Since the 1950s, the United States has been seeing one of the largest demographic changes in American history.
Thousands of people and businesses of the Northern states have been moving to the Southern states and have made their economy thrive. While this increase in population and businesses has been great for the south, this shift has also left many once-prosperous cities losing nearly half of their population.

Since the early days of America, the Northern states were the industrial hotspot of the United States. these states had large steel and coal industries, thriving cities such as Pittsburgh and Chicago, and major businessmen such as Rockefeller and the Vanderbilts. This thriving industry would end up giving the northern region names such as ¨the steel belt¨ or ¨manufacturing belt¨.

Meanwhile, the region that would become the Sunbelt in the future wasn’t as successful as its northern neighbor. Most states such as Alabama and Georgia were covered with disease-filled forests and swamps. The Region was and still is extremely hot and reached temperatures going into the 80s and 90s, an issue that wouldn’t be solved for decades to come. Even without the uncomfortable temperatures and ruralness of the region, the southern Us was also still recovering from the events of slavery which left the Southern US agricultural-based and unindustrialized leading to low populations throughout the states.

Back in the Northern States, they would go strong throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. This all changed when America joined world war 2 in 1941.
To support the war, many factories were produced and created outside of the northern states into other parts of the US such as western and southern regions which would soon start the gradual decline of the rust belt. Despite the war ending, many businesses continued to go to other places in the United States.

With businesses and industry leaving the North, the people of the Northern states followed leading to mass migration. This migration of both businesses and people would start the decline of the northern states from the Steel and Manufacturing Belt to the Rust Belt following the decades after World War 2.

While it might seem the Rust Belt already suffered enough, another blow was to come to the rust belt.

The other blow to come to the Rust Belt would happen in the ’90s. This blow was caused by the implementation of NAFTA (North American Free Treaty Association) in 1994 between Mexico, Canada, and the USA. The goal of this union was to allow for easier trade and investments and would help benefit the three nations.

While this organization succeeded in easier trade and allowed for immense economic growth, it also came at a cost. With fewer tariffs and easier trade, many American businesses left the Us and rust belt region to Mexico for lower-paying wages and business regulation. This transfer would be great for Mexico´s economy from 528 billion USD in 1994 to over a trillion in 2007 but would cost countless industrial jobs in America that were lost and weakened the industry of the Rust Belt even more.

With the greatness of the Northern US coming to an end, another region took its place: the Southern US. The reason that the southern US was more popular to migrate to than other parts of the US was due to two main reasons.

One reason is the southern states are warmer than the North. In the south, it is warm year-round and lacks harsh winters like the northern states. This would make many people in the north want to migrate south and have a summer climate year-round which is why this region is most commonly known as ¨the Sun Belt Region¨.

This came at a cost though, with it being too hot many times in the south and reaching high temperatures both indoors and outdoors as I mentioned before. Fortunately for the South, this problem would get solved in the 60s when air conditioners became cheaper for the general public allowing for the high temperatures to be bearable making it popular for people to move to the south.

A more economical reason is that the south is economically better for both businesses and people. Since the South hasn’t been as developed as the north, the south doesn’t have as many labor unions, taxes, and high-paying wages as the north. These low costs would end up attracting many northern businesses looking for greater revenue and would make many businesses migrate to the southern states.

This lack of taxes also made it attractive to northern people as seen in people such as Spence Crowley, a freshman who just moved here in the sunbelt from New Jersey who said in an interview ¨ My family moved here because the taxes here are lower.” We also see cheaper land in the Southern US which Crowley also mentioned with him saying” and we also get a lot more land which is really nice.”

With the combination of a warmer climate and more economic relief, cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston would end up becoming some of America’s largest cities while the Rust Belt cities would fall as people head to the South.

To this day, this shift is still going on. Businesses and population continue to be outsourced to nations such as China and Mexico and the American south while the rust belt states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio continue to decline in population and businesses.