The Great State Debate

Julie did one thing that irked me when she moved to Colorado. She referred to this state as the “midwest” in her blog bio.

Seriously? The Midwest? When everybody and their brother calls Denver a “cowtown?” When, before our wedding in 1996, we actually had friends ask us if large animals roam freely in the street? (I am not kidding). When the state just north of us has a cowboy on their license plate?

I’ve given her crap about it, but she doesn’t realize how many discussions it has sparked amongst my acquaintances. (And, certainly, NOT ONE of them think Colorado is in the Midwest. No offense to Midwesterners, but there is too much of Buffalo Bill Cody here – literally – for Coloradans to ever let go of the WEST.)

But what *has* been interesting is where we Coloradoans (and other friends via email) think the borders of the other regions fall. Apparently we all have an opinion.

It came up again today over lunch with James and we ended up drawing a map right there at the table. It basically turned into a game of Monopoly. I insisted that Oklahoma was in the West because any state that sponsored land grabs was most certainly western. He felt West Virginia was a wild card and wasn’t willing to put it into the Northeast as I was wont to do, so I had to give him that to get Tennessee into the South as I felt it should be. Bryan declared Virgina had to be in the south since Richmond was the capital of the confederacy. We wavered on our home state of Maryland, because – even though the Mason Dixon line runs along the top border of the state, it has always felt like more of a northern state.

Here is what we ended up with after our negotiations.

(Click to see larger image)

So, as the person who sparked this debate alway says… I dare you disagree. In fact, I invite it. What states belong where?

Below is a blank map for you to fill in and email me (aimee at greeblemonkey dot com). Best or most humorous attempts will be posted with full credits next week! Have fun!

Ask your family and friends and see what they think. You might be surprised by their answers… and especially – their rationale.

This article has 36 comments

  1. mothergoosemouse

    That’s awesome! I will definitely have fun with this.

    It’s funny – I’ve lived in Ohio and Colorado, and I still think of them both as being part of the midwest. I suppose I really do have to amend my standpoint on Colorado, but no way can I consider Kansas to be part of the west. Heck, Tacy is convinced that Kansas is another planet. 😉

  2. Oh, The Joys

    That is really cool!

  3. joansy

    Mmm – I think of Las Vegas and Zion National Park and other parts of southern Utah as the southwest, but the northern parts of each of those states as western states. Do we have to keep the states whole?

    Billy, my gardening husband, insists that we’re in the southwest because that’s the plant zone we’re in – I’m not sure that this should be our only priority.

  4. Sizzle

    i just recently realized that PA is next to NJ. i’m not one to debate the states. heh. but i actually agree with the map you guys came up with.

    i’m a west coaster through and through!

  5. rufus the doofus

    Well gee, your map makes me a born west coaster, who has become a true true southern belle! Of course now I’m a damn yankee. I think I’m having an identity crisis just by looking at your map!

  6. Meghann

    I have to agree about Texas. Down here we don’t like being called the “Southwest”.

  7. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Julie, yeah, we were on the fence about Kansas… but it came back to the Land Grab thing for me, and if Oklahoma is west, I figured the state to it’s north had to be! BUT COLORADO IS NOT THE MIDWEST. FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN.

    And Mel, I always assume the “midwest” name came from when the landscape was so much different. Meaning there were Colony states and everything else was West. 🙂

    And Erica and Meghann… I will give you that Texas is it’s own world! 😉 I actually only included in Southwest thinking of the TexMex food, ha ha!

    And JoNell, yeah… I do think some stats could be broken up in half.

    Maypole… Being from Maryland, it’s another hotly contested state. The middle region actually kind of calls itself “MidAtlantic” mostly these days, actually. And Delaware, Virginia and Maryland sometimes go by the combines name of “Delmarva.”

    And LOL Ruth! 😉

    Glad you all are taking it in the fun spirit in which it was intended!

  8. mel from freak parade

    We just moved back to CA from CO. We considered it a whole new option…a Rocky Mountain state. You know, a state that is along the mountains. (we are so smart. eyeroll.)Most people we talked to back home considered it midwest. My friend is from Kansas…she also considered it midwest. My family in PA considered it midwest. Perhaps everyone considers it to be the midwest except for the people actually living there. 😉

  9. mel from freak parade

    One more thing….I mostly agree with your map, I think…but did you notice your selections for the midwest are neither mid nor west? Not a one.

  10. TxGambit

    I mostly agree with what you colored…. but hmmm Texas should be its very own color, because hello, its TEXAS!!!! :)Love ya, Aimee! Julie, Tell Tacy that Kansas IS another planet! ha, ha…

  11. painted maypole

    i think you did pretty well, but I would put kansas in the midwest, too. actually, some states don’t fall into just one category. for instance, i would say that Pittsburgh, PA is midwest, while Philadelphia, PA is NorthEast (or even “East Coast” -a distinction you don’t have but that people there consider,even though it is not on the coast,and then I would think that maybe Maryland and Delaware would fall into east coast, too? I tend to think of several states as “Washington DC plus” but that’s a whole other ball of wax, so to speak

  12. K. Jay

    Hi. I’d have to agree with the comments about Texas. If Texans find out you classed them in with other states, we will have civil strife. And Texas will win.

    I also think you may have forgotten a key group called the Central Plains states which would be the straight line of states from North Dakota through Kansas.

    I’ve really enjoyed this post!

