Southeastern United States

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Southeast Region of the United States of America
Region
Southeastern United States
Dark red states are usually included in definitions of the Southeastern United States. Light red states are considered "Southeastern" with less frequency and included in other regions of the United States.
Dark red states are usually included in definitions of the Southeastern United States. Light red states are considered "Southeastern" with less frequency and included in other regions of the United States.
Area
 • Total580,835 sq mi (1,504,360 km2)
 • Land540,511 sq mi (1,399,920 km2)
 • Water40,324 sq mi (104,440 km2)  6.9%
Population
(2013)
 • Total87,438,243
 • Density150.5/sq mi (58.1/km2)
Time zoneEST/CST
 • Summer (DST)EDT/CDT

The Southeastern United States is the eastern portion of the Southern United States, and the southern portion of the Eastern United States. It comprises 12 states in the southern United States.

Demographics

There is no official Census Bureau definition of the southeastern United States. However, the nonprofit American Association of Geographers defines the southeastern United States as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.[1] The OSBO (American small business support organization) uses the same states, but includes Arkansas and Louisiana. The states of Delaware and Maryland (plus the District of Columbia) are also sometimes added in some definitions of the term.

Most populous states

The most populous state in the region is Florida (20,612,439), followed by Georgia (10,310,371) and North Carolina (10,146,788).[2]

State2017 Estimate2010 CensusChangeLand AreaDensity
Alabama4,874,7474,779,736+1.99%50,645 sq mi (131,171 km2)96.3/sq mi (37.2/km2)
Arkansas3,004,2792,915,918+3.03%52,035 sq mi (134,771 km2)57.7/sq mi (22.3/km2)
Florida20,984,40018,801,310+11.61%53,625 sq mi (138,887 km2)391.3/sq mi (151.1/km2)
Georgia10,429,3799,687,653+7.66%57,513 sq mi (148,959 km2)181.3/sq mi (70.0/km2)
Kentucky4,454,1894,339,367+2.65%39,486 sq mi (102,269 km2)112.8/sq mi (43.6/km2)
Louisiana4,684,3334,533,372+3.33%43,204 sq mi (111,898 km2)108.4/sq mi (41.9/km2)
Mississippi2,984,1002,967,297+0.57%46,923 sq mi (121,531 km2)63.6/sq mi (24.6/km2)
North Carolina10,273,4199,535,483+7.74%48,618 sq mi (125,920 km2)211.3/sq mi (81.6/km2)
South Carolina5,024,3694,625,364+8.63%30,061 sq mi (77,857 km2)167.1/sq mi (64.5/km2)
Tennessee6,715,9846,346,105+5.83%41,235 sq mi (106,798 km2)162.9/sq mi (62.9/km2)
Virginia8,470,0208,001,024+5.86%39,490 sq mi (102,279 km2)214.5/sq mi (82.8/km2)
West Virginia1,815,8571,852,994−2.00%24,038 sq mi (62,259 km2)75.5/sq mi (29.2/km2)
Total83,715,07678,385,623+6.80%526,874 sq mi (1,364,597 km2)158.9/sq mi (61.3/km2)

The predominant culture of the Southeast has its origins with the settlement of the region by British colonists and African slaves in the 17th century, as well as large groups of English, Scots and Ulster-Scots, Germans, Spanish, French, and Acadians in succeeding centuries.

Culture

The predominant culture of the Southeast has its origins with the settlement of the region by British colonists and African slaves in the 17th century, as well as large groups of English, Scots and Ulster-Scots, Germans, Spanish, French, and Acadians in succeeding centuries. Since the late 20th century the New South has emerged as the fastest growing area of the United States economically. Multiculturalism has become mainstream in the Southeastern states. African Americans remain a dominant demographic at around a 30% of the total population of the Southeast. The New South is built upon the metropolitan areas along the interstate 85 corridor. Cities include Birmingham, Atlanta, Greenville, Spartanburg, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham.

Climate

Most of the southeastern part of the United States is dominated by the humid subtropical climate. As one nears the southern portions of Florida, the climate gradually becomes tropical as winters are freeze free and all months have a mean temperature above 64.4 °F (18.0 °C) (the defined coldest monthly mean temperature of tropical climates).

Seasonally, summers are generally hot and humid throughout the entire region. The Bermuda High pumps hot and moist air mass from the tropical Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico westward toward the southeast United States, creating the typical sultry tropical summers. Daytime highs are often in the upper 80's to lower 90's F.[3][4] Rainfall is summer concentrated along the Gulf Coast and the South Atlantic coast from Norfolk, VA southward, reaching a sharp summer monsoon like pattern over peninsular Florida, with dry winters and wet summers. Sunshine is abundant across the southeastern United States in summer, as the rainfall often comes in quick, but intense downpours. The mid-South, especially Tennessee, and the northern halves of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, have maximum monthly rainfall amounts in winter and spring, owing to copious Gulf moisture and clashes between warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cold, dry air from Canada during the cold season. Here, December, March or April are typically the wettest months; August to October, the driest months (for example, at Tupelo, MS, Huntsville, AL and Memphis, TN).

