Why are so many cities in the United States so close to state borders?


It’s always baffled me why. New York, Philadelphia, Omaha, San Diego (in the case of Mexico’s border), Portland, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Savannah, Fargo, Duluth, Memphis, Sioux Falls, Chattanooga, Charlotte, Buffalo, Detroit (Buffalo and Detroit in the case of Canada’s border), and Minneapolis are all within 15-20 minutes, if not right on a state border. And then we’ve also got Kansas City and El Paso/Cuidad Juarez, who literally split borders as well. Is it merely a matter of coincidence or is there a specific reason for it?

In: Other

Most cities are on large rivers. Large rivers make for natural state borders.

Because many state borders are set by rivers, and a river makes an excellent place to locate a city.

In the case of San Diego, the border was placed artificially after the Mexican-American War, specifically to include San Diego Bay in the winning (USA) side’s territory.

Rivers are both good places for a city and convenient lines to use for borders.

Many state borders were drawn on rivers. And nearly all cities are built on rivers, because you need a lot of water to feed a city’s population and its industry. It would just make sense that a lot of these cities built on rivers will be on the rivers that form the borders between two states.