April 30, 2014

FiveThirtyEight continues to ferret out the truth about what really matters — like which states count as "The Midwest"?

"To get this broad-based view, we asked SurveyMonkey Audience to ask self-identified Midwesterners which states make the cut."

See, because what you need is data. Because data can be analyzed. And with that data we learn that the heart of the heartland is Illinois. Or is "heartland" a somewhat different place? Maybe another SurveyMonkey for "heartland" and then a Venn diagram showing the overlap.

Are you in The Heartland and/or The Midwest?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

FiveThirtyEight follows up with "Which States Are in the South?" I have a few questions here. For example: How did only 80-some percent think Mississippi is in The South?

Also, I have an answer about Delaware, where I was born and raised. Apparently somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of those who identify themselves as Southerners see Delaware as part of the south. Living there, I didn't know anyone who had the idea that we were in The South, but as an adult, I have been told repeatedly, often by people who were laughing at me, that's because I'm white. So maybe we need 2 maps of which states are in The South, based on 2 surveys — one from those who identify as southern and black and one from a those who identify as southern and not black.

128 comments:

MadisonMan said...

If you border a Great Lake, and you have flat topography (sorry Pennsylvania and New York) then you are in the midwest. Iowa is also included.

Heartland includes Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska.

St. George said...

Southern Living produces state/regional editions for Alabama, Arkansas (including Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma), Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, NC, SC, Tennessee, Texas, and....the Mid-Atlantic (as far north as NY) and the Midwest which it defines as Mich, Ky, W.V., Il, Ind., Ohio, and Wisc.

This is clearly for sales and marketing reasons. Most people would think the South comprises only the states of the Confederacy. In fact, one way to measure Southernness might be to look at sales of grits, catfish, biscuit mix, and Jack Daniels. All part of a good breakfast.

Even within Southern states, some, like Tennessee, split during the Civil War with the eastern part of the state remaining loyal to the Union. East Tennesseans regard themselves more as East Tennesseans than anything else.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The Heartland means living in or near the Southwest Iowa service area of heartland.net operated by Farmers Telephone Company of Essex, Iowa.

Ficta said...

When I moved to Maryland 20 years ago, after living for 4 years in South Carolina, I vividly remember driving to the Atlantic coast and in the first small town over the Delaware line thinking:

Oh wow! I'm back in the North. The houses are all recently painted and there isn't junk lying around the front yards.

Brian said...

"How did only 80-some percent think Mississippi is in The South?"

And Georgia is the high man at not quite 90%.

I think what you see there is an artifact of a common "more Southern than thou" thought process. That is: to some Southerners the only "real South" is their state/town/neighborhood/living room and everything outside that envelope is a bastardized wannabe-South. Those people are going to turn up in the survey in proportion to the populations of the various states, leading to the rank-order you see here.

mccullough said...

Delaware was a slave state so maybe that's why people think its in the South.

policraticus said...

As a fellow Blue Hen I also never thought of the Diamond State as "Southern." I knew that Mason and Dixon drew the famous "12 mile Circle" separating us from the dreaded Pennsylvanians and delineated the Western border of the state with dread Maryland as part of their eponymous Line. So, in that sense, we are "below the Mason-Dixon Line," and therefore in the "South." But I, like you, grew up in the Wilmington area. We're from Northern Delaware, not Slower Delaware. Once you go south of the C & D Canal perspectives and even accents change. Things are different now than when I was younger. I think the state has become more and more homogenized and more oriented toward the north. Twenty-five years ago, however, I think you could have made a good argument that Sussex and Kent counties were the northernmost parts of the South.

Meade said...

The heart of the heartland is West Lafayette, Indiana. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere in the NYT. By the way, NY is not in the heartland, it's more in the faucesland.

Illinois is closer to the bowels of the heartland. Especially Danville,Illinois. Which is the appendix of the bowels of the heartland.

Brando said...

I always took "Midwest" to start with Ohio and go until you hit Colorado, and up to the Canadian border and down to Kansas.

"South" is all the Confederate states, plus Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Missouri's sort of "half South, half Midwest".

Of course all that is changing culturally. Are Atlantans or coastal Floridians really southern in a cultural sense? And there are parts of New York state that seem culturally more "midwestern" than Chicago.

Sorun said...

"Minnesotans thought they made up the true Midwest"

A popular savings and loan in Minnesota when I was growing up was "Midwest Federal". That plants the idea in a kid's mind that he's in the Midwest. The power company was Northern States Power, so the South was somewhere else.

Richard Dolan said...

Heartland, you say? Here's the layout:

Manhattan = rich and corporte
Brooklyn = hip and artsy
Queens = ethnic
The Bronx = Let's not discuss it
Staten Island = Heartland, as in most like the rest of America

Big Mike said...

Delaware was technically (and I emphasize the word "technically") a slave state at the start of the Civil War.

Though frankly I'm not sure whether one should actually count Delaware as a state. I think of it as a wholly owned subsidiary of I. E. DuPont de Nemours.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

Next at 538, a hard hitting expose on whether chili has beans.

Myself I define"South" and "Midwest" by what happens when you order tea at Cracker Barrel: sweet tea=South, unsweet tea=Midwest. "What's a Cracker Barrel"=Yankee.

Bob R said...

I think you can make an argument that the institution that defines the south isn't the Confederacy, but the SEC. That leaves North Carolina and Virginia (and Delaware) out, but it puts Florida in (and now, Missouri and Texas.)

The argument that the Midwest has to be flat is pretty persuasive. But I've always thought of Pittsburgh as a Midwestern city. It's certainly not an Eastern city. And what the heck is West Virginia?

Maybe the "South Atlantic" is Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina. You could throw in Florida if you want to throw in out of the South. (A lot of people do.) You could throw in South Carolina if their football team continues to stink it up.

RecChief said...

at least they aren't as bad as VOX

Big Mike said...

@MadMan, you are dead on as regards the Midwest. However the Great American Heartland starts at Texas and spreads northward to include Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado east of the Rockies, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and both Dakotas. Like you I think of Iowa as part of the Heartland, so there's the overlap with the Midwest. For some reason I don't include New Mexico, but I'm not sure why I don't.

