Chapter 2:
United States and Canada
Landform Geography
• Both are on the North American continent.
• Crustal mass includes Mexico and Central America.
• Many generalizations can be made also to Mexico and
Central America.
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Land Surface Regions of US & Canada
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The Canadian Shield
• Shields
• Piece of Earth’s crust that is very
old and geographically very
stable
• Probably cannot be further
revised
• Cultural nuclei around which
mountain formation tends to
occur
• Canadian Shield
• Extends outward from the
Hudson Bay
• Includes much of Quebec &
Labrador
• Most of Ontario & Manitoba
• Substantial part of Canadian
Arctic
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Appalachian Highlands and Lowlands
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•
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Highlands
Low-lying mountains from Newfoundland down to Alabama
Six distinct landforms:
1. Piedmont—PA southward to GA
2. Fall Line—Series of river and stream rapids that mark the edge of the
Piedmont where it descends on the coastal plain
3. Blue Ridge Mountains—NC, TN, and GA (also called Great Smokies)
4. Ridge and Valley province
•
•
Folded landscape of long, parallel ridges and valleys from NY to northern
AL
Includes Hudson and Shenandoah Valleys
5. Appalachian Plateau—Western portion of Appalachian Highlands
6. New England
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•
•
White Mountains of NH and ME
Green Mountains of VT
Continues into Canada to form a Maritimes-Newfoundland extension
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Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia
Pikes Peak, Colorado
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Gulf-Atlantic Coastal Plain
• Gulf of Mexico to US Atlantic Coasts
• Expanse
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Cape Cod to Florida
FL
Coastal TX
Much of lower Mississippi Valley
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Western Mountains and Plateaus
• Rocky Mountains—Northern NM northward to CO and
WY
• Interior Plateau
• West of the Rocky Mountains
• Transition between Rockies and Pacific Coastlands
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Western Plateaus—Components
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Colorado Plateau—More than a mile high in SW CO, eastern UT, northern
AZ, NM
Basin and Range
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Columbia Plateau
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West and south of the CO Plateau
Much of NV and western UT, parts of southern CA and AZ
North of Basin and Range
Eastern OR and WA
Snake River area of ID
Pacific Coastlands
•
Sierra Nevada Mountains
• North to south in eastern CA
• Eleven peaks in excess of 14,000 feet
•
Cascade Mountains
• North of Sierra Nevada
• Central OR and WA
•
Coast Ranges—Length of the Pacific Coast
• Great Valley—Alluvial trough
• Willamette Valley (OR)
• Puget Sound Lowland (WA)
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Interior Lowlands
• South and west of the Canadian Shield
• Between North America’s backbones of east and west
• Components
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Great Plains—East of the Rocky Mountains
Great Lakes—MI, NY, and Ontario
Ozark Plateau—MI
Ouachita Mountains—AK
Black Hills
• Western SD
• Peaks that exceed 7,000 feet
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The Great Plains
Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
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Climate
•
Several influencing factors:
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Clearly defined changes in seasonal temperatures
Prevailing wind direction is west to east.
North–south mountain ranges in the west modify air masses as they move east.
Continentality—Atmosphere takes on the more extreme heating and cooling
characteristics of land than water.
• Winters—Cold
• Summers—Hot
Gulf of Mexico—Important source of moisture for the Gulf Coast and Interior
Lowlands
Characteristics:
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•
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Humid subtropics
Dry subtropics
Marine west coast
Western steppes and deserts
Humid continental
Subarctic and polar climates
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Climate Regions in US & Canada
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Humid Subtropics
• Hot and sticky
• Northward to southern Middle Atlantic and mid-western
states
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Dry Subtropics (Mediterranean)
• Pacific Coast
• San Diego to San Francisco
• Summers relatively cool (time of drought)
• Winters relatively warm
• Precipitation low, but clearly defined wet and dry seasons
• Snow virtually unheard of
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Marine West Coast
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Northern CA to Alaska
Winter—Warmer due to moderating effects of ocean
Summer—Cool
Cascade mountains produce a moderating effect.
