South Central United States

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Regional definitions vary from source to source. The states shown in dark red are usually included, while all or portions of the striped states may or may not be considered part of the South Central United States.

The South Central United States or South Central states is a region in the south central portion of the Southern United States. It evolved out of the Old Southwest, which originally was the western portion of the South. The states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas (which make up what the Census Bureau Division calls West South Central States) are almost always considered the "core" of the region. As part of the East South Central States sub-group of the Census Bureau classification, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky are also frequently listed under the heading. At the highest extent, Kansas, and Missouri, may be included by some sources. If defined as only its four core states, the region lies almost exclusively in the Central Time Zone (with El Paso being the only major city to observe Mountain Time). At different times, all of the above states were considered part of the Western United States in American history.


The history of the South Central states is dominated by the conflict and interaction between three cultural-linguistic groups: the Anglosphere (first Great Britain and then the United States), the Hispanidad (first Spain then Mexico), and the Francophonie (always France).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain and France maneuvered for control of Texas; with the Spanish based in Mexico, and the French in Louisiana. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance hostilities spread to the New World and the French troops from Natchitoches briefly captured the capital of Spanish Texas, Los Adaes, in what is now western Louisiana. The French were not able to wrest control of Texas from Spain, and by the early 19th century sold their North American holdings to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, which comprised slightly less than half of what is today the South Central United States.

During the Texas Revolution (1835–1836), a rebellion of United States immigrants and Tejanos (Texas Mexicans), put up an armed resistance against the Centralist Republic of Mexico. The Battle of the Alamo was a major turning point during the Texas Revolution. This battle would lead to many Texians deciding to join the Texian Army. Texians would defeat the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto later on, leading to Texas declaring themselves an independent country in 1836, however Mexico viewed them as a rebellious province. Texas would eventually be admitted as a U.S. state in 1845.

The official West and East South Central states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee would secede from the Union and join the Confederacy during the Civil War. Kentucky was a border state that remained with the Union. Oklahoma, although Indian Territory at the time, was home to five major Native-American tribes, of which the majority allied themselves with the Confederacy. Oklahoma territory and Indian Territory would merge into the State of Oklahoma, when it became the 46th U.S. state in 1907. All of these states are usually considered to make up a larger part of the American South, both historically and culturally, as well as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau.


The climate varies from the semi-tropical in the Mississippi Delta, South Louisiana, and Southeast Texas, to the dry Chihuahuan desert in West Texas. The southeastern portions include the Appalachian mountains in Alabama and Tennessee and the Piney Woods of East Texas, Louisiana, and southern Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. A large portion of the northeastern quarter of the region is mountainous, with the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The northwest quarter of the region is dominated by the Great Plains which become progressively drier west of 100° W, forming the North American Llano Estacado. The southwestern portions border the Rio Grande, and are generally drier than other areas of the South Central United States.

Texas is the largest South Central state by both area and population. Texas is still home to over half the region's population. The largest city in the region, Houston, is located in Texas. New Orleans was tied with Oklahoma City in population but, after Hurricane Katrina, the population of the New Orleans metro area declined to approximately 1 million.[1] By 2017, the population of New Orleans had bounced back to almost 1.3 million.[2]

These four states come together in a region known as the Ark-La-Tex region.

Two megaregions exist within this region:

States in the South Central Region
State 2021 pop. Land area Density
Arkansas 3,025,891 (4th) 52,068 (3rd) 51.34 (3rd)
Louisiana 4,624,047 (2nd) 43,562 (4th) 102.59 (1st)
New Mexico 2,115,877 (5th) 2,059,179 (5th) 121,697 (5th)
Oklahoma 3,986,639 (3rd) 68,667 (2nd) 50.25 (4th)
Texas 29,527,941 (1st) 261,797 (1st) 79.65 (2nd)

Major cities[edit]

City City population (2018 est.) Metro population (2018 est.) U.S. rank
Aerial views of the Houston, Texas, skyline in 2014 LCCN2014632225.tif
2,325,502 6,997,384 4
SATX Skyline.jpg
San Antonio
1,532,233 2,518,036 7
Xvixionx 29 April 2006 Dallas Skyline.jpg
1,345,047 7,233,323 9
964,254 2,168,316 11
Fort Worth
895,008 7,233,323 13
El Paso Skyline2.jpg
El Paso[a]
682,669 845,553 22
Oklahoma city downtown.JPG
Oklahoma City
649,021 1,396,445 27
Tulsa, Oklahoma.jpg
403,035 991,561 47
Downtown New Orleans.jpg
New Orleans
391,006 1,262,888 50
Baton Rouge Louisiana waterfront aerial view.jpg
Baton Rouge
221,599 830,480 99
Downtown Little Rock.jpg
Little Rock
197,881 738,344 121
 New Mexico
Downtown Albuquerque 2.jpg
916,528 738,344


  1. ^ El Paso is often considered a part of the Southwest Region. In fact, El Paso is the only city on this list that is in Mountain Time Zone instead of the Central Time Zone. El Paso is closer to the Arizona state capital (Phoenix) than it is to the Texas state capital (Austin). El Paso is also closer to the California state line than it is to the Louisiana state line.



