Why Don't More People Live On The Upper West Coast?

The western coast of the United States accommodates a vast population of over 50 million Americans. Stretching from the southern cities of San Diego and Los Angeles, through the central California metro areas of San Francisco and Sacramento, and further north to Portland and Seattle, approximately 1 in every 6 Americans calls this region home. Despite its high population density, there exists a significant expanse between the Bay Area and Portland, Oregon, which remains sparsely inhabited. In this video, we will delve into the reasons behind the limited human settlement in this area, which I refer to as the "Empty West."

The sparsely populated areas of the upper west coast of the USA can be attributed to several factors:

Geography: The region is characterized by rugged terrain, mountains, dense forests, and other geographical barriers, making it less suitable for large-scale urban development. These natural features can make transportation and infrastructure development more challenging and costly.

Climate: The upper west coast experiences a more temperate and wet climate compared to other parts of the country. Frequent rainfall and cooler temperatures may discourage some people from settling in these areas.

Economic Opportunities: The lack of significant economic opportunities and industries in these remote regions can deter people from moving there. Most job opportunities tend to concentrate in urban centers, making it less attractive for individuals seeking employment.

Distance to Urban Centers: The sparsely populated regions are often far from major cities and urban hubs, which can limit access to essential services, education, healthcare, and cultural amenities. This distance can dissuade people from choosing to live in these areas.

Environmental Concerns: Some parts of the upper west coast are environmentally sensitive and protected, restricting large-scale development. Conservation efforts and regulations may limit human settlement in order to preserve natural beauty and wildlife.

Historical Settlement Patterns: Settlement patterns were influenced by historical events, such as the westward expansion in the 19th century. Many of the population centers were established along transportation routes and natural resources, leaving the more remote areas less developed.

Infrastructure and Services: The lack of well-developed infrastructure, including roads, utilities, and other essential services, can make living in remote areas challenging and less appealing.

Overall, a combination of geographical, economic, environmental, and historical factors has contributed to the relative lack of population in certain parts of the upper west coast of the USA.