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Western Steppes and Deserts
• Eastern OR and WA south to Colorado Plateau
• East of Rocky Mountains—Corresponds roughly to the
Great Plains
• Semiarid climate
• Temperatures tend toward extremes
• True deserts of North America concentrated in the
southwest:
• Southern TX
• Southern AZ
• Southern CA
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Humid Continental
• Northern part of US into
southern Canada
• Humidity
• Winter—Cool to cold
• Summer—Can be very hot
• Home to America’s agricultural
heartland
• Corn Belt
• Dairy Belt
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Subarctic and Polar
• Subarctic
• Wide swath of central Canada
and Alaska
• Precipitation levels low—
Mostly as summer rain
• Polar
• Northern edges of Canada and
Alaska
• Freezing conditions most of
the year
• Some days without sunlight
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Culture Cores
• Geographers study settlement trends.
• Several dynamics studied by geographers:
• Culture hearths
• Centers of cultural innovation
• Take innovations across landscape through diffusion
• Diffusion process—Settlers moving into new territories
• Settlement frontiers—Areas where settlers develop
• Spatial integration—Result of settlers transforming the settled
landscape
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US & Canada—European Core Influences
•
New England—MA, RI, and CT
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Southern Atlantic—VA and southward
• Cultivation of subtropical crops—notably tobacco
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Plantation system a major aspect of work by smaller farms
Middle Atlantic—NY, PA, and parts of NJ and MD
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Originally a destination for religious freedom
Artisanal work
Shipbuilding
English, Dutch, Scots–Irish, and Swedish influences
Mixed agricultural system
Manufacture of tools, guns, and wagons
Iron ore work in PA
Influential impact of American middle west and parts of Appalachians
French Canada—Quebec; St. Lawrence River area
•
•
•
Early settlers were French; British took over in 1763.
Some farming along St. Lawrence River
French Canadian population has remained contextual; little spatial diffusion.
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Expansion—Manifest Destiny
• View of US that all land on the continent willed by God to the US to
be civilized by Americans and their ennobling institutions
• Enabled by dominant international political culture
• Expansion of US
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•
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Louisiana Purchase—1803
East Florida—1819
West Florida—1810-1813
Texas—Annexed in 1845
Mexican Cession—1848
Oregon County—1848
Gadsden Purchase—1853
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Trends in Canada
• Loyalists—Remnants of supporters of the British
following the American Revolution
• Created a counterweight to French-speaking Quebec
• Anglicization process would eventually displace the
French to minority.
• July 1, 1867—Canada officially becomes a country.
• American-style federalism (confederation of provinces)
• British-style Parliament
• House of Commons
• Senate
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Other Factors Impacting Expansion
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Transformation in transportation technologies
Need to overcome friction of distance
Canal building
Railroads
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Immigration
• Both US and Canada impacted historically.
• Zelinsky—Two categories of US immigration:
• 1607 to 1775—European migrants and African as slaves
• 1820 to present—The “national” era
• 1820 to 1870—Heavily British, Irish, German, and Dutch; some Latin
Americans and Asians
• 1870 to 1920—“Great Deluge”
•
•
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26 million people emigrate to US
Traditional northwestern European sources
Scandinavia
Eastern and southern Europe, China, Japan, and Latin America
• 1920 to present—Miscellaneous:
• Wide variety of origins
• Especially Asians and Latin Americans
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Canadian Immigration
• Just as intense and nation-altering as US
• Started later
• Prior to confederation
• British
• American Loyalists
• French (Quebec)
• 1885—Railroads to Canadian Prairies finished
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•
•
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Many claims on land
Eastern Europeans
Scandinavian countries
Britain and US
• Population increased by one-third in the first half of the twentieth
century.