  13. Builder Mama

    This is great! Well, as I’ve found when I was researching recycled material origins for one of my projects, there are a lot of people that consider Virginia to be the North – which sent my husband into a rage the likes of which I’ve never seen! Of course, he thinks anything north of Richmond is the North, so obviously there’s a little matter of interpretation there. Then there are a lot of companies that think there really isn’t a North or South, just an East. Like everything from Maine to Florida. I’ll have to look at the rest of the country sometime to see how they divide all that up.

    I remember when I was little I thought there were only 3 states – New Jersey, New York, and California (ya know, because Shawn Cassidy lived there). Sorry, that has no relevance to the discussion but I just had to throw that in there because I’m a dork.

  14. nutmeg

    Holy Shit! I think you may be asking me to THINK!

  15. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Now I am starting to get scared that Texans are gonna hunt me down and kick my ass! 😉 Texas was another one we waffled over for a while.

  16. aimee / greeblemonkey

    And I like the Central Plains idea. That stops the west vs. midwest fight!

  17. Mrs. Wheezer

    *ahem* Texas is not part of the southwest. It is a southern state. Not a deep south state (a category I noticed you left off, LOL), which includes: South Carolina, Georgia, Missisippi and Alabama.

    And, every person I’ve known from Kentucky considers themselves a southerner…

  18. Anonymous

    I love this post – hilarious! And I love all the different opinions!

  19. Neil

    As a former Pittsburgher I can tell you that they do NOT consider themselves Midwest but rather squarely placed in the east coast (it’s more of an attitude than a geographical thing). But, they are on the outer reaches of the East and as close as Cleveland Ohio it is completely considered Midwest. Something changes, I’m not sure what it is but you just know when you are in the Midwest, and Pittsburgh doesn’t feel the same.

    As a Coloradoan, I can’t believe people consider it midwest! I have always though of it as completely west, even when I still lived in Pittsburgh!

    The Oklahoma thing may need adjusted, I might put them in the Midwest, but it is a tough call. I can’t wait to do a map! (I like coloring between the lines!)

  20. TxGambit

    Aimee, I would never hunt you down to kick your ass but I would come out to have a drink or two with ya!

    But, yeah, we Texans are proud to be just that Texans.

    Like Mrs. W said, if we say we are anything, its the south, not southwest.

    I do agree with the “Midwest” being called that because of the Colony states, etc…. CO is most definitely a Southwest or Western state in my thinking though.

    This is an interesting discussion.

  21. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Oh and Wheezer, Kentucky was a major bone of contention too. I felt it was a southern state too. Damn James and his strong will!!!

  22. Dagger Dan

    You’d have to spend very little time in WV or KY to firmly consider them Southern states. Southern Illinois and Southern Indiana are more southern than midwestern even, but WV and KY definitely. Accents, cuisine, general (polite) attitude–they’re much more Southern.

  23. Steph

    Okay – from someone born in KS (and who lived there until recently) I always though we were mid-west. But I lived in NE KS….now western KS and even south KS could be considered the West. Especially Dodge City.

    Oh, and Tacy is right KS is a whole ‘nother planet. I remember in HS getting asked if we had indoor plumbing and if we had electricity.

  24. sue

    Actually, I agree with your map. But then, I’m in Iowa… not much disagreement there. 😉

  25. Mayberrys

    OK, here’s a POV from someone waaaay down South without any photo editing software 🙂

    “The South” definitely does NOT include AK or VA. Virginia is part of a sub-group you don’t have listed, which I would call East Coast/Mid-Atlantic. It also includes DC, MD, DE, NJ and PA.

    Arkansas, Missouri and the “row” of ND, SD, NE and KS should be a new category – Heartland.

    CA is it’s own thing – West Coast. OR and WA should be grouped with ID as Pacific Northwest.

    Oklahoma should be grouped with TX, AZ and NM as part of the “Southwest”.

    That’s my $.02.

  26. PunditMom

    What about the part that’s supposed to be the “Great Plains!” (said the one who formerly lived in Kansas)

  27. Shicho

    I’m so sorry: I took your idea and made it evil.

    Not by choice – just had to be honest…

    ; ‘ )

  28. John

    I live in oklahoma and it is very obvious that west of interstate 35 is clearly southwestern and east of I-35 is clearly southeastern. I believe the same is true through texas as well. An im sick of some people putting oklahoma in the midwest not even close to midwestern Everybody speaks with a southern accent. I think kansas is clearly midwestern.

  29. Nancy

    All I can say is I used to teach geography and there was a set of books that delineated the location of the states. Unfortunately, it has been too long ago for me to remember! I will also have to sell this store so I can keep up with all you blogs, ideas, fascinating perceptions, photographs, musings……..

  30. Courtney

    I almost completely agree with this map. Personally,I’d put Texas as a South/Southwest state though. Oh, and fun fact about my home state: us Floridians generally consider Central and North Florida “Southern” and South Florida “part of Mexico”. We have a running joke about Miami being the capitol of Latin America.

  31. Courtney

    Oh, and I say that just because Spanish is spoken so much there and it’s a mostly Latin style culture.

  32. Craig

    What Dagger Dan said is correct. The good old folks of southern Illinois and Indiana always say “I’m from southern Illinois or Indiana”. They may in fact be mid-western but at heart they are southern.

  33. Aimee Giese

    Kevin, did you read the post? I am from Maryland too.

