Southwestern United States
Overview
 
The Southwestern United States (also known as the American Southwest) is a region defined in different ways by different sources. Broad definitions include nearly a quarter of the United States, including Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

. Narrowly defined, the "core" Southwest is centered around the Four Corner states, with parts of the other states making up the beginnings and endings of the Southwest.
Encyclopedia
The Southwestern United States (also known as the American Southwest) is a region defined in different ways by different sources. Broad definitions include nearly a quarter of the United States, including Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

. Narrowly defined, the "core" Southwest is centered around the Four Corner states, with parts of the other states making up the beginnings and endings of the Southwest. The five main southwestern states; Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada are also all considered part of the Mountain West
Mountain States
thumb|300px|Regional definitions vary from source to source. The states shown in dark red are always included, while the striped states are usually considered part of the same region called the Mountain States....

, as well as the southwest. The total population of these states is roughly 19 million people.

Most of it was a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, in the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, during the Modern Era. California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas were all part of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 before the Mexican-American War. Portions of some of the areas in the "divided" states, and including western parts of Texas, were those in dispute after the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

.

Regional geography

Geographer Uriah D. W. Meinig
D. W. Meinig
Donald William Meinig is an American geographer. He is the Maxwell Research Professor Emeritus of Geography at Syracuse University....

 defines the core of the Southwest as the portion of New Mexico west of the Llano Estacado
Llano Estacado
Llano Estacado , commonly known as the Staked Plains, is a region in the Southwestern United States that encompasses parts of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas, including the South Plains and parts of the Texas Panhandle...

 and the portion of Arizona east of the Mohave
Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona, in the United States...

-Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

 and south of the "canyonlands", and also including the El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

 district of western Texas and the southernmost part of Colorado. He identifies four distinct subregions with this core. He calls the first subregion "Northern New Mexico
Northern New Mexico
Northern New Mexico may simply mean the northern part of New Mexico, but in cultural terms it usually means the area of heavy Spanish settlement in the north-central part....

", and describes it as focused on Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

 and Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and is the seat of . Santa Fe had a population of 67,947 in the 2010 census...

. It extends from the San Luis Valley
San Luis Valley
The San Luis Valley is an extensive alpine valley in the U.S. states of Colorado and New Mexico covering approximately and sitting at an average elevation of above sea level. The valley sits atop the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande River, which rises in the San Juan...

 of southern Colorado to south of Socorro
Socorro, New Mexico
Socorro is a city in Socorro County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It stands in the Rio Grande Valley at an elevation of . The population was 9,051 at the 2010 census...

 and including the Manzano Mountains
Manzano Mountains
The Manzano Mountains are a small mountain range in the central part of the US State of New Mexico. They are oriented north-south and are about 40 miles long. The center of the range lies about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque, and the northern foothills are just a few miles east of the edge of...

, with an east-west breadth in the north stretching from the upper Canadian River
Canadian River
The Canadian River is the longest tributary of the Arkansas River. It is about long, starting in Colorado and traveling through New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, and most of Oklahoma....

 to the upper San Juan River. Important ethnic groups include Hispanos
Hispanos
Hispanos is a name given to people of colonial Spanish descent in what is today the United States who retained a predominantly Spanish culture. The distinction was made to compensate for flawed U.S. Census practices in the 1930s which used to characterize Hispanic people as non-white...

, Anglo-Americans, and the Puebloan peoples. The area around Albuquerque is sometimes called Central New Mexico
Central New Mexico
Central New Mexico is the central region of the U.S. state of New Mexico. In the center of this region is Albuquerque, New Mexico, the largest city in the state.- External links :*...

. During the Spanish era the term Rio Abajo and Rio Arriba were used for the settled areas around Albuquerque and Santa Fe, respectively. During the 19th century Hispano people expanded north into the San Luis Valley west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Sangre de Cristo Mountains
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States...

, and east of the mountains along the Purgatoire River
Purgatoire River
The Purgatoire River is a river in southeastern Colorado, United States. The river is also known locally as the Purgatory River or the Picketwire River...

 in Colorado. Hispano expansion to the east reached into the Texas Panhandle
Texas Panhandle
The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east...

 and, to the west, along the San Juan River and Little Colorado River
Little Colorado River
The Little Colorado River is a river in the U.S. state of Arizona, providing the principal drainage from the Painted Desert region. Together with its major tributary, the Puerco River, it drains an area of about in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico...

 into Arizona.

"Central Arizona" is a vast metropolitan area spread across one contiguous sprawling oasis, essentially equivalent to the Phoenix metropolitan area
Phoenix Metropolitan Area
The Phoenix metropolitan area, often referred to as The Valley of the Sun, is a metropolitan area, centered on the city of Phoenix, that includes much of the central part of the US state of Arizona...

. The city of Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 is the largest urban center, and located in the approximate center of the area, but it is just one of many urban centers, such as Tempe
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, USA, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2010 population of 161,719. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale...

, Mesa
Mesa, Arizona
According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of Mesa was as follows:* White: 77.1% * Hispanic or Latino : 26.54%* Black or African American: 3.5%* Two or more races: 3.4%* Native American: 2.4%...

, and many others. None are clearly dominant although the whole can be considered the greater metropolitan area of Phoenix.

Meinig calls the third subregion "El Paso, Tucson, and the Southern Borderlands". While El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

 and Tucson
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

 are distinctly different cities they share a similar and somewhat overlapping hinterland between them. El Paso is about 80% Hispano and, with Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

, just half of the largest metropolitan area along the Mexico – United States border. Tucson
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

 occupies a large oasis at the western end of the El Paso-Tucson corridor. The region between the two cities is a major transportation trunk with settlements servicing both highway and railway needs. There are also large mining operations, ranches, and agricultural oases. Both El Paso and Tucson have large military installations nearby; Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss is a United States Army post in the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. With an area of about , it is the Army's second-largest installation behind the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. It is FORSCOM's largest installation, and has the Army's largest Maneuver Area behind the...

 and White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is a rocket range of almost in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR includes the and the WSMR Otera Mesa bombing range...

 north of El Paso, and, near Tucson, the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located within the city limits, and approximately south-southeast of downtown, Tucson, Arizona....

. About 70 miles (112.7 km) to the southeast are the research facilities at Fort Huachuca
Fort Huachuca
Fort Huachuca is a United States Army installation under the command of the United States Army Installation Management Command. It is located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about north of the border with Mexico. Beginning in 1913, for 20 years the fort was the base for the "Buffalo...

. These military installations form a kind of hinterland around the El Paso-Tucson region, and are served by scientific and residential communities such as Sierra Vista
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Sierra Vista is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 43,044....

, Las Cruces
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, also known as "The City of the Crosses", is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 97,618 in 2010 according to the 2010 Census, making it the second largest city in the state....

