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, and Texas), Mediterranean (California),
humid subtropical (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina,
Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama), and tropical (South
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 Las Vegas, Los
Angeles, Miami, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, Orlando, Palm Springs,
San Diego support a tourist industry all year.
4 Major cities in the Sun Belt
5 See also
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 Texas
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.
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
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
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 only found in southernmost
Some endangered species live within the belt, including:
Red Hills salamander
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.)
5.0 (2009 est.)
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[update].
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
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
Dallas (9), and San Jose (10).
Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach,
Los Angeles, Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino,
San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco
Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Reno
Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale,
Gilbert, Tempe, Peoria, Surprise, Yuma, Prescott, Flagstaff
Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe
Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas,
Ft. Worth, Houston, Irving, Laredo, Lubbock, Plano, San Antonio
New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport
Birmingham-Hoover, Mobile, Huntsville
Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah
Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
Fayetteville, Little Rock
Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami,
Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Durham,
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
^ "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.
Sun Belt Growth Shapes Housing's Future, Professional Builder, 1 May
2005 Archived 24 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Lewan, Todd: Has economic twilight come to the Sun Belt?, MSNBC, 31
^ 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 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
Biodiversity in the
United States (Map)".
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. Retrieved
^ 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
^ a b 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
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 United States
Coordinates: 32°N 100°W / 32°N 10