• After World War II, primarily immigration to urban areas (increasing
concentrations of Asians and Africans)
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Demographics
• US population growth after 1800
• High birthrates (fertility rates)
• Low death rates (mortality rates)
• Immigration
• Canadian population growth
• Grew mainly by natural increase between 1867 and 1900
• But limited by a low fertility rate
• Population distribution
• Predominantly east of the Mississippi River
• Greatest concentration in northeast quadrants
• US—North central, northeast
• Canada:
• Within 200 miles of US border between Windsor, Ontario and Quebec
City, Quebec
• Vancouver, Victoria, and British Columbia
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Population Redistribution
• Changes in economies
• Agrarian to industrial economies (1800s)
• US
• Development of manufacturing in cities
• Transformation from plantation system due to mechanization of
farming
• Canada
• Development of petroleum reserves (Alberta)
• International and interprovincial migration (British Columbia)
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Factors Influencing Success of Agriculture
• Abundance of good land
• 1.5 of all land in US is classified as cropland.
• Canada’s small population relative to the US means the ration of
farmland to people is about the same.
• High level of mechanization
• Tractors replace mules.
• Hybrid seeds, pesticides, herbicides, biotechnology, and scientific
farming techniques
• Regional specialization
• A variety of environmental conditions
• Need for developing comparative advantage
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Historical Agricultural Productivity in US
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Agricultural Regions
• Corn Belt
• Dairy Belt
• Specialty Crop and
Livestock Region
• Great Wheat Belts
• Western farming
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Corn Belt
• Location—Central OH to
eastern NB; MN to SD;
southern into KS
• Corn useful for multiple
purposes
• Food for people
• Feed for animals
• Area began as a mixed farming
area, with equal emphasis on
crop cultivation and livestock
production.
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Dairy Belt
• Location—North of the Corn Belt, stretching westward
from Nova Scotia and New England to WI and MN
• Conditions less favorable for agriculture
• Soils thinner/less fertile
• Growing seasons shorter
• Two types of production
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Specialty Crop & Livestock Production
• Location—Southern New
England to eastern TX
• Wide array of activities
• City dwellers demanded fruits
and vegetables.
• Truck farming
• High value
• Land intensive
• Market-oriented
• South
• Livestock region
• Poultry farms
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Great Wheat Belts
• Winter Wheat Belt
• KS, OK, CO, and north TX
• What planted in fall, lies dormant in winter, and is harvested in
spring.
• Used for spaghetti, crackers, and pastries
• Spring Wheat Belt
• ND, SD, MT, and Saskatchewan
• What planted in spring and is harvested in late summer
• Used for bread
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Western Farming
• Water is the big issue.
• Dry soils can be tilled with
water from underground
aquifers.
• Irrigation, however, is not
necessary in the Pacific
Northwest.
• Ranches are very large.
• Many cases exceeding 100,000
acres
• Typically used for livestock
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Continuing Adjustments in Agriculture
• Fewer farmers
• Growth of agribusiness/vertical integration
• Death of family farming
• Rise of corporate farming
• Fewer, larger farms
• Rural geography changing
• Now a coarse series of large corporate holdings
• Greater increase in supply than in demand
• Farm output has increased.
• Demand has not kept pace.
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Resources for Growth & Development: Energy &
Power
• Coal
• Major energy source for industrial expansion in US, WY, KY, WV, and
PA
• Nova Scotia, New Brunswick in Canada
• Easier to import from US Appalachian states
• More emphasis on petroleum
• Oil and gas
• Both US and Canada are major producers and consumers.
• US—Production centered in TX, LA, KS, CA, and AL
• Canada—Alberta and Saskatchewan
• Water
• 60% energy via hydroelectricity in Canada
• 8.5% in the US
• Nuclear
• 20% source of power in US
• 12% source of power in Canada
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Resources for Growth & Development: Metals
• Iron ore
• US and Canada are major producers and consumers.
• Canada—Exporter
• US—Importer
• Aluminum
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•
•
•
Used extensively in transportation and construction
Bauxite required
Not readily available here.
