Eight major Industrial Regions of North America are
1. Southern New England
2. Mid-Atlantic States
3. Pittsburgh-Lake Erie Region
4. Detroit Industrial Region
5. Lake Michigan Region
6. Southern Appalachian Region
7. Eastern Texas
8. Pacific Coastal Region.
North American industrial region comprising of USA and Canada is a highly developed industrial region of the world. USA is now the wealthiest and most highly developed nation in the world. Southern Canada is also well developed.
The USA has become the world’s greatest industrial country. She had the immense advantages of space and virgin resources. The speed at which the industrial pattern of the USA is shifting and changing today is, in some sense, a measure of her industrial wealth and of the newness of her development.
The continent was peopled from the east. The oldest centres of industry lie along the eastern seaboard or in the valleys of the eastward flowing rivers. The industrial centres of the Middle West and of the Pacific coast are more recent.
The North American continent has many great industrial centres and a few industrial regions. This is partly the consequence of the widespread nature of the resources of the continent, and partly because of the late date at which industrialisation took place.
The development of transport facilities and in recent years the generation and transmission of hydroelectric power have tended to cut industry adrift from the coalfields It is now having few areas of large scale concentration. Figure 12.2 shows major industrial regions of North America, particularly of USA and southern Canada.
1. Southern New England:
This part of USA was the earliest to be developed by the settlers from England. Therefore, industrial growth also started earlier in this region. This is one of the oldest industrial regions in USA having a diversified industrial growth. The nucleus of the region is Boston with Connecticut; Massachusetts and Rhode Island are other major centres.
The two dominant industries which developed in this region are shipbuilding and textile, but both have now declined as newer centres with greater advantages have emerged in the Mid-Atlantic States, the Great Lakes and the West.
The engineering industry is still important, especially for the production of specialised goods, such as electrical machinery at Springfield, aircraft and armaments in Hartford, instrument-making at Bridgeport and textile-machinery manufacture at Worcester, Lowell and New Bedford.
Two towns, Boston and Beverly, are specialised in footwear machinery and the former is a shoemaking centre. The traditional textile towns are Lowell and Providence for woollen textiles; and New Bedford, Worcester and Fall River for cotton textiles; but these now produce mainly high-quality goods. Mass production is now more economic, farther south.
2. Mid-Atlantic States:
This region has a great diversity of manufactures. Inland, the variety of product, from the wrist watch to the giant locomotive; from the coarsest cotton to the finest silk; and from the deadliest and most powerful chemicals to perfumes are the outstanding characteristics of this industrial development.
Abundance of cheap and good anthracite coal of Pennsylvania, oil and natural gas from Appalachians have been important factors in encouraging development in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Coal is used in all units of this industrial region as a source of power but oil and gas are also important sources of energy. This is also the most densely populated part of the United States, a main source of skilled labour force, and this is also the main basis for the growth of enormous industrial conurbation from New York to Baltimore.
The main industrial cities of the Mid-Atlantic region are New York, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilnington, Baltimore, etc. This vast conurbation from New York to Baltimore is known as Megalopolis.
New York, situated on Manhattan Island, at the mouth of this important Hudson route from the interior via the Mohawk and Hudson valleys, is the largest city in the United States. It has an excellent harbour, and kilometers of wharves along the shores of the Manhattan Island and Long Island.
Leading industries were food and allied products; clothing and other textile products; printing and publishing; chemical and allied products; electrical equipment; transport equipment; and instruments. The town of Albany lies near the confluence of the Mohawk and the Hudson, and is noted for iron and steel manufactures.
3. Pittsburgh-Lake Erie Region:
This is the region having greatest concentration of ferrous industries. This region accounts about one-fourth of ferrous and ferro-alloy products of the country. The famous Youngstown-Pittsburgh-Johnstown iron and steel triangle is located in the region. The other steel-producing areas are Wheeling, Cleveland, Louisville, Rookford, Flint, Steubenville and Detroit.
The other manufacturing centres engaged in diversified manufacturing activities are Chicago, Anderson, Midland, Iowa, St. Louis, Minneapolis, etc. In cities like Detroit, several industries have developed including motor vehicles, machinery, fabricated metals, machine tools and electronics.
Most of the iron and steel towns are spun in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, such as Mckeesport, Braddock, Carnegie, Homestead and Johnstown. The industry spreads northward up to Shenango valley to Sharon, up the Beaver-Mahoning valley to Youngstown and into Canton, Massillon, and other eastern Ohio towns.
