Jump to content

Menu

Geographic areas of the US - how do you break them up?


Recommended Posts

Dd#1 & I were talking about an article she read (which I can't link as she doesn't remember where she read it) about perceptions of people about what states were in the "Midwest." Since I raised her, she & I have similar opinions on this topic.

The article she read was pretty different in that it broke up the US into more areas than I've traditionally heard referenced. How many sections do you think of when you think of the US?

Here are mine:

Northeast, South, West Coast, Midwest, Alaska, Hawaii (last two as separate but sometimes lumped together areas)

I think if I lived elsewhere, I'd break up some of those sections into more nuanced areas, but as far as hearing people reference areas of the US, these are the ones that stick with me. I've heard of Mountain States, Great Plains, Great Lakes, etc. but those have never really stuck in my head.

I found these two tidbits on the "Midwest":

"According to the US Census Bureau, the Midwest consists of two regions: East North Central (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan) and West North Central (Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota)."

And this article from 2016: https://www.vox.com/2016/2/16/10889440/midwest-analysis

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ummmm..New England, the South (aka everywhere south of Massachusetts), the Far West and the West Coast?
 

Just kidding! New England, the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, the South, the Southwest, Northern Midwest, Midwest/plains, Mountain states, West Coast, Pacific Northwest. Alaska and Hawaii get their own designations. Of course it can be broken down further, but those are the basics to me.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MEmama said:

Ummmm..New England, the South (aka everywhere south of Massachusetts), the Far West and the West Coast?
 

Just kidding! New England, the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, the South, the Southwest, Northern Midwest, Midwest/plains, Mountain states, West Coast, Pacific Northwest. Alaska and Hawaii get their own designations. Of course it can be broken down further, but those are the basics to me.

Haha "everything south of Massachusetts ".

 

In NYC we tend to call everything north of the city "upstate." "Upstate" is huge and includes the city's suburbs. My extended family cannot get over how provincial we are!

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Thatboyofmine said:

New England

Mid-Atlantic

South

Florida 🤣

Midwest

Southwest

West Coast

Hawaii

Alaska

 

 

 

This is pretty much what I was taught growing up. Except for Florida 😉

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

this is so interesting. I think what I would consider midwest and what others would consider midwest seems to vary.

We are in Ohio, and I generally think that is Midwest, but recently I saw that included as "Great Lakes" instead. 

 

One curriculum we used had these:

New England

Midwest

Mid-Atlantic

South

Rocky Mountain

Southwest

Pacific Coast (includes Alaska and Hawaii)

 

I personally tend to separate California from the Pacific Northwest. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

☘️ The Irish dance competition geographic regions within the US are New England, Eastern (Mid-Atlantic), Mid-America (Mid-West), Southern, and Western. ☘️

I have lived in all of those regions at some point, and have traveled across them many times, in planes, trains, and automobiles. I think the Triple-A guidebooks of my youth imprinted a bit. Growing up, I thought about it in mostly terms of East/West, North/South, with the coasts, Mississippi River, and mountain ranges (Appalachia and Rockies) breaking it up further.

When I lived in DC, it was the east coast/mid-Atlantic. When I lived in Minnesota, to me it was the upper-mid-west. When I lived in Arizona, it was the southwest. When I lived in Texas, it was Texas, and we were in the geographic region of west Texas. Times zones break it up for me a bit too, as my dad lived in El Paso was in a different time zone from my brother in Houston. My mother is in Florida and also a different time zone from most of her state. I also lived in the far flung time zone of Hawaii for a few years, and though it is definitely its own little region, it has strong ties to the west coast.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume each region has its own ideas of how it should be divided up.  Being from AZ I'm surprised when people refer to the large cities on the coast (especially San Diego and Los Angeles) as part of the The West or The Southwest.  That's The West Coast, which is very culturally different than The Southwest, only part of which is The Mountain West. And then there's Big Sky Country, which is its own region, oh, and The Pacific Northwest. 

Living in NC I think there's a difference between The Deep South, The South, and The New South.  Those are all cultural distinctions.

I think I have a sense of the cultural differences in The Upper Midwest and The Midwest in General. 

