West

The Western region of America consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. It comprises 1,871,256 square miles, nearly half the nation's area. It is divided into two sub-regions- the Mountain West (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming), and the Pacific States (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington). The western part of Texas is also sometimes considered part of the region.

Geography
The Rocky Mountains, the highest in the United States, run interrupted from New Mexico to Alaska. The tallest part of the Rockies is in central Colorado, the location of 54 "fourteeners". To the west of the Rockies are the Sierra Nevada in the south and the Cascade Range in the north. The Sierra Nevada is home to the tallest mountain in the country outside of Alaska, Mount Whitney (14,505 feet). In Nevada, Utah, and Arizona are the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Along the Pacific coast are the Coastal Ranges, which stretch all the way from Alaska to northern Mexico. The Missouri, Snake, Columbia, and Colorado are all major rivers in the Western region. 

History
Much of the West became part of the United States through the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, and the Southwest became part of the country in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. The West was very sparsely populated, referred to by many as an inhospitable wilderness with hostile Indians. The 1840s was a decade of rapid development in the West, largely through the Oregon Trail and the 1849 California Gold Rush. California grew so rapidly that it was admitted to statehood in 1850 without becoming an official territory first. The 1850s were marked by political battles over the expansion of slavery into western territories, issues which lead to the Civil War. The cowboy culture of the West during these times have become a large part of American popular culture. The invention of the automobile brought many average Americans to the West, most notably through the legendary Route 66. During the mid 20th century, many films about cowboys and life the old West were made, with The Searchers (1956), High Noon (1952) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) among the most famous. Many Western cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver rapidly expanded during the latter half of the 20th century, and continue to grow at the same pace today. 

States
 State Population (2014 est) Area (square miles) Population Density
 Alaska 736,732 (48th) 663,268 (1st) 1.3/sq mile (50th)
 Arizona 6,731,484 (15th)113,990 (6th)  57/sq mile (33rd)
 California 38,802,500 (1st) 163,696 (3rd) 246/sq mile (11th)
 Colorado 5,355,866 (22nd) 104,094 (8th) 52/sq mile (37th)
 Hawaii 1,419,561 (40th)10,931 (43rd)  214/sq mile (13th)
 Idaho 1,634,464 (39th) 83,570 (14th) 19/sq mile (44th)
 Montana 1,023,579 (44th) 147,040 (4th)7/sq mile (48th) 
 Nevada2,839,099 (35th) 110,622 (7th) 25/sq mile (42nd) 
 New Mexico 2,085,572 (36th) 121,589 (5th) 17/sq mile (45th)
 Oregon 3,970,239 (27th) 98,381 (9th) 40/sq mile (39th)
Utah  2,949,902 (33rd) 84,899 (13th) 34/sq mile (41st)
 Washington7,061,530 (13th)  71,362 (18th) 103/sq mile (25th)
 Wyoming 584,153 (50th)97,814 (10th)  6/sq mile (49th)