Winters are cool in the northern areas like Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and western North Carolina, with average highs in the 45 °F (7 °C) range in January. Farther south, winters become more mild across interior eastern North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, with average January highs in the 53 °F (12 °C) range. As one nears the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain and coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina, winters become warm, with daytime highs near or over 60 °F (16 °C), until far enough south in central Florida where daytime highs are above 70 °F (21 °C). Winters tend to be very dry and sunny across Florida, with a gradual increase in winter rainfall with increasing latitude, especially west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Economy

The Southeast has changed dramatically in the last two generations. Since 1980, there has been a boom in its service economy, manufacturing base, high technology industries, and the financial sector. Examples of this include the surge in tourism in Florida and along the Gulf Coast; numerous new automobile production plants such as Mercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama; Toyota Motors in Blue Springs, Mississippi; Kia in West Point, Georgia; the BMW production plant in Greer, South Carolina; Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee; the GM manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee; the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Pulaski, Virginia;and the Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee; the two largest research parks in the country: Research Triangle Park in the Triangle area of North Carolina (the world's largest) and the Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama (the world's fourth largest); and the corporate headquarters of Verso Paper in Memphis, as well as FedEx, which is one of the world's largest shipping companies.

Fortune 500 companies having headquarters in the region include 20 in Virginia, 16 in Florida, 15 in North Carolina, and 14 in Georgia. This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to have of some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.[5] In Alabama, there is a large-scale manufacturing project owned by the German steel megacorporation ThyssenKrupp, which operates a massive, state-of-the-art facility in Mobile.

Research and development

Research Triangle Park, in the Raleigh-Durham urban area of North Carolina, has emerged as a major hub of technology, governmental, and biotechnological research and development, as has the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond. The Cummings Research Park in the Huntsville, Alabama area is the second largest research complex in the nation. Located in Huntsville is the Redstone Arsenal, United States Army Missile Command, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and many other key government, military, and aerospace agencies.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, is the largest laboratory in the world devoted to the study of magnetism.[citation needed] The University of South Carolina is currently constructing a research campus in downtown Columbia, and the university is the nation's only National Science Foundation-funded Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells.[6]

Education

Higher education

The region includes a number of notable universities, public and private, whose research exert influence globally. Chief among these are:

There are a number of well-known private institutions, as well. Notable among these are:

The region is home to the greatest number of historically black colleges and universities in the nation. The three largest in the region are North Carolina A&T University, Florida A&M University, and Jackson State University.

Largest cities

These are the largest cities in the Southeastern region of the United States by population, according to the United States Census Bureau:[7]

RankCityStatePopulation (2015)
1Jacksonvillea[›]Florida868,031
2CharlotteNorth Carolina827,097
3WashingtonDistrict of Columbia672,228
4Nashvillea[›]Tennessee660,388
5MemphisTennessee652,717
6BaltimoreMaryland621,849
7Louisvillea[›]Kentucky615,366
8AtlantaGeorgia463,878
9Virginia BeachVirginia452,745
10RaleighNorth Carolina451,066
11MiamiFlorida441,003
12New Orleansa[›]Louisiana389,617
13TampaFlorida369,075
14LexingtonKentucky314,488
15GreensboroNorth Carolina285,342
16OrlandoFlorida270,394
17DurhamNorth Carolina257,636
18Saint PetersburgFlorida257,083
19NorfolkVirginia246,393
20Winston-SalemNorth Carolina241,218
21HialeahFlorida237,069
22ChesapeakeVirginia235,429
23Baton RougeLouisiana228,590
24RichmondVirginia220,289
25BirminghamAlabama212,461
26FayettevilleNorth Carolina201,963
27MontgomeryAlabama200,602
28ColumbusGeorgia200,579

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

These are the metropolitan areas of the Southeastern region which exceed 1 million in population according to the United States Census Bureau's 2016 estimates:[8]

RankMetropolitan areaAnchor cityPopulation (2016)State(s)
1Washington-Arlington-AlexandriaWashington6,131,977District of Columbia / Virginia / Maryland / West Virginia
2Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm BeachMiami6,066,387Florida
3Atlanta–Sandy Springs-RoswellAtlanta5,789,700Georgia
4Tampa-St. Petersburg-ClearwaterTampa4,310,524Florida
5Baltimore-Columbia-TowsonBaltimore2,798,886Maryland
6Charlotte-Concord-GastoniaCharlotte2,474,314North Carolina / South Carolina
7Orlando-Kissimmee-SanfordOrlando2,441,257Florida
8Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-FranklinNashville1,865,298Tennessee
9Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport NewsVirginia Beach1,726,907Virginia / North Carolina
10JacksonvilleJacksonville1,478,212Florida
11MemphisMemphis1,342,842Tennessee / Mississippi / Arkansas
12RaleighRaleigh1,302,946North Carolina
13Louisville-Jefferson CountyLouisville1,283,430Kentucky / Indiana
14Richmond-PetersburgRichmond1,281,708Virginia
15New Orleans-Metairie-KennerNew Orleans1,268,883Louisiana
16Birmingham-HooverBirmingham1,147,417Alabama