, and Alamogordo
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Alamogordo is the county seat of Otero County and a city in south-central New Mexico, United States. A desert community lying in the Tularosa Basin, it is bordered on the east by the Sacramento Mountains. It is the nearest city to Holloman Air Force Base. The population was 35,582 as of the 2000...

. El Paso's influence extends north into the Mesilla Valley
Mesilla Valley
The Mesilla Valley is a geographic feature of Southern New Mexico and far West Texas. It was formed by repeated heavy spring floods of the Rio Grande.The fertile Mesilla Valley extends from about Hatch, New Mexico to the west side of El Paso, Texas...

, and southeast along the Rio Grande into the Trans-Pecos
Trans-Pecos
The term Trans-Pecos, as originally defined in 1887 by the Texas geologist Robert T. Hill, refers to the portion of Texas that lies west of the Pecos River. The term is considered synonymous with "Far West Texas", a subdivision of West Texas...

 region of Texas. The entire region has a large Hispano population. The Native American Tohono O'odham
Tohono O'odham
The Tohono O'odham are a group of Native American people who reside primarily in the Sonoran Desert of the southeastern Arizona and northwest Mexico...

 and Yaqui Native Americans continue to preserve cultural traditions and link Tucson with native lands to the west and south.

The fourth subregion Meinig calls the "Northern Corridor and Navaholands". A major highway and railway trunk connects Albuquerque and Flagstaff
Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2010, the city's population was 65,870. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 134,421 in 2010. It is the county seat of Coconino County...

. Just north of the transportation trunk are large blocks of Native American land. Once regarded as a bleak wasteland populated by a dying culture the native cultures, especially the Navajo Nation
Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory covering , occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico...

, have undergone a strong resurgence and are playing an increasingly important role. Other tribes such as the Hopi
Hopi
The Hopi are a federally recognized tribe of indigenous Native American people, who primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi area according to the 2000 census has a population of 6,946 people. Their Hopi language is one of the 30 of the Uto-Aztecan language...

 and Zuni have also experienced a similar resurgence. Several towns and cities serve as contact points between the native peoples and other groups. Notable examples include Farmington, New Mexico
Farmington, New Mexico
Farmington is a city in San Juan County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 U.S. Census the city had a total population of 45,877 people. Farmington makes up one of the four Metropolitan Statistical Areas in New Mexico. The U.S...

, Gallup
Gallup, New Mexico
- Demographics :As of the census of 2000, there were 20,209 people, 6,810 households, and 4,869 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,513.7 people per square mile...

, Window Rock, Arizona
Window Rock, Arizona
Window Rock is the seat of government and capital of the Navajo Nation, the largest territory of a sovereign Native American nation in North America. Window Rock contains the Navajo Nation Council, the Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park, as well as the Navajo Nation World War II Memorial...

, Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2010, the city's population was 65,870. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 134,421 in 2010. It is the county seat of Coconino County...

, and, to a lesser degree, Prescott, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, USA. It was designated "Arizona's Christmas City" by Arizona Governor Rose Mofford in the late 1980s....

. In the Little Colorado River
Little Colorado River
The Little Colorado River is a river in the U.S. state of Arizona, providing the principal drainage from the Painted Desert region. Together with its major tributary, the Puerco River, it drains an area of about in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico...

 and Mogollon Rim
Mogollon Rim
The Mogollon Rim is a topographical and geological feature running across the U.S. state of Arizona. It extends approximately from northern Yavapai County eastward to near the border with New Mexico.-Description:...

 country there is an old and continuing Mormon
Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

 influence. Many old Mormon settlements have grown rapidly with the arrival of migrants mainly from Texas, the American South, and the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

. Districts around old Mormon villages such as Ramah, New Mexico
Ramah, New Mexico
Ramah is a census-designated place in McKinley County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 407 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Ramah is located at...

 are often populated by a mix of at least five ethnic groups and culture, such as Mormons, Pueblo Zunis, Navajos, Hispanos, and Texans.
Many people believe once you hit the High Plains
High Plains (United States)
The High Plains are a subregion of the Great Plains mostly in the Western United States, but also partly in the Midwest states of Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota, generally encompassing the western part of the Great Plains before the region reaches the Rocky Mountains...

 in Eastern Colorado, Eastern New Mexico, and West Texas, you have entered the beginnings of the Southwestern United States. Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, Tucson
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

, and Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

 dominate the western most metropolitan areas in the southwest region, while, Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

, Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

, Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

, and El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

 dominate the eastern most metropolitan areas of the southwest, not including Northern, Central, and Eastern Texas, and Oklahoma, because they are not always considered part of the southwest. Reno
Reno, Nevada
Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. The city has a population of about 220,500 and is the most populous Nevada city outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area...

 and Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

 also dominate the northernmost metropolitan areas of the southwest. Thus the basic spatial structure of the Southwest can be seen as focused on the largest metropolitan areas in each state such as Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

, Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

, Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, and El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

. This core of the Southwest is directly linked to other regions. The Mojave Desert separates it from Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

. Several corridors and urban centers in the desert link the two regions, most significantly at Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, where the Arizona and California systems interlock. The Mormon Corridor
Mormon Corridor
The Mormon Corridor is a term for the areas of Western North America that were settled between 1850 and approximately 1890 by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , who are commonly known as Mormons....

 links the Southwest to the main body of Mormon settlements in Utah. Mormons have colonized areas of Arizona and New Mexico since the 19th century, especially in the San Juan Basin
San Juan Basin
The San Juan Basin is a geologic structural basin in the Four Corners region of the Southwestern United States; its main portion covers around , encompassing much of northwestern New Mexico, southwest Colorado, and parts of Arizona and Utah....

 near Farmington and along the Mogollon Rim and Little Colorado River in Arizona. Las Vegas also served as a pivotal point of Mormon Corridor between Utah, northern Arizona, and southern California. These areas link the Southwest with the main concentration of Mormon settlements in Utah and eastern Idaho. The Southwest is linked with the Midwest in northeast New Mexico, into which the grain farming system of Kansas had been extended. The Southwest-Midwest link via the Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1822 by William Becknell, it served as a vital commercial and military highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880...

 was historically of enormous importance. The Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1822 by William Becknell, it served as a vital commercial and military highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880...

 went through the midwestern states
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, then into the southwestern states of Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 and New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. The southwest borders the Midwestern United States
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 also. The southwestern state of Colorado borders the Midwest states
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 of Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 to the northeast and Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 to the east. The Southwest is linked to the Northwest in Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Nevada borders the Northwestern States
Northwestern United States
The Northwestern United States comprise the northwestern states up to the western Great Plains regions of the United States, and consistently include the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, to which part of southeast Alaska is also sometimes included...

 of Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 and Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

 to the north. Utah borders the Northwestern States of Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 and Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

 also. And, Colorado borders the northwest state of Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

. The Southwest also borders the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. New Mexico borders a small portion of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 to the east. Also, a small portion of Southeastern Colorado borders the state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. West Texas is directly linked with Central and northern Texas, which is often considered part of the American South. El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

, Amarillo
Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo is the 14th-largest city, by population, in the state of Texas, the largest in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The population was 190,695 at the 2010 census...