Major commercial airports[13][14][15][16][17][edit]

Major interstate highways[18][19][20][21][edit]


Major Professional Teams
Team Sport League Venue Titles
Matt Besler and Khiry Shelton.jpg
Austin FC
Soccer MLS Q2 Stadium 0
Cowboys huddle.jpeg
Dallas Cowboys
Football NFL AT&T Stadium 5
Dirk Nowitzki 2.jpg
Dallas Mavericks
Basketball NBA American Airlines Center 1
Brenden Dillon - Dallas Stars.jpg
Dallas Stars
Hockey NHL American Airlines Center 1
FC Dallas v. Orlando City SC July 2016 36.jpg
FC Dallas
Soccer MLS Toyota Stadium 0
John Mallee and Jose Altuve May 2014.jpg
Houston Astros
Baseball MLB Minute Maid Park 1
Minnesota United - Houston Dynamo - TCF Bank Stadium - Minneapolis - MLS (39977875910).jpg
Houston Dynamo
Soccer MLS BBVA Stadium 2
James Harden (30735342912).jpg
Houston Rockets
Basketball NBA Toyota Center 2
Andre Johnson 2010.jpg
Houston Texans
Football NFL NRG Stadium 0
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram (49487799403).jpg
New Orleans Pelicans
Basketball NBA Smoothie King Center 0
Drew Brees Saints 2008.jpg
New Orleans Saints
Football NFL Mercedes-Benz Superdome 1
Russell Westbrook (32891950495).jpg
Oklahoma City Thunder
Basketball NBA Chesapeake Energy Arena 1[a]
Tony Parker, Nando de Colo.jpg
San Antonio Spurs
Basketball NBA AT&T Center 5
Texas Rangers
Baseball MLB Globe Life Field 0


  1. ^ The Oklahoma City Thunder won their NBA title in 1979 before their relocation to Oklahoma City when the team was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.
Major College Teams
School Mascot Conference
Darren McFadden.jpg
University of Arkansas
Razorbacks SEC
Gameday (66235265).jpeg
Baylor University
Bears Big 12
Siaki Ika LSUvsGASouth 403 (49079216492).jpg
Louisiana State University
Tigers SEC
University of Oklahoma
Sooners Big 12
Markelle Martin before Texas A&M game.jpg
Oklahoma State University
Cowboys Big 12
Vince Young 2005.jpg
University of Texas
Longhorns Big 12
Johnny Manziel.jpg
Texas A&M University
Aggies SEC
Andy Dalton.jpg
Texas Christian University
Horned Frogs Big 12
Potts handoff to batch2.jpg
Texas Tech University
Red Raiders Big 12



  1. ^ Zimmermann, Kim Ann. "Hurricane Katrina: Facts, Damage & Aftermath". Live Science. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  2. ^ "New Orleans metro area population 2010-2017 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Texas Demographic Center". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  4. ^ "Demographics and Geography - The official website of Louisiana". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  5. ^ "Oklahoma Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  6. ^ "Arkansas Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  7. ^ "Louisiana Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Texas Cities by Population". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  9. ^ "Distance from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  10. ^ "Distance from El Paso, TX to Austin, TX". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  11. ^ "Distance from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  12. ^ "Distance from El Paso, TX to Orange, TX". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "Aviation and Airports". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  14. ^ "Aviation and Aerospace". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Official Home - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport". Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "Clinton National Airport". Clinton National Airport. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  17. ^ "Tulsa International Airport | Tulsa Airports". Tulsa Airport. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  18. ^ "Texas Department of Transportation". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  19. ^ "LaDOTD". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  20. ^ "Arkansas Department of Transportation - ArDOT". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  21. ^ "Oklahoma Department of Transportation - Oklahoma Department of Transportation". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  22. ^ "Texas Sports Teams". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Louisiana Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  24. ^ "Oklahoma City Sports | Professional & Collegiate Sports". Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  25. ^ "Sports in Louisiana". Louisiana Travel. December 4, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  26. ^ "Texas Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  27. ^ "Arkansas Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  28. ^ "Oklahoma Sports Teams". Wright Retrieved March 16, 2020.