Cities with over 100,000 people 
 City Population (2014) City Population (2014)
 1. Los Angeles, California3,928,864 (2nd)  61. Salinas, California156,677 (158th) 
 2. Phoenix, Arizona 1,537,058 (6th)62. Fort Collins, Colorado 156,480 (159th) 
 3. San Diego, California1,381,069 (8th)  63. Hayward, California154,612 (161st) 
 4. San Jose, California 1,015,785 (10th) 64. Pomona, California153,350 (165th) 
 5. San Francisco, California852,469 (13th)  65. Escondido, California 150,243 (167th)
 6. Seattle, Washington 668,342 (20th)66. Sunnyvale, California 149,980 (168th) 
 7. Denver, Colorado 663,862 (21st)67. Lakewood, Colorado  149,643 (169th)
 8. Portland, Oregon 619,360 (28th) 68. Torrance, California148,495 (172nd) 
 9. Las Vegas, Nevada 613,599 (29th) 69. Pasadena, California140,881 (184th) 
 10. Albuquerque, New Mexico 557,169 (32nd)70. Orange, California 139,812 (185th) 
11. Tuscon, Arizona  527,972 (33rd)71. Fullerton, California 139,677 (186th) 
 12. Fresno, California515,986 (34th) 72. Bellevue, Washington 136,426 (190th) 
 13. Sacramento, California485,199 (35th)  73. West Valley City, Utah 134,495 (193rd)
 14. Long Beach, California 473,577 (36th)74. Thornton, Colorado  130,307 (197th)
15. Mesa, Arizona  464,704 (38th)75. Thousand Oaks, California 129,342 (201st) 
 16. Colorado Springs, Colorado 445,830 (42nd) 76. Visalia, California 129,281 (202nd)
 17. Bakersfield, California 368,759 (52nd)77. Roseville, California 128,615 (205th) 
18. Aurora, Colorado  353,108 (54th) 78. Concord, California127,522 (212th) 
 19. Honolulu, Hawaii 350,399 (55th)79. Simi Valley, California  126,871 (214th)
 20. Anaheim, California 346,997 (56th) 80. Surprise, Arizona 126,275 (215th)
 21. Santa Ana, California 334,909 (57th)81. Kent, Washington 125,560 (217th) 
 22. Riverside, California 319,504 (59th)82. Santa Clara, California 122,192 (219th) 
 23. Stockton, California 302,389 (63rd) 83. Victorville, California 121,901 (220th)
 24. Anchorage, Alaska301,010 (64th)  84. Vallejo, California120,228 (224th) 
 25. Henderson, Nevada 277,440 (71st) 85. Berkeley, California118,853 (227th) 
 26. Chula Vista, California260,988 (75th)  86. El Monte, California 116,631 (234th)
 27. Chandler, Arizona254,276 (78th)  87. Provo, Utah 114,801 (237th)
 28. Irvine, California 248,531 (82nd) 88. Downey, California 114,172 (240th)
29. Gilbert, Arizona 239,277 (86th)  89. Arvada, Colorado113,574 (242nd) 
 30. Glendale, Arizona 237,517 (88th) 90. Costa Mesa, California112,784 (243rd) 
31. Reno, Nevada  236,995 (89th) 91. Carlsbad, California112,299 (245th) 
 32. North Las Vegas, Nevada 230,788 (94th)92. Westminster, Colorado  112,090 (247th)
33. Scottsdale, Arizona  230,512 (95th) 93. Inglewood, California111,905 (248th) 
 34. Fremont, California 228,758 (97th) 94. Fairfield, California111,125 (250th) 
 35. Boise, Idaho 216,282 (99th) 95. West Jordan, Utah 110,920 (252nd)
 36. San Bernardino, California 215,213 (100th) 96. Gresham, Oregon 109,892 (256th)
 37. Spokane, Washington 212,052 (102nd) 97. Ventura, California109,484 (258th) 
 38. Modesto, California 209,286 (104th) 98. Temecula, California109,428 (259th) 
 39. Oxnard, California 205,437 (106th)99. Antioch, California  108,930 (261st)
 40. Tacoma, Washington205,159 (107th) 100. Billings, Montana 108,869 (262nd) 
 41. Fontana, California 204,950 (108th)101. Richmond, California 108,565 (265th) 
 42. Moreno Valley, California 202,976 (110th) 102. West Covina, California108,455 (266th) 
 43. Huntington Beach, California 200,809 (112th) 103. Pueblo, Colorado 108,423 (267th)
 44. Glendale, California 200,167 (116th) 104. Murrieta, California108,368 (268th) 
 45. Salt Lake City, Utah 190,884 (124th) 105. Centennial, Colorado107,201 (269th) 
 46. Santa Clarita, California181,557 (133rd)  106. Norwalk, California107,096 (270th) 
 47. Garden Grove, California 175,078 (136th) 107. Everett, Washington106,736 (272nd) 
 48. Oceanside, California 174,558 (137th) 108. Daly City, California106,094 (274th) 
 49. Rancho Cucamonga, California 174,305 (138th) 109. Burbank, California 105,368 (276th)
 50. Santa Rosa, California 174,170 (139th) 110. Boulder, Colorado105,112 (278th) 
 51. Tempe, Arizona 172,816 (142nd)111. Santa Maria, California  103,410 (284th)
 52. Vancouver, Washington 169,294 (145th)112. El Cajon, California  103,091 (285th)
 53. Ontario, California 169,089 (146th) 113. San Mateo, California102,893 (286th) 
 54. Peoria, Arizona166,934 (148th) 114. Rialto, California 102,741 (288th) 
 55. Elk Grove, California 163,553 (151st) 115. Clovis, California102,189 (291st) 
 56. Salem, Oregon 161,637 (152nd) 116. Las Cruces, New Mexico101,408 (294th) 
57. Corona, California  161,486 (153rd)  
58. Lancaster, California 161,043 (154th)   
 59. Eugene, Oregon 160,561 (155th)  
 60. Palmdale, California 158,279 (156th)  

Education
California is home to many of the greatest colleges in the country-- Stanford University, California Institute Technology, and University of Southern California are among the private ones. The university of California system is often considered to the best of any state, and its locations at Los Angeles and Berkeley rank in the top 50 schools nationally. Other major state universities in the West include University of Colorado, University of New Mexico, University of Oregon, and University of Washington.

Culture and Politics
The West has a variety of ethnic groups. California and Hawaii each have large Asian populations, and Hawaii is the only state where Asian Americans outnumber American residents. California, Arizona, and New Mexico all have large Hispanic populations due to their location on the US-Mexico border. The Mormon Corridor, which has a large Mormon population, is located in Utah, as well as parts of Idaho, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. The desert and mountain states tend to be sparsely populated, and have developed as ranching and mining areas. The Pacific Coast states, on the other hand, are home to many cities which are technology and media centers, such as Los Angeles. The West is home to many Indian reservations, including Navajo Nation, the largest in the United States. The Pacific Coast states have mostly voted Democratic in elections, while other states (Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming) are Republican strongholds. Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado are swing states.

Sports
The West has  teams from the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.

Denver (4): Colorado Rockies (MLB), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Denver Broncos (NFL), Colorado Avalanche (NHL).
Salt Lake City (1): Utah Jazz (NBA)
Phoenix (2): Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Phoenix Suns (NBA)
Seattle (2): Seattle Mariners (MLB), Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
Portland (1): Portland Trail Blazers (MLB)
San Diego (2): San Diego Padres (MLB), San Diego Chargers (NFL)
Los Angeles Area (6): Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), Anaheim Angels (MLB), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), Anaheim Ducks (NHL), Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Bay Area (6): San Francisco Giants (MLB), Oakland Athletics (MLB), Golden State Warriors (NBA), Oakland Raiders (NFL), San Francisco 49ers (NFL), San Jose Sharks (NHL)
Sacramento (1): Sacramento Kings (NBA)

Sources
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/640030/The-West
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Western_United_States
http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/index.html
http://www.vlib.us/americanwest/
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/updatedList.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_United_States
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