, and Lubbock
Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock is a city in and the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically as the Llano Estacado, and the home of Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University...

 are almost always considered to be in the southwest region, while Fort Worth
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, and Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 are usually considered to be more a part of the American South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, San Angelo
San Angelo, Texas
San Angelo is a city in the state of Texas. Located in West Central Texas it is the county seat of Tom Green County. As of 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total population of 93,200...

, Abilene
Abilene, Texas
Abilene is a city in Taylor and Jones counties in west central Texas. The population was 117,063 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2006 estimated population of 158,063. It is the county seat of Taylor County...

, Laredo
Laredo, Texas
Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 236,091 making it the 3rd largest on the United States-Mexican border,...

, Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio counties. The MSA population in 2008 was 416,376. The population was 305,215 at the 2010 census making it the...

, and Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas
Brownsville is a city in the southernmost tip of the state of Texas, in the United States. It is located on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Brownsville is the 16th largest city in the state of Texas with a population of...

 are in the middle as to what region they belong in. Some may consider these cities to be a part of the Southwest as well, while others usually see them as southern cities. The Southwest is linked to Texas in eastern New Mexico, especially along the Pecos River and on the Llano Estacado, where an early mass influx of Texan farmers was later reinforced by the oil industry. Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell is a city in and the county seat of Chaves County in the southeastern quarter of the state of New Mexico, United States. The population was 48,366 at the 2010 census. It is a center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also...

 occupies a border position between Albuquerque and the Texan system. Finally, the Southwest is intimately linked to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, most tightly at El Paso and Ciudad Juarez and secondarily at Tucson and Nogales. Also, the Four Corners of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico is often considered to be the center, or heart, of the American Southwest.

History

With the European colonization of the Americans, New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

, later to become Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 was dominant until the 19th century. With Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

, United States gradually gained control over the west. Pro-Confederate Texas and Pro-Union Utah were important at this point, although California rapidly became the main western power. Utahns moved west into Nevada and Northern California
Northern California
Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The San Francisco Bay Area , and Sacramento as well as its metropolitan area are the main population centers...

, where as Texans moved into New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Parts of New Mexico and Arizona were briefly a Confederate territory, then were transformed into a Union territory, then Union state. Arizona's original government and military were similar to those Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 at the time had. Arizona, in the form of the Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

 also has connections to the Republic of Sonora
Republic of Sonora
The Republic of Sonora was a federal republic composed of two states: Baja California and Sonora....

. The Southwestern states take up roughly one third of the United States.

There were a very large population of Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 tribes in the southwestern states, as well as all of America. Some of the larger and more popular tribes of Native Americans in the southwest were the Ute, Navajo
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

, Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

, Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

, Paiute, Hopi
Hopi
The Hopi are a federally recognized tribe of indigenous Native American people, who primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi area according to the 2000 census has a population of 6,946 people. Their Hopi language is one of the 30 of the Uto-Aztecan language...

, and the Anasazi
Ancient Pueblo Peoples
Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Pueblo peoples were an ancient Native American culture centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southern Colorado...

. The Ute formally ruled over most of modern day Utah and Colorado, as well as small parts of northern New Mexico. The Navajo had ruled over much of Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Utah at one point as well. Apache tribes had once ruled over many lands in the southwest. Such as, most of New Mexico, eastern Arizona, and parts of southwest Texas. The Jicarilla tribe of Apache also ruled well into southern and southeastern Colorado as well. The Comanche ruled many lands in the southwest as well. Their historic range consisted of present day eastern New Mexico, southern and southeastern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, and most all of west and northwest Texas. The Paiute people were another very large Nativer American civilization. They controlled most all of present day Nevada, western Utah, and northern Arizona. Some of the oldest evidence of Native Americans in the southwest are from the Hopi and the Anasazi people. The Hopi controlled most all of what is modern day Arizona at one point. On the other hand, the Anasazi (Ancient Pueblo peoples) controlled much of the southwest as well. Their ancient territory consisted of northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah, and all of southern Colorado. Some of the more known evidence of the ancient pueblo peoples can be found at Chaco National Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash...

 in New Mexico, and Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. It was created in 1906 to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world...

 in Colorado.

Origins of the term and historical/cultural variations

The term "Southwest" originally referred to a "major subregion" of the American South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, literally being the western frontier of the larger region. This "Old Southwest" of the 19th century included, at varying points in time, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisiana. After its revolution and statehood, Texas became considered part of this designation. However, as territories and eventual states to the west were added after the Mexican War
Mexican War
Mexican War may refer to:*Mexican War of Independence *Mexican–American War *French intervention in Mexico *Mexican Revolution *Mexican Civil War *Cristero War *Mexican Drug War...

, the geographical "Southwest" expanded and the relationship of these new acquisitions to the South itself became "increasingly unclear." Today, the generally regarded Southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico, along with all or parts of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Texas, and Oklahoma, may or may not be considered a region in their own right, as opposed to a general classification divided by an historical and/or cultural fault-line which translates into separate "Southwests". One being the (Interior Southwest) sub-region of the Census Bureau West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

, and another consisting of states (particularly Texas and Oklahoma) which have traditionally stronger ties to the South.

Texas has long been the focal point of this dichotomy, and is often considered as such to be the "core area" of "the South's Southwest". While the trans-pecos part of the state is generally acknowledged to be part of the "desert Southwest" most of Texas and large parts of Oklahoma are often placed into a sub-region of the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, which some consider Southwestern in the general framework of the original application, meaning the "Western South." This is an area containing the basic elements of Southern history
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

, culture
Culture of the Southern United States
The Culture of the Southern United States, or Southern Culture, is a subculture of the United States that is perhaps America's most distinct, in the minds both of its residents and of those in other parts of the country...

, politics
Solid South
Solid South is the electoral support of the Southern United States for the Democratic Party candidates for nearly a century from 1877, the end of Reconstruction, to 1964, during the middle of the Civil Rights era....

, religion
Bible Belt
Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average.The...

, and linguistic
Southern American English
Southern American English is a group of dialects of the English language spoken throughout the Southern region of the United States, from Southern and Eastern Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and from the Atlantic coast to most of Texas and Oklahoma.The Southern dialects make...

 and settlement patterns, yet blended with traits of the frontier West
Frontier Strip
The Frontier Strip are the six states in the United States forming a north-south line from North Dakota to Texas. In the American Old West, westward from this strip was the frontier of the United States toward the latter part of the 19th century...