My father (now 76) is from rural Maine and takes deep offense at being labeled a New Englander and will argue that Maine is not part of New England.  That's NY, Boston, and the like to him.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lived on the West Coast my entire life. Grew up in CA and have now spent half my life in Oregon. For some things, a West Coast distinction is enough. We're more culturally liberal than other parts of the country, for instance. We're working together on a common approach to dealing with Covid. We're blue states. But at other times, it's appropriate to separate CA off from OR and WA. I think of PNW (Pacific Northwest) as just OR and WA. I'm not sure if that leaves out others who think they're PNW too. And we're a different culture than CA, and different climate, different cultural status.

In case you were wondering, I think it's pretty common on the west coast to think of much of the country as "back east." If you're east of the Mississippi River, you're back east! Sorry Ohio, you're not midwest. You're back east.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lived in many parts of the country, so tend to have pretty specific ideas about which parts I think are more similar. There's a lot of blending and overlap though.

Northeast: states north of VA, WV. Though I think a lot of PA has more in common with the Midwest states, and VA is pretty Northeast-ish, especially around DC.

Southeast: Virginia over to Louisiana, including TN. LA is really its own animal though. Maybe Texas. Texas is southern in many ways, but also really southwestern. Texas is honestly its own thing too. OK is very SE but also pretty Midwest.

Appalachia: WV, KY, AR. TN seems more SE to me but they fit there too. MO fits in a way, but I put them in the Midwest group for the most part.

Southwest: Four Corners states. TX and OK have some SW flavor. Nevada is in this category to an extent, but with heavy California flavor.

Midwest: Ohio, over to the Dakotas/NE/KS. Missouri. A lot of variety in here though.

Mountain States: ID, WY, MT. CO is crossover Mountain/SW 🙂

California: It's own thing, though northern California is PNW flavored.

Pacific Northwest: Oregon, WA State. Honestly Alaska fits here too, but Alaska is its own thing.  Alaska has very little in common with Hawaii, other than Alaskans like to go there for vacation, lol.

Alaska: See above

Hawaii: Strong ties to California, but its own thing.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Living in NC I think there's a difference between The Deep South, The South, and The New South.  Those are all cultural distinctions.

Geographically, there might be Southern, Gulf Coast, and Middle Atlantic, but I would never dream of dividing the South into all of those regions. o_0 I have ancestors in Virginia and the Carolinas in the late 1600s. They are all the South.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Tableau’s version 

 

29DCBAB8-0230-41F9-BCA2-1C9ACF16B803.jpeg

This is probably the closest vision to my simplistic one.

I'm interested in those who make things very simple @MissLemon's Midwest/South outside of NY/NJ to the ones who have 13 or more sub-divisions. Very interesting to read the breakdowns  (or sum-ups!)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Ellie said:

Geographically, there might be Southern, Gulf Coast, and Middle Atlantic, but I would never dream of dividing the South into all of those regions. o_0 I have ancestors in Virginia and the Carolinas in the late 1600s. They are all the South.

The point of an education is to prepare a children for the world they'll enter as adults.  When I taught my kids the physical terrain geographic terms I included these more targeted terms because when talk of US regions comes up in the news, conversation, and in books, people are rarely talking strictly of geographic regions so inadequately taught in a typical geography textbook. 

Here in The New South (I'm in Raleigh) people do distinguish between The Deep South (S. Carolina to northern Florida) and The South in general because there are both climatic differences and cultural differences implied when using each of them. Many people here want to be distinguished as separate from The Deep South. They're also talking about The New South with increasing frequency because of its impact on most aspects of life and is limited to certain areas. It sounds like it's been a while since your family was here.  There are all kinds of rumblings about the changes that are creating The New South around larger metro areas right now.  Kids are better off if they're up to speed on it.

When we talked about the The Great Plains part of the Midwest we also talked about the term The Breadbasket of America because that's a term still used sometimes. 

People using overly general terms are taking risks socially.  People in different places often don't like being lumped in to general categories for different reasons.  A more nuanced understanding of regions can be very socially useful. When I visited Maine I was conscious to use the term The Northeast when I went to see my cousin because she's part of the crowd that's offended by being labeled as part of New England.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ali in OR said:

In case you were wondering, I think it's pretty common on the west coast to think of much of the country as "back east." If you're east of the Mississippi River, you're back east! Sorry Ohio, you're not midwest. You're back east.

