Which States Are Considered the Midwest?


People often wonder which states are part of the Midwest. It may seem like a simple question, but the answer is not always clear. The Midwest is a culturally diverse region with a rich history and identity. It is important to understand the boundaries of the Midwest to appreciate its significance, both historically and presently. This article aims to provide clarity and insights about the Midwest’s boundaries, diversity, and self-definition.

Midwest Boundaries: Understanding Which States Make Up the Heart of America

The Midwest is often known as America’s Heartland and is located in the northern central part of the country. The term “Midwest” was first used during the 1800s to describe the north-central region, which included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Today, official definitions vary regarding which states are considered Midwest. The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Midwest as a 12-state region that includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. The Midwest Office of Regional Development includes those 12 states plus Kentucky. Some sources include parts of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas as part of the Midwest due to shared cultural and economic ties.

However, there are grey areas and contested territories when it comes to the Midwest’s boundaries. Missouri, for example, is often grouped with Midwestern states due to its history and culture, but it is geographically closer to the South. Kentucky is also a border state with similar cultural and agricultural traditions as the Midwest, yet it is often not included in official Midwestern definitions.

Exploring the Geographical and Cultural Diversity of the Midwest

The Midwest is a vast and diverse region encompassing a range of landscapes, natural resources, and cultural traditions. The Great Plains cover the western portion of the region, while the eastern part is characterized by the Great Lakes and Appalachian Mountains.

Agriculture has long been a driving force in the Midwest, with vast stretches of fertile land used for crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. The region is also home to abundant natural resources, including timber, minerals, and water. Mining, oil, and gas production have also played important roles in the Midwest’s economic history. Today, manufacturing and technology industries are also helping to shape the region’s economy.

The Midwest is also rich in cultural and artistic traditions, including literature, music, and sports. From the works of Ernest Hemingway and Carl Sandburg to the sounds of Motown and Chicago blues, the Midwest has left an indelible mark on American culture. It is also home to iconic sports teams, such as the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs.

The Midwest’s Identity Crisis: Which States Really Belong?

The Midwest’s identity is often debated and contested, with different perspectives on which states should be included. Some define the Midwest based on political or economic ties, while others focus on cultural similarities. The rivalry between the Great Lakes and the Plains is one example of these differences.

Chicago, the region’s largest city and cultural hub, is often seen as the defining force in regional identity. However, as the Midwest has grown more diverse and multi-faceted, other cities and regions have emerged as important players in shaping the region’s identity.

The Midwest is also facing challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. Climate change, economic shifts, and changing demographics are reshaping the region’s landscape and future. Some see these trends as an opportunity to redefine and reinvigorate the Midwest’s identity and legacy.

Traveling Through America’s Breadbasket: A Tour of the Midwest States

If you’re interested in visiting the Midwest, there are plenty of attractions and destinations to explore. From the natural wonders of the Badlands in South Dakota to the urban vibrancy of Chicago and Minneapolis, the Midwest has something for everyone.

If you’re planning a Midwest itinerary, consider potential routes that cater to your interests and time constraints. Road trips are a popular way to experience the region’s picturesque backroads and small towns. Remember to pack for the region’s diverse climate, which can range from hot and humid summers to cold and snowy winters.

Finally, get insider tips from locals and fellow travelers to get the most out of your Midwest trip. savor local cuisine and indulge in some of the region’s iconic food traditions, such as deep-dish pizza, cheese curds, and sweet corn.

From Prairie to Cityscape: The History and Development of the Midwest

The Midwest has a rich and complex history, spanning pre-colonial times to the present day. Native American civilizations, French and Spanish explorations, and early European settlements all contributed to the region’s cultural heritage.

The Midwestern territory grew through several stages of statehood, with early pioneers building towns and cities throughout the region. The growth of transportation networks via canals, railroads, and highways brought new industries and populations to the Midwest. Wars, immigration, technology, and globalization have all shaped the region’s evolution in recent times.

Breaking Down Borders: How the Midwest Defines Itself and its Neighbors

While the Midwest is often defined as a distinct region, it also shares similarities and differences with other parts of the United States. The East Coast, West Coast, South, and Southwest all have unique cultural and economic identities. The Midwest has also formed close relationships with its neighbors to the north and south, particularly with Canada and Mexico.

By breaking down borders and promoting cross-cultural understanding, the Midwest can continue to develop innovative solutions and build a more globally connected future.


By understanding the boundaries, diversity, and self-definition of the Midwest, we can gain a deeper appreciation for one of America’s most significant regions. Whether you’re planning a trip, studying history, or simply curious about the Midwest, this article has provided insights and perspectives to guide your explorations.

Call to Action

As citizens, travelers, and global citizens, we can all contribute to the Midwest’s legacy and future. By supporting local businesses, promoting cultural exchange, and advocating for sustainable development, we can help shape the Midwest’s evolution in the 21st century and beyond. Consider exploring the Midwest with an open mind and sharing your experiences and insights with others.

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