. While this particular Southwest is notably different in many ways from the classic "Old South" or Southeast
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

, these features are strong enough to give it a separate Southwestern identity quite different in nature from that of the Interior Southwestern states to the west.

One of these distinguishing characteristics in Texas is that Native and Spanish American culture never played a central role in the development of this area in relative comparrison to the latter, as the vast majority of settlers were anglo and blacks from the South. Although the present day state of Oklahoma was Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 until the early 20th Century, many of these Native-Americans were from the southeastern United States and became culturally assimilated early on. Combined with that once the territory was open for settlement, it was southeastern pioneers which made up a disporportionate number of these newcomers, all lent to the new state having a different character than other parts of the Southwest which also contained a large Indian population.

The fact that a majority of residents of Texas and Oklahoma—unlike those in the other Southwestern states—self-identify as living in the South and considering themselves Southerners, rather than the West and Westerners, also lends to treating these two states as a somewhat distinct and separate entity in terms of regional classification.

Vegetation and terrain

Vegetation of the Southwest generally includes various types of yucca
Yucca
Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of North...

, along with Saguaro Cactus, Barrel Cactus
Barrel cactus
Barrel cacti are classified into the two genera Echinocactus and Ferocactus, both of which are found in the Southwest Desert of North America. Their pineapple-shaped fruits can be easily removed but are not recommended for eating. The barrel cactus may reach over a metre in height. Its ribs are...

, Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia
Opuntia, also known as nopales or paddle cactus , is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae.Currently, only prickly pears are included in this genus of about 200 species distributed throughout most of the Americas. Chollas are now separated into the genus Cylindropuntia, which some still consider...

, Desert Spoon, Creosote Bush
Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata is known as Creosote bush as a plant, chaparral as a medicinal herb, and as "gobernadora" in Mexico, Spanish for "governess," due to its ability for inhibiting the growth of nearby plants to have more water. In Sonora, it is more commonly called "hediondilla." It is a flowering...

, Sagebrush
Sagebrush
Sagebrush is a common name of a number of shrubby plant species in the genus Artemisia native to western North America;Or, the sagebrush steppe ecoregion, having one or more kinds of sagebrush, bunchgrasses and others;...

, and Greasewood
Greasewood
Greasewood, Sarcobatus, is a genus of one or two species of flowering plants. Traditionally it has been treated in the family Chenopodiaceae, but the APG II system, of 2003, places it in the family Sarcobataceae....

 (Chico Brush) to name a few. Although, cacti is thought to only grow in Arizona and New Mexico, many native cacti is grown all throughout Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and West Texas as well. Also, small cacti does grow in Utah and Colorado. These examples (except the Saguaro Cactus), can be seen growing natively and in large numbers more east throughout the Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is a vernacular term applied to a region of Central Texas featuring tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite monadnock in the United States, Enchanted Rock, which is located...

 and South Texas
South Texas
South Texas is a region of the U.S. state of Texas that lies roughly south of and including San Antonio. The southern and western boundary is the Rio Grande River, and to the east it is the Gulf of Mexico. The population of this region is about 3.7 million. The southern portion of this region is...

 and the Rio Grande Valley
Rio Grande Valley
The Rio Grande Valley or the Lower Rio Grande Valley, informally called The Valley, is an area located in the southernmost tip of South Texas...

. However, none of the vegetation discussed grows natively the further east than the eastern outskirts of San Antonio, Austin
Austin
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas.Austin may also refer to:-In the United States:*Austin, Arkansas*Austin, Colorado*Austin, Chicago, Illinois*Austin, Indiana*Austin, Minnesota*Austin, Nevada*Austin, Oregon...

, and Fort Worth
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

. Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

 and Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

, for example, share a smiliar terrain with states further east and are often considered to be more of the American South. In the far eastern parts of the southwest, Prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

s and Grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s are found all over. These prairies and grasslands are usually located in Eastern Colorado, Eastern New Mexico, and large areas in West Texas. Steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

 is also located all over the high plains areas in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. In the mountains of the southwestern states, most have large alpine trees.

Landscape features of the core Southwestern areas usually include mountains, mesas, high broad basins, plateaus, desert lands, and some plains. The High Plains
High Plains (United States)
The High Plains are a subregion of the Great Plains mostly in the Western United States, but also partly in the Midwest states of Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota, generally encompassing the western part of the Great Plains before the region reaches the Rocky Mountains...

 region of the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 are also located in the American Southwest. Eastern Colorado, Eastern New Mexico, and West Texas all have high plains, and rolling land. The entire Southwestern region features semi-arid to arid terrain. The far eastern part of the Southwest in Texas, for example the Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is a vernacular term applied to a region of Central Texas featuring tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite monadnock in the United States, Enchanted Rock, which is located...

, consists of dry, tall and rugged rocky hills of limestone and granite. South Texas
South Texas
South Texas is a region of the U.S. state of Texas that lies roughly south of and including San Antonio. The southern and western boundary is the Rio Grande River, and to the east it is the Gulf of Mexico. The population of this region is about 3.7 million. The southern portion of this region is...

 and the Rio Grande Valley
Rio Grande Valley
The Rio Grande Valley or the Lower Rio Grande Valley, informally called The Valley, is an area located in the southernmost tip of South Texas...

 is mostly flat with many places consisting of scrub and bare topsoil, much like the deserts further west. Butte
Butte
A butte is a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; it is smaller than mesas, plateaus, and table landform tables. In some regions, such as the north central and northwestern United States, the word is used for any hill...

s are also located all over the southwestern states. Utah tends to have the most natural buttes, but they do form as far east as some parts of Central Texas.

Wildlife

There is a wide variety of wildlife in the Southwestern United States. Big Horn Sheep, Bobcats, Coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

, Bears, Cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
The cottontail rabbits are among the 16 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas.In appearance, most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European Rabbit...

, Mule Deer
Mule Deer
The mule deer is a deer indigenous to western North America. The Mule Deer gets its name from its large mule-like ears. There are believed to be several subspecies, including the black-tailed deer...

, White-tailed deer
White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

, Gray Fox
Gray Fox
The gray fox is a mammal of the order Carnivora ranging throughout most of the southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America...

, Mountain Lion, River Otter, Porcupine
Porcupine
Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend or camouflage them from predators. They are indigenous to the Americas, southern Asia, and Africa. Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. Most porcupines are about long, with...

, Pronghorn
Pronghorn
The pronghorn is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the prong buck, pronghorn antelope, or simply antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and...

, Raccoon
Raccoon
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

, Mexican Wolf
Mexican Wolf
The Mexican Wolf is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. It is native to North America, where it is the rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies.- Physical features :...

