The Info List - Sun Belt

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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 . 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 , Nevada , Arizona , New Mexico , Oklahoma , and Texas ), Mediterranean (California), humid subtropical (Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana , Mississippi , Alabama , Arkansas , Florida , Georgia , South Carolina , North Carolina ), and tropical (Florida) climates can be found.

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


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


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 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 , 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.

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.


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. 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. 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. Communities in California are making plans to build multiple desalination plants to supply fresh water and avert near-term crises. Texas, Georgia, and 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 and out of the Frost Belt and California.


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


_ 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 (2012 est.) (million) GMP (2011) (US$ billion)

Los Angeles 13.0 $755.0

Dallas 6.7 $401.3

Houston 6.2 $420.4

Miami 5.8 $260.0

Atlanta 5.5 $283.8

Tampa 4.6 $253.3

Phoenix 4.3 $194.4

San Diego 3.2 $175.0

Inland Empire 2.8 $115.2

Charlotte 2.3 $117.8

Orlando 2.2 $105.0

Las Vegas 2.0 $91.8

San Jose 1.9 $182.8


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. 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 STATE CITY

California Anaheim , Bakersfield , Fresno , Long Beach , Los Angeles , Oakland , Riverside , 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 , Flagstaff

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

Oklahoma Lawton , Oklahoma City , Tulsa

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

Louisiana Baton Rouge , New Orleans , Shreveport

Alabama Birmingham-Hoover , Huntsville , Mobile , Montgomery

Mississippi Jackson

Georgia Atlanta , Augusta , Columbus , Macon , Savannah

Tennessee Chattanooga , Clarksville , Knoxville , Memphis , Nashville

Utah Utah , St. George

Arkansas Fayetteville , Fort Smith , Little Rock , Texarkana

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

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

South Carolina Charleston , Columbia , Greenville , Myrtle Beach


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


* ^ "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-29. * ^ " Los Angeles city, California - QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-29. * ^ Kaid Benfield. "Where Pittsburgh Has the 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 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 Gives Desalination Plants a Fresh Look_ , Wall Street Journal, 10 July 2009 * ^ McGovern, Bernie: _ Florida Almanac 2007-2008_, Pelican Publishing Company, March 2007, pg. 53 * ^ New data show \'snowbelt-to-sunbelt\' migration sluggish to return, Los Angeles Times, 2014 * ^ Jotkin, Joel (March 28, 2016). "The Sun Belt Is Rising Again, New Census Numbers Show". _ Forbes _. Retrieved December 28, 2016. * ^ Frey, William H. (January 4, 2016). " Sun Belt Migration Reviving, New Census Data Show". _ The Brookings Institution _. Retrieved December 28, 2016. * ^ " Biodiversity in the United States (Map)". * ^ http://www.earthsendangered.com/unitedstates-M.asp * ^ http://www.earthsendangered.com/unitedstates-B.asp * ^ _Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas_, United States Census Bureau, July 2012 * ^ _A_ _B_ _U.S. Metro Economies: Gross Metropolitan Product with Housing Update_, The United States Conference of Mayors, July 2012


* 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

* Banana * Bible * Bison

* Black

* Alabama

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

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