From Florida and Georgia to North Carolina and Tennessee, growth in the Southeast ranks as the fastest in the country. The area continues to draw more people, businesses and events than ever before.
The attractions are many. They include great weather, a pro-business environment, low cost of living and low taxes. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, 85.3 million people live in the Southwest, a growth of more than 8 percent in a decade.
Facts About the Southeast
The American Southeast has one of the most robust economies in the world. However, the definition of what states belong in the southeast can change depending on the government agency. However, most definitions include the following core states (in alphabetical order).
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Some definitions also include Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
Population Growth in the Southeast
Texas often ranks at or near the top for states with the fastest population growth, but people may not consider the Lone Star State’s sheer size. To equal the square miles of Texas, you’d have to combine the size of five Southeast states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Texas has 29.7 million people. Those five states have a combined population of 55.3 million, and with about 10,000 fewer square miles. That helps put the Southeast’s growth into perspective.
Another way to look at it is the growth of cities. Of the 15 fastest growing metro areas in the U.S., almost half (7) are in the Southeast: Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Raleigh, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Orlando.
Business Growth in the Southeast
Businesses relocating from New York to Florida has become a hot trend in recent years, but that’s happening to varying degrees across the entire Southeast. The automotive industry supplies some great examples.
- Kia Motors has a major production faculty in Georgia
- BMW’s largest production plant in the world is in South Carolina
- Honda and Hyundai both major operations in Alabama
- Porsche is building its new North American headquarters in Atlanta
- Mercedes Benz has its North American headquarters in Georgia
But the trend extends beyond automotive. The country’s largest research parks are Research Triangle Park in North Carolina (which is also the world’s largest research park!) and Cummings Research Park in Alabama. Coca-Cola, UPS, Home Depot and Delta Airlines are all headquartered in Atlanta.
Overall, there are 18 Fortune 500 companies in Florida and Georgia, 13 in North Carolina and 10 in Tennessee.
Events in the Southeast
The rapid growth in population and business has led to more big events than ever in the Southeast. They range from annual events on college campuses (there are more than 60 major public and private universities in the Southeast, plus many smaller schools) to corporate events and conventions.
Two of the three largest convention centers in the U.S. are in the Southeast: the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando and the Georgia World Congress in Orlando. These locations host some of the biggest events in the country, as do convention centers in Miami, Tampa, Nashville, Charlotte and Jacksonville.
The Southeast also is home to some of the best festivals in the country, from Art Basel in Miami to Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama and the Gasparilla Pirate Fest in Tampa.
If you live in the Southeast, it’s likely you’ve seen this growth in your city or even your neighborhood. With the popularity of so many cities and states continuing, expect growth in the Southeast’s population, business and events to continue in the future.