What Is The Area West Of The Mississippi River

Geographic Overview

West of the Mississippi River is an area filled with natural beauty, historical importance and a variety of cultures. The Mississippi River marks the boundary between various states, essentially making it a dividing line between the East and West. It begins in Lake Itasca in Minnesota and flows south over a span of 2,340 miles into Louisiana and eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The 30 states that are located west of the Mississippi River include California, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas and Texas.

The area is approximately 1,500,000 square miles and is comprised of many significant features. These include a portion of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Great Basin and the Columbia Plateau. Additionally, it is endowed with numerous rivers and lakes, including the Yellowstone, the Colorado, the Rio Grande and Lake Superior. The oxygen-rich atmosphere of the area makes it the home to the largest temperate forests in North America.

Economic Significance

From an economic point of view, the area west of the Mississippi River is vitally important. It is home to numerous industries including agriculture, banking, oil and gas production, energy, technology and tourism. The presence of the Rocky Mountains makes the area a major source of mineral resources like silver, copper, uranium, and coal. The Flathead river, one of the largest tributaries of the Missouri River, is an important source of irrigation for the agricultural sector.

In addition to its agricultural activities, the area also serves as an important transport corridor between the western states, the east coast and Canada. Railways, highways and pipelines all run through the region and provide essential links between the different areas. Of particular significance is the Mississippi River itself, which serves as a major freight transportation hub.

Cultural Impact

Due to its geographical setting and cultural diversity, the area west of the Mississippi River has had a significant cultural impact on the United States. Its history is home to the indigenous peoples like the Sioux and the Pawnee and their influence can still be seen in the landscape. Certain areas such as south-western Colorado and Arizona are home to a unique tax of Spanish and Native American cultures that have been passed down through the centuries.

English, Spanish and various Native American languages are also spoken in the area making it one of the most multi-cultural areas in the country. In addition, there are numerous churches, schools and colleges that were built by early settlers as well as modern cities such as Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle that continue to attract many people.

Environmental Impact

The area west of the Mississippi River is largely made up of fragile desert ecosystems and temperate forests. These regions are home to a diverse array of wildlife such as black bears, elk, bighorn sheep and pumas, as well as rare species of flora. Human activities such as farming, ranching and logging can have a significant impact on these delicate ecosystems and it is important for the inhabitants to be aware of their impact.

Pollution from factories, oil refineries and transportation are also becoming increasingly visible. These places significantly reduce the quality of the water and air in the area, and can put the health of human and animal life at risk. As a result, there is a great need to increase our understanding of environmental impacts and ways to preserve the area’s richness.


The area west of the Mississippi River, already known for its rich historical, cultural and environmental heritage, is now facing a significant challenge, namely the growing urban sprawl. Rapid population growth has led to an influx of people who are seeking newly built homes and employment opportunities. As a result, previously rural areas are being rapidly urbanized, resulting in a significant strain on the already fragile ecosystems.

In order to sustain the area’s natural heritage, it is essential to ensure that urban planning is well regulated. This means that developments should be designed in synergy with the environment, making use of green technologies and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. This will ensure that new developments are in harmony with their natural surroundings and that the area’s beauty is preserved for future generations.

Social Issues

The area west of the Mississippi River is known for its many social issues. These include poverty, discrimination, education disparities, and a lack of access to healthcare and employment opportunities. These issues are disproportionately faced by minority communities living in the region and require immediate action in order to create a fairer economy and a more inclusive society.

As a result, a range of government initiatives have been put in place to tackle these issues and promote greater social justice. The focus of these initiatives has been to educate and empower disadvantaged communities, as well as to provide them with economic opportunities and access to health care. This will enable them to access and enjoy the resources that the area has to offer, ensuring that everyone has the same chance to live a healthy, prosperous life in the west.


The area west of the Mississippi River is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The countless attractions and activities make it ideal for both short breaks and longer holiday getaways. Adventure parks, national parks and nature reserves can be found throughout the region and provide visitors with the perfect opportunity to explore the area’s natural beauty.

From beaches to deserts, mountain ranges to rivers, the area’s rich diversity is a major draw for travelers. Moreover, its cities offer world-class entertainment and cultural experiences, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a bustling city break. With so much to offer, it is no surprise that the area is one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the country.


To summarize, the area west of the Mississippi River has an immense amount to offer. Whether you want to explore its historical and cultural heritage, its economic and environmental importance, its social issues or its tourist attractions, there are countless opportunities for adventure and discovery. As such, it will continue to be an important part of our nation for years to come.

Raymond Strasser is a passion-driven writer and researcher, dedicated to educating readers on the topic of world rivers. With a background in Geography and Environmental Studies, Raymond provides insightful pieces which explore the impact and importance that rivers have around the world.

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