I heard and used that term often during PHX's explosive growth from the 60s to the 90s to describe transplants coming from places and places in general east of AZ (the CA influx hadn't happened yet.) It was a catch all term that confused people who weren't locals.  My brother still uses it and confused a Canadian we chatted with on a hiking trail. I almost jumped in to clarify that we do realize Canada is north of us, but we weren't going to have an ongoing relationship with the guy, so I didn't.

So many geographic terms we use are loaded with meaning beyond strict geographic boundaries.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really break up the whole map, but I use terms that I think will be meaningful in the conversation.  Sometimes "Great Lakes" feels more relevant than "Midwest" for example.  I am sure there it lots of overlap, but does it matter, as long as the meaning is communicated?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Farrar said:

There's some truth to that. The Left Coast does capture the liberal urban areas, separating them from the more conservative rural areas of OR and CA. But a Texan will have to confirm if a large swath of Texas is really like Appalachia-minded. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Ali in OR said:

There's some truth to that. The Left Coast does capture the liberal urban areas, separating them from the more conservative rural areas of OR and CA. But a Texan will have to confirm if a large swath of Texas is really like Appalachia-minded. 

Yeah, it's got a few odd things. I just like it as a thing that busts all the others. And while maybe it's flawed? I like it better than these things that try to put a modified X across the country and make four regions.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 7-9 categories:

New England (Maine - Pennsylvania)

Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Delaware, Virginia) - sometimes these get split between New England (Delaware & Maryland) and The South (Virginia).

The South (North Carolina/Kentucky/WV are the norther border over through Arkansas/Louisiana, includes Texas)

Midwest (Ohio - Dakotas, includes down through Oklahoma) - I sometimes split this into Great Plains (Iowa - Nebraska lines) and Great Lakes (Ohio - Wisconsin)

The West (Montana/Idaho down through Colorado/Utah)

The Southwest (New Mexico & Arizona)

The West Coast (I include Nevada sometimes here, sometimes in The West)

The Others - Alaska, Hawaii

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, RootAnn said:

This is probably the closest vision to my simplistic one.

I'm interested in those who make things very simple @MissLemon's Midwest/South outside of NY/NJ to the ones who have 13 or more sub-divisions. Very interesting to read the breakdowns  (or sum-ups!)

Oh, I was just being silly with my response. A lot of New Yorkers have the perspective that NYC is the greatest city in the country and that it is a wide expanse of dullness between NYC and LA. 

How I actually break it down: Alaska/Hawaii, West Coast, Southwest, Texas, Midwest, Deep South, Florida, the South, East Coast (every state North of NJ).  New England is a subset of "East Coast".  

I do admit that I feel conflicted about where to place Maryland and DC. Not exactly the South, but not really East Coast in my mind. 

Edited by MissLemon
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/13/2020 at 12:11 PM, RootAnn said:

 

Here are mine:

Northeast, South, West Coast, Midwest, Alaska, Hawaii (last two as separate but sometimes lumped together areas)

 

Those plus:

Rockies- Intermountain West

Upper Midwest

Desert Southwest

Plains

Southeast 

Mid-Atlantic 

PNW

 

 

Just an fyi - do not lump those from Seattle with those from Southern California.   We are both west coast, but that is 2,500 miles from border to border.   Different cultures, and even bigger differences in weather that affect lifestyles.

Eta: based on its size,  I almost consider Texas its own.

Edited by gardenmom5
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Oh, I was just being silly with my response. A lot of New Yorkers have the perspective that NYC is the greatest city in the country and that it is a wide expanse of dullness between NYC and LA. 

 

Years ago the college basketball playoffs were in Seattle. 

Some New York based anchorette, whined (on air) because she wouldn't be able to get her Starbucks in darkest Seattle. 

 

Where do you think it came from darlin'?

 

Both dds attended college in upstate NY.  Definitely a difference. .

  • Haha 3
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Farrar said:

This is an interesting map. I don't know much about anything East of the Mississippi but I can say it is more accurate for the places I have lived outside of Alaska.

 

Dividing west coast states by the mountains is definitly more accurate. Eastern Washington probably has more in common with my ranching Grandparents in Arizona than with the west coast of their own state. Flagstaff, AZ has a very very different feel than Bisbee, AZ where I spent summers on my Grandparents ranch. People in Phoenix or Flagstaff might as well have two heads to a rancher off in Duncan or Bisbee or someplace like that and they would have more in common with Eastern Washington. 

