How To Tell if You Live in the Midwest

The Professor is right.  There appears to be some confusion about just what the Midwest constitutes.

Citizens of Earth, let me clear it up for you. 

Midwestern States

Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas*

States Which May Share Our Culture, But Are Not, In Fact, Midwest, Mostly Because the Midwest DOES NOT Have Mountain Ranges

Arkansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania (but really, only the western part)

The State We’ll Take Because It Has to Go Someplace, but Damn It, Now You’re Stretching It

West Virginia




*[Insert eye-roll here]

28 thoughts on “How To Tell if You Live in the Midwest

  1. Hold up.What about Oklahoma and Kansas? They’re not Western and they ain’t Suthern, neither.I might even argue that Ar-Kansas is Midwestern too.

  2. No. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas are not Midwestern. They are constantly trying to sneek into the Midwest, because we have such awesome potluck dinners, but they are not. And I’m not having any of it.We all feel bad for them, because, if they’re not in the Midwest, they have to hang out with Texas, but culturally, they are not Midwestern and so that’s really their only option.

  3. Well, the Encyclopedia of the Midwest defines the Midwest as follows:"The Encyclopedia defines the Midwest geographically as the United States Census does, referring to a 12-state region that includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin."(Yes, I have articles in this. No, I don’t agree that Missouri or the Dakotas or even most of Michigan is really the Midwest. That’s what you get when you’re stuck on political boundaries rather than cultural/social/economic attributes as your borders for regionality.)’s probably more written about where/who/what the Midwest is than any other region. I can only say that I know it when I’m driving through it.

  4. Are you calling Dorothy and Toto out? ‘Cause I hope you realize that you are totally destroying my image of you in pigtails romping gayly through fields of sweet ripened corn.

  5. I think the Encyclopedia is trying to expand it’s potential readership by stretching the definition of Midwest, there. Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota are not the Midwest. They’re the Great Plains, are they not? Can’t Kansas be with them in the Great Plains?The Midwest, as a region, <i>must</i> be small enough that as a Midwesterner, you have occassion to regularly visit all the Midwestern states. No one in Indiana just winds up in Kansas–but she might find herself in Iowa or Michigan pretty easily. You start including the Great Plains states and you lose the driving culture that is so integral to our understanding of who we are.We, in the Midwest believe that the Midwest is full of endless corn fields dotted by little towns that suck just as bad as the ones we live in and we’ve dated someone or have cousins who live there to know.But there must be some Iowa folks who can clear this up. Iowa, do you feel like the Great Plains States share a common culture with you?Oh, Huck! I didn’t romp gayly until after I’d left the Midwest.

  6. No no. The Sex I get. I’m so confused about this whole Midwest thing. Sounds like everybody wants to get in. (there goes the sex-talk again)…I’m just not used to that in the South. The lines are fairly well drawn with the Mason Dixon thinga-ma-jig and all. Besides, states usually try to claim that they’re not Southern, not the other way around. Take Virginia for example.

  7. I lived in Iowa for over a decade and would move back in a heartbeat — does that count? Totally agreed on the driving around as the cultural quintessence of being a Midwesterner. Once you hit the dry line about 50 miles west of Lincoln on I-80, you’ve definitely left the Midwest and are into the Great Plains.

  8. The Midwest, as a cultural entity was established with the publication of Mark Twain’s "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"–not only the greatest American novel, but the quintessential Midwestern novel. In that book, Kansas is a frontier to which the Midwesterner might escape. Therefore, Kansas is not the Midwest.

  9. I say, if you can get the best sweet corn from a local farmer’s market or roadside stand or even your neighbor’s backyard plot, that was picked only hours earlier, still warm from the field, that you are Midwest.By those standards, only Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa need apply. MAYBE Kansas, because we drove all the long-ass way through it on our way to Colorado last summer, and it is boring enough to qualify.That, and if local weddings include polkas.

  10. I think Aunt B just doesn’t want Kansas to be in the midwest because it might make the whole midwest music quest WAY too easy…

  11. As a pity move! I was letting West Virginia in purely as a pity move. Where else are they going to go?Kansas can band together with Arkansas and form its own little region or it can suck it up and be a part of the Great Plains.My god. I had no idea how many people were so attached to Kansas.Fine. It can be in. It has to wear an asterisk, but it can be in.

  12. The Midwest is very flat. They have no accents there. They have bad tornadoes. Why would anybody want to live there or be a part of that?

  13. I once knew this guy who lived in Nashville and he was from Nebraska. He was always saying how he hated Nashville because there were too many trees. Too many trees. He was a jerk.

  14. "The Midwest is very flat. They have no accents there."The flatness has an appeal that you can only understand if you grew up there. The endless horizon and the cold openness is bracing to a Midwesterner in the same way that the sea calls to sailors.And yes, we do have accents. It’s especially noticable when you sit down with a group of Midwestern transplants and hear the long flat vowel sounds.

  15. I grew up in Nebraska and lived in South Dakota for more than 14 years… we NEVER referred to ourselves as the "great plains". All my life, I’ve thought of myself as a "midwesterner". I was very confused when I moved to TN and heard people referring to Ohio and Kentucky as the Midwest.

  16. I would go so far as to divide Missouri in half if we can get that picky. Based on living in the top half and the bottom half…the top half fits but the bottom half or the very bottom part felt very top of the South (as opposed to the deep South to me). I am basing this on the idea that in the top half no one thought I talked funny, but in the bottom half people constantly asked me to repeat certain words (towel, for one) because they found my accent hilarious. Also, grits were commonly available and they put cole slaw on the barbecue. Then again, I was the first person in my family to make it south of Springfield Illinois for more than a vacation, so I may not be qualified to make that judgment.I like thinking about this because there’s no right answer and there’s always another idea.

  17. I don’t even know how exactly I ended up here, but it seems like it’s a place I can finally say that if my mother persists in calling Tennessee the Midwest I may have to choke a bitch.

  18. Wow, I live in the midwest, and it is ANYTHING but flat. We have the Ozark Mountains, Lake of the Ozarks, Shawnee National Forest, and a whole bunch of hills and trees.

  19. OK. Growing up in northern Missouri, I definantely considered myself midwestern. I think everyone has to agree that as you get to the fringes of the Mid-west, the culture blends a bit. If you live in the bootheel of Missouri, or the northern tip of Minnesota you are on the fringes. You will therefore share some or more of the culture of the region you boarder. Oh, and even though I hate Kansas with a passion, it’s culturally midwestern. Oklohoma is a mix of southern/southwestern/ and midwestern.

  20. how dare you say kansas is not midwest
    it says so in every Social Studies and geography book i have ever read! And if we are the exat center of US which is Lebono Smith Couty Kansas so we are in the middle and the west
    also what is wrong with kansas why would you role your eyes
    And no Kansas is not all plains and wheat fields
    We have lots of hill and some pretty big cities
    and it is really far west were you see only wheatfields and what not

    The movie the wizard of Oz is a total stero type

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