logoDiverse USA

Regions of the United States

The USA can be divided in several ways

You are here :  ›  Places   regions

A learner's guide to discovering the United States
The  United States  is a federation of 50 states plus the District of Columbia which is the area around the federal capital, Washington D.C.
Individual states cannot form themselves into sub-federations within the USA, and the Federal Government does not have the powers to group states into regional  blocks either, meaning that the largest constitutional subdivisions of the USA are the individual states. There are no official regions.
    Nevertheless, there are many good reasons for dividing the USA into smaller units that include more than just one single state. Numerous organisations, from federal agencies such as the Census Bureau, to corporations, like to divide the nation of over 300 million people into smaller more manageable sub-divisions, without drilling right down to state level. The trouble is that since there are no official regions, different organisations divide the USA up into different constituent regions, which vary in number from just two regions – east and west (of the Mississippi), to ten. Dividing the nation into regions allows the USA to be seen as coherent areas in different terms, in relation to geography, climate or history.
    It is also useful to note that the average population of a US State is about 6 million people per state, making US states comparable in dempgraphic terms  to European Union NUTS1 (top level) regions, such as German Länder, French Régions and smaller countries like Latvia, which have an average population of around 5 million.

The USA as four regions - Census Bureau divisions

US Regions
The regions of the USA as defined by the Census Bureau
    One of the best-known regional maps of the USA is that of the Census Bureau, which divides the country into four regions, using easily remembered geographical names, the Northeast, the South, the Midwest and the West. In no regional breakdown of the USA, however many areas are designated, is there ever a "North" region, since other than in the period of Secession and the Civil War, the "North" of the USA has never been a recognizable unit.
    The Census bureau also subdivides these four regions into nine divisions.
Hôtels throughout the USA
A great selection at best rates from  Booking.com

 Los Angeles
 San Francisco
 New York
This is just one of the posible ways of dividing the USA into regions, and although the  Census Bureau's has divided the USA into these four regions and nine divisions since 1950, when the Federal Office of Management and Budget decided in 1969 to establish regions for use by all federal agencies, they preferred to divide the USA into ten regions, numbered 1 to 10. Confusingly, the boundaries of these ten Standardized Federal Regions do not always match those of the Census Bureau's regions, so for example Region 8 is made up of 4 states that come into the Census Bureau's West region, plus two that are part of the Midwest..

The USA as three regions

USA as three regionsAnother recent way of dividing the USA in economic terms uses a three region model. This essentially defines an East region of the USA made up of the states turned towards the Atlantic, and a West region  composed of the Census Bureau's West region, plus Texas. All the rest - essentially the Mississippi basin from the Dakotas to Alabama - is grouped together as the American Heartland.

The USA as five regions

US five Regions
Five region map of the USA
Outside of the Federal government and agencies, the United States is commonly divided, geographically, into five regions rather than four. The essential difference is that the Census Bureau's South region is divided into two, the Southeast - including the states bordering the Mississippi, and those further east, and the Southwest from Texas to Arizona. Two small states in the northeast of the South region in the four-region map, Delaware and Maryland, are moved for the purposes of this map to the Northeast region.
    Apart from the loss of Arizona and New Mexico, the West and Midwest regions are the same as in the Census Bureau's four region model.

For more background to the USA.....

Book / ebook     A Background to modern America -  people, places and events  that have played a significant role in the shaping of modern America. A C1-level Advanced English reader for speakers of other languages, and anyone wanting to  learn some of the background to today's USA.  Twenty-two texts, with vocabulary guides and exercises.

For California, discover About-California.com, a short guide for visitors.

About-the-usa.com   Home page 

Partner websites

Institutions, life and tourism
  • About France - a thematic guide to France. Over 200 pages of information for visitors and students.
  • About Britain - a thematic introduction to Britain covering institutions, life and tourism
  • Angleterre.org.uk - Le guide de l'Angleterre, en français

Travel and tourism
© About-the-usa.com

About :  About-the-usa.com is a Travel-Webs site

To contact this website please use the form provided.

About-the-usa.com respects your privacy and does not collect data from users. Cookies are used solely to log anonymous audience statistics and to enable essential page functions. To remove this message, click   or otherwise learn more about setting cookie preferences