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Southern United States Facts

The United States is a diverse and interesting collection of cultures. It’s a country divided into four major regions, with those being the Northeast, the Midwest, the West, and the South. You can experience something completely different depending on which part of the country you decide to visit.

The Southern region of the country is made up of 16 states, per the U.S. Census Bureau. Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Interesting Facts about the Southern United States

  • Southern cuisine is inspired by many countries.
  • College football is very popular in the South.
  • Numerous U.S. presidents were born in the South.
  • The South is known for having a warm climate.
  • The South has over 125 million residents.
  • The District of Columbia is part of the South.

Unique Southern Cuisine

It’s impossible to talk about Southern culture without bringing up its distinctive cuisine. You can find restaurants that serve Southern food all over the country. Southern food is so good that it’s even served in other countries.

Fried chicken is a staple of Southern cooking. There are different takes on the popular dish even within the South. You can dine on some buttermilk fried chicken in many parts of the region or enjoy delectable hot chicken by heading over to Tennessee.

Other fixtures of Southern dining tables include different types of seafood such as crabs, crawfish, and oysters. If you’re looking for vegetables, you’ll also find dishes that feature black-eyed peas, collard greens, and okra.

Sweet tea is a Southern staple. According to the Food Network, the popular drink is typically served over ice instead of chilled by ice to maintain its flavor.

The influence of several countries is also evident in Southern cuisine. Many Southern favorites such as gumbo and jambalaya are inspired by European nations such as France and Spain.

More recently, Cuban culture has also started to influence cooking in the South. Florida, in particular, is becoming a popular place to get Cuban-inspired food.

The South and Its Love Affair with Sports

Southerners love sports. They are particularly fond of college football. This article from Samford University notes that the Southern states accounted for nearly 40 percent of attendance to college football games in 2017.

The most popular college football teams tend to vary from one Southern state to another. Many college football teams in the South even have rivalries that have been going on for decades.

College football is not the only popular sport in the Southern United States. The South is also well-represented in professional sports.

In the National Football League, teams that represent Southern states include the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and the Washington Football Team.

The National Basketball Association also has teams from Southern states. They are the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, and the Washington Wizards.

Seven Major League Baseball teams hail from the South. They include the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and the Washington Nationals.

Southerners and the Presidency

You may not be surprised to learn that many of the country’s presidents can trace their roots to the South.

Virginia leads the way in terms of the number of presidents produced. Eight presidents came from the aforementioned state. The presidents in question are William Henry Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Zachary Taylor, John Tyler, George Washington, and Woodrow Wilson.

Both Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson were Texans who claimed the highest office in the land. Two presidents also came from North Carolina, with those being Andrew Johnson and James Polk. Andrew Jackson also hailed from the Carolinas.

Other presidents with Southern roots are Jimmy Carter from Georgia, Bill Clinton from Arkansas, and Abraham Lincoln from Kentucky.

George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush rose to political prominence as figures of the Texas government, but they were not born in the state. George H.W. Bush was born in Massachusetts, while his son was born in Connecticut.

The Climate in the South

Sunshine in Florida

Southerners know that it’s important to adequately prepare for warm weather. The region is known for having very warm days that tend to climb into the sweltering hot territory during the summer.

Despite how vast the Southern region of the United States is, the warm climate is present throughout much of it. The only areas where the climate is not consistently warm area near the mountains.

The weather still does turn chilly during the fall, and it becomes especially cold once winter rolls around. Snowfall is very rare, however.

The Population of the Southern United States

Houston

Compared to the other major regions of the United States, the South is by far the most populous one. In 2019, the U.S. counted 125,580,448 people who resided in the Southern states. That accounts for 38.3 percent of the country’s total population.

The closest to the South in terms of population is the country’s Western region, and it holds 24 percent of the population.

Many of the most populous cities in the South are located in Texas. The city of Houston currently has a population north of 2.3 million people. Both Dallas and San Antonio also have more than 1 million residents each.

Interestingly enough, Washington, D.C. is among the most populated cities in all of the Southern United States. Unlike the other cities, though, Washington is not located in a Southern state. The capital city of the United States is home more to more than 700,000 residents.

Fun Facts about the Southern States

I want to share some of my favorite facts about the 16 states Southern states because they are nuggets of knowledge that I just love. I hope you find the upcoming facts just as interesting as I did!

Alabama

Alabama is home to the Marshall Space Flight Center as well as the United States Space and Rocket Center. The United States Space and Rocket Center is also the biggest spaceflight museum, making it a must-visit for anyone with love for the world beyond our own.

Arkansas

You can find out something interesting by counting the stars on the Arkansas state flag. To be more specific, you’ll find that there are 25 stars present on the flag, which is a nod to Arkansas being recognized as the 25th state.

Delaware

Delaware is nicknamed the First State for a good reason. That’s because it was actually the first state. Delaware may be small, but it can always boast about being first to its fellow states.

Florida

Florida is a great place to visit if you’re afraid of heights. It features the flattest geography out of all the states in the country, and its highest point only goes up to 345 feet.

Georgia

Are you planning to pay a visit to Atlanta, GA, sometime soon? If you are, you may want to ask for some help from the locals because following the street names could get you lost.

You can find more than 50 streets in Atlanta that are all named Peachtree. Don’t be surprised if you run into streets with the same name multiple times!

Kentucky

The state of Kentucky is a gold mine of sorts. It is home to Fort Knox, an establishment that houses an enormous amount of gold. We’re talking about an amount of gold with a value that easily exceeds billions of dollars!

Louisiana

Jazz lovers will want to make the trip down to Louisiana at some point. The state is known as the birthplace of jazz, and it is still considered the jazz capital of the entire world.

Maryland

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem we stand at attention to, was written by a Maryland native. It was written by Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key.

Mississippi

Louisiana is not the only Southern state that can claim to be the birthplace of a musical genre. Mississippi is known as the birthplace of the blues, and prominent musicians such as B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf also came from the state.

North Carolina

The first time humans left the ground via a powered airplane took place in North Carolina. Brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright completed that successful flight in Kitty Hawk, NC, back in 1903.

Oklahoma

Sooner is an interesting nickname for a state, and it has quite a unique background. The nickname came from people who moved to Oklahoma who was also trying to lay claims to land earlier than they were allowed.

South Carolina

There’s an island in South Carolina that is inhabited mainly by monkeys. The place in question is known as Morgan Island, although locals also refer to it as Monkey Island for obvious reasons.

Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the one most frequented by tourists all across the United States. Tell your parents about it the next time you’re going on vacation!

Texas

Texas is bigger than any single European country. You’ll need to reserve plenty of time if you want to explore it fully.

Virginia

Given that it’s the birthplace of many former presidents, it comes as no surprise that many of the most popular tourist destinations in the state are the homes of those former leaders. Another important government building in the Pentagon similarly calls Virginia home.

West Virginia

Look at West Virginia, and you’ll probably see plenty of greenery. That’s because the majority of the state is covered in forests.