The US is split into more than a dozen 'belts' defined by industry, weather, and even health

The Bible Belt is an area of the US where evangelical Protestantism plays an especially strong role in society and politics. People in the Bible Belt tend to be socially conservative and have higher church attendance rates than people in other parts of the country.

The Unchurched Belt is sort of like the opposite of the Bible Belt. Located in the northwestern corner of the country, it’s the region with the lowest rates of religious participation and church attendance in the nation.

The Stroke Belt is a group of 11 states where the risk of having a stroke or other types of cardiovascular disease is significantly higher than the national average.

The states in the Stroke Belt, mostly in the Southeast, are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.

The Sun Belt stretches across the entire southern portion of the continental US and is known for its warm weather and sunny skies. The northern border of the region roughly aligns with the 36th parallel.

The Jell-O Belt is the affectionate nickname for the so-called Mormon Corridor, the area of the western US settled by Mormons in the second half of the 19th century. It encompasses Utah and parts of the surrounding states.

As the name suggests, the Frost Belt is a region known for its icy winters and heavy snowfall. It includes the entirety of New England and much of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

The Cotton Belt is rooted in slavery — it encompasses the states where cotton was the predominant cash crop from the late 1700s into the 20th century.

The region attributes its heavy snowfall to a phenomenon called lake-effect snow. That’s when cold, dry air passes over the relatively warmer water of a lake, picking up moisture and dumping it downwind.

The Rust Belt is a region running across parts of the Midwest and Northeast. Once known for thriving iron and steel industries, the Rust Belt gets its name from the abandoned factories and urban decay that have marked the region since the 1970s.

The Rice Belt is a stretch of counties that produces almost all of the rice in the US.

Iowa and Illinois could be considered the heart of the Corn Belt, as the pair accounts for a third of all the corn in the US.

The term originally referred to a specific stretch in central Alabama known for its dark, fertile soil. That stretch eventually became associated with the slaves who tended to the land, and the term expanded to include the greater region where slavery and cotton farming was widespread.


The last of the major belt regions is the Wheat Belt — the part of the Great Plains where wheat is the primary crop.

See all of them here.

Maps from fantasy books

Roshar (Brandon Sanderson “The Stormlight Archive”)

Four Corners of Civilization map (Patrick Rothfuss “The Kingkiller Chronicle")

Middle-earth (J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium)

Narnia (C. S. Lewis “The Chronicles of Narnia")

Pern, Northern Continent (Anne McCaffrey “Dragonriders of Pern”)  

Map of Hyboria (Robert E. Howard “Conan the Barbarian”)

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Exactly which states are in the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, according to the US government

The Northeast includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

New England consists of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

The Middle Atlantic division consists of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The next Census region is the Midwest. It consists of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

East North Central consists of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

The West North Central division comprises Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

The third region, the South, claims more states than any other region. According to the Census Bureau, the South consists of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Washington, DC, is also included in the South.

The South Atlantic division contains Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, as well as Washington, DC.

The East South Central division contains Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

The West South Central division contains Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The West consists of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.

The Mountain division consists of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.

The Pacific division consists of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.