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

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
14,253
SoCal
#31
Futurist, only Washington & Oregon are in the "Pacific Northwest "

Dakota's and Nebraska are never considered "Northwest", they are "Great Plains"

Montana, Wyoming & Colorado aren't Northwest either, they are Rocky Mountains
I used a simplistic definition of Northwest here. If one tries to evenly partition the territory of the U.S. into four parts (four squares of equal size, excluding Alaska and Hawaii), my characterization here would make more sense.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
14,253
SoCal
#32
Sounds correct to me. The Northwest was really settled last and didn’t become big deals until the east-west railroad made it to Sacramento in California. Getting to Oregon took real effort and determination. As for the “interior states”, there’s no mystery for me that farm/ranching states are sparsely populated because, well, farms take up a lot of room and are very low in density - sort of obvious.

Yet the farm states are extremely productive in terms of food production per acre. Incidentally, some of these states have vast national parks in them which reflects partially their conditions of settlement and the fact that those states do not control the national parklands within its own borders. Unlike those states, Texas, for example, owns all of its own public lands which makes it unique among states. Texas was “poor in cash” but “rich in land” which is how they were able to pay for that magnificent state Capitol in Austin.
Yes, there are a lot of farms in the interior states, but there's still plenty of room for cities to be built there. However, the cities that are there generally aren't that populous--especially when one also factors in the surrounding suburbs and compares these metro populations to, say, Atlanta's or Dallas's or Houston's or Phoenix's.
 
Aug 2014
60
U.S.
#33
Cold winters, lack of water, little to attract people to move there in terms of natural resources. The southwest has similar issues but at least they have warmer weather. Some of the population growth in the southwest has been immigration from Mexico which had no need to go as far north as Montana.
Lack of water? You've clearly never visited this area. We Seattleites tend to have more moss than grass in our lawns because moss grows well under a constant cloud cover with frequent rain.
 
Likes: Futurist
Aug 2011
92
The Castle Anthrax
#34
Futurist, only Washington & Oregon are in the "Pacific Northwest "

Dakota's and Nebraska are never considered "Northwest", they are "Great Plains"

Montana, Wyoming & Colorado aren't Northwest either, they are Rocky Mountains
The US Northwest is essentially the Oregon Territory:
oregon.gif
That would make all of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana, and yes, part of Wyoming "The Northwest". This is not only a geographic delineation. Below is a map of US linguistic (dialect) regions:
pbox.gif

Lack of water? You've clearly never visited this area. We Seattleites tend to have more moss than grass in our lawns because moss grows well under a constant cloud cover with frequent rain.
The Northwest is largely a windswept desert. There is a narrow strip of green west of the Cascades, but that is no way representative of the Northwest as a whole.
2Fprecip_big.gif
Lastly, the US population is shifting west in general. The PNW is rapidly growing.
census_map.png
These Are the Fastest-Growing Cities in the U.S. Right Now
 
Aug 2018
155
Southern Indiana
#35
One thing I noticed when I traveled through that area were the rocks. I think a lot of settlers moved onto the Midwest where it was flatter and he soil was better for farming.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,484
Dispargum
#36
Lack of water? You've clearly never visited this area. We Seattleites tend to have more moss than grass in our lawns because moss grows well under a constant cloud cover with frequent rain.
Seatle is not in the least bit representative of what Futurist calls 'the Northwest.'
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
4,618
Netherlands
#37
Lack of water? You've clearly never visited this area. We Seattleites tend to have more moss than grass in our lawns because moss grows well under a constant cloud cover with frequent rain.
Don't forget the snow. In Duvall (near Redmond WA) they have more outages in one winter (due to snow breaking off branches) then I have had in lifetime. Apart from the snow and mountains, it very much reminded me of home. Lots of grass, cows and water.

That being said a city like Yakima to me was like visiting one of those old western towns. All dust. And unreachable in winter, due to the passes being snowed over.