, and Gray Wolf
Gray Wolf
The gray wolf , also known as the wolf, is the largest extant wild member of the Canidae family...

 can be found in all states across the southwest. American Bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

 and Prairie Dogs
Prairie dog
Prairie dogs are burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. There are five different species of prairie dogs: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in the United States, Canada and Mexico...

 can be found in the southwest states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Elk
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

 in the southwest are usually only found in Colorado and Utah. White-nosed Coati and Collared Peccary
Collared Peccary
The collared peccary is a species of mammal in the family Tayassuidae that is found in North, Central, and South America. They are commonly referred to as javelina, saíno or báquiro, although these terms are also used to describe other species in the family...

 in the southwest are normally found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Also, Armadillo
Armadillo
Armadillos are New World placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. Dasypodidae is the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one"...

s are found in the southwest state of Texas. Snakes are also found all over the southwestern United States. Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake
Rattlesnakes are a group of venomous snakes of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus of the subfamily Crotalinae . There are 32 known species of rattlesnake, with between 65-70 subspecies, all native to the Americas, ranging from southern Alberta and southern British Columbia in Canada to Central...

s are found all throughout every part of the southwest. Also, Coral Snake
Coral snake
The coral snakes are a large group of elapid snakes that can be subdivided into two distinct groups, Old World coral snakes and New World coral snakes...

s can be found in Arizona and New Mexico.

Climate

The Southwestern United States features a semi-arid to arid climate, depending on the location. Much of the southwest is an arid desert climate, but higher elevations in the mountains in each state, with the exception of West Texas, feature alpine climates with very large amounts of snow. The metropolitan areas of Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and El Paso hardly ever receive any snow at all, as they are strictly desert lands with mountains. However, the metro areas of Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Colorado Springs can receive significant snowfalls. Albuquerque falls at an in between, receiving less snow than other cities, but still receive significant snowfalls in the winter time. Although it snows in this region, the snow in this part of the United States melts rapidly, often before nightfall. This is due mainly to the higher altitude and abundant sunshine in these states.

Nevada and Arizona are both generally arid with desert lands and mountains, and receive large amounts of snow in the higher elevations in and near the mountains. New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado are generally arid, with desert lands and mountains as well. Colorado and New Mexico do have high plains in the far eastern portions of their state. They all receive decent amounts of snow, and large amounts of snow in the high elevations in the mountains. Although some areas in far southwestern and southern New Mexico do not receive much snow at all. West Texas is generally arid as well, but does not receive the same amount of snow that the other southwestern states receive at their high elevations. The terrain of the West Texas region in the southwest is flat rolling land of the plains, which eventually turns into a desert with some hills, and there are significant mountains as well once you reach the Trans-Pecos
Trans-Pecos
The term Trans-Pecos, as originally defined in 1887 by the Texas geologist Robert T. Hill, refers to the portion of Texas that lies west of the Pecos River. The term is considered synonymous with "Far West Texas", a subdivision of West Texas...

 area.

The term "High Desert" is also synonymous with this region. The High Desert is generally defined as the Mojave Desert
Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona, in the United States...

 (which extends into southern Nevada), and the Great Basin Desert
Great Basin Desert
The Great Basin Desert is an area of nearctic high deserts across parts of Nevada, California, and Utah that extends into the Colorado River watershed , but which is mostly a portion of the central Nevada desert basins of the Great Basin.It along with the Escalante Desert, Mohave Desert, the...

. The Great Basin Desert is defined as the desert lands in Nevada, Western Utah, as well as Southeastern Oregon and Southern Idaho. The High Desert also extends into other parts of the Northwest
Northwestern United States
The Northwestern United States comprise the northwestern states up to the western Great Plains regions of the United States, and consistently include the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, to which part of southeast Alaska is also sometimes included...

, such as the Red Desert
Red Desert (Wyoming)
The Red Desert is a high altitude desert and sagebrush steppe located in south central Wyoming, comprising approximately 9,320 square miles...

 is Southwestern Wyoming. The High Desert is much different than the general desert lands found in Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

. This area of the desert land generally sits at a very high elevation, much higher than the normal desert land, and can receive very cold temperatures at night in the winter (with the exception of California and southern Nevada), sometimes near zero degrees on very cold nights. The High Desert also receives a decent amount of snowfall in the winter (with the exception of California and southern Nevada), but melts very quickly.
Other areas of the southwest may also be referred to as the "High Desert", such as the Colorado Plateau
Colorado Plateau
The Colorado Plateau, also called the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. The province covers an area of 337,000 km2 within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico,...

. The desert lands found in Eastern Utah, Northern Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico are usually referred to as the high desert. Eastern Utah has a huge mass of desert land, which sits at a high elevation, and is sometimes referred to as the "High Desert" as well. Colorado has scattered desert lands found in southern, southwestern, western, and the northwestern parts of the state. These scattered desert lands are located in and around areas such as, the Roan Plateau
Roan Plateau
The Roan Plateau, located in western Colorado, USA, near Rifle, contains a variety of natural resources and scenic terrain: high ridges, deep valleys, desert lands, waterfalls, cutthroat trout, mountain lions, bears, rare plants, and oil and natural gas...

, Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is a National Monument located on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado and Utah at the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers. Although most of the monument area is in Moffat County, Colorado, the Dinosaur Quarry is located in Utah...

, Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
- Trails :The Monument contains many hiking trails, with lengths and difficulties to suit all tastes. Summer storms can cause flash floods as well as dangerous trail conditions. Rattlesnakes are found on the Monument, and rough terrain exists everywhere, but most trails are well-maintained...

, Royal Gorge
Royal Gorge
The Royal Gorge is a canyon on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado. With a width of at its base and a few hundred feet at its top, and a depth of in places, the 10-mile-long canyon is a narrow, steep gorge through the granite of Fremont Peak...

, Cortez
Cortez, Colorado
The city of Cortez is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 8,482 at the 2010 census...

, Dove Creek
Dove Creek, Colorado
The Town of Dove Creek is a Statutory Town that is the county seat and the most populous town of Dolores County, Colorado, United States. Dove Creek is the self-proclaimed Pinto Bean Capital of the World...

, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument
The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to this area being called the Four Corners region...

, Montrose
Montrose, Colorado
The City of Montrose is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Montrose County, Colorado, United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city population was 15,479 in 2005. The main road that leads in and out of Montrose is U.S...

, Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir
-External links:* Blue Mesa related information.* Reservoir maps, conditions and fishing reports...

, Pueblo
Pueblo, Colorado
Pueblo is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The population was 106,595 in 2010 census, making it the 246th most populous city in the United States....

, San Luis Valley
San Luis Valley
The San Luis Valley is an extensive alpine valley in the U.S. states of Colorado and New Mexico covering approximately and sitting at an average elevation of above sea level. The valley sits atop the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande River, which rises in the San Juan...

, and the Great Sand Dunes
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
-Other features:The park also contains alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruce and pine forests, large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands — all habitat for diverse wildlife and plant species.One of the most unusual features of...

