Characteristics of the Pacific Coast Region

Pacific Coast Region Map

The data from the State Similarity Index groups the Western states of California, Oregon, and Washington into the Pacific Coast region. Here are some of the characteristics most of these states share:

GEOGRAPHY
As its name suggests, all the states in the Pacific Coast region have a lot of coastline along the Pacific Ocean. The vast majority of the water in these states eventually flows into the Pacific as well. In addition, these states are quite mountainous and have some of the most prominent peaks in the country. Oregon, Washington, and California also have a wide variety of climates. Each state areas with boreal, steppe, and oceanic climatic conditions. They also have a variety of land cover types, including pastures, farmland, forests, and barren deserts. Except for Oregon’s Malheur County, these states are entirely within the Pacific Time Zone.

CULTURE
California, Washington, and Oregon all became part of the United States between 1850 and 1890. These states never allowed slavery and were members of the Union during the Civil War. Their people are not particularly religious. A low percentage regularly attend church. In addition, the people in this region tend to have a similar accent. They are known to have creative and relaxed personalities. They also tend to do a lot of exercise. Soccer is more popular in this region than most other areas of the country. Furthermore, this region has relatively high rates of drug usage, but low rates of homicide. Interestingly enough, this region has by far the lowest rates of circumcision in the United States.

GOVERNMENT
The Pacific Coast is one of the most liberal regions in the United States. Since 1992, these states have only voted for Democrats in presidential elections. They often elect Democrats in both federal and state elections too. California, Washington, and Oregon have all legalized the recreational use of marijuana. However, they have banned smoking in public places. These states also have policies that favor unionization. They also have policies that favor immigrants. Their governments have a policy of not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The region has higher minimum wages than much of the country. Furthermore, these states have many laws that protect the civil rights of their citizens.

Infrastructure
In the beginning of their history, many people were attracted to the Pacific Coast region to mine gold and silver. Now the high technology industry has become very important for the economy of these states. They manufacture a variety of computer, aerospace, and electronic products. Since these states are located on the coast, this region also has a lot of cargo port infrastructure. Hydropower is used more often to create electricity than in other parts of the country. These states are all part of the Western Interconnection power grid. Since many of their people are concentrated in urban areas, a higher percentage of people in California, Washington, and Oregon use public transportation than most other states.

DEMOGRAPHICS
Demographics is one aspect in which this region varies widely. California has far more Latinos, since it has many immigrants from Mexico. As a result, California tends to have more Catholics than Oregon and Washington as well. Still, by other demographic measures these states are still quite similar. They have about the same percentage of college graduates. The average age of their people is about the same as well. Furthermore, the people in this region tend to be skinnier than the rest of the country. Another aspect in which these states are similar is that they have a relatively high percentage of union members.

The Pacific Coast’s Most Representative State: Washington (79.8 regional average)

Most Similar Region to the Pacific Coast: Southwest Region

(Statistics as of 2020)

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