Why does the northwestern U.S. have so few people?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,642
SoCal
I drove through western Washington a few months ago-it's full of people.

And as mentioned is replete with water.
Yes, western Washington is the exception to the rule in regards to this--as is (to a lesser extent) western Oregon.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,642
SoCal
The whole west is dry. See on that second map in post # 1. Draw a north-south line through San Antonio, Austin, Dallas/Ft Worth, Oklahoma City, Wichita and on northward. To the right of that line there is yellow. To the left of that line it's more green. That's the dry line. People can't live where there is no water. With the exception of a few places like Seatle, there is very little rainfall west of that line. The southwest has been reckless in the way they have encouraged population and economic growth to the point of severely stressing the water supply. The northwest either has not tried to excede sustainable population or more likely has tried but has failed to attract more people. The lower population level of the northern plains and Rocky Mountains is much more environmentally sustainable.
Why was the northwest less successful at attracting new people than the southwest was, though?

Also, it's quite interesting that Arizona alone has about as many people as Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho have combined.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,642
SoCal
True enough, and it has a similar population pattern. Only Maricopa County (Phoenix, Mesa) Arizona has many people.
There's also a lot of people in urban chains in Colorado and Utah--as well as a lot of people in Las Vegas.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,447
Dispargum
Why was the northwest less successful at attracting new people than the southwest was, though?

Also, it's quite interesting that Arizona alone has about as many people as Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho have combined.
It's the warm weather that attracted all of those retirees. Military spending may have had something to do with it. Colorado has a lot of military bases and a large military retiree community. California, too, and a lot of defense contractors. There are only a few military bases in the northern Plains and mountain states and they are generally considered undesirable military assignments. Why not Minot (SD)? Freezin's the reason!
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,447
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There's also a lot of people in urban chains in Colorado and Utah--as well as a lot of people in Las Vegas.
The population of the west has always been much more urban than the east. In deserts, people congregate around those few places with water.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,642
SoCal
It's the warm weather that attracted all of those retirees. Military spending may have had something to do with it. Colorado has a lot of military bases and a large military retiree community. California, too, and a lot of defense contractors. There are only a few military bases in the northern Plains and mountain states and they are generally considered undesirable military assignments. Why not Minot (SD)? Freezin's the reason!
Interesting points.

BTW, it's interesting that the northeastern U.S. has much more people in spite of likewise having cold weather--especially during the winter.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,447
Dispargum
Interesting points.

BTW, it's interesting that the northeastern U.S. has much more people in spite of likewise having cold weather--especially during the winter.
The population of the northeast declined after the invention of air conditioning. Before air conditioning people tolerated cold winters to avoid really hot summers. After air conditioning, people went south to avoid cold winters.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,642
SoCal
The population of the northeast declined after the invention of air conditioning. Before air conditioning people tolerated cold winters to avoid really hot summers. After air conditioning, people went south to avoid cold winters.
Makes sense.

That said, though, the northeast still has much more people than the northwest has even right now.