. Besides the Chihuahuan Desert
Chihuahuan Desert
The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert, and an ecoregion designation, that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border in the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau, bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, and overlaying northern portions of the east range, the Sierra...

 lands in southwestern and southern New Mexico, they also have scattered desert lands in the northwestern and northern portions of their state which is referred to as the high desert.

National monuments and parks

The Southwestern United States have many national monuments and parks located in the region. Some of the more famous monuments and parks in the southwest are the Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is the United States' 15th oldest national park and is located in Arizona. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, considered to be one of the Wonders of the World. The park covers of unincorporated area in Coconino and Mohave counties.Most...

, Navajo National Monument
Navajo National Monument
Navajo National Monument is located within the northwest portion of the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona.Navajo National Monument preserves three of the most intact cliff dwellings of the ancestral puebloan people . The Navajo people who live here today call these ancient ones Anasazi...

, Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument
The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to this area being called the Four Corners region...

, Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
- Trails :The Monument contains many hiking trails, with lengths and difficulties to suit all tastes. Summer storms can cause flash floods as well as dangerous trail conditions. Rattlesnakes are found on the Monument, and rough terrain exists everywhere, but most trails are well-maintained...

, Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
-Other features:The park also contains alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruce and pine forests, large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands — all habitat for diverse wildlife and plant species.One of the most unusual features of...

, Arches National Park
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a U.S. National Park in eastern Utah. It is known for preserving over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations....

, Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada is an area managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of its National Landscape Conservation System, and protected as a National Conservation Area. It is located about west of Las Vegas, and easily seen from the Las Vegas Strip...

, Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Texas. Big Bend has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States, which includes more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56...

, and the White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument
The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Dona Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 4235 feet...

.

In Utah there are also many other monuments and parks such as, Nine Mile Canyon
Nine Mile Canyon
Nine Mile Canyon is a canyon, approximately long, located in the counties of Carbon and Duchesne in eastern Utah, in the Western United States. Promoted as "the world’s longest art gallery," the canyon is known for its extensive rock art, most of it created by the Fremont culture and the Ute people...

, Mexican Hat
Mexican Hat, Utah
Mexican Hat is a census-designated place on the San Juan River in south-central San Juan County, Utah, United States. Each year, on March 8 the town members meet to celebrate their CDP status. Town members wear hats, as the celebration takes place at the Mexican Hat Rock. It is on U.S...

, Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon which, despite its name, is not a canyon but a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau...

, Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is a U.S. National Park located in southeastern Utah near the town of Moab and preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River, the Green River, and their respective tributaries. The park is divided into four districts:...

, Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is a United States National Park, in south-central Utah. It is 100 miles long but fairly narrow. The park, established in 1971, preserves 378 mi² and is open all year, although May through September are the most popular months.Called "Wayne Wonderland" in the 1920s...

, Zion National Park
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is located in the Southwestern United States, near Springdale, Utah. A prominent feature of the park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River...

, Arches National Park
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a U.S. National Park in eastern Utah. It is known for preserving over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations....

, Natural Bridges National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about north west of the Four Corners boundary of southeast Utah, in the western United States, at the junction of White Canyon and Armstrong Canyon, part of the Colorado River drainage...

, Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in the U.S. state of Utah near Cedar City. Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater canyon, stretching across , with a depth of over . The elevation of the rim of the canyon is over above sea level.The eroded rock of the canyon is...

, Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, located between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain...

 (also in Colorado), Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching above the valley floor. It is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah , near the Four Corners area...

 (also in Arizona), Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument contains 1.9 million acres of land in southern Utah, the United States. There are three main regions: the Grand Staircase, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Canyons of the Escalante. President Bill Clinton designated the area as a U.S. National...

, Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is administered by Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, southern Utah, USA. Rainbow Bridge is often described as the world's highest natural bridge. The span of Rainbow Bridge was reported in 1974 by the Bureau of Reclamation to be , but a laser measurement in...

, and the Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a cave system in the Wasatch mountains in American Fork Canyon near American Fork, Utah, in the United States. The 1.5 mile trail to the cave is steep at several points, but paved and wide, so the cave opening is accessible to most...

.

Also, in Arizona there is the Agua Fria National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument is located in the U.S. state of Arizona, approximately 40 miles north of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Created by Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000, the 71,100 acre monument is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S....

, Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established on April 1, 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service. It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation...

, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, in Coolidge, Arizona, just northeast of the city of Casa Grande, preserves a group of Ancient Pueblo Peoples Hohokam structures of the Pueblo III and Pueblo IV Eras.-Ancient pueblos:...

, Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service located in the Chiricahua Mountains. It is famous for its extensive vertical rock formations. The monument is located approximately southeast of Willcox, Arizona. It preserves the remains of an immense volcanic eruption that...

, Ironwood Forest National Monument
Ironwood Forest National Monument
Ironwood Forest National Monument is located in the Sonoran Desert and the U.S. state of Arizona. Created by Bill Clinton by Presidential Proclamation 7320 on June 9, 2000, the 129,022 acre monument is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the...

, Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument, located near Camp Verde, Arizona, in the Southwestern United States, features well-preserved cliff-dwellings. They were built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people, northern cousins of the Hohokam, around 700 AD. Several Hopi clans trace their roots to...

, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a U.S. National Monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve located in extreme southern Arizona which shares a border with the Mexican state of Sonora. The park is the only place in the United States where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows wild...

, Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. The park's headquarters are about east of Holbrook along Interstate 40 , which parallels a railroad line, the Puerco River, and historic U.S. Route 66, all crossing the park...

, Pipe Spring National Monument
Pipe Spring National Monument
Pipe Spring National Monument is located in the U.S. state of Arizona, and is rich with American Indian, early explorer, and Mormon pioneer history...

, Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park, located in southern Arizona, is part of the United States National Park System.-Overview:The park is divided into two sections, called districts, lying approximately east and west of the center of the city of Tucson, Arizona. The total area in 2010 was of which is...

, Sonoran Desert National Monument
Sonoran Desert National Monument
Sonoran Desert National Monument is located south of Goodyear and Buckeye and east of Gila Bend, Arizona. Created by Presidential proclamation on January 17, 2001, the 496,337 acre monument is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management , an agency within the U.S. Department of the...

, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Tonto National Monument
Tonto National Monument
Tonto National Monument is a National Monument in central Arizona, United States. The area lies on the northeastern edge of the Sonoran Desert, which is generally arid land with annual rainfall of about 16 inches here...

, Tumacacori National Historical Park
Tumacácori National Historical Park
Tumacácori National Historical Park is located in the upper Santa Cruz River Valley of southern Arizona. The park protects the ruins of three Spanish mission communities, two of which are National Historic Landmark sites, and it also contains the Tumacácori Museum, a historic landmark building...