To me the South is the old Confederacy, minus Texas. So that's Arkansas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, both Carolinas, and Virginia. Some parts of Tennessee are Southern, but it's hit or miss. Kentucky tries to pretend it's Southern, but that's all a facade.

tim maguire said...

The Mason-Dixon Line runs through Maryland, below Delaware. Therefore, Delaware is in the North. Washington, D.C., the capital of the North, is in the South.

I did most of my growing up in Ohio, and Ohioans consider Ohio to be in the mid-West. But looking at a map, it's pretty far East to be mid-West.

Urban Florida is not in the South, but rural Florida is.

Big Mike said...

Oh, and in Virginia the South is only that part that is southwest of the Rappahannock River. These days Fairfax, Loudoun, Fauquier, and Prince William counties are all part of the North.

Alas.

Viktor Elefant said...

10-20% of all survey responses are just intended to screw with the surveyor.

Larry Davis said...

Meade said, Quote"The heart of the heartland is West Lafayette, Indiana. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere in the NYT. By the way, NY is not in the heartland, it's more in the faucesland.

Illinois is closer to the bowels of the heartland. Especially Danville,Illinois. Which is the appendix of the bowels of the heartland."Unquote

Sorry, Marion, Indiana, 60 miles east of Lafayette, is the heart of the Heartland of the Midwest!

Danville, Illinois is the anus of the Midwest. Or, it used to be when I visited while in the U.S. Air Force 1960-61.

Viktor Elefant said...

10-20% of all survey responses are just intended to screw with the surveyor.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

"What's a Cracker Barrel"=Yankee.

We have at least one in New Hampshire, and they've been advertising pretty heavily, so if there aren't more, there are more on the way. I've never been to the one in NH, but I hit the nearest one pretty often when I lived in Alabama.

traditionalguy said...

The mid-west was always west of Buffalo, north of Indianapolis and east of Denver. It still is.

The South was always west of Williamsburg/Jamestown, north of Orlando, and east on Longview. It still is.

MarkW said...

'Midwest' is way too big and amorphous. If it were up to me, I'd get rid of it and subdivide the region into:

A) Great Lakes (Ohio, Mich, Indiana, Illinois, Wisc & Minnesota)

B) Great Plains (Iowa, Dakotas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri)

rcocean said...

The Great Plains states of ND, SD, Kansas, and Nebraska are thought of as the Midwest, but I think they have more in common with the West than the Midwest.

Lots of space and few people. Most of it lacks water. The Black Hills feel like the west not the mid-west.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Beyond heartland.net, the Heartland includes the four-state listening area of KMA Radio 960 and the MINK baseball league.

The Greater Heartland includes the entire Missouri River watershed.

In the same way that the American Revolution was fought over who would settle the Midwest and the Mexican-American War over who would settle the Southwest, the Civil War was fought over who would settle the Heartland.

Many non-Heartland Midwesterners and Southerners also claim to be part of the Heartland, or that such a place does not exist, but that's just a vestige of the conflict.

rcocean said...

Texas used to be part of the South - no if and or buts. But once the population outside the Coast and East Texas started to grow and you had a massive Hispanic immigration, I can't see how Texas is the South, anymore than Florida is.

BTW, Virginia is becoming less and less Southern as the "Yankees" continue to spread southward from DC.

Kentucky, Mo, and W.V. are always border states. Not really Midwest not really Southern.

Meade said...

Larry Davis said...
"Sorry, Marion, Indiana, 60 miles east of Lafayette, is the heart of the Heartland of the Midwest!"

Fine. Then West Lafayette is the Song of the Heart of the Heartland of the Midwest.

Sigivald said...

The "Midwest" is a useless historical artifact, like Illinois being "the Northwest".

So I'm saying it doesn't exist, and we should move on.

traditionalguy said...

Mississippi partakes of the River culture that started in Cincinnati and Minneapolis, so south of Memphis it becomes a mixed culture of Scots-Irish types ( think of Bret Farve and Danny Manning) with diverse other cultures of Creoles, Choctaws and Redbones. It becomes more rural southern the further away from the River you get.

Clyde said...

Re: The South, it's very simple: If you are someplace where people put salt, pepper, butter and maybe some redeye gravy on grits, you're in the South. People who would try to put milk and sugar on grits are Yankees.

Wilbur said...

I went back to Danville, Illinois (hometown of Dick and Jerry Van Dyke, Donald O'Connor, Gene Hackman and Bobby Short) for my high school reunion two years ago.

To say I was shocked by the deterioration of the city and neighborhoods in general would be an understatement. The block on which I grew up is now all Section 8 rentals. It looks like I would imagine East St. Louis.

Bruce Hayden said...

I consider myself coming from the mid-west, but that most of you, who claim to be from or in the mid-west to be in or from the mid-east. Mid-west, because I live west of the mid-point in the Continental U.S., but not that far west of it. Mid-east for most of the rest of you, since you live east of the geographic center of the country, and, logically therefore cannot be living in the "mid-west".

David said...

What do you expect when you survey monkeys? I thought they did quite well.

Larry J said...

When someone describes Ohio as being in the Midwest, I wonder Midwest of what?

I take a more geographical view of this matter. There's the East, Mideast, Middle, Midwest and West. Looking at this US Map, the band of states running roughly from North Dakota down to Texas define the middle. Those states to the west of that band (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona) become the Midwest. The left coast states plus Alaska and Hawaii define the west. Do the same thing for the eastern states.

Deirdre Mundy said...

The midwest is anywhere which is mainly populated by the descendents of Germanic or Scandinavian farmers.

Strelnikov said...

The Midwest consists of the following: MO, IA, MN, WI, IL, IN, OH, MI.

Anything else is delusional thinking be geographical illiterates.

Brian said...

My wife is from Marion, IN. Anything Marion is the heart of needs to see a cardiologist posthaste.

Bruce Hayden said...

