Frost Belt

[frawst-belt, frost-]

The Frost Belt is a region of the United States generally considered to include the Northeastern United States, the Great Lakes Region and much of the Upper Midwest. The region is known for its cold, frost-producing winters and heavy snowfall.

The Frost Belt was for many years the epicenter of American economic activity, and the most populous part of the United States. A shift away from domestic manufacturing beginning in the 1980s dealt a heavy blow to the region's economy. For most of the latter 20th century, the Frost Belt had already been experiencing a stagnating population as Americans relocated to the more temperate Southern and Western regions of the country. This shift was caused by economic factors as well as social developments; the desegregation of the South and easing of racial tensions in that area made it a more welcoming place for African-Americans and other minorities. Even the advent of air conditioning played a role; the South and Southwest, once uninhabitable for some parts of the year, became a more viable alternative to the colder climates of the Northeast and Midwest. Census results for the past several decades have indicated a population shift from the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt.

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