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From Sun Belt to Dust Belt: Can U.S. Desert States Stave Off Their Decline?

MIN READAug 30, 2022 | 20:58 GMT

The water intake towers at the Hoover Dam in Lake Mead, Arizona, are seen on Aug. 19, 2022.

The water intake towers at the Hoover Dam in Lake Mead, Arizona, are seen on Aug. 19, 2022.

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The desert Sun Belt states of Arizona and Nevada have seen some of the fastest growth in the United States for the past half century, but if climate projections are accurate, that growth might turn into a decline as temperatures soar and critical resources like water run low. But it's not only climate change that's challenging their growth models: from affordability to education, the states are facing a need to update the ways they attract migrants to replace an aging population that's having fewer children. Without a strategic reaction to the pressures on population growth, Arizona and Nevada could start seeing a slowdown in migration -- and even an exodus, as the years wear on. If that happens, it'll create pressures on the strategic industries, from tech to defense, that call the region home, and could bring a new form of populism -- Dust Belt populism -- into American politics...

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