More realistically, my mother, growing up in Chicago, was from the mid-west, and my father, growing up in Denver, was from the west. The difference is in mind-set and temperament. Denver has always looked more to the mountains than the plains for its identity. And, that is because it was founded essentially as a supply center for the mining west of there in the mountains. And, maybe as a result, there has long been (at least until all the transplants moved in over the last couple of decades) more affinity for extractive industries than for farming. (Though the annual National Western Stock Show does show the city's agrarian side).

I think that maybe part of the difference is the type of conservatism that predominates. There is a more religious conservatism in the mid-west, verging into socialism in Minnesota, etc. Western conservatism is much less religiously oriented, and more oriented towards libertarian. Westerners are more likely to be tolerant of other lifestyles, but intolerant of anyone outside their families meddling with their own lives. Some good examples of westerners are Dick and Lynn Cheney, and Clive Bundy. The Cheneys had no problem with their daughter's sexual orientation, or even marriage. From their point of view, it was no one else's business (which was a problem when he was VP). They still loved her, and that was what was important.

I have considered Texas as a cross-roads between the south and the mid-west. The gregarious nature of Texans (and other Southerners) really bothers a lot of westerners, which is why I was surprised that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney got along as well as they did.

That all said, I have long been accused of sounding like I came from the mid-west. Despite never having lived there (east the Rockies, I have lived in Austin and the DC area, and all through the West). I attribute it to my mother (who immigrated from Chicago to Colorado to stay warm in the winter, and cooler in the summer). Maybe.

Michael said...

Only 80% of respondents thought Mississippi is in the South because the other 20% are desperately stupid.

Magson said...

I grew up outside Chicago. During those formative years, "The Midwest" was defined as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

The states west of the Mississippi were all "Great Plains" states, though Texas was considered "Southern" or "Southwestern" depending on who you talked to.

Never heard of "The Heartland" before today, so in your poll I voted that it's an illusion.

Æthelflæd said...

Texas is a blend of southern, western, Mexican, and German (and even Cajun in southeast Texas). The greener the vegetation, the more southern it is. I still consider it to b a part of the south. Sweet tea is a staple on many tables, including mine. The southern hospitality is there, albeit usually less formal due to the western influence.

Wilbur said...

Speaking of grits, my ex-wife (from Greensberg, Louisiana) used to say she would never order grits in a restaurant unless she could look back in the kitchen and see Miss Bertha Mae doing the cooking.

AJ Lynch said...

Seems like a good list would be the states which have an original Big Ten football team so that would be OH, MI, WI, MN, IA, IL and IN right?

Shanna said...

The southern one was pretty much what I expected, especially this:

"Also, Maryland — well and truly — is not a Southern state, according to actual Southerners"

People from Maryland seem weirdly attached to the idea that because of the mason dixon line, they are the south. Nope.

[Sidenote: New Englanders are very protective of what is NE]

Paul Zrimsek said...

It never occurred to me that anyone would try to define "the heartland" as a specific region. I've always taken it as a metonym for rural and small-town America wherever you happen to find it.

Mitch H. said...

Pittsburgh is definitely not Midwestern, although it is linguistically "Midlands", which isn't at all the same thing.

It's a northern Appalachian town, having a lot in common with the rest of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and upstate New York, and somewhat less in common with eastern Kentucky and east Tennessee.

I had relatives in eastern Ohio, in the Northern Reserve, and there is definitely a sudden change about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, just east of the border with Ohio, and north of the West Virginia panhandle. Somewhere past where the morraine country evens out.

You could make a case for Erie, PA being Midwestern, but not Pittsburgh.

Gemirish said...

I once heard a geography professor from Penn State answer the question this way: "The Midwest begins somewhere around Pittsburgh and gets obvious in Ohio".

Shanna said...

The states west of the Mississippi were all "Great Plains" states, though Texas was considered "Southern" or "Southwestern" depending on who you talked to.

Wrong. Lousiana and Arkansas are west of the mississippi and most definately nothing 'great plainsy' about it.

Oklahoma is less southern to me than Texas. They kind of want to be southern and we'll sort of accept them.

Bob Ellison said...

NBC, CBS, ABC, FNC, and CNN think the midwest starts in Pennsylvania. That's where they send their courageous correspondents to find out what's happening in middle America, especially when the subject at hand is obesity, football, religion, or guns.

For these nitwits, the midwest ends approximately at Modesto, California.

Wilbur said...

Bruce Hayden said: "I have long been accused of sounding like I came from the mid-west. "

I went to college (U of Illinois) 30 miles from where I grew up. More than a few Chicago people I met there thought from my speech that I was from the South.

Biff said...

The Delaware anecdote sounds familiar to me. I grew up in northern New Jersey. There are parts of rural southern NJ that have a cultural feel that is reminiscent of the Carolinas and Virginia, and I've known people from that neck of the woods that self-identify as Southern. Perhaps they are being a little tongue-in-cheek when they do so, but there is more than a grain of truth in it. Even some of the speech patterns are very different from what people think of as "Jersey," i.e. much slower cadence, a tiny hint of a drawl, distinct vocabulary.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sweet tea is a staple on many tables, including mine. The southern hospitality is there, albeit usually less formal due to the western influence.

When I move down to Austin, most of two decades ago, I was worried that the only ice tea that they had was that horrid sweat tea. But, I was just fine there, able to find regular iced tea just fine.

Turns out that the place where it is hard to find is Utah. Moab, and much of Utah east of the Wasatch is fine, but up and down I-15, from the Idaho border to St. George is problematic. Last year, knew I was in Utah, when I got to Provo, and found that even McDonalds didn't carry unsweetened ice tea (don't think they had your sweetened stuff either). Coke, diet Coke, and caffeine free diet Coke are just fine - but not iced tea. When I was living in SLC, I had my three gas stations that carried iced tea scoped out, mostly requiring me to drive several miles out of the way. The firm I was with had a fountain, with the different types of Coke, but no iced tea.

I still have a couple bottles of sweet tea here in the refrigerator. Bought it mistaking it for the real thing (unsweetened tea), and even when desperate for caffeine, I still can't get myself to drink it.