I think cultural differences are being blurred and blended by the consumption of e-media which allows us to be influenced by people from other places as much or more than our neighbors and IRL friends. I'd say the culture in my area has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. I guess things are always changing but rather than changing based on geographic needs, they are homogenizing with groups outside of our geographic area.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

Oh, I was just being silly with my response. A lot of New Yorkers have the perspective that NYC is the greatest city in the country and that it is a wide expanse of dullness between NYC and LA. 

How I actually break it down: Alaska/Hawaii, West Coast, Southwest, Texas, Midwest, Deep South, Florida, the South, East Coast (every state North of NJ).  New England is a subset of "East Coast".  

I do admit that I feel conflicted about where to place Maryland and DC. Not exactly the South, but not really East Coast in my mind. 

Yes, New Yorkers are awful in this way. 

I guess that's just big city life, right? I've met Brooklyn residents who hardly ever make it into Manhattan. Londoners who can't conceive of the world beyond their little neighborhood. It's so dense that it kind of takes up all your mental energy 🙂

Edited by Little Green Leaves
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Little Green Leaves said:

Yes, New Yorkers are awful in this way. 

I guess that's just big city life, right? I've met Brooklyn residents who hardly ever make it into Manhattan. Londoners who can't conceive of the world beyond their little neighborhood. It's so dense that it kind of takes up all your mental energy 🙂

I know Brooklynites that bristle when reminded that Brooklyn is actually part of Long Island.  It's so silly, but people have really big feelings about it. 

One of the silliest arguments I have ever read about regards the boundary line between Bushwick, Brooklyn and Ridgewood, Queens. The debate involves the location and "authenticity" of a boulder known as Arbitration Rock, lol. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/13/2020 at 1:21 PM, MEmama said:

Ummmm..New England, the South (aka everywhere south of Massachusetts), the Far West and the West Coast?
 

Just kidding! New England, the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, the South, the Southwest, Northern Midwest, Midwest/plains, Mountain states, West Coast, Pacific Northwest. Alaska and Hawaii get their own designations. Of course it can be broken down further, but those are the basics to me.

This is roughly how I think about it too. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I know Brooklynites that bristle when reminded that Brooklyn is actually part of Long Island.  It's so silly, but people have really big feelings about it. 

One of the silliest arguments I have ever read about regards the boundary line between Bushwick, Brooklyn and Ridgewood, Queens. The debate involves the location and "authenticity" of a boulder known as Arbitration Rock, lol. 

This is why I find it a little absurd to try to break down America according to cultural minutiae. I can't make my children remember that. When they travel to Huntsville and find out it isn't really like the deep South, that's enough. They can learn about the area before a trip or be open minded and pick up things along the way. We don't need to memorize it in school.

ETA- sometimes it's best to be open minded rather than try to put people in boxes.

Edited by frogger
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Midwest - overlaps with Great Plains

Upper mid-west/Great Lakes

New England - these two are less defined for me as I've not spent time in either

Mid-Atlantic

South

Deep South

Florida/Texas/California each get their own space

Western States

Pac NW - 

Alaska/Hawaii - non-attached states. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank goodness!!! Just nomenclature, not actually wanting to break it up into

pieces!

 

It depends on reasons

There’s the New Yorker cover with New York at the center and everything else hinterlands...

 

I guess this pretty much: 

 

adding a Northeast and Southeast:

23 hours ago, Terabith said:

New England

Mid-Atlantic

South

Florida

Texas

Midwest

Great Plains states

Mountain states

Southwest

California

Pacific Northwest

Alaska

Hawaii

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

People using overly general terms are taking risks socially.  People in different places often don't like being lumped in to general categories for different reasons.  A more nuanced understanding of regions can be very socially useful. When I visited Maine I was conscious to use the term The Northeast when I went to see my cousin because she's part of the crowd that's offended by being labeled as part of New England.

Well, golly, thanks for the chastisement.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, gardenmom5 said:

I don't think much has changed. 


I think it was slightly off in first place. Kansas City was not a 1976 nor 2020 NYCer reference point, nor Las Vegas for most NYCers.  Probably just Chicago, some mountains, Texas, maybe San Francisco and or Los Angeles/Hollywood—thence across ocean to other continents. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...