The US is a large country, the third largest in the world by area. The country encompasses an area of 9.8 million square km and has a population of more than 325 million. The country has 48 contiguous states, the capital's federal district, and the two non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska. The large size of the country necessitates its division into several statistical regions and divisions to ease the collection of statistical data. As such, the US Census Bureau divides the US into four regions (demarcated by the numbers 1-4 below) and nine divisions (demarcated by the letters A-I below). They are as follows:
4. West -
The West in the US refers to the westernmost states of the nation. Several biomes of the country ranging from deserts to forested mountains are found here. The largest number of minorities in the country are found here and the sex ratio here is tilted towards the males, more than any other US region. This US region is divided into two major divisions, the Mountain and the Pacific region, and encompasses 13 states, including Hawaii and Alaska.
H. The Mountain States
The Mountain division of the West includes eight US states further grouped into the two regions of Northwest and Southwest. The former includes Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho while the latter includes New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. These states are the most mountainous states of the country and have the highest average elevation among other states of the country. Most of the states within this division observe the Mountain Time. The Mountain division features high mountains, vast deserts, and large plains. Semi-arid to arid climate prevails in most areas and alpine climate prevails in the higher slopes of mountains of the area. With a mean elevation of 6,800 ft, Colorado is the highest state in this US division.
I. The Pacific States
The Pacific States division of the Western US includes the five US states of Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Washington. These states are also the only US states to have coastlines on the Pacific Ocean. The total area covered by this division is 2,318,781 square km. A 2016 estimate suggests the population here to be 52,801,933 people.
3. South -
This region of the US has been defined differently by various groups of scholars. Generally, it is defined to include the south-central and southeastern parts of the country. The South had a population of 114,555,744 people in 2010 and is the most populous region of the country. The region has a diverse and unique culture. African-Americans constitute a large part of the population. The region is historically known for the institution of slave labor and the racially discriminatory practices that followed for years, even after the abolition of slavery in the country. Although the South relied heavily on agriculture in the past and had a large rural population, it is now one of the fastest developing regions of the country and is attracting both domestic and international immigrants. Sixteen states and the federal district are included within this region in the subdivisions of the South Atlantic United States, East South United States, and the West South United States.
E. South Atlantic United States
The federal district (District of Columbia) and eight US states are included within this division of Southern US, whose areas together measure 292,589 square miles. These states are West Virginia, Georgia, Virginia, South and North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and Florida In 2010, the total population of this US division was 61,774,970. All of the South Atlantic states with the exception of West Virginia are currently experiencing a positive population growth and rapid economic development.
F. East South Central States
This division of the US constitutes the four US states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Kentucky. The population of the area was 18,022,810 in 2010 and the division encompasses a total land area of 183,401 square miles. Alabama is the most populous state in this US division. With a population of 653,450, Memphis in Tennessee is the largest city in the East South Central States.
G. West South Central States
Four US states, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are part of the US division of West South Central States. The division occupies a total area of 443,501 square miles and had a population of 37,849,785 in 2013. Texas is the largest of these states and accounts for about 80% of the total population of the division.
2. Midwest -
The region is bounded by Canada to the north, Southern US to the south, and the Western US and the Northeast to the west and east, respectively. The Midwest thus occupies the north-central area of the country. The population of this region was 65,377,684 in 2012. Chicago is the most populated city in this region and the major financial center. Since the Midwest has some of the best agricultural lands in the US, agriculture drives the local economy of the region and generates thousands of jobs. The Midwest encompases twelve states, and is subdivided into two divisions, the East North Central States and the West North Central States.
C. East North Central States
This division of the Midwest forms part of the Great Lakes region and includes the five US states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The area hosts a total population of about 46,787,011. Two of the biggest US ports, Detroit and Chicago, are present in this division. The latter is also the most populous city in this area. The most populated state of the East North Central States division is Illinois while Wisconsin is the least populous one.
D. West North Central States
Seven states comprise this US division. These include South and North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota. These states are regarded as the main states of the “Farm Belt” of the nation. The region has the lowest unemployment rate among all the divisions of the country. Affordable housing options here are also a great advantage. The population of the division was 20,505,437 in 2010 and the total area is 1,315,489 square km.
1. Northeast -
This geographical region of the US includes the part of the country that is bounded by Canada to the north, Southern US to the south, the Midwestern US to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The regions encompass a total area of 469,630 square km. The cultural identity of the Northeast varies significantly in different areas and it is the most multicultural region of the country. The region is also the most economically prosperous part of the US. As of 2013, the Northeast had a population of 55,943,073 with a population density of 345.5 persons per square mile. In 2012, the region contributed to 23% of the US GDP. With 85% of the population residing in urban settlements, the Northeast is the country’s second most urbanized region. Nine US states are located in this region, and it is divided into two division, New England and the Mid-Atlantic.
A. New England
One of the two divisions of the Northeast, New England includes the six US states of Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The boundaries of New England are defined by Canada to the north, Long Island to the south, New York to the west, and the Atlantic to the east and southeast. The total area of the region is 186,458 square km. The estimated population is 14,727,584 people. The nearness to the ocean encourages an export-oriented economy in New England. The services industry and industrial manufacturing are also important sectors of the economy here.
Only three US states, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, constitute the Mid-Atlantic division of the Northeastern US. The Mid-Atlantic states are known for their ethnic diversity and religious pluralism. New York City, an internationally famed city, is located here and serves as an icon of American economic power and modernity. This is one of the most prosperous parts of the country with people having high per capita incomes and enjoying an elevated standard of living.
What are the Pacific States?
The pacific states are considered to be Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Washington.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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