Which is a long way of saying that, while I like a lot of Texans, I really didn't fit in there. And, expect that it would have been even worse outside the PRA (People's Republic of Austin).

Biff said...

PS. I've also heard people call Princeton "the only Southern school in the Ivy League."

John Scott said...

Go Blue Hens! Concord H.S. 75, UD 79. Living north of the C and D canal I never considered myself a southerner.

Bruce Hayden said...

People from Maryland seem weirdly attached to the idea that because of the mason dixon line, they are the south. Nope.

Living in MD maybe 35 years ago, I was surprised at how southern it sometimes felt. My understanding is that it was a slave state, and only stayed in the Union with a large federal army camped nearby. It was very much a good-old-boy type of place, when I lived there. Not really any different from N. Va, and, if anything, with a more southern feel. But, part of that is probably that N. VA has been overrun by people from the rest of the country, and the less desirable part of MD where I lived was still pretty much old-style-MD.

Shanna said...

When I move down to Austin, most of two decades ago, I was worried that the only ice tea that they had was that horrid sweat tea. But, I was just fine there, able to find regular iced tea just fine.

Lots of people in the south drink unsweet tea. I flipped through the channels and Dr. Oz randomly had the Robertson's on and he was talking to Si about how he actually drinks unsweet tea and he was so shocked that southerners drink unsweet tea!

I don't understand how PA can be considered the midwest when it's so far east? It's in the north east, right? just because teensy little delaware is blocking the coast doesn't make it western.

Magson said...

"The states west of the Mississippi were all "Great Plains" states, though Texas was considered "Southern" or "Southwestern" depending on who you talked to.

Wrong. Lousiana and Arkansas are west of the mississippi and most definately nothing 'great plainsy' about it.

Oklahoma is less southern to me than Texas. They kind of want to be southern and we'll sort of accept them."


You gotta remember -- this is Chicago area, so even there within Illinois we had "Chicagoland vs Downstate." We didn't even think of Arkansas or Louisiana. Missouri was about as far south as we'd think of, and since it was west of the Mississippi, we thought of it as a plains state. Assuming we could stand thinking of the pukes at all. . . . ("Puke" is the historical rivalry name for MO people from IL people. They returned the favor by calling us "suckers.")

Tongue back out of cheek --

I was taught that we generalized everything as more or less the following regions:

New England was ME, MA, NH, VT, RI, and CT.

Mid-Atlantic was DE, MD, PA, NY, VA and WV.

"The South" was the largest region with NC, SC, KY, TN, GA, MS, AL, LA, AR, and FL.

Midwest was OH, IN, MI, IL, and WI.

"The Southwest" was TX, AZ, and NM.

Great Plains was OK, MO, KS, NE, IA, ND, SD, and MN.

"The Mountain States" were MT, WY, CO, UT, NV, and ID.

Pacific Coast was obviously CA, OR, and WA.

AK and HI were outliers always discussed separately from anything else.

Biff said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...We have at least one [Cracker Barrel] in New Hampshire, and they've been advertising pretty heavily, so if there aren't more, there are more on the way. I've never been to the one in NH, but I hit the nearest one pretty often when I lived in Alabama.

There's a Cracker Barrel on I-95 a few miles south of New Haven, CT. Cracker Barrels in the north are different from Cracker Barrels in the south. A few months ago, I walked into the one in Connecticut. The first thing I heard was the cashier cussin' a blue streak at high volume about some "nasty a** hoe b****," dropping F-bombs left and right, and the manager didn't raise a peep.

It's unlikely that would fly at a Tennessee Cracker Barrel.

Tank said...

Really, everything west of the Delaware River is wilderness.

And grits, they requie cheese - and some crushed bacon wouldn't hurt.

Marshal said...

People from Maryland seem weirdly attached to the idea that because of the mason dixon line, they are the south. Nope.

I live in MD and have never come across anyone who cares about North and South at all. We're in the east or the mid-atlantic.

Our love-hate is Baltimore or DC.

Strelnikov said...

"I went to college (U of Illinois) 30 miles from where I grew up. More than a few Chicago people I met there thought from my speech that I was from the South"

Had a more pronounced version of that problem at U of I as I come from Southern Illinois. The people from Chicago asked where I was from and when I said 120 miles south of Champaign, they'd say some version of, "What part of KY is that?"

CWJ said...

Missouri is many things and hard to clasify statewide, but one thing it is not is the Great Plains. Kansas City may have grown by servicing the Great Plains, but that's about it.

Speaking of KC, geographical center* of the continental states and officially, "Heart of America." So bite me Hoosiers. You can look it up.

Fondly yours, CWJ formerly of Fort Wayne.

*Well, actually Topeka, KS is closer to the actual geographic center. But c'mon - Topeka? Really?

Æthelflæd said...

Bruce Hayden said..." I was worried that the only ice tea that they had was that horrid sweat tea."

Ewww. Yep, that would be pretty horrid.

Maybe Delaware persists in some minds as a southern state because it was among the last, along with Kentucky, to abolish slavery. Slavery was technically abolished in the Confederacy before it made done away with in Delaware.

Saint Croix said...

11 states left the union and joined the Confederacy:

Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Florida
Alabama
Mississippi
Louisiana
Texas
Arkansas
Tennessee

also 2 more states sent representatives to the Confederate Congress, but did not secede.

Missouri
Kentucky

That's why the Confederate flag has 13 stars, not 11. From a historical (a.k.a. Civil War) perspective, those are the states in "the South."

BlueHenProud said...

As another former Blue Hen whose family in Sussex and Kent Counties, and proud to be from Lower Slower Delaware (below the Mispillion River as well as the C&D Canal) and the Mispillion River)ynter, there was and still is in some parts a strong Southern influence. The accents, the style of cooking, the agrarian influences -- all contribute to that sense. I had to leave Delaware to realize that not everyone cooks lima beans, preferably pole beans, without using salt pork. For everything else, bacon fat was essential.

cokaygne said...

In other news, the Syrian government crossed a red line and bombed a school and Russia continued to swallow Ukraine while Nigerian "militants" were selling girls kidnapped from a school as brides for Moslem fighters.

Michael said...

The redneck south is one thing but the hillbilly south quite another. In many ways the latter extends from the south end of Lookout Mountain in northern Alabama to the western Catskills following the ridges and hollows the whole way.

St. George said...

Clyde--

Them folks don't even begin to know what pot likker is....

Fernandinande said...

Midwest = Texas & eastern New Mexico -> N. Dakota and eastern Montana.

"East" (& "Mid-east"?) is the stuff east of that.

"West" is the stuff west of that.

The Great Lakes and states like Ohio might've been in the "midwest" around the time of the Louisiana purchase, but now they're in the (mid)east.

"Heartland" is where they grow Valentine cards.

avwh said...

"I went to college (U of Illinois) 30 miles from where I grew up. More than a few Chicago people I met there thought from my speech that I was from the South."

I went to U of I, too. I grew up in Southern Illinois, 30 miles from STL.

I used to hear Chicago students call Champaign "southern Illinois". I'd always correct them - get a map, divide Illinois into 4 quadrants. Champaign-Urbana is still in the same quadrant as Chicago!

So I'd say "you can call it downstate, but it isn't "southern Illinois".

I also had a guy on my dorm floor who was from a town about 25 miles north of me who sounded like he came from the Deep South. Always seemed odd, knowing I was from farther south, but didn't sound like that.

Freeman Hunt said...

I live in a strange part of Arkansas where people do not have pronounced Southern accents unless they are transplanted from other areas. People here have the nothing accent which I was once told is common in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Just about everyone around here is from somewhere else. When I travel people generally assume I'm from the area I'm visiting. That's the nothing accent. There's nothing special about it, nothing that sticks out, so nowhere comes to mind.

wildswan said...

Maryland around the DC area where I come from isn't Southern - or even American so I've been told. And in the mountains Maryland is more like western Pennsylvania and western New York - an unknown nameless region before the Mid-West and after the East Coast. But south of DC and down both sides of the Potomac - that's southern. That's where John Wilkes Booth's accomplices hung out. Plus they have Waffle Houses.

Shanna said...

And grits, they requie cheese - and some crushed bacon wouldn't hurt.

This is what I'm talking about. My grandmother made it with cheese, butter and garlic, and then you added your sausage or bacon later.

Shanna said...

I live in MD and have never come across anyone who cares about North and South at all.

I used to live in DC and several MD folks made this argument to me. It was weird. But not as weird as the guy from Massachusettes with the confederate tie flag.

commoncents said...

CLASSIC:
Lip Sync Battle: Emma Stone vs. Jimmy Fallon

http://commoncts.blogspot.com/2014/04/video-lip-sync-battle-with-emma-stone.html

traditionalguy said...

Princeton was founded as a part of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition and as such attracts Westminster Confession guys from all over the south and mid-west who chose to attend a famous college in the north. Jimmy Stewart was a Presbyterian from Indiana that attended Princeton. I was admitted, but stayed local to save money.

Big Mike said...

One issue about analyzing data, and in my opinion these polls from FiveThirtyEight exhibit it, is the "Chinese Emperor's Nose" problem.

Suppose you poll a representative sample of the Chinese population and ask them how long the emperor's nose is. The problem is that only a tiny handful of retainers can actually look at the emperor directly -- the rest must do the kowtow (kneel down and touch your head to the floor) and consequently cannot actually see his face. Hence the a priori probability that any of the people who actually know what the emperor's nose looks like were included in the sample is very small and therefore their input is overwhelmed by people who are just guessing.

Now go back to my confidently-stated opinion about which states are in the Midwest, which are in the Great American Heartland, and which are in the South. I've spent the first 21 years of my life living in Illinois, I've spent the middle 23 years of my life in Maryland, and another 23 in Virginia. I've traveled a lot on business, mostly to Indiana, southern Wisconsin, Texas (I loved Austin and San Antonio but hated my one trip to Dallas), Pennsylvania (mostly Philadelphia but some western part), some to Colorado Springs, and a few trips to university towns in North Carolina. I have no personal information about most of the states I mentioned! So if you are taking a poll and include my inputs, you are incuding guesses.

It gets worse! Much of my travel to Texas and North Carolina were to college towns, and college towns are never (or hardly ever, anyway) really representative of the rest of their state. Good Texans assure me that Austin is only like Texas on football weekends. Having been in Austin on the Friday before the Oklahoma game, the Austin ambiance certainly does change a lot in 24 hours.

And there's more. My home town is close to Cook County, Illinois, which is -- or used to be -- very different from the entire rest of the state. Likewise today I live in Fairfax County, Virginia, which is similar only to the three counties northeast of the Rappahannock that surround it and not at all like the rest of the state.

And as for Georgia, which is 90% southern, I presume they mean the 90% that is outside the Atlanta metro area. From what I've heard Atlanta is more like a northern city than a southern one.

Anyway, my point is that this sort of poll is really a waste of time, and its results need to be taken with a grain of salt (if not a whole shaker).

Beach Brutus said...

I think the Midwest was a re-naming of the Old Northwest, which were the states carved out of the that portion Virginia's land west of the Appalachians and east of the Mississippi River ceded by Virginia to the Union in the 1780's (the subject of the Northwest Ordinance). Once the country's boundaries extended to the Pacific Coast some other moniker was needed.

David said...

Mitch H. said...
Pittsburgh is definitely not Midwestern, although it is linguistically "Midlands", which isn't at all the same thing.


That's what the Pittsburghs think. Or thought when I was growing up there. Of course I grew up among privileged Pittsburghs, many of whom had been to school in the "east." It never occurred to them that they might not be easterners,

It was therefore a bit of a surprise when I also went "east" to school and found out that the real easterners (Boston, Maine, New York and even Philadelphia) did not consider Pittsburgh eastern at all. In fact they barely considered Pittsburgh. It was one of the yucky places that made steel and stuff.

The when I moved to the indisputable Midwest place of Wisconsin, they thought of me as "eastern," which was not an advantage.

Now I live in the south and am a Yankee, which is anyone from "up there."

I have loved all of these other places but some day I might just move back to Pittsburgh.

David said...

Remember, Washington D.C. was part of the south for a very long time. A genuinely southern city, with slave markets, ruthless segregation, rampant discrimination, a swampy climate and a tendency to close down in the summer.

Now Washington is the national feeding trough for bureaucrats, politicians and the civilian tenders of the money flow. For the financially ambitious, it used to be that you went to Washington after you got rich. Now you go to Washington in order to get rich.

Austin said...

Neither Kentucky or Missouri seceded from the United States, and accordingly, it is utterly impossible for either State to ever have been represented in the Confederate Congress. The idea is ludicrous.

David said...

"I used to live in DC and several MD folks made this argument to me. It was weird. But not as weird as the guy from Massachusettes with the confederate tie flag."

Massachusetts got rich from the slave trade and then trading with the slave owners. There were also quite a few relatives of southerners who lived in Massachusetts and had direct ownership interests in slaves, which tended to get cashed in when the southern relative died and slaves were sold to raise cash.

When blacks did come to Boston they were shunted to Roxbury and eventually other heavily black areas. Boston remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States (though less than Madison!)

So maybe the guy was just being honest.

Jack Wayne said...

If you want to be in the Heartland, move to Texas. Anything else is Wannabe.

David said...

The first thing I heard was the cashier cussin' a blue streak at high volume about some "nasty a** hoe b****," dropping F-bombs left and right, and the manager didn't raise a peep.

It's unlikely that would fly at a Tennessee Cracker Barrel.


Beyond unlikely. Cracker Barrel is white and polite. Which includes polite to all races that happen by. I eat a lot in my town at Waffle House, which in this case has predominantly black help and probably 50-50 black and white clientele. You never hear a cuss word.

John_Wald said...

I think your poll is missing some categories. You should also have included these:
* The Midwest and the Heartland overlap somewhat, and I'm in the Midwest.
*The Midwest and the Heartland overlap somewhat, and I'm in the Heartland, but not the Midwest.

Saint Croix said...

Neither Kentucky or Missouri seceded from the United States, and accordingly, it is utterly impossible for either State to ever have been represented in the Confederate Congress. The idea is ludicrous.

You can read about the "Confederate government in Missouri" here and the "Confederate government in Kentucky" here. There were indeed "representatives" although neither state left the union.

What states do you think represent the 13 stars on the Confederate flag?

lboykin said...

Oh, I love this!

The Mississippi river comes close to centrally bisecting the United States.
We have an East Coast, an West Coast, and what everyone calls the Midwest.
According to most, it is the area that resides to the east of the Mississippi River.
What happened to the Mideast?

Greg Hlatky said...

Washington D.C. was part of the south for a very long time

The old joke was that Washington combined Northern hospitality with Southern efficiency.

Austin said...

You seem to miss the point entirely. A State cannot, I repeat, a Sate cannot, be lawfully represented in two separate countries at the same time. Kentucky and Missouri at no time left the Union and were never represented in the CSA. If there was a Kentucky or Missouri in the CSA, it was an altogether separate entity from the Kentuky or Missouri that were constituent members of the USA.

Fritz said...

Maryland around the DC area where I come from isn't Southern - or even American so I've been told. And in the mountains Maryland is more like western Pennsylvania and western New York - an unknown nameless region before the Mid-West and after the East Coast. But south of DC and down both sides of the Potomac - that's southern. That's where John Wilkes Booth's accomplices hung out. Plus they have Waffle Houses.

I've lived in Southern (we sometimes call it Slower) Maryland for the last 30 years. A lot of it now is bedroom communities for D.C., but there are still remnants of the old south here. Black families with the same surname as the old white families, an odd, vaguely southernish accent known as Tidewater. Roger B. Taney of the Dred Scott decision fame was born and raised a few miles from here.

dreams said...

A lot of people consider Louisville, KY to be more of a midwest city than southern. Regardless, we are excited to be a new member of the Atlantic Coast Conference along with another midwest school Notre Dame.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

IF my Avalanche kick that damn socialist MN ass things will be cool.

http://www.wisn.com/entertainment/words-wisconsinites-say-funny/25737086

But if not.

Oh boy.

(you said it, now say it again)

Oh boy.

Hat tip Orson Welles (aka Mr. Orson Fucking Welles)

grgeil said...

As you drive north from Miami you enter the South. The further north you drive the deeper you get into the South.

Marc said...

Was born in 1957 and grew up outside Cincinnati. In the Midwest. Never heard of some geographic region 'the Heartland'. Beach Brutus's derivation of 'Midwest' from the Northwest Ordinance and Territory, @ 5:18, has been my understanding of the appellation, too.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Mason-Dixon Line runs through Maryland, below Delaware. Therefore, Delaware is in the North. Washington, D.C., the capital of the North, is in the South."

You need to check that map again. The Mason-Dixon Line runs into the top of Delaware, right before the part that was drawn with a compass. It's that little notch.

rcocean said...

Kentucky and Missouri were considered by the Confederate Government to be part of the CSA. Senators and Reps from both states sat in the Confederate Congress. In both states there was a true civil war, Brother vs. Brother.

Politically, Kentucky was considered part of the Solid Democrat South after the Civil war. The joke was that Kentucky joined the Confederacy in 1866.

betamax3000 said...

Freeman Hunt is the Heartland of America.

Captain Curt said...

I too grew up in Delaware, in fact in the same zip code as Ann. Like the other Blue Hens posting here, I consider the area around Wilmington to be northern, but anything south of the C & D canal to be southern.

On the other hand, I live in California now, and I have heard a native Californian say that the Grand Canyon was in the Midwest...

Patrick said...

The Wild ain't going down with out a fight, NQUB. Even in MN, hockey overcomes the socialism.

Thank God.

Patrick said...

This game is driving me nuts. Whole damned series.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Do you understand I don't have the faculties?

I thought I did.

But don't.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

It costs a lot for Mark Steyn to lose.

Even more to win.

You and him better spend some time, wondering, what to choose.

It goes to show, you don't ever know, you got to watch each card you play, and play it slow.

Don't you let that deal go round.

Grateful Dead wrote those words, and by God they will write them again.

Bruce Hayden said...

Doing a bit of research on the Mason Dixon line (e.g. Wikipedia: Mason–Dixon line) (Since one of my great-grandparents was a Dixon), I discovered that while it was supposed to have been on the 39th parallel, it is actually a set of line segments (likely due to the limitations of 18th Century surveying) between 39°43′15″ N and 39°43′23″ N latitude. The average of this is somewhere around 39°43′19″ N, and if you extend this west through Colorado, it turns out that I lived from age 5 to 10 within a couple blocks of it (west of Denver). Then, we moved maybe 3 miles north, where my parents lived for the next 25 years. My guess is that my father has spent the last 30+ years maybe a mile or two south of it, up in the mountains.

What this does mean is that Colorado probably has more of the state south of the Mason Dixon line than north, but not by a lot (the state extends from 37°N to 41° N, with the center (39° N) essentially running through the Air Force Academy, just north of C. Springs). It was tokenly Northern in the Civil War (though still a territory), and an epic battle was fought against Texans around Raton Pass who had come up to steal gold for the Confederacy. The Texans were defeated and sent back, not to be seen again, until they turned up en mass in Vail, well over a century later.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann - some of the debate that led up to the drawing of the Mason Dixon line revolved around Delaware, and a long running dispute between Pennsylvania (Wm Penn and his descendants), and Maryland (and the various Baron Baltimores). The bubble on the top of the state is apparently called the "Twelve Mile Circle", because it was part of a 12 mile circle around New Castle, Delaware. Its existence dates from a 1682 deed to Wm. Penn from the Duke of York. Apparently, the original deeds for PA and MD expected that the 40th parallel would essentially run through the center of the circle around New Castle. But, they were wrong, and a border on the real 40th parallel would have apparently put Philadelphia in MD. Wasn't gonna happen, and hence, most of a century dispute between the two colonies, before agreement to the MD line at approximately 39°43′20″ N. But, that put the Circle in PA, and not MD, as originally planned.

Still, the point is that, by design, most of Delaware is below the Mason Dixon line, with only a portion of the 12 Mile Circle above. Delaware was apparently essentially a slave state (very similar to neighboring MD), until the end of the Civil War, but remained, of course, part of the Union, possibly as a result of the rather large Army of the Potomac camped nearby.

You probably knew all this, having grown up in Delaware - but I did not, having grown up thousands of miles due west of there.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

There has never been, nor shall ever be thus, a better lyric than none other than Steel Panther:

"If I was born in 1493 Devinci would be jealous of me,..."

Or some such.

Anyway, feel the steel or be deathly cold.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_sFafClcUk

Largo said...

"So I have sailed the seas and come...
      to B...
a small town fastened to a field in Indiana."

Not attached to.
*fastened* to.

Carter Wood said...

The city slogan of Mandan, N.D., is "Where the West begins." For the Dakotas, the Missouri River is a reasonable dividing line between the Midwest and the West.

tim maguire said...

Prof., I went by memory and consulted a map for the first time in response to your question. You're right, it is not above the line but, still, it is "North" of the line in that it falls on the North side of the North-South divider.

Big Mike said...

@Austin, your assertion as regards Missouri and Kentucky is flat wrong. The Confederate government found it very convenient to maintain the fiction that Kentucky and Missouri were part of the Confederacy as it allowed the seating of representatives and senators from those two states who could vote for taxes, conscription edicts, and other unpopular legislation that could never be enforced against their own constituents.

Read James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. (Please buy it through the Althouse Amazon portal.)

damikesc said...

We have at least one in New Hampshire, and they've been advertising pretty heavily, so if there aren't more, there are more on the way. I've never been to the one in NH, but I hit the nearest one pretty often when I lived in Alabama.

Ironically, the Barrel has BAD Southern food. Their food is, to be gentle, terrible.

You could throw in South Carolina if their football team continues to stink it up.

11 wins in each the last 3 seasons is "stinking it up"?

TosaGuy said...

The best chicken dinner I have ever had was at the Delaware State Fair, which is a far more enjoyable fair experience than Wisconsin.

CWJ said...

Regarding Missouri and the confederacy, the several commenters claiming MO representation in the Confederate legislature are probably correct.

One of the objectives of Sterling Price's 1864 invasion of MO was to swing by the capitol Jefferson City in order to swear in and install the state's "lawful" governor. This he did, even though Pleasonton's union cavalry chased him and the governor out of town a day or two later.

raf said...

Meade, when I was growing up in Indiana, there were those who maintained that The South began at Meridian St in Indianapolis. Drawing the line there serves to intensify the IU/PU pseudo-rivalry, also.

I was to the North of this divide.

Drago said...

It has been helpfully explained to us by the Althouse "Racism Blogger Emeritus" Crack that in the US, if white people live in an area then that area is part of the "living" Confederacy.

You're welcome.

Austin said...

I should probably repeat the fact that neither Misouri nor Kentucky ever seceded. And as they fully remained as members of the United States, it was therefore utterly impossible for these states to also be a part of another country. Missouri and Kentucky could not be part of the CSA anymore than New Jersey and Ohio could be part of Spain. I think some people don't fully understand that the CSA was a thoroughly independent country, not some amorphous quasi-government that a state could sort of join.

Mitch H. said...

The city slogan of Mandan, N.D., is "Where the West begins." For the Dakotas, the Missouri River is a reasonable dividing line between the Midwest and the West.

The most reasonable divider between the "West" and the "Midwest" is the Hundredth Meridian. The climate dries out in one hell of a hurry west of this meridian, and rainfall & agriculture is a big part of what defines the traditional Midwest. East of the meridian, you can make a solid living from farming, west of it, you're drawing on borrowed time via irrigation and the accidents of weather. The twenty years after settlement in those parts were atypically wet, which lured in a lot of homesteaders who spent the next forty years breaking their hearts against the climate and the railroads.

Read James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom.

Don't. He's a hack. If you want something accessible, read the Foote trilogy or Benet's John Brown's Body, if you want actual history, read actual history. McPherson writes table-top books, and ones full of bad synthesis of decades-out-of-date material.