It also spreads down the Ohio River to Weirton, Steubenville, wheeling Huntington, Ashland, Ironton and Portsmouth and up the Miami valley to Middletown. Pittsburgh also has the largest glass industry in the United States.
Johntown on the Conemangh, to the east of Pittsburgh, has a coal, iron and steel industry. Most of the ore comes from Lake Superior. Cleveland, on Lake Erie, is noted for iron goods, electrical engineering and machineries.
4. Detroit Industrial Region:
This is the greatest automobile manufacturing region of the USA, centred at Detroit. The city was at first a centre for wagon and carriage-making which later led to the assembly of automobiles in the region.
It is the headquarters of several giant motor corporations including Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. Other locational advantages were the large market for cars in the Midwest, where other forms of transport, e.g., railways, were relatively poorly developed in the early 20th century; and the ease of transporting steel from Pittsburgh via Lake Erie.
The automobile industry extends to many other towns around Detroit, e.g., Lansing, Flint, Jackson, Pontiac, Dearborn and Toledo; and car assembly is linked with other branches of manufacture such as tyre-making, electrical wires, glass, batteries, paints, polishes, alloyed steel, spare parts and components.
5. Lake Michigan Region:
This area lies on the southern shores of Lake Michigan with Chicago as a main centre. There are some 10,000 factories in and around Chicago, amongst which the iron and steel plants are the most important.
The manufacturing industries around Lake Michigan are confined largely to Chicago and Gary where iron ore of the Lake Superior and of north meets coal from the south. Chicago, near the head of Lake Michigan, is now the second largest city in the United States.
Its chief advantage lies in the fact that railways from the north-west are obliged to pass through it in rounding Lake Michigan to reach the Atlantic, while it also forms a good centre for railways from the south. Chicago concentrates on motor vehicles and trucks, cement, chemicals, iron and steel goods, furniture, paper, cereal, baby food and pharmaceuticals.
Other industries are based on the agricultural products of the surrounding regions, e.g., meat-packing, grain milling and the making of agricultural implements and machinery. Gary near Chicago is important for iron and steel production.
Closely associated with the Chicago metropolitan area are such urban centres as Milwankee, Racine and Kenosha with their extensive iron and steel, motor vehicle, beverage, machinery, meat packing, leather and leather goods establishments. Chicago, Gary and Milwankee depend upon it now for the delivery of Upper Lake ore.
6. Southern Appalachian Region:
This is a very distinctive steel making area centred at Birmingham in the piedmont of the southern Appalachians in the state of Albania. The availability of coal and iron, later supplemented by oil and hydroelectric power from the Fall line are responsible for the growth of this industrial area. Other industrial cities of this region are Atlanta, Gadsden, Bessemer, Anniston and many others.
Cotton textiles and chemicals are now manufactured in several industrial towns of this industrial region where water power is available. It makes a very wide range of goods such as metal works, chemicals and machinery manufacture.
7. Eastern Texas:
The industrial development of this region is based on oil, as a source of fuel and as a raw material. The main centres of this region are cities of Dallas and Houston. This region is also rich in sulphur, rock salt and phosphate rock. This makes oil refining and chemical industries the most important in the region. Their situations on the coast have additional advantage of transportation.
The capital available by the oil industry helps in industrial development. Dallas has more than twelve oil refineries, chemical plants, synthetic rubber factory as well as steel milling and manufacture of mining equipment and consumer products. Dallas also has clothing and fashion industry and Fort Worth is famous for aircraft and aerospace industries.
8. Pacific Coastal Region:
This region is a narrow coastal strip running through Washington, Oregon and California. This is one of the great industrial agglomerations of the Pacific coast. Its industrial centres are San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This region is famous for food and beverages, automobiles, aircraft, metal fabrication, petrochemical and heavy chemical industries. The other industrial centres of this region are Portland, Seattle, Engine, Sacramento, San Diego, etc.
Apart from the above mentioned industrial regions, there are some large isolated industrial centres in USA which are known for their industrial products. St. Louis has meat-packing, flour-milling, footwear, and agricultural machinery industries. Kansas City has similar manufacture of products plus aircraft and oil refining.
Others like Omaha, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver, St. Paul and Minneapolis, and Memphis concern themselves mainly with agricultural industries, being located in the midst of America’s richest agricultural region. Flour-milling, meat-packing, cotton textiles and food processing are some of the major industrial undertakings.
Bordering the Gulf of Mexico are several towns that serve as the outlets of the Mississippi basin and have industries linked with the oil found in the region. New Orleans has oil refining, chemicals and cotton textile industries.