, Tuzigoot National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 2 to 3 story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, 120 feet above the Verde River floodplain. The pueblo has 110 rooms...

, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is located in Arizona, immediately south of the Utah state line. This National Monument, 294,000 acre in area, protects the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon...

, Walnut Canyon National Monument
Walnut Canyon National Monument
Walnut Canyon National Monument is a United States National Monument located about southeast of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, just off Interstate 40. The canyon rim lies at ; the canyon's floor is 350 ft lower...

, and the Wupatki National Monument
Wupatki National Monument
The Wupatki National Monument is a National Monument located in north-central Arizona, near Flagstaff. Rich in Native American ruins, the monument is administered by the National Park Service in close conjunction with the nearby Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.Wupatki was listed on the...

.

In Colorado there is the Arapaho National Recreation Area
Arapaho National Recreation Area
The Arapaho National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area that is located near the headwaters of the Colorado River in north central Colorado adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. ANRA is under the jurisdiction of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest...

, Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. It was created in 1906 to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world...

, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
thumb|upright|Black Canyon of the GunnisonBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a United States National Park located in western Colorado, and managed by the National Park Service...

, Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is a National Monument located on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado and Utah at the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers. Although most of the monument area is in Moffat County, Colorado, the Dinosaur Quarry is located in Utah...

 (small parts also in Utah), Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a United States National Monument in Teller County, Colorado, that is noted for its fossils. It is located in a mountain valley just west of Pikes Peak and holds spectacular remnants of prehistoric life...

, Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a national park located in the north-central region of the U.S. state of Colorado.It features majestic mountain views, a variety of wildlife, varied climates and environments—from wooded forests to mountain tundra—and easy access to back-country trails...

, Royal Gorge
Royal Gorge
The Royal Gorge is a canyon on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado. With a width of at its base and a few hundred feet at its top, and a depth of in places, the 10-mile-long canyon is a narrow, steep gorge through the granite of Fremont Peak...

, Grand Mesa
Grand Mesa
The Grand Mesa is a large mesa in western Colorado in the United States. It has an area of about and stretches for about east of Grand Junction between the Colorado River and the Gunnison River, its tributary to the south. The north side of the mesa is drained largely by Plateau Creek, a...

, Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.-Genesis of the park:Entrance to the park is free according to the wish of Charles Elliott Perkins, whose children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909....

, Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir
-External links:* Blue Mesa related information.* Reservoir maps, conditions and fishing reports...

, Glenwood Canyon
Glenwood Canyon
Glenwood Canyon is a rugged scenic canyon on the Colorado River in western Colorado in the United States. Its canyon walls climb as high as above the Colorado River. It is the largest such canyon on the Upper Colorado...

, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Yucca House National Monument
Yucca House National Monument
Yucca House National Monument is a United States National Monument located in Montezuma County, Colorado between the towns of Towaoc and Cortez, Colorado...

, and Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
Bent's Old Fort is an 1833 fort located in Otero County in southeastern Colorado, USA. William and Charles Bent, along with Ceran St. Vrain, built the fort to trade with Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians and trappers for buffalo robes...

.

In New Mexico there is also the Aztec Ruins National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument
The Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves ancestral Pueblo structures in north-western New Mexico, United States, located close to the town of Aztec and northeast of Farmington, near the Animas River...

, Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument is a National Monument preserving the homes of the Ancestral Pueblo People. It is named after Swiss anthropologist Adolph Bandelier, who researched the cultures of the area. Bandelier was designated a National Monument on February 11, 1916, and most of its backcountry...

, Capulin Volcano National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument, located in northeastern New Mexico, was designated a U.S. National Monument on August 9, 1916. It is an example of an extinct cinder cone volcano that is part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. A paved road spirals around the volcano and visitors can drive up...

, Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a United States National Park in the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park for most visitors is the show cave, Carlsbad Caverns...

, Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash...

, El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais National Monument is a National Monument located in western New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States. The name El Malpais is from the Spanish term Malpaís, meaning badlands, due to the extremely barren and dramatic volcanic field that covers much of the park's area.-Geography:The El...

, El Morro National Monument
El Morro National Monument
El Morro National Monument is located on an ancient east-west trail in western New Mexico. The main feature of this National Monument is a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base. As a shaded oasis in the western U.S. desert, this site has seen many centuries of travelers...

, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a U.S. National Monument in the Gila Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico. The national monument was established by executive proclamation on November 16, 1907, by President Theodore Roosevelt. It is located in the extreme southern part of Catron County...

, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico , is a Bureau of Land Management managed site that was established as a U.S...

, Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park is a National Historical Park in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is located about east of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The site was originally designated Pecos National Monument on June 28, 1965. In 1990 new lands were added to the park and the official designation was...

, Petroglyph National Monument
Petroglyph National Monument
Petroglyph National Monument stretches along Albuquerque, New Mexico's West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city’s western horizon. Authorized June 27, 1990, the 7,236 acre monument is cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque...

, and the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is located in the U.S. state of New Mexico, near Mountainair. The main park visitor center is in Mountainair.-History:...

.

In the West Texas part of the southwest, there is the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is a U.S. National Monument in the State of Texas. For thousands of years, people came to the red bluffs above the Canadian River for flint, vital to their existence. Demand for the high quality, rainbow-hued flint is reflected in the distribution of...

, Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in unincorporated Jeff Davis County, Texas. Located within the Davis Mountains of West Texas, the historic site was established in 1961 to protect one of the best remaining examples of a United States Army fort in...

, Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas and contains Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at in elevation. It also contains El Capitan, long used as a landmark by people traveling along the old route later followed by the Butterfield Overland...

, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located about north of Amarillo, Texas, in the Texas Panhandle. The main attraction of the recreation area is Lake Meredith, an artificial reservoir created by Sanford Dam on the Canadian River.Activities at Lake...

, and the Amistad National Recreation Area
Amistad National Recreation Area
Amistad National Recreation Area includes the area around the Amistad Reservoir at the confluence of the Rio Grande River, the Devils River, and the Pecos River. "Amistad" is Spanish for "friendship", as the Amistad Reservoir is located on the border with Mexico...

.

In Nevada there is the Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is a United States National Park established in 1986, located in east-central Nevada near the Utah border. The park derives its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. Topographically, this area is...

, Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a national park in the U.S. states of California and Nevada located east of the Sierra Nevada in the arid Great Basin of the United States. The park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes,...

, and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located in southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. The centerpieces of the National Recreation Area are its two large reservoirs: Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. These lakes cater to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, and fishermen while the surrounding desert rewards...

.

Ethnicity


The Southwest is ethnically varied, with significant Anglo American and Hispanic American
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

 populations in addition to more regional African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

, Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

, and Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 populations.

