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American Southeast

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American Southeast

Southeastern United States
Population (2009)
 • Total 78,320,977
Time zone EST/CST

The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the South, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States, and the southern portion of the Eastern United States.


There is no official Census Bureau definition of the southeastern United States. However, the Association of American Geographers defines the southeastern United States as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.[1]

Most populous states as of 2012

Florida (19,317,568)[2] Georgia (9,919,945),[3] North Carolina (9,752,073),[4] Virgina (8,185,867),[5] Tennessee (6,456,243),[6] South Carolina (4,723,723),[7] Kentucky (4,380,415).[8]

Jacksonville, Charlotte, and Memphis are the largest cities in the region by city-proper population; however, Miami, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Tampa are the most populous metropolitan areas in the region.



The predominant culture of the South has its origins with the settlement of the region by British colonists and African slaves in the 17th century, large groups of English, Scots and Ulster-Scots.


In the last two generations, the South has changed dramatically. In recent decades it has seen 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; 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 major banking corporations Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina; Regions Financial Corporation, AmSouth Bancorporation, and BBVA Compass in Birmingham; SunTrust Banks and the district headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; and BB&T in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The region is home many Fortune 500 companies including 20 in Virginia, 16 in Florida, 15 in North Carolina, and 14 in Georgia. This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to boast of some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.[9] The many automotive manufacturing plants in Alabama, primarily those owned by automakers Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and Honda, in coordination with countless automotive supplier corporations, have made the state of Alabama the number one center for automotive manufacturing and production, having surpassed Detroit in recent years. Alabama is also home to a large-scale manufacturing project owned by the German steel megacorporation Thyssen-Krupp, which operates a massive, state-of-the-art facility in the Alabama port city of Mobile.


Higher education

The Southeastern United States is home to a number of prominent universities, with several large research universities of longstanding significance (such as University of Mississippi, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, University of Maryland, Clemson University, Florida State University, University of Miami, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, University of Memphis, University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, Auburn University, University of Alabama, University of Central Florida, University of Florida (significance due to Gatorade; and Shands Hospital, a leading teaching and research hospital) which exert some influence beyond the region.

Duke University, Emory University, the University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tulane, Vanderbilt University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and the University of Virginia are the only educational institutions in the Southeastern United States that are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU).[11] The AAU is an organization of leading research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

Largest cities

These are the largest cities in the Southeastern region of the United States by population, according to the United States Census Bureau:[12][discuss]

Rank City State Population
1 Jacksonvillea[›] Florida 813,518
2 Charlotte North Carolina 731,424
3 Memphis Tennessee 676,640
4 Washington District of Columbia 632,323
5 Baltimore Maryland 621,342
6 Nashvillea[›] Tennessee 605,473
7 Louisvillea[›] Kentucky 566,503
8 Virginia Beach Virginia 447,489
9 Miami Florida 433,136
10 Atlanta Georgia 432,427
11 Raleigh North Carolina 416,468
12 Tampa Florida 343,890
13 Lexington Kentucky 295,803
14 Greensboro North Carolina 273,425
15 Norfolk Virginia 245,803
16 Saint Petersburg Florida 244,769

Largest metropolitan areas

These are the metropolitan areas of the Southeastern region which exceed 1 million in population according to the United States Census Bureau's 2012 estimates:[13][14]

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 eastern Virginia
Rank Metropolitan Area Anchor City Population State(s)
1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Washington D.C. 5,636,232 District of Columbia / Virginia / Maryland / West Virginia
2 Miami-Ft Lauderdale Miami 5,564,635 Florida
3 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta Atlanta 5,457,831 Georgia
4 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Tampa 2,824,724 Florida
5 Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Charlotte 2,296,569 North Carolina / South Carolina
6 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Orlando 2,171,360 Florida
7 Raleigh, Durham-Chapel Hill Raleigh 1,998,808 North Carolina
8 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Nashville 1,726,693 Tennessee
9 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Norfolk 1,699,925 Virginia / North Carolina
10 Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Greenville 1,384,996 South Carolina
11 Piedmont Triad Greensboro 1,376.452 North Carolina
12 Memphis Memphis 1,369,548 Tennessee / Mississippi / Arkansas
13 Jacksonville Jacksonville 1,345,596 Florida
14 Louisville-Jefferson County Louisville 1,307,647 Kentucky/Indiana
15 Richmond Richmond 1,258,251 Virginia
16 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner New Orleans 1,227,096 Louisiana



The climate is warm and humid. There are short winters and long hot summers. The area has good soil for growing plants and is known for its large plantations and cash crops.


There are about 2 million feral pigs in the Southeastern United States. Around 500 thousand of those are in Florida.[15]

See also


External links

  • Flora Atlas of the Southeastern United States — by the North Carolina Botanical Garden & University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU).
  • Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States. Past, Present, and Future — University of South Florida (August 2011)
  • Britannica Southeast U.S. - video on YouTube

Coordinates: 35°00′N 85°18′W / 35.0°N 85.3°W / 35.0; -85.3

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