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Northeastern United States

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A map of the Northeastern United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau, though other entities define the region in varying ways.

The Northeastern United States (sometimes called simply the Northeast) is a region of the United States.[1][2][3] According to the definition used by the United States Census Bureau, the Northeast region consists of nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.[4] Not all definitions of the Northeastern United States are the same as that of the Census Bureau.[1] The largest cities in this area include Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The Northeast, as defined by the Census Bureau, is the wealthiest region of the United States. The region accounts for approximately 25% of U.S. gross domestic product as of 2007.[5]


[edit] Geography

The Northeast region is the smallest in area of the four Census Bureau-defined regions of the US. The region's landscape varies from the rocky coast of New England to the fertile farmland of the Ohio River Valley behind the Allegheny Front in Ohio. Beginning at West Quoddy Head Peninsula in Maine, the easternmost point in the United States, the Atlantic coastline is largely rocky, with jagged cliffs rising up to a hundred feet above the ocean. South of the Isles of Shoals near the Maine/New Hampshire state line, the coastline begins to subside to sandy beaches which extend through the rest of the Northeast's Atlantic coastline.

Four major rivers pierce the coastline to empty into the Atlantic: the Delaware River at the New Jersey/Delaware state line, the Hudson at the New York/New Jersey state line, the Connecticut River in Connecticut (which technically empties into the Long Island Sound which then empties into the Atlantic), and the Kennebec River in Maine. A fifth river, the Susquehanna River, is the longest river on the east coast of the United States and flows through New York and Pennsylvania but reaches tidewater in the South Atlantic region of the country. Two of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, form part of the northern border of the region.

[edit] Climate

Despite being geographically one of the smallest regions of the United States, the northeastern states possess a wide range of climates. Rainfall varies from over 50 inches (1.3 m) annually in some coastal areas, to 32 inches (81 cm) in the western part of Pennsylvania and New York. Snowfall can range from over 200 inches (5.1 m) per year in Upstate New York to only a foot or so in the coastal areas of southern New Jersey.

Generally, northern New England, the parts of New York north of the Mohawk River, highland areas in the Appalachians and some coastal areas possess a warm summer humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers and snowy, often bitterly cold winters. Cities in this zone include Syracuse, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and Portland, Maine. Portland's winters are softened because it is on the coast.

Below this line, much of the region (except for the higher elevations) has a hot summer humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Much of New England and the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic States have this climate. Boston, Hartford and Pittsburgh have this climate. Portions of extreme southern New York State including New York City; northeast, central, and southern New Jersey; extreme southeastern Pennsylvania including Philadelphia; and southwestern Connecticut have a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and more mild winters.

[edit] The Northeast megalopolis

Today, a large part of the Northeastern United States comprises the Northeast megalopolis. Almost the entire U.S. eastern seaboard, including the megalopolis, is linked by the I-95 Interstate, which runs from Florida through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and up to Boston and into Maine.

[edit] History

[edit] New England

New England is perhaps the best-defined region of the U.S., with more uniformity and more of a shared heritage than other regions of the country.[citation needed] New England has played a dominant role in American history.[citation needed] From the late 17th century to the mid to late 18th century, New England was the nation's cultural leader in political, educational, cultural and intellectual thought.[citation needed] During this time, it was the country's economic center.

The earliest European settlers of New England were English Protestants who came in search of religious liberty. They gave the region its distinctive political format — town meetings (an outgrowth of meetings held by church elders), in which citizens gathered to discuss issues of the day. Town meetings still function in many New England communities today and have been revived as a form of dialogue in the national political arena.

Soon after many descendants of original New England settlers migrated westward in search of land, new waves of immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe moved into the region to take industrial jobs. Many of their descendants became educated and joined the middle classes. Despite a changing population, New England has maintained a distinct cultural identity. As a whole, the area of New England has tended to be liberal in its politics.[citation needed]

Certain architecture and sights have come to stand as New England icons:[citation needed] the simple woodframe houses and white church steeples that are features of many small towns, and lighthouses that dot the Atlantic coast. New England is well known for its mercurial weather, its crisp chill, and vibrantly colored foliage in autumn. In colonial times, the colder weather killed off germs and gave the region a healthier environment than that of the Chesapeake Bay colonies of Virginia and Maryland, where settlers suffered from summer illnesses and mortality was much higher.

[edit] Mid-Atlantic

The Census Bureau classifies some of the Mid-Atlantic states, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, as part of the South Atlantic region,[2] part of the Southern United States.

The northern Mid-Atlantic states provided the young United States with heavy industry and served as the "melting pot" of new immigrants from Europe.[citation needed] Cities grew along major shipping routes and waterways. Such cities included Philadelphia on the Delaware River and New York City on the Hudson River.

Dutch immigrants moved into the lower Hudson River Valley in what is now New Jersey and New York State. An English Protestant sect, the Friends (Quakers), settled Pennsylvania. In time, all these settlements came under English control. With the great shipping ports of Philadelphia and, later, New York City, the region continued to be a magnet for business, industry, and peoples of diverse nationalities.

Early settlers were mostly farmers and traders, and the region served as a bridge between North and South. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania midway between the northern and southern colonies, was the site of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates from the original colonies that organized the American Revolution. The same city was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

The Mid-Atlantic, with two of America's largest cities, New York City and Philadelphia, has been a center for industry and international trade.[citation needed] Many immigrants are attracted to the region.[citation needed] New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are rich in immigrant culture.[opinion] Still rich in cultures influenced by European heritage, the region has recently attracted more Asian and Hispanic immigrants.[citation needed] African immigrants also have many centers in urban and suburban areas.[citation needed]

[edit] Demography

New York City, the largest city in the United States

The population of the northeastern United States is estimated at 54,680,626.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Rank Metropolitan Area State(s) and/or Territory 2009
Population Estimate
1 New York CT, NJ, NY 22,232,494
2 Philadelphia DE, MD, NJ, PA 5,827,962
3 Boston MA, NH 4,482,857
4 Pittsburgh PA 2,355,712
5 Providence MA, RI 1,600,856
6 Hartford CT 1,189,113
7 Buffalo NY 1,128,183
8 Rochester NY 1,030,435

[citation needed]

Rank City State(s) and/or Territory July 1, 2008 Population Estimate
1 New York City NY 8,363,710
2 Philadelphia PA 1,547,901
3 Boston MA 620,535
4 Pittsburgh PA 311,218
5 Newark NJ 280,135
6 Buffalo NY 272,632
7 Jersey City NJ 242,389
8 Rochester NY 206,759
9 Yonkers NY 199,244

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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