Regions of the United States

A map of U.S. regions.
A map of U.S. regions. There are no boundaries on this map because these regions are of course relative and represent different things to different people. (Map by Matt Rosenberg)

Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions.

The United States is composed of many regions, areas with a common physical or cultural aspects.

While there are no officially designated regions, there are some generally accepted guidelines for which states belong to which regions.

A single state may be part of several different regions. For instance, you can assign Kansas as a Midwestern state and a Central state, just as you could call Oregon a Pacific state, a Northwestern state, or a Western state.

A List of the Regions of the United States

Scholars, politicians, and even residents of the states themselves may differ in how the classify states, but this is a widely accepted list:

Atlantic States: The states that border the Atlantic Ocean from Maine in the north to Florida in the South. Does not include the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, even though that body of water may be considered part of the Atlantic Ocean.

Dixie: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Eastern States: States east of the Mississippi River (not used generally with states that lie on the Mississippi River).

Great Lakes Region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

Great Plains States: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming

Gulf States: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas

Lower 48: The conterminous 48 states; excludes Alaska and Hawaii

Mid-Atlantic States: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.

Midwest: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin

New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Wyoming

Pacific States: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington

Rocky Mountain States: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

South Atlantic States: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia

Southern States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia

Southwest: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah

Sunbelt: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Nevada

West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington

Western States: States west of the Mississippi River (not used generally with states that lie on the Mississippi River).

United States Geography

The U.S. is part of North America, bordering both the northern Atlantic Ocean and the northern Pacific Ocean with the country of Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The Gulf of Mexico also forms part of the southern border of the U.S.

Geographically, the U.S. is about half the size of Russia, about three-tenths the size of Africa, and about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil). It is slightly larger than China and almost two and a half times the size of the European Union.

The U.S. is the world's third-largest country by both sizes (after Russia and Canada) and population (after China and India).

Not including its territories, the U.S. encompasses 3,718,711 square miles, of which 3,537,438 square miles is land and 181,273 square miles is water. It has 12,380 miles of coastline.