Southern United States


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    Join date : 2010-11-09

    Southern United States Empty Southern United States

    Post by msistarted0 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:27 am

    The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, Down South, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive region in the southeastern and south-central United States. Because of the region's unique cultural and historic heritage, including Native Americans, early European settlements of English, French, Scotch-Irish, Scottish, and German heritage,[4] importation of hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans, growth of a large proportion of African Americans in the population, reliance on slave labor, and the aftermath of the Confederacy after the Civil War, the South developed its own customs, literature, musical styles, and varied cuisines that have profoundly shaped traditional American culture.

    In the last few decades, the South has become more industrialized and urban, attracting numerous national and international migrants. The American South is among the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Despite rapid economic growth, the South still has persistent poverty, and every Southern state with the exceptions of Virginia and Florida has a higher poverty rate than the American average.[5] Poverty is especially prevalent in rural areas.

    Sociological research has indicated that Southern collective identity stems from political, demographic and cultural distinctiveness. Studies have shown that Southerners are more conservative than non-Southerners in several areas including religion, morality, international relations and race relations.[6][7] This is especially evident during presidential elections and religious attendance figures.[8][9]

    In the 21st century, the South remains demographically distinct with higher percentages of blacks. When blacks are combined with whites, it appears that the South has lower percentages of high school graduates, lower housing values, lower household incomes and higher percentages of people in poverty.[10] However, when race is taken into consideration, Southern whites do as well as Northern whites, Southern blacks do as well, or better, than Northern blacks.[11][12]

    That, combined with the fact that Southerners continue to maintain strong loyalty to family ties, has led some sociologists to label white Southerners a "quasi-ethnic regional group."[13]

    Apart from the still-distinctive climate, the living experience in the South increasingly resembles the rest of the nation. The arrival of millions of Northerners (especially in the suburbs and coastal areas)[14] and millions of Hispanics[15] means the introduction of cultural values and social norms not rooted in Southern traditions.[16][17] Observers conclude that collective identity and Southern distinctiveness are thus declining, particularly when defined against "an earlier South that was somehow more authentic, real, more unified and distinct."[18] The process has worked both ways, however, with aspects of Southern culture spreading throughout a greater portion of the rest of the United States in a process termed "Southernization".[19]

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