The United States is often divided into five regions as a way of studying landforms, or regions, of the country. They include the West, Southwest, Middle West, Southeast and Northeast. Each area has its own geological makeup and characteristics.

West

Alaska is closer to Russia than the U.S.
Alaska is closer to Russia than the U.S.

The mainland states of the West region are Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. This area is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Alaska and Hawaii are included in this region. Alaska is more than 700 miles from the U.S. mainland and only about 60 miles from Russia. Hawaii is more than 2,000 miles west of California in the Pacific Ocean.

Middle West

The Great Lakes are situated in the Midwest.
The Great Lakes are situated in the Midwest.

The Middle West region is often referred to as the Midwest. It borders the Western states and includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The Great Lakes border several Midwestern states, and the Midwest region borders each of the other four regions.

Southwest

The Southwest has areas of desert.
The Southwest has areas of desert.

The Southwest region is made up of only four states: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Texas is the largest U.S. mainland state, while New Mexico is fifth largest and Arizona sixth largest. The Southwest is home to several deserts, including the Mojave, Sonora, Sagebrush and Chihuahua. This region borders Mexico to the south as well as the West, Midwest and Southeast regions.

Southeast

South Florida has a subtropical environment.
South Florida has a subtropical environment.

The Southeast region is composed of Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Parts of Florida have a subtropical climate and environment. The island of Puerto Rico is included in this region.This area of the country is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. On land, the Southeast shares borders with three other regions.

Northeast

The U.S. Capitol is in the firmly situated in the Northeast region.
The U.S. Capitol is in the firmly situated in the Northeast region.

The Northeast region borders Canada to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and abuts the Middle West and South East regions. The region's states include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia.