Is Texas South Or West?

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With a large state like Texas, there can be confusion about whether it falls under the South or West of the U.S.A. Texas covers a wide range of geographical areas and cultural influences, and there are arguments regarding where it stands. It feels Southern to some folk and more Western to others.

Texas is neither truly South nor West but is considered South Central. As the second-largest U.S. state, it covers a vast land area and has different geographical and cultural influences. One of the primary influences is from Mexico to the South, which gives it part of its distinct heritage.

Texas on old vintage map of USA with state borders. - Texas View

Is Texas Considered South Or West?

Texas sits in the South Central region of the states and covers 268,596 miles of land. It’s a massive area and is the second-largest state after Alaska. Thanks to its position bordering Mexico on the southwestern border and with a southeastern coastline along the Gulf coast, people are sometimes confused about if it’s South or West.

  • Texas sits in the central southern zone of the U.S.A.
  • Mexico sits to the south and west of Texas
  • On the north and east, it borders Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana
  • New Mexico sits on the northwestern border of Texas
  • The southeast border is the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico

Thanks to this unique positioning and multiple borders, Texas shares traits with its Western U.S. neighbors and its neighboring Southern states.

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Geographically speaking, Texas sits between the western and eastern sides of the U.S. Still, culturally, it shares many traits with the Southwest, the South, and Mexico.

Is Texas Southwestern?

The area called the American Southwest is known for its distinctive cultural elements. These include the mythos of the American cowboy as seen in cowboy culture and Southwestern food inspired by Native Americans and Spanish settlers.

The Southwestern states are usually considered Arizona and New Mexico, but the definition is loose and often includes adjacent states.

Some states share similar geographic desert landscapes and South Western culture, such as California, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Nevada, and the southwest parts of Texas.

Is Texas East Coast Or West Coast

Since Texas overlaps geographical regions and has a southeastern sea border, many people use this as an argument for Texas being an East Coast State. However, the East Coast or Eastern Seaboard is defined as the states along the North Atlantic. This runs from Maine to Florida and does not include Texas.

The West Coast or Western Seaboard refers to California, Oregon, and Washington. Texas is neither East nor West coast geographically, but parts of Texas share cultural commonalities with both areas.

Because of Texas’ colossal size, a city like El Paso is closer to the West Coast, while Houston is closer to the East coast.

An Illustration of very fine outline of the world with country borders - Texas View
World Map

Why Is Texas Not Part Of The South

When dealing with a state as large as Texas, putting the entire culture in one basket is difficult. One-half of Texas has a more Southwestern feel and cultural roots. In contrast, the other half feels Southern while still being distinctly Texan.

Texan Culture

There are five major regions of Texas, each with slightly different cultural attitudes and norms. Depending on where in Texas you are, the significant influences on culture could be Hispanic, African, Native American, Anglo,  and central and eastern European.

With such a diverse range of cultures meeting, it has created a distinctly Texan culture. Texas was, until 1836, part of Mexico; for nine years, it was a separate republic before it was annexed into the United States. This history adds to its unique feel, unlike other Southern states.

Texan Cuisine

Texas food has been influenced by many cultures and is known for its Southwestern-influenced Tex-Mex foods. However, neighboring states like Louisiana can also give Texan food a Creole quality. Add in the tastes of Mexico, and you can see how Texan cuisine is its own style, distinct from Southern cooking.

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Many distinctly Southern dishes such as biscuits and gravy, pan-fried chicken, and cornbread make it onto Texan menus. However, so do the Northwestern Mexican dishes like tacos, chillis, and huevos rancheros.

The cowboy barbacoa influenced the popular Texas barbeque.

Texan Geography

Texas covers a vast area of land, resulting in diverse geography. Texas is often subdivided into five distinct regions, some of which share regions with the Southeast, the Plains, and the Gulf Coastal Plains. With so much geographical and cultural diversity, categorizing Texas is challenging.

While some parts share borders with Southern states, such as Louisiana, and are directly influenced by them, you cannot apply this to Texas. Even these regions see themselves as Texan rather than Southern, perhaps as a way of distancing themselves from uncomfortable historical actions.

Global Studies A Colorful Closeup of United States. - Texas View

Do Texans Consider Themselves Southern

This can be a very contentious question, as some Texans consider themselves Southerners. Still, it does not apply to the whole state as the size of Texas means it has many influences and different heritages going into its culture. Many Southerners from other states also don’t consider Texas part of the South.

  1. The South was defined by several factors, including the growing seasons, its crops, and the use of agricultural slave labor. According to the U.S. government, this includes Texas.
  2. Although Texas seceded to join the Confederates, Texan history and culture were also influenced by its proximity to Mexico and the Southwest.
  3. Some Texans see themselves as Southerners. Still, many have embraced the influence of the Southwest and cowboy culture, partly to distance themselves from this heritage.
  4. Texans often see themselves as Texans first rather than Southern or Midwestern.
  5. Due to different colonial roots and immigration patterns, Texas doesn’t match the early history of Southern States.

Geography Versus Culture

While Texas may be considered a Southern state geographically, it’s too large a state to share the same cultural influences as other Southern States. Politically and culturally, many Texans view Texas as distinct from the South.

The Lone Star State

Texas was once an independent republic after it gained its independence from Mexico. Because of this, a famous flag – The Lone Star Flag – is one of only two state flags that were once flags of a former country (Hawaii is the other.) This is a distinct heritage that differs from the South.

Southern Traditions

Some traditions considered distinctly Southern, such as Cotillon and Debutante Balls, are a rarity in Texas. Eastern Texas will share more cultural identity with the South. Still, the South Western parts share more with Mexico, making it unlikely that most Texans would identify as Southerners.

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Texas South Or West FAQs

What Parts of Texas Are More Southern?

The eastern Texan counties that border Louisiana and Arkansas will have the most Southern feel. Even here, people usually see themselves as Texans rather than Southerners. It’s not considered part of the Deep South.

What Parts of Texas are More Western?

The Western prairies and Mexico influence much of Texas’ history and culture, creating a distinctly Texan ‘cowboy culture.’ This can be seen in Texas’ national sport—the rodeo. Counties that lie to the south, central and western parts of Texas will have more of a ‘Western’ feel.

Which Cities In Texas Feel The Most Southern?

‘Southern Style’ cities and towns in Texas will still feel uniquely Texan but have Southern cultural influences. Cities such as Houston, Galveston, Beaumont, Jacksonville, and Texarkana will feel more Southern.

Which Cities In Texas Feels The Most Western?

Visitors looking to find a more Western, ranch-style living can expect that from cities and towns like Bandera, Amarillo, and El Paso. The towns bordering Mexico will also have a solid Hispanic and vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) cultural influence.

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Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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