Hispanic Americans (mostly Mexican American
Mexican American
Mexican Americans are Americans of Mexican descent. As of July 2009, Mexican Americans make up 10.3% of the United States' population with over 31,689,000 Americans listed as of Mexican ancestry. Mexican Americans comprise 66% of all Hispanics and Latinos in the United States...

s with large populations of Spanish American
Spanish American
A Spanish American is a citizen or resident of the United States whose ancestors originate from the southwestern European nation of Spain. Spanish Americans are the earliest European American group, with a continuous presence since 1565.-Immigration waves:...

s) can be found in large numbers in every major city in the southwest, such as Phoenix
Phoenix
Phoenix most often refers to:* Phoenix , a mythical bird* Phoenix, Arizona, a United States cityPhoenix or The Phoenix may also refer to:- Mythology :* Fenghuang, the Asian phoenix...

 (43%), Tucson (41%), Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

 (32%), Reno
Reno
Reno is the fourth most populous city in Nevada, US.Reno may also refer to:-Places:Italy*The Reno River, in Northern ItalyCanada*Reno No...

 (22%), Denver (32%), Colorado Springs (16%), El Paso
El Paso
El Paso, a city in the U.S. state of Texas, on the border with Mexico.El Paso may also refer to:-Geography:Colombia:* El Paso, CesarSpain:*El Paso, Santa Cruz de TenerifeUnited States:...

 (80%), Albuquerque (47%), and Salt Lake City (22%). San Antonio (61%), Austin
Austin
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas.Austin may also refer to:-In the United States:*Austin, Arkansas*Austin, Colorado*Austin, Chicago, Illinois*Austin, Indiana*Austin, Minnesota*Austin, Nevada*Austin, Oregon...

 (35%), Fort Worth (34%), Dallas (43%), and Houston (44%) have large Latino populations as well, but are not always considered part of the Southwest, and are often grouped more with the American South.

Very large Hispanic American populations can also be found in the smaller cities such as, Flagstaff
Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2010, the city's population was 65,870. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 134,421 in 2010. It is the county seat of Coconino County...

 (18%), Yuma
Yuma, Arizona
Yuma is a city in and the county seat of Yuma County, Arizona, United States. It is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and the population of the city was 77,515 at the 2000 census, with a 2008 Census Bureau estimated population of 90,041....

 (55%), Mesa
Mesa, Arizona
According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of Mesa was as follows:* White: 77.1% * Hispanic or Latino : 26.54%* Black or African American: 3.5%* Two or more races: 3.4%* Native American: 2.4%...

 (27%), Las Cruces
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, also known as "The City of the Crosses", is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 97,618 in 2010 according to the 2010 Census, making it the second largest city in the state....

 (56%), Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and is the seat of . Santa Fe had a population of 67,947 in the 2010 census...

 (48%), Farmington
Farmington, New Mexico
Farmington is a city in San Juan County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 U.S. Census the city had a total population of 45,877 people. Farmington makes up one of the four Metropolitan Statistical Areas in New Mexico. The U.S...

 (22%), Roswell
Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell is a city in and the county seat of Chaves County in the southeastern quarter of the state of New Mexico, United States. The population was 48,366 at the 2010 census. It is a center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also...

 (51%), Alamogordo
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Alamogordo is the county seat of Otero County and a city in south-central New Mexico, United States. A desert community lying in the Tularosa Basin, it is bordered on the east by the Sacramento Mountains. It is the nearest city to Holloman Air Force Base. The population was 35,582 as of the 2000...

 (32%), Pueblo
Pueblo, Colorado
Pueblo is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The population was 106,595 in 2010 census, making it the 246th most populous city in the United States....

 (48%), Greeley
Greeley, Colorado
The City of Greeley is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Weld County, Colorado, United States. Greeley is located in the region known as Northern Colorado. Greeley is situated north-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. According to the...

 (35%), Longmont
Longmont, Colorado
Longmont is a Home Rule Municipality in Boulder and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. Longmont is located in Northern Colorado. Longmont is the 13th most populous city in the State of Colorado. The word "Longmont" comes from Longs Peak, a prominent mountain named for explorer Stephen H....

 (25%), Brighton
Brighton, Colorado
Brighton is a Home Rule Municipality in Adams and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado, and the county seat of Adams County. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city population was 31,380 in 2008.-Geography:...

 (41%), Carson City
Carson City, Nevada
The Consolidated Municipality of Carson City is the capital of the state of Nevada. The words Consolidated Municipality refer to a series of changes in 1969 which abolished Ormsby County and merged all the settlements contained within its borders into Carson City. Since that time Carson City has...

 (20%), Amarillo
Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo is the 14th-largest city, by population, in the state of Texas, the largest in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The population was 190,695 at the 2010 census...

 (27%), Lubbock
Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock is a city in and the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically as the Llano Estacado, and the home of Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University...

 (31%), Midland
Midland, Texas
Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County. As of 2010, the population of Midland was 111,147. It is the principal city of the Midland, Texas...

 (37%), and Odessa
Odessa, Texas
Odessa is a city in and the county seat of Ector County, Texas, United States. It is located primarily in Ector County, although a small portion of the city extends into Midland County. Odessa's population was 99,940 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Odessa, Texas Metropolitan...

 (47%). Many small towns throughout the southwestern states also have significantly large Latino populations.

The largest African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 populations in the southwest can be found in Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 (10%), Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

 (7%), Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

 (10%), and Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 (5%). Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, Fort Worth
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, and Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 all have very large African American populations, although those parts of Texas are not usually considered to be part of the southwestern United States.

The largest Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

 populations in the southwest can be found in Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

 and Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, with some other significant Asian populations in Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 and Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

. The most significant Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 populations can be found in New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 and Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

.

Cities and urban areas

The area also contains many of the nation's largest cities and metropolitan areas, despite relatively low population density in rural areas. Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 is among the top ten most populous cities in the country, and Reno
Reno, Nevada
Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. The city has a population of about 220,500 and is the most populous Nevada city outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area...

, Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

, Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

, and Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

 are some of the fastest-growing cities in America. Also, the region as a whole has witnessed some of the highest population growth in the United States; and according to the U.S. Census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 bureau, in 2008–2009, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 was the fastest growing state in America. As of the 2010 Census, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

 was the fastest growing state in the United States, with an increase of 35.1% in the last ten years. Additionally, Arizona (24.6%), Utah (23.8%), Texas (20.6%), and Colorado (16.9%) were all in the top ten fastest growing states as well.

Largest Cities/Metropolitan Areas

Rank City State Population Metro Population
1 Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

2 El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

3 Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

4 Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

5 Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

6 Tucson
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

7 Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

8 Reno
Reno, Nevada
Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. The city has a population of about 220,500 and is the most populous Nevada city outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area...

Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

9 Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

10 Provo
Provo, Utah
Provo is the third largest city in the U.S. state of Utah, located about south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Provo is the county seat of Utah County and lies between the cities of Orem to the north and Springville to the south...

Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...


External links

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