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 (
New Mexico ,
Oklahoma , and
Texas ), Mediterranean
(California), humid subtropical (Oklahoma, Texas,
Florida , Georgia , South Carolina
North Carolina ), and tropical (Florida) climates can be found.
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
Las Vegas ,
Myrtle Beach ,
Tucson , and Palm
Springs support a tourist industry all year.
* 1 Definition
* 2 Projections
* 3 Environment
* 4 Major cities in the
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 Further reading
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
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
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 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,
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
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
Some endangered species live within the belt, including:
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
Population (2012 est.)
(million) GMP (2011)
5.0 (2009 est.)
2.7 (2012 est.)
The five largest metropolitan statistical areas are
Los Angeles ,
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
Houston (4), Phoenix (6),
San Antonio (7),
San Diego (8),
Dallas (9), and San Jose (10).
Anaheim , Bakersfield , Fresno , Long Beach ,
Los Angeles , Oakland , Riverside , San Bernardino ,
San Diego , San Jose ,
Las Vegas , Henderson , North
Las Vegas ,
Tucson , Mesa , Chandler , Glendale , Scottsdale ,
Gilbert , Tempe , Peoria , Surprise , Yuma , Flagstaff
Albuquerque , Las Cruces , Rio Rancho , Santa Fe
Oklahoma City , Tulsa
Amarillo , Arlington , Austin , Beaumont , Corpus Christi ,
El Paso ,
Ft. Worth ,
Houston , Irving , Laredo , Lubbock , Plano , San Antonio
Baton Rouge ,
New Orleans ,
Birmingham-Hoover , Huntsville , Mobile , Montgomery
Atlanta , Augusta , Columbus , Macon , Savannah
Chattanooga , Clarksville , Knoxville , Memphis , Nashville
Utah , St. George
Fayetteville , Fort Smith , Little Rock , Texarkana
Ft. Lauderdale , Jacksonville ,
Orlando , St. Petersburg ,
Tallahassee , Tampa , West Palm Beach
Asheville , Charlotte , Greensboro , Raleigh , Winston-Salem ,
Durham , Fayetteville , Wilmington , Greenville , Jacksonville
Charleston , Columbia , Greenville ,
Southernization , refers to the political and cultural effects of
the growth of the Sun Belt
* Economy of the
* ^ "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved
* ^ "
Los Angeles city,
California - QuickFacts". US Census Bureau.
* ^ Kaid Benfield. "Where Pittsburgh Has the
Sun Belt Beat".
* ^ 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.
* ^ Shankman, Sabrina:
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
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 .
"Belt" regions of the
* Wheat Belt
Coordinates : 32°N 100°W / 32°N 100