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The Sun Belt
The Sun Belt, highlighted in red
Regional statistics
Composition Alabama Alabama
Arizona Arizona
Arkansas Arkansas
California California
Colorado Colorado
Florida Florida
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia
Kansas Kansas
Louisiana Louisiana
Mississippi Mississippi
Nevada Nevada
New Mexico New Mexico
North Carolina North Carolina
Oklahoma Oklahoma
South Carolina South Carolina
Texas Texas
Tennessee Tennessee
Utah Utah
Demonym Sun Belter
 - Total

 - Density

144,460,016 (2016 est.)[1]
Largest city Los Angeles (pop. 3,971,883, est. 2015)[2]
Largest Metropolitan Area Greater Los Angeles (pop. 18,679,763, est. 2016)

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.[citation needed] It is the fastest growing region in the United States.[citation needed] 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, Alabama, and Tennessee), and tropical (South 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 Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, and San Diego support a tourist industry all year.[3][4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Why the Sun Belt Keeps Growing
  • ✪ Expansão industrial norte americana sun belt
  • ✪ Indústria norte-americana. Sun belt e Manufacturing belt. All about That bass - Maghan Trainor
  • ✪ Why the Rust Belt Keeps Shrinking


This video is about why Americans are moving to the Sun Belt in huge numbers and why this has been the case since right after World War II. I am making this alongside Grant Hurst, who has a video about why Americans have been leaving the Rust Belt in huge numbers. Where do you think most of them are ending up? That’s right, you bloody genius. In the Sun Belt. Extra credit for you. But be sure to check out Grant’s video after watching this one, and while you’re over there, you had best subscribe to his terrific channel. So anyway, yeah, Americans are moving South. In huge numbers. Between July 2015 and July 2016, Harris County in Texas, where Houston is located, grew an average of 155 people per day. Maricopa County in Arizona, where Phoenix is located, grew an average of 223 people per day during that same time period. 11 of the 15 fastest growing major cities in the United States are in the region known as the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt generally stretches across the entire Southern portion of the United States, including the states of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. It’s definitely an arbitrary definition. Some geographers label the Sun Belt any part of the United States south of the 36th parallel. With that definition, you would add the states of Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Carolina to the region, and the map would look like this. The Sun Belt is currently known for it’s mild winters, the tourism associated with those mild winters, growing economic opportunities, and its, uh, SUN. As in it’s always sunny. It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia. It’s always sunny in Phoenix. Political analyst Kevin Phillips first popularized the term “Sun Belt” in 1969 in his book The Emerging Republican Majority, and the term continues to stick around. However, as I said before, Americans had been flocking to the South since right after World War II. But why, Mr.Beat? WHY?!? First, let’s just get the obvious reason out the way. Many Americans, especially retiring Americans, just wanted to settle down in a warmer climate. Winters in the Midwest and Northeast can be brutal. So why did they wait until after World War II? Well, this was around the time home air conditioning units became affordable. Sure, winters in the South can be heaven, but the summers can also be relentless, but after air conditioners became widespread, it was much easier to deal with those 115 degree afternoons in Arizona. So retirees were flocking down there, but what about those looking for work? After World War II, there seemed to be plenty of jobs waiting for Americans down in the South. The federal government spent most of its Cold War money on the defense and aerospace industries of the South, where everything was cheaper compared to the North. Workers could even be paid less, in part due to there being less labor unions in the South. The Sun Belt also received much more money than the north from the federal government in terms of military and aerospace spending. Oil boomed in Texas. Tourism obviously boomed pretty much everywhere in the Sun Belt. The creation of the interstate highway system in the 1950s opened up once isolated southern regions to the rest of the country. Southern governments offered incentives for businesses to move there. Part of the region’s economic growth came from introducing new farming technologies in arid areas. Speaking of arid, yeah, much of the Sun Belt is pretty dry. "Not as dry as you, Mr. Beat." Alright, quiet you. Irrigation from redirecting water can only last for so long, so this remains a serious challenge in the future for the American Southwest in particular. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the cost of living was much cheaper in many areas of the Sun Belt. By the 1970s, the Sun Belt was growing at a ridiculously high rate. In that decade alone, Phoenix grew by 55 percent. And while there have been the occasional, temporary setbacks ever since, this trend has not slowed down. Today, the Sun Belt states are where most of the growth occurs. In 2020, expect those states to be gaining electoral votes. In 1970, Phoenix was the 20th largest city in the country. Today, it’s the fifth. Impressive, Phoenix. But while the Sun Belt states keep growing, 8 states actually lost population between 2015 and 2016. Most of these states are part of the Rust Belt, a region of the country from the Great Lakes to the upper Midwest associated with declining industry. To find out why so many Americans continue to flee the Rust Belt, check out Grant Hurst’s video on the topic. And again, please subscribe to his tubular channel while you are over there. Thanks for watching, thanks to my Patreon supporters you see here, and next week there will be the glorious return of Supreme Court Briefs.



