas
6.7 $401.3

Houston
Houston
6.2 $420.4

Miami
Miami
5.8 $260.0

Atlanta
Atlanta
5.5 $283.8

Tampa 4.6 $253.3

Phoenix 4.3 $194.4

San Diego
San Diego
3.2 $175.0

Inland Empire 2.8 $115.2

Charlotte 2.3 $117.8

Orlando
Orlando
2.2 $105.0

Las Vegas
Las Vegas
2.0 $91.8

San Jose 1.9 $182.8

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
Los Angeles
, Dallas
Dallas
, Houston
Houston
, Miami
Miami
, and Atlanta
Atlanta
. The Los Angeles
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. 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
United States
are located in the Sun Belt: Los Angeles (2), Houston
Houston
(4), Phoenix (6), San Antonio
San Antonio
(7), San Diego
San Diego
(8), Dallas
Dallas
(9), and San Jose (10).

Major cities STATE CITY

California
California
Anaheim , Bakersfield , Fresno , Long Beach , Los Angeles
Los Angeles
, Oakland , Riverside , San Bernardino , San Diego
San Diego
, San Jose , San Francisco
San Francisco

Nevada
Nevada
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
, Henderson , North Las Vegas
Las Vegas
, Reno
Reno

Arizona
Arizona
Phoenix , Tucson
Tucson
, Mesa , Chandler , Glendale , Scottsdale , Gilbert , Tempe , Peoria , Surprise , Yuma , Flagstaff

New Mexico
New Mexico
Albuquerque , Las Cruces , Rio Rancho , Santa Fe

Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Lawton , Oklahoma
Oklahoma
City , Tulsa

Texas
Texas
Amarillo , Arlington , Austin , Beaumont , Corpus Christi , Dallas
Dallas
, El Paso , Ft. Worth , Houston
Houston
, Irving , Laredo , Lubbock , Plano , San Antonio

Louisiana
Louisiana
Baton Rouge , New Orleans
New Orleans
, Shreveport
Shreveport

Alabama
Alabama
Birmingham-Hoover , Huntsville , Mobile , Montgomery

Mississippi
Mississippi
Jackson

Georgia Atlanta
Atlanta
, Augusta , Columbus , Macon , Savannah

Tennessee
Tennessee
Chattanooga , Clarksville , Knoxville , Memphis , Nashville

Utah
Utah
Utah
Utah
, St. George

Arkansas
Arkansas
Fayetteville , Fort Smith , Little Rock , Texarkana

Florida
Florida
Ft. Lauderdale , Jacksonville , Miami
Miami
, Orlando
Orlando
, St. Petersburg , Tallahassee , Tampa , West Palm Beach

North Carolina
North Carolina
Asheville , Charlotte , Greensboro , Raleigh , Winston-Salem , Durham , Fayetteville , Wilmington , Greenville , Jacksonville

South Carolina
South Carolina
Charleston , Columbia , Greenville , Myrtle Beach

SEE ALSO

* Southernization , refers to the political and cultural effects of the growth of the Sun Belt * Economy of the United States
United States
* Corn Belt
Corn Belt
* Frost Belt * Rust Belt
Rust Belt

REFERENCES

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

FURTHER READING

* Weinstein, Bernard L.; Robert E. Firestine (1978). Regional growth and decline in the United States: the rise of the Sunbelt and the decline of the Northeast. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 9780275239503 . * Hollander, Justin B. (2011). Sunburnt Cities: The Great Recession, Depopulation, and Urban Planning in the American Sunbelt. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415592116 .

* v * t * e

"Belt" regions of the United States
United States

* Banana * Bible * Bison

* Black

* Alabama
Alabama

* Borscht * Corn * Cotton * Frost * Fruit * Jell-O * Lead * Pine * Rice * Rust * Salt * Snow * Stroke * Sun * Unchurched * Wheat Belt

Coordinates : 32°N 100°W / 32°N 100

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