Import from Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, and Australia
• Canada produces some other metals:
• Nickel
• Copper
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Power Consumption in US by Source
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Coal and Iron Ore in US & Canada
Petroleum & Natural Gas in US & Canada
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Manufacturing in the US
• New England
• Waterways
• Railroads
• South
• Remote from transportation
• Produced for exporting
• Coreland
• Southern New England
• Textile
• Leather-working
• Machine tools
• Metro New York
• Diversified manufacturing
• Garment industry
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Three Prominent Steel Industries
• First
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Baltimore, MD
Bethlehem, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Harrisburg, PA
• Second
• Erie, PA
• Pittsburgh, PA
• Toledo, OH
• Third
• Gary, IN
• Chicago, IL
• Milwaukee, WI
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Automobile Manufacturing
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Southern MI
Parts of IN, OH, and Ontario
Automobile production
Parts and assembly
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Manufacturing Regions & Urban-Industrial Districts
of US
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Problems Facing Coreland Manufacturing
• Intensive foreign competition
• Labor costs cheaper
• More modern equipment
• Difficult economic conditions
• Recessions
• Fluctuations
• Social problems
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•
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Social conflict
Air and water pollution
Residential quality
Urban water supply
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Southern Economic Revolution
• Textiles are the first major industry.
• Grew to have a comparative advantage
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Cheaper labor costs than in the north
Better locations
Lower power costs
Lower taxes
• Other industries
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Material-oriented pulp and paper
Furniture
Food processing
Forest industries
Petroleum (Gulf Coast)
Steel (Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA)
• Grew into a significant regional market
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Manufacturing Employment Shifts in US: 1970–
2000
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% US Workers in Manufacturing
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Canadian Manufacturing
• Location—St. Lawrence Seaway and Ontario
• Industrial heartland
• Montreal the center of industry—Akin to NYC
• Specialization elsewhere
• Hydroelectric potential—Quebec
• Golden Horseshoe
• Most of Canada’s steel
• Great variety of other goods
• Protected by tariff
• Drift westward
• Alberta and western provinces gain
• Similar trends to US
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Manufacturing Employment Shifts in Canada
between 1969 & 2005
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Post-Industrialism in North America
• Emphasis on production of goods and services
• Synonyms
• Knowledge economy
• Service economy
• Post-industrial economy
• Industries
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•
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Banking
Retailing
Finance
Information services
Business services
• Attracted to suburban locations—Impacts on urban manufacturing
centers
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Urbanization in North America
•
Cities’ natural attraction for
industrialism
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•
•
Agglomeration economies
Multiplier effect
Highly urbanized by beginning of
21st century
Globalization transforming cities
•
Transportation
• Expressways
• Automobiles
•
•
Spatial expansion
Megalopolis
•
•
•
Result of congestion and sprawl
“a very large city”
More government—More
demands
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Canadian Cities
• Somewhat different from US
• More acceptance of government planning
• More compact; higher densities
• More emphasis on public transportation
• After 1970s, converging trends began to emerge.
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Challenges in a Developed Realm
• Poverty—Material deprivation affecting biologic and
social well-being
• Income disparities—Differences in the amount of money
people earn
• Key measures for evaluating the strength of a society
• Defined differently between countries—Therefore, no
consensus
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Poverty in US
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•
78% of all poor live in metropolitan
areas.
Effect of biases against specific
ethic groupings
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African-Americans
Hispanic-Americans
Native Americans
Appalachian whites
Concentrated in central cities
Appalachia
Other areas
•
•
•
Mississippi Delta
Along the Mexico border
Native American reservations in
north central
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Poverty in US by Region and Group, 2007
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Poverty & Unemployment in US
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Canadian Poverty
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Appalachia
• Predominantly white
• Location
•
•
•
•
Midwestern Pennsylvania
West Virginia
Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee
Parts of Georgia, Mississippi, and eastern Alabama
• Restricted access/inability to harness land
• Less access to transportation
• Coal-mining prosperity short-lived
• Deleterious effects of flooding, soil erosion, and strip mining
• Appalachian Regional Development Act (1965; amended
2004)—Core mission to eradicate poverty
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Poverty and Unemployment in US
• Result of economic and technological change
• Infrastructural changes
• Social capital needs change
• Closely associated with high poverty levels
• High unemployment levels
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•
•
•
Southwest along Mexico border
Mississippi Delta
South Carolina—Textile areas
Western states
• California
• Oregon
• Washington
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Income Disparities in Canada
• Regional differences also exist.
