Types of Regions Robert Jones

Why do geographers divide the earth into regions?

The Earth is a huge planet. It is much easier for geographers to divide it into different regions so they can compare them, study them without an overwhelming amount of information, and understand how they work together as a system. By doing this, geographers can use smaller amounts of information to create a better understanding of human and physical patterns on Earth. There are three types of regions that geographers may use to study the Earth: formal, functional, and perceptual.

Formal Regions

Formal regions are drawn based on cold hard facts and measurable data. For example, the boundaries of a state or city limits. These types of regions share the same laws, government, etc. Other regions may include traits such as religion, language, and ethnic populations. Still others can be drawn based on physical features, such as a desert or river valley.

Examples of Formal Regions: the State of Texas, a school district, and the Rocky Mountains.

functional regions

Functional regions are organized around a focal point (node), that include areas that are linked to them through communication patterns, transportation routes, or even television broadcasts. They can also be described as a central place and the surrounding places affected by it.

Examples of Functional Regions: the San Francisco Bay Area, the Dallas Fort Worth light rail service area, and the Interstate 35 corridor.

perceptual regions

Perceptual regions are based on opinions and personal feelings and attitudes toward an area. They are usually based on stereotypes, not facts, and have no clear boundaries. They are also the type of region that changes the most because there are no set structures or guidelines.

Examples of Perceptual Regions: New England, Arts District, and the Bible Belt.


Dividing the Earth into regions makes it much easier for us to study it and to compare and contrast the different areas. The three types of regions help us to see how unique the various parts of the Earth are and learn more about each one.


Created with images by StillWorksImagery - "map paper vintage" • ErikaWittlieb - "globe map countries" • StockSnap - "golden gate bridge san francisco architecture"

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