West Coast of the United States

West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean and can also be included in the West Coast as well as the non-coastal states Arizona and Nevada. The U.S. Census groups the five states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii together as the Pacific region.[1]



As of 2008, the estimated population of the Census Bureau's Pacific Region was approximately 49 million. The estimated population of California, Oregon, and Washington was 47 million.[2]The region includes large cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Sacramento, and Fresno in California, Portland in Oregon, and Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane in Washington. Also included are Anchorage, Alaska; Honolulu, Hawaii; Phoenix, Arizona; and Las Vegas, Nevada.


The history of the West Coast begins with the arrival of the earliest known humans of the Americas, Paleo-Indians, crossing the Bering Strait from Eurasia into North America over a land bridge, Beringia, that existed between 45,000 BCE and 12,000 BCE (47,000 — 14,000 years ago). Small isolated groups of hunter-gatherers migrated alongside herds of large herbivores far into Alaska. Between 16,500 BCE and 13,500 BCE (18,500 — 15,500 years ago), ice-free corridors developed along the Pacific coast and valleys of North America and possibly by sea.[3]

Alaska Natives, indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, and California indigenous peoples eventually descended from the Paleo-Indians. They developed various languages and established trade routes.

Later, Spanish, British, Mexican, Russian and American explorers and settlers began colonizing the area.

See also


  1. U.S. Census regions and divisions
  2. United States Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey. Summed estimates for CA, OR, WA, AK, and HI
  3. . http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/02/13/beringia-native-american.html. Retrieved 2009-11-18. "Archaeological evidence, in fact, recognizes that people started to leave Beringia for the New World around 40,000 years ago, but rapid expansion into North America did not occur until about 15,000 years ago, when the ice had literally broken."