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The West consists of nineteen states: Washington, California, Oregon, Hawai'i, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. In Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas, the population is over 80 percent urban. The nineteen western states in 2000 were home to 28 percent of all metropolitan Americans.
This urbanization is nothing new. By the end of the nineteenth century, the West was more urban than the rest of the United States. The West is largely deserted, inhospitable wastelands such as deserts and mountains, mostly arid. The Southwest developed what Walter Prescott Webb referred to as an “oasis civilization” (1957). The 1880 Census reported that the Rocky Mountain and Pacific regions were more urbanized than the ...