Is this an actual region?

By Deane Barker

Technically, this is an official census region of the United States. It stretches from the Dakotas in the west to Ohio in the east, and from the northern border down to Missouri’s southern tip.

It’s these 12 states:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

I’ve talked to several people about what they think the “the Midwest” is, and it differs depending on if you’re on either end of it. For example:

  • Some people in Ohio (East) think the Dakotas are “the Plains”
  • Some people in the Dakotas (West) think Ohio is “the Rust Belt”

The “Great Plains” is another geographic area that includes the western states of the 12 listed above, as well as parts of Montana, Taxes, and Eastern Colorado (the so-called Front Range), so they often get lumped in with that moniker.

However, “Midwestern United States” is a formally defined census region, while “Great Plains” is an informal geographic descriptor.

Why I Looked It Up

I’ve just thought about this a lot. I consider myself from the Midwest, but I find that people in “eastern Midwest” states like Indiana and Ohio disagree, while I don’t consider Ohio to be in the same grouping.


Added on

I saw a graphic on Twitter that showed the far eastern 50 miles (maybe?) of the Dakotas was the “Upper Midwest” while everything west was considered the “Northern Great Plains.” The Midwest stopped before Chicago and transitioned into the “Great Lakes.”


Added on

I found this image which asked people in various states if they considered themselves part of the “Midwest.”

This is item #465 in a sequence of 825 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys to navigate