Combined Statistical Areas

Beyond Megalopolis by Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute, an attempt to update Jean Gottmann's work with current trends, defines two "megapolitan areas" contained within the Southeast, out of a total of ten such areas in the United States:

Two others tie some areas on the margins of the Southeast to urban centers in other regions:

  • "Gulf Coast" extending as far east as the western tip of Florida
  • "Northeast" including much of Maryland and eastern Virginia

These are the combined statistical areas of the Southeastern region which exceed 1 million in population according to the United States Census Bureau's 2016 estimates. Note that the metropolitan areas of Tampa and Richmond are not included in any CSAs, so they are included in the table without constituent areas.[9]

RankCombined Statistical AreaPopulation (2016)Constituent Core Based Statistical Areas
1Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area9,882,634Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Winchester, VA-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
California-Lexington Park, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area
Easton, MD Micropolitan Statistical Area
Cambridge, MD Micropolitan Statistical Area
2Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL Combined Statistical Area6,723,472Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Port St. Lucie, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Okeechobee, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area
3Atlanta–Athens-Clarke County–Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area6,451,262Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Athens-Clarke County, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Gainesville, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
LaGrange, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Jefferson, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Calhoun, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Cedartown, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Thomaston, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
4Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater4,310,524MSA only
5Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, FL Combined Statistical Area3,202,927Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Villages, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
6Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area2,632,249Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Shelby, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Albemarle, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
7Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area2,156,253Raleigh, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Dunn, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Oxford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Sanford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Henderson, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
8Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro, TN Combined Statistical Area1,987,778Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Shelbyville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Lawrenceburg, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Lewisburg, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
9Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area1,830,629Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Elizabeth City, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kill Devil Hills, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
10Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area1,650,019Greensboro-High Point, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Winston-Salem, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Burlington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mount Airy, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
11Jacksonville-St. Marys-Palatka, FL-GA Combined Statistical Area1,603,497Jacksonville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Palatka, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area
St. Marys, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
12Louisville/Jefferson County–Elizabethtown–Madison, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area1,510,945Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area
Bardstown, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Madison, IN Micropolitan Statistical Area
13New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond, LA-MS Combined Statistical Area1,501,213New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Hammond, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Picayune, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Bogalusa, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area
14Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area1,442,117Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Greenwood, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Seneca, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
Gaffney, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
15Memphis-Forrest City, TN-MS-AR Combined Statistical Area1,369,038Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area
Forrest City, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area
16Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL Combined Statistical Area1,361,299Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Talladega-Sylacauga, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
Cullman, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
17Richmond-Petersburg1,245,764MSA only
18Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville, TN Combined Statistical Area1,117,758Knoxville, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Morristown, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Sevierville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Newport, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area
19Cape Coral-Fort Myers-Naples, FL Combined Statistical Area1,087,472Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
20North Port-Sarasota, FL Combined Statistical Area1,002,722North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Punta Gorda, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Arcadia, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area

Sports

Although American football is prevalent across the United States, it is especially pervasive in the Southeast. With a total of nine (9) franchises — the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens, the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Miami Dolphins, the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tennessee Titans, and the Washington Redskins — across the region, the National Football League (NFL) maintains a stronger commercial presence than any other major North American professional sports league.

The Southeast has seven (7) National Basketball Association (NBA) franchises: the Atlanta Hawks, the Charlotte Hornets, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Miami Heat, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Orlando Magic, and the Washington Wizards.

Major League Baseball (MLB) maintains five (5) teams in the Southeast: the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles, the Miami Marlins, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Washington Nationals.

The Southeast has five (5) National Hockey League (NHL) franchises: the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers, the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Washington Capitals.

Major League Soccer currently holds three (3) clubs — Atlanta United FC, DC United, and Orlando City SC— in the region. This number will increase to five (5) when Nashville's new club and David Beckham's new club in Miami begin play in March 2020.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is an NCAA Division 1 conference of mainly Southeastern college teams, including the Florida State Seminoles, Louisville Cardinals, Miami Hurricanes, Clemson Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, NC State Wolfpack, Virginia Tech Hokies, and Virginia Cavaliers. The Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Citrus Bowl are notable college football bowls held in Southeastern cities.

The Southeastern Conference is also an NCAA Division 1 conference of Southeastern college teams, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels, Florida Gators, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia Bulldogs, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Vanderbilt Commodores.

The majority of NASCAR teams are headquartered in the Charlotte area along with the sports operations headquarters and media outlets. Tracks in the region include Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Richmond International Speedway.

The southeast also hosts two of the three legs of the American Triple Crown. The Kentucky derby, in Kentucky. The Preakness Stakes are also located in the Southeast, being run in Baltimore, the Derby is considered the western leg of the crown and the Preakness is traditionally considered the southern leg.

See also

  • Southeastern mixed forests – Southeastern habitat
  • Hammock (ecology) – Southeastern habitat
  • East Coast of the United States – the southern Eastern Seaboard portion
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