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, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Utah. 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.[5]

First employed by political analyst Kevin Phillips in his 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority,[6] 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.[7]


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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] Communities in California are making plans to build multiple desalination plants to supply fresh water and avert near-term crises.[11] Texas, Georgia, and Florida also face increasingly serious shortages because of their rapidly expanding populations.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14][15]


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).[16] 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 Florida
American crocodile, a vulnerable species only found in southernmost Florida

Some endangered species live within the belt,[17][18] including:

Major cities in the Sun Belt

Largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas[19][20]
Principal city Population (2012 est.)
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
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, 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.[20] 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, Sacramento, 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, Prescott, 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 New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport
Alabama Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville
Mississippi Jackson
Georgia Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah
Tennessee Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro
Utah St. George
Arkansas Fayetteville, Little Rock
Florida Cape Coral, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami,
Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach
North Carolina Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington
South Carolina Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach

See also


  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  2. ^ "Los Angeles city, California - QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  3. ^ Kaid Benfield. "Where Pittsburgh Has the Sun Belt Beat". CityLab.
  4. ^ Woods, Michael (18 January 1981). "Desert-Like Conditions Hurt Sun Belt". The Blade (Toledo, OH), reprinted by Google News Archive
  5. ^ Shayna M. Olesiuk and Kathy R. Kalser (27 April 2009). "The Sand States: Anatomy of a Perfect Housing-Market Storm" (pdf). Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. ^ Phillips, Kevin (2 April 2006). "How the GOP Became God's Own Party". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  7. ^ "States with the most Fortune 500 companies". Fortune. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  8. ^ Sun Belt Growth Shapes Housing's Future, Professional Builder, 1 May 2005 Archived 24 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Lewan, Todd: Has economic twilight come to the Sun Belt?, MSNBC, 31 May 2009
  10. ^ Cetron, Marvin J.; O'Toole, Thomas: Encounters with the future: a forecast of life into the 21st century, Mcgraw-Hill, April 1982, pg. 34
  11. ^ Shankman, Sabrina: California Gives Desalination Plants a Fresh Look , Wall Street Journal, 10 July 2009
  12. ^ McGovern, Bernie: Florida Almanac 2007-2008, Pelican Publishing Company, March 2007, pg. 53
  13. ^ New data show 'snowbelt-to-sunbelt' migration sluggish to return, Los Angeles Times, 2014
  14. ^ Jotkin, Joel (March 28, 2016). "The Sun Belt Is Rising Again, New Census Numbers Show". Forbes. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  15. ^ Frey, William H. (January 4, 2016). "Sun Belt Migration Reviving, New Census Data Show". The Brookings Institution. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  16. ^ "Biodiversity in the United States (Map)". Archived from the original on 2011-01-26.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ 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

Further reading

This page was last edited on 13 December 2018, at 06:14
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