Discriminant analysis was used to investigate the empirical underpinnings of the labels, “Sunbelt” and “Frostbelt.” Nine study variables were chosen to represent structural, economic, and population characteristics in 158 SMSAs with 1980 populations over 200,000. The results show that SMSAs in the Sunbelt have lower densities; they house larger minority populations who are less likely to participate in the political process; and their economies are less oriented to manufacturing. In terms of the regional convergence-uneven development debate, results favor the uneven development thesis. The fact that Sunbelt metropolitan areas house populations that are different from their Frostbelt counterparts and perform different social roles and functions in the national space economy suggests they represent a new form of urban development rather than a manifestation of heretofore lagging regions converging with traditional centers of development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies