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Author Topic: How do you define the Midwest?  (Read 4197 times)

vdeane

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2018, 11:26:28 PM »

I didn't know Kansas, Iowa, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Missouri were thrown out of the midwest? When did that happen, how was that decided, and did SSR_317 and vdeane make the decision?
How did they get included?  I don't see how the Great Plains could possibly have anything in common with anything east of the Mississippi.  Isn't the Mississippi the greatest geographic divider in the entire country?

In any case, I don't see why we need to limit ourselves to four regions.  I'd use the following: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, The South, Midwest, Apalachia, Great Plains, Texas, Mountain West, Desert Southwest, California, and Pacific Northwest (and, of course, Alaska and Hawaii).
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 08:55:56 PM by vdeane »
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2018, 12:12:46 AM »

How did they get included?  I don't see how the Great Plains could possibly have anything in common with anything east of the Mississippi.  Isn't the Mississippi the greatest geographic divider in the entire country?

The Census Bureau and federal documents usually use the 4 regions of the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, and one of the biggest determining factors seems to be what kind of land allocation each state has. The states in the Midwest usually have a similar system of square townships. The states in the West have a lot of federal land.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2018, 12:40:57 AM »

I didn't know Kansas, Iowa, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Missouri were thrown out of the midwest? When did that happen, how was that decided, and did SSR_317 and vdeane make the decision?
How did they get included?  I don't see how the Great Plains could possibly have anything in common with anything east of the Mississippi.  Isn't the Mississippi the greatest geographic divider in the entire country?

The problem is deciding when things are too dissimilar between two places to consider them part of the same region.

As a Minnesotan, I feel absolutely nothing in common with anything related to Ohio, which are both states people generally uniformly consider Midwest. Western Minnesota, part of a state everybody includes wholly in the Midwest, has everything in common with the eastern halves of NE, ND, and SD, which are states some people believe should not be considered part of the Midwest in any capacity.

Unfortunately it's one of those things that probably comes down to how much someone has travelled or lived in the region, and obviously it's apparent those of us from the Midwest also have our own definitions.
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Flint1979

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2018, 02:08:30 AM »

OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, MN, IA, MO, KS, NE, ND, SD.

Another good question (perhaps for another thread) is where does Oklahoma fit?  To me, it's sort of midwestern, sort of southern, and even a little southwestern in the Panhandle.
The parts of Oklahoma I have been and have reminded me of a combination of Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.
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Flint1979

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2018, 02:10:25 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2018, 07:45:13 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.

bugo

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2018, 08:25:25 AM »

Oklahoma is a "border state". The southeastern portions are quite southern in character, but northern Oklahoma (except for the NE corner of the state, the part in the Ozarks) is quite midwestern. Tulsa has a lot more in common with Kansas City than it does with Atlanta or Memphis.
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Flint1979

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2018, 09:48:59 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.
What does that have to do with what part of the country it's in? All of Michigan is in the Midwest.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2018, 10:32:03 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.
What does that have to do with what part of the country it's in? All of Michigan is in the Midwest.

Not saying I disagree with that but maybe that poster was thinking there was enough of a cultural difference for that to matter to the poster who defined it that way?  I'm sure you being from Michigan know this just as well as I do, there is a massive difference culturally between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. For what its worth there seemed to be a similar culture shift between my family members in the Twin Cities Areas versus say Duluth.

Flint1979

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2018, 10:51:52 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.
What does that have to do with what part of the country it's in? All of Michigan is in the Midwest.

Not saying I disagree with that but maybe that poster was thinking there was enough of a cultural difference for that to matter to the poster who defined it that way?  I'm sure you being from Michigan know this just as well as I do, there is a massive difference culturally between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. For what its worth there seemed to be a similar culture shift between my family members in the Twin Cities Areas versus say Duluth.
A lot of the northern Lower Peninsula resembles the Upper Peninsula too. But the U.P. has things in common with Wisconsin which is part of the Midwest too. I just don't understand how anyone could exclude any of Michigan in the Midwest. But yeah there is a difference, like the U.P. has a population density of 19 people per square mile while the L.P. has a population density of 239 people per square mile. The whole Northeast corner of the L.P. is very sparsely populated resembling the U.P. and the part up by Mackinaw City you mine as well be in the U.P. already.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2018, 02:54:45 PM »

I agree that the Midwest comprises IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO and WI, as well as parts of OH (I feel not all of Ohio is part of Midwest, and definitely not any part East of I-77). KS, NE, ND and SD comprise what I call the "Great boredom".
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Flint1979

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2018, 03:27:49 PM »

I agree that the Midwest comprises IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO and WI, as well as parts of OH (I feel not all of Ohio is part of Midwest, and definitely not any part East of I-77). KS, NE, ND and SD comprise what I call the "Great boredom".
Ohio SE of Columbus has more of the feel of Kentucky and West Virginia than it does anything in the Midwest so I agree on that point. Anything north of Columbus though just resembles areas around the Great Lakes mostly. Ohio doesn't have the lakes that Michigan has but Michigan has a lot of farms around the Saginaw area and in the Thumb which Ohio seems to have as well.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2018, 11:22:54 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.
What does that have to do with what part of the country it's in? All of Michigan is in the Midwest.

Not saying I disagree with that but maybe that poster was thinking there was enough of a cultural difference for that to matter to the poster who defined it that way?  I'm sure you being from Michigan know this just as well as I do, there is a massive difference culturally between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. For what its worth there seemed to be a similar culture shift between my family members in the Twin Cities Areas versus say Duluth.

Pretty much. The difference between lifestyles being defined by farms/the Rust Belt and being defined by the woods and Great Lakes.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2018, 11:27:53 AM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.
What does that have to do with what part of the country it's in? All of Michigan is in the Midwest.

I call it the Upper Midwest, North Woods, or Northern Great Lakes. It's still part of the Midwest
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2018, 04:45:07 PM »

I recall learning that if you ask folks from the coasts to draw what they think the "Midwest" is, they tend to be quite literal and circle the middle of the country centered in like Kansas to include decidedly un-Midwestern places like Colorado and Oklahoma.
This would be lay people from the coasts; not folks like us with a keen interest in geography.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2018, 06:19:22 PM »

Bounded by a line running roughly:

- From Youngstown to Cincinnati
- Then following the Ohio River to Evansville
- Then running to St. Louis
- Then northwest to Des Moines
- Then north to St Cloud, MN
- Then east to Green Bay
- Then southeast to north of Grand Rapids
- Then east-northeast to Lake Huron in the vicinity of Saginaw/Midland
- Finally, following the western shore of Lake Huron, St Clair River, Detroit River, and southern shore of Lake Erie to the OH/PA border.


I'm curious why you don't consider Northern Michigan as part of the Midwest.
Same here.

Because of the mines in the UP and Iron Ranges of Minnesota maybe?....doesn't explain Wisconsin though.
What does that have to do with what part of the country it's in? All of Michigan is in the Midwest.

Not saying I disagree with that but maybe that poster was thinking there was enough of a cultural difference for that to matter to the poster who defined it that way?  I'm sure you being from Michigan know this just as well as I do, there is a massive difference culturally between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. For what its worth there seemed to be a similar culture shift between my family members in the Twin Cities Areas versus say Duluth.

Pretty much. The difference between lifestyles being defined by farms/the Rust Belt and being defined by the woods and Great Lakes.
But the lifestyle differences between the cities and farms in the area you define are much greater than differences between the area you define and the area you exclude.  Lifestyle differences do not define geography.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2018, 07:42:14 PM »

The Midwest = the Great Lakes + the Great Plains + the North Woods
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #42 on: August 20, 2018, 08:22:30 PM »

The names escape me, but I've read/browsed a couple of books that divide America into 7 or 8 regions.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2018, 06:54:18 AM »

I recall learning that if you ask folks from the coasts to draw what they think the "Midwest" is, they tend to be quite literal and circle the middle of the country centered in like Kansas to include decidedly un-Midwestern places like Colorado and Oklahoma.

Parts of Oklahoma are very midwestern, namely the northern part of the state. Tulsa is more like Kansas City than it is to Dallas or Little Rock.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2018, 10:41:21 AM »

The names escape me, but I've read/browsed a couple of books that divide America into 7 or 8 regions.

Several on that subject.  The most cited is called "The Nine Nations of North Ameirca", which divides by economics mostly, which had:

- New England (New England and Atlantic Canada)
- The Foundry (more or less the rust belt, Great Lakes states, including western NY and PA and northern WV, also the populated part of Ontario)
- Dixie (most of WV, KY, FL, all of NC, SC, GA, AL, TN, MS, AR, LA, parts of TX, OK)
- Breadbasket (Great Plains, Prairie provences)
- The Islands (Miami and the Carribbean)
- Mex-America (Mexico and hispanic majority border areas)
- Ecotopia (Pacific Northwest)
- Empty Quarter (US mountain time zone, Alaska, unpopulated part of Canada)
- Quebec

And four "exceptions", Inside The Beltway, Manhattan, Hawaii, and Northern Alaska (which he never actually explains what Northern Alaska is in the book.

Another later book is called "American Nations" which actually has a map by counties and goes more by culture.  It had:

- Yankee-dom (New England, Atlantic Canada, not NYC NY, northern PA and OH, then MI, WI and MN, which are places settled by people from NE, NY, Germany and Scandanavia)
- New Netherland (NYC region)
- Tidewater (eastern halves of NC, VA, and MD, plus DE, which is a very distinct culture from either the rest of the south or Appalachia)
- Deep South (most of SC, GA, AL, MS, east TX, east AR, most of FL (this one assigns Miami to the Caribbean as well)
- Greater Appalachia (not only actual Apalachia, but the places settled by Scots-Irish people from Appalachia and culturally similar (south east PA, WV, KY, TN, western halves of VA and NC, mountain parts of GA, AL, SC, and MS, southern parts of OH, IN, IL, MO, most of AR and OK, most of TX)
- The Midlands (thin seam of land between "Yankee-dom" and "Greater Appalachia" running from Philadelphia to the edge of the Rockies, and also including most of Ontario.  Mostly settled by Germans and English.
-El Norte (Hispanic majority border region)
- Left Coast (self explanatory)
- New France (Quebec and Cajun part of LA)
- Far West (more or less the same as the "Empty Quarter" above)
- First Nation ("indian" majority parts of Canada)

Personally, I like the culture based work.  The Almanac of American Politics, takes a similar cultural analysis approach and is very useful for that reason, IMHO.
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jon daly

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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #45 on: August 21, 2018, 10:54:35 AM »

Thanks, S.P.. I'm familiar with the former. I don't think that I checked out the latter, but it sounds interesting.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #46 on: August 21, 2018, 02:06:42 PM »

Another later book is called "American Nations" which actually has a map by counties and goes more by culture.  It had:

- Yankee-dom (New England, Atlantic Canada, not NYC NY, northern PA and OH, then MI, WI and MN, which are places settled by people from NE, NY, Germany and Scandanavia)
- New Netherland (NYC region)
- Tidewater (eastern halves of NC, VA, and MD, plus DE, which is a very distinct culture from either the rest of the south or Appalachia)
- Deep South (most of SC, GA, AL, MS, east TX, east AR, most of FL (this one assigns Miami to the Caribbean as well)
- Greater Appalachia (not only actual Apalachia, but the places settled by Scots-Irish people from Appalachia and culturally similar (south east PA, WV, KY, TN, western halves of VA and NC, mountain parts of GA, AL, SC, and MS, southern parts of OH, IN, IL, MO, most of AR and OK, most of TX)
- The Midlands (thin seam of land between "Yankee-dom" and "Greater Appalachia" running from Philadelphia to the edge of the Rockies, and also including most of Ontario.  Mostly settled by Germans and English.
-El Norte (Hispanic majority border region)
- Left Coast (self explanatory)
- New France (Quebec and Cajun part of LA)
- Far West (more or less the same as the "Empty Quarter" above)
- First Nation ("indian" majority parts of Canada)

Personally, I like the culture based work.  The Almanac of American Politics, takes a similar cultural analysis approach and is very useful for that reason, IMHO.

I agree, regarding the culture-based work.  It does show how and why the different parts of the US and Canada are different from each other (and which ones are more similar).  Based on that, I usually define the Midwest as the parts of the Midlands and Yankeedom west of Ellicott's Line (OH/PA border).
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2018, 01:42:32 AM »

Two step-process.

Step 1: Consider an area bounded by 46˚N, 76˚W, 38˚N, the Mississippi/Missouri Rivers, and 96˚W

Step 2: Exclude all areas within these bounds where the predominate rural environment is forest.

The result looks roughly like this:



The general logic here is there is that there is a line roughly following US 81 where west of this line, precipitation totals drop off and the climate becomes drier. West of this line, there are no forests of significance until you get to the Rocky Mountains (except in the Black Hills), the predominate environment is prairie. East of this line, the land is mostly forested but there is one very glaring exception - a region jutting easterly along the southern Great Lakes where, in spite of having a wetter climate, the natural environment is still prairie rather than forest. This exception region is the "midwest" - an area that is eastern in its climate and population density, but that takes on a western trait in being relatively flat and treeless. Hence why it is the "midwest" - it's not the east, but it's not west either. It's in the middle, a quasi-west.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 02:12:12 AM by Duke87 »
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2018, 06:23:16 AM »

I would consider it to be Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, the northern half of Missouri, the eastern half of the Dakotas, and maybe the far eastern parts of Nebraska and Kansas (around the Kansas City/Omaha areas). Anything west of that is the Great Plains, and I would consider southern Missouri and the area around the Ohio River to be the transition zone between the midwest and the south.
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Re: How do you define the Midwest?
« Reply #49 on: August 28, 2018, 01:56:04 PM »

I would say that Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin are exclusively Midwestern with most of Ohio with the possible exception of the very SE part of the state. After that it gets a little tricky. I know many will disagree with me but I would consider the part of Kentucky north of I-64 to be part of it. Same goes for Missouri north of I-70. Areas just to the south are the transition zone and then your in the south about 50-60 miles north of the state line. I would consider the far eastern parts of the Dakotas Nebraska and Kansas part of it but not when you get farther west into very sparkly populated areas. Some will consider eastern Colorado the part east of the Rockies the Midwest. I would say no to that nothing in common with states farther east. Pennsylvania is defininlty not Midwestern it's Appalachia although some of their industry may have a few things in common with Ohio and Michigan. Same goes for WV that is an odd state because I just don't know where to put it. It's too far north to be the south and it really has nothing in common with the NE with the exception of western Pennsylvania.
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