What is Formal Region Example?

What is a Region and How many Types of Regions are There? What are the Different Natural Formal Regions and Man-Made Formal Regions? How are Counties and Local Government Areas, both Formal and Functional? 

Our earth is divided into different regions based on their types. To understand geographic information, experts use different themes like location, region, movement, place, and human or environmental interaction. Based on these themes, various variations are made in human geography. Today, you will learn about formal regions. Things will be easier to understand with a formal region example. Do you know about the formal regions in the US? Why is Florida a formal region? Let’s find out!

1. What is a Region?

An area on the Earth that is identified by two common characteristics, namely physical and political geography, is known as a region. The physical region involves natural features like mountains, deserts, forests, etc. whereas the political region is defined by the established political boundaries, like borders. However, to human geographers, a region is a place with both human and physical characteristics. (See What’s the Difference between Urban Suburban and Rural Regions?)

2. What are the Types of Regions?

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To ease the understanding of human geography, regions are classified as formal, functional, and perceptual regions. Here is a brief description of all three.

  • Formal Region: A place with a high level of consistency, in particular cultural or physical activity, is known as a formal or uniform region. A place is termed as a formal region only if people living there share some common attributes like language, political system, climate, etc. A place is termed a formal region when there is no disagreement over its boundaries of it. Any country or language is an example of a formal region. It can be of two attributes, namely human-made and natural, that you will understand through the formal region example mentioned ahead.
  • Functional Region: It is a place where a certain set of activities are carried on within and outside the country or a place with a focal point or center node. Therefore, it is also known as a nodal region. An example of a functional region is a city whose distribution of services is limited to a certain area. Bank of America is another example, as its functions are limited within the state.
  • Perceptual Region: A place that is made up of the common assumptions of people or places is known as a perceptual or vernacular region. It can be based on the idea of the mental map of a person. For example, Bible Belt and Hillbilly Region.

3. What is a Natural Formal Region Example?

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Nature has distinct categories for formal regions based on natural factors. These categories are biomes, climate, and ecosystems. 

a) Biomes

A community that is characterized by the major forms of plant life and the prevailing climate in the region is termed a biome. They can be interconnected or located in different regions of the world. The main biome regions are aquatic, desert, forest, grassland, and tundra. Must see How many Biomes are there in Africa?

b) Climate

This parameter determines the climate or weather prevailing in those regions for a long period. Different climatic formal regions with the same climate are as follows:

  • Deserts
  • Dry Grassland
  • Mountainous Region
  • Polar and Tundra Region
  • Temperate Climates
  • Tropical Grassland
  • Tropical Rainforest

c) Ecosystem

A system that is formed by the interaction between organisms and their physical environment is known as an ecosystem. The regions with similar interactions make a particular ecosystem. The following are the types of this natural formal region example:

  • Terrestrial Ecosystem includes rainforest, desert, forest, tundra, grassland, and mountain ecosystem
  • The aquatic Ecosystem includes marine and freshwater

4. What is a Man-Made Formal Region Example?

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National and international bodies have legally acknowledged formal regions and drawn them on a map, clearly with boundaries. These regions are also termed uniform regions because there is a degree of uniformity or heterogeneous behavior inside the region. Here I am mentioning the examples.

  • The European Union: It is the formal region example of a group of 27 nation-states. These states came together to form a political and economic union. In this example, the European Union (EU) is a formal region with several other formal regions inside it. This example tells us that formal regions can overlap. They can also be identified on national, local, and international levels. This region expanded and shrunk and the formality remains within the boundaries of the region.
  • States in the USA: The United States of America is a formal region, whereas its states are distinct formal regions with their own laws, residents, and democracies. For example, the tax laws are different in the state of Texas and the state of California. They have separate elections through which they choose their own governments.
  • Counties and Local Government Areas: Often, nations, and states divide their nations into smaller regions to make it easier to govern them. Local governments assigned to these regions are responsible for tasks related to the region, and they take decisions regarding them. A task like electricity distribution, zoning the land, filling potholes, etc. needs to be done by the local governing bodies. Another formal region example is these counties, where decision-making bodies are elected by the public. 
  • East and West Berlin (Up Until 1989): By the year 1989, East and West Berlin were two different regions that were formally recognized. These regions were created by a political settlement between the Soviets and the Allies after the Second World War. It happened because both Western Allies and Soviets would not allow each other to control Berlin, therefore, it was divided in half. Communists controlled eastern Berlin, while Democratic Capitalism controlled the western side. In the early 1990s, these regions were dissipated and Germany was reunited. 
  • The Arctic Circle: This region is considered a formal region for scientific reasons and not any political grounds. This area is defined by all the areas in the Northern Hemisphere where there is one day in the year when the sun does not set or rise. Practically, the Arctic region begins at 66.3° latitude and all the regions above this latitude are in the arctic region.
  • The Nation-State: A nation or country with its own sovereign government is known as a nation-state. Such a country or nation must be recognized by the International Community to be called a formal region. These regions are formed after they are politically agreed upon, and political boundaries are formally drawn. Their locations on the maps are also finely drawn, as you have seen, in France, Germany, Canada, the United States of America, and Thailand. 
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR): Another formal region example is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics another formal region that changed over time. During the Cold War, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had regions that were tied to Russia and controlled by the communists. Russia was a dominant force in terms of political and economic grounds. After its disintegration in 1991, the region was broken into the sovereign and independent nation-states of Russia, Poland, and Ukraine. Today, all these regions are separate formal regions in themselves.
  • Continents: This is also a scientifically defined formal region. There is a total of 7 continents that make up 7 formal regions, including Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and Europe. Continents were mapped as per the tectonic plates of the crust of the Earth. You can locate them on the map. They have a particular beginning and ending.
  • State and National Parks: The government converted large areas of land to protect certain landmarks or habitats for the protection of animals. They are considered formal regions because they have well-defined boundaries set up by the government to protect the land within. For example, the federal agency of the National Park Service governs the national parks in the United States of America. 
  • The Four Nations of the United Kingdom: Further in the list of formal regions example is the United Kingdom and its nations. It is a nation-state and is a blend of four other nations as well, namely Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. The Union began when the King James of England became the King of Scotland, and over the centuries these nations merged slowly. Still, all four nations have differences in their laws and systems.

5. Are Counties and Local Government Areas Both Formal and Functional Regions?

These two regions are considered functional, however, the following reasons are responsible for putting them in a formal region example:

  • The proximity to a central node is not necessary for these regions, even though there may be the largest city in the country
  • Their formation is decided and agreed upon by a government body

6. What are the Formal Regions in the US?

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According to the United States Census Bureau, there are four regions in the United States, namely the South, the Northeast, the West, and the Midwest. However, according to the map of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, there are 8 regions stretching from New England to the Rocky Mountains and then to the Great Lakes.

  • South: The region has Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. However, as per the Census Bureau, Washington DC is also on the list. 
  • Northeast: Next in formal region example, we have the region of the Northwest, which includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
  • West: This formal region comprises Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • Midwest: This formal region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

7. Why is Florida a Formal Region?

Florida is part of the southern region of the United States and has its own cities, counties, boundaries, and limits that separate the state from other states. Florida has its own limits and is not connected with surrounding countries. All this makes Florida a formal region.

So, today you got to know about the formal region example, along with their brief explanation. Now you know about the formal regions in the US, along with the areas included in them. Trick your friends and family by asking: why is Florida a formal region? (See What is the Northern Most State in the U.S.?)

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