• 9.5% “low income after tax” in 2002
• Somewhat lower than US poverty rate
• Poverty concentrations
• High
• Quebec
• Newfoundland
• Moderate
• Manitoba
• British Columbia
• High Income Levels
• Ontario
• Alberta (oil-rich)
• Causes
• Downturn in fishing industry
• Regional/local causes
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African Americans
• Initial patterns an outgrowth of the plantation system
• Small proportion freedmen outside South or in southern urban areas
• Remainder formed the backbone for plantation system
• Southern Plantations
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Land-based social and economic system
Commercial production
Slave labor on relatively large holdings
Became basic system for agricultural production
• Dense concentration
•
•
•
•
•
Coastal zones of South Carolina and Georgia
Inner Coastal Plain
Mississippi Valley
Tennessee River Valley of Alabama
Portions of Texas
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African-American Poverty as % of County
Population in US, 2000
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African-American Migration
• Mechanization of agriculture displaces sharecropping.
• Movement from South to North
• Jobs in the industrial rust belt
• Migration slowed somewhat during Great Depression.
• Otherwise continued through to the 1970s
• Current demographics
• Urban areas of North
• Urban and rural areas of South
• Some movement back to the South
• Social and racial biases
•
•
•
•
Redlining
Disparities in resources for education and housing
City residents trapped in older residential areas
Less social infrastructure
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Hispanic Americans
• Hispanic—Not a racial group
• South American culture
• Demographics
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•
•
•
Population large and growing
Concentrated along Hispanic-American borderland
Some major urban agglomerations
Higher than average fertility rate
• Large proportion comprised of illegal immigrants.
• Illegal immigrants sparking intense debate in US.
• Negative—Shouldn’t receive social welfare benefits
• Positive—Reserve army of cheap labor
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Hispanic Population as a % of County Population in
US, 2000
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Other Demographic Groupings
• Asians
• Immigration since 1970s
• Predominantly concentrated in urban centers of the West
• Native Americans
• Concentrated in north central
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Native-American Population
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Asian-American Population as a % of County
Population in US, 2000
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Native-American Population as a % of County
Population in US, 2000
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Canadian Population Demographics
• Tension between English-speaking and French-speaking
• Anglophones—Native English speakers
• Francophones—Native French speakers
• Population Demographics
• French-speaking
• Quebec
• New Brunswick
• Predominantly Roman Catholic
• English-speaking
• Western provinces
• Maritimes
• Predominantly Protestant
• Multilingualism (other than French and English)
• Toronto
• Montreal
• Produced by immigration and ethnic clustering
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The Several Canadas
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Canadian Economic Demographics
• Quebec
• Industrial heartland
• 80% urban
• Maritimes
• Fishing
• Farming
• Mining
• Alberta—Oil
• Ontario
• Strong commercial and industrial base
• Seat of federal government (Ottawa)
• Prairies
• Wheat
• Cattle
• British Columbia—lumbering
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The Question of “Distinctiveness”
• Quebec has sought designation to protect its French heritage and
identity.
• Federal political party (Parti Quebecois) mainly seeks to represent
Quebec secessionist views.
• Several secession movements:
• 1979
• 1995
• Both failed.
• Meech Lake Accord (1987):
•
•
•
•
Recognition of Quebec as “Distinct society”
Rejected by Newfoundland and Manitoba
Unfair recognition to Quebec vice other provinces
No recognition to aboriginals
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Melting Pots or Stew Pots?
• Canada
• Multilingualism codified
• Students must learn French and English.
• Official business in French and English
• Additional pressures from Asian immigration
• Tension between Anglophones and Francophones
• US
• Debate over English as “national language”
• National Anthem in language other than English? (Canada has
English and French lyrics.)
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Chapter 2 - The United States & Canada