The U.S. Census Bureau identifies 16 states as part of the American South, and these states are divided into three smaller regions. The South Atlantic includes Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware. The East South Central region is composed of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The West South Central region includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
The southern United States is generally characterized by its unique customs, musical styles and cuisines that help identify it from other areas throughout the United States. While the Census Bureau defines it geographically, often the popular definition of the American South is associated with the 11 states that seceded from the original American colonies during the Civil War to form their own nation, the Confederate States of America. Originally founded by South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, the Confederate States of America seceded in 1861. Soon after, four more slave-holding states, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, joined the Confederacy. These states are often referred to as Dixie or the Old South.
Other terms associated with the region refer to more geographical separations of the southeastern corner of the United States. Southern Appalachia identifies the portions of states that are located in the southern Appalachian mountains, and the Gulf South includes the states with coasts located along the Gulf.