Florida population explosionAfter WWII and after air conditioning came about, the state of Florida had a population explosion.  How would you say this represents the historical theme of "Geography...

Florida population explosion

After WWII and after air conditioning came about, the state of Florida had a population explosion.  How would you say this represents the historical theme of "Geography and the development/diffusion of human society," and please discuss how the historical facts of this population explosion support this same theme. 

Asked on by kerrierg

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Air conditioning resulted in a population explosion throughout the Sun Belt. Before air conditioning, people had to be tough to live in these areas. They had to put up with the humidity and high temperatures with no relief for months at a time. The rich could go back and forth to more hospitable regions with the season. Air conditioning changed all of that, in more than just Florida. Now people could live comfortably in these hot and humid areas.
justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Florida's population grew tremendously after WW II as it had a very strategic location for national defence and a large number of military camps were set up. This brought in thousands of soldiers and thousands others came in to construct and maintain the camps. The largely agricultural state before the War saw hundreds of new production facilities emerge which drove the population up by almost 50%.

As far as the air conditioning goes...India has only seen air conditioners gain popularity in the last couple of years. The population is already touching a 1.5 billion. Wonder where it will reach when air conditioners become a part of every household!!

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Great points already discussed here.  I think one of the critical factors is that this happened after World War II.  16 million Americans were shipped overseas and the domestic population was shuffled to various centers of war production north and west.  It was one of the long term effects of the war.  It took a largely geographically stationary American society and made it mobile.  It was the first time that members of families began living entire states away from each other in large numbers.  Today we view that as something typical and normal.

I think the idea of "retirement" doesn't really come around until at least the New Deal and Social Security, so moving to a warmer climate to live out your golden years became a reality about the same time as world War II.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Personally I would move to Florida just for the crocodiles. But seriously, I think mshurn raises some excellent points in #3. You need to look at the wider context to explain the population explosion in Florida, and if you are seriously arguing that it was the invention of air conditioning that resulted in the population explosion, you need to be able to look at comparitive examples to support your ideas.

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Is it your premise that the population exploded in Florida because of the availability of air conditioning? Did the same population explosion, for instance, occur in Arizona or Nevada, also very hot states? Surely other factors were involved that drew people to settle specifically in Florida after World War II. People frequently move to new places to find work or to find better jobs. You might consider if the geography of Florida contributed in various ways to the growth in business and industry after the war, thus creating employment opportunities that inspired people to move there.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would think that the fact that the population explosion only happened after the invention of air conditioning shows something about this theme.  It shows that climate affects the patterns of human population.  It also shows that, as technology advances, human societies have not had to pay nearly as much attention to climate and other natural checks on human population (both its size and its distribution).

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