I think some people don't fully understand that the CSA was a thoroughly independent country, not some amorphous quasi-government that a state could sort of join.

Austin, that's a... novel point of view which reflects neither combatants' legal theories nor their actual practice. Both Missouri and Kentucky's politics were split over the issue of succession. The governor of Missouri, Clairborne Jackson, clashed with a state convention that broke hard for the Union, and was forcibly driven out of the state along with the Missouri State Guard and acted as "governor in exile" until his death. In Kentucky, the elected officials were strongly Unionist, if cautiously neutral on the subject of actual war, while a state convention formed without the officials declared for succession and officially brought the state into the Confederacy. Neither the governor of Missouri nor the jackleg convention in Kentucky had a legal leg to stand on, but then, revolution is revolution, something secessionists never really seemed to wrap their minds around. Davis and the Confederate government accepted both Missouri and Kentucky into their government, put them on their flags, accepted their representatives, and behaved officially as if they were legitimate parts of their polity. I should point out that the majority of Tennessee operated under either military rule or open anarchy from about the middle of 1862 onwards, so the practical difference between Tennessee on the one hand and Missouri and Kentucky on the other, is somewhat notational. All three states had significant numbers of regiments enlisted on both sides of the conflict.

Larry Davis said...

I'm sure Meade and raf both know this, but the state of Indiana, like several other states (Illinois comes to mind and probably also Ohio) has parts of the south (around Milan is just like Kentucky in both hills and accents) and north, near LaPorte, is just like Chicago in accent. Most states, in my experience, contain several different parts of the country, and in southern Texas, a part of Mexico.
And yes Brian, Marion, Indiana, like much of the Midwest has lost manufacturing jobs, tax base, and people. Not yet a heart attack, but close.
Thanks Meade for the song, I love that movie!

Brando said...

The vast difference of opinion among these comments demonstrates that there's no easy way to determine where certain regions of the country begin and end. But I'll try!

For the "south" let's look at cultural identifiers--accents, cuisine, and the popularity of country music are three of many such indicators. You can find "southern" accents as far north as Maryland and southern Illinois, and as far west as Texas. Though many urban pockets within the "south" feature so many northern transplants (e.g. Atlanta) that the sense of region can be fluid and ever-changing. Country music is popular around the country, but you'll simply find more stations carrying it in the south. Popularity of fried food and BBQ are also much higher in this region. The rump of this may be the Old Confederacy, but it includes many border states.

I recall an article that described a "pizza belt" that ran from central New Jersey up to central Rhode Island--the idea was that within the belt, your chances of a random pizza place having great pizza was greater than 50%; outside the belt, you could find great pizza, but your chances of doing so drop below 50%.

Based on this, I'd say the same for the South and its accents and other cultural indicators. So some counties in Northern states may have large populations that fit the Southern cultural identifiers, but they're more distinctly in the minority than they are in what we'd call the regional "South". The existence of a culturally "northern" Atlanta, likewise, wouldn't be enough to make Georgia "northern."

Austin said...

Mitch,
It is not a novel point of view, and it is one the CSA held and promulgated from the moment of its inception. It is, however, perfectly true that the USA attempted to deny it.
The particulars regarding the divided sentiments in Kentucky, Missouri can't advance your cause at all. Once again, either a State is in the union or out. In the case of South Carolina, for example, it seceded and was therefore no longer a member of the USA and accordingly, it was free to join the CSA (or any other nation it chose or that would accept it-it also could have chose to remain an independent country). In the case of Kentucky, for example, it never did secede, and could therefore not be a member or part of any other country.

ken in sc said...

I live on a toe nail of the foot hills of the Blueridge. You can see the first ridge of the Blueridge escarpment from my back yard. It's to the north but it's southern. The south stretches from the Potomac to the Rio Grand. Some places in the middle are toss-ups.

The first time I heard the term Heartland was in the movie Red Dawn. Heartland was an autonomous region under a communist government in that movie. Wisconsin was part of it.

FYI, The University of the Mid-West is located in Wichita Falls, Texas.

CWJ said...

Give it up Austin. You appear to be far too invested in this, and not in a good way.

You place so much emphasis upon whether or not a state formally seceded when seccession was not recognized by the North. From the North's point of view, there was no secession. There was no CSA. They didn't subtract stars from the flag. There's no war if the North recognized secession. Do you even get that?

Missouri not voting to secede has nothing to do with whether or not the Confederacy recognized the government in exile.

Shoot, try a more recent thought experiment. There were plenty of Wisconsinites supporting the fleebaggers as they sheltered in Illinois. Imagine Walker replacing the traitors with loyal legislators to represent their districts. Not much different in MO in 1861 as Fremont and Lyon drove the governor and his southern sympathizers from Jefferson City.

So why do you find it so hard to imagine that the two sides of such an intimate conflict would have differing views of what constitutes the "legitimate" governing body?

Austin said...

CWJ,
You're a funny guy. According to you, the Confederacy, which didn't exist, recognized a "government in exile", which, according, to "the North" also didn't exist. That is quite a neet little trick. By the way, you are way, way too invested in the discussion.

Austin said...

Oh, and CWJ, you need to read "Luther v Borden". Thanks again for playing.

CWJ said...

OK Austin,

You are now officially insane, and I am ashamed for even engaging you. Nighty night.

We can talk again when you figure out that there were two different political systems, and their representatives, competing for the same geographic space.

See also, Palestine.

Austin said...

No need for any further discussion CWJ, as you have humiliated yourself for more than a lifetime. Again, thanks for playing.

mikee said...

Texas made the mistake of joining the Union, as well as the mistake of seceding from the Union.

That Texas is different from the Midwest is to say that Texas is different from Illinois. Not just yes, but Hell YES!

bobilee said...

"See, because what you need is data."

A poll by Survey Monkey is not data, it is a poll. Data concerns income, age, religion, politics, etc. A similar poll was conducted in the 90's by the Univ. of NC, and it was not data either, it was just a poll. Where the South or Midwest begin and end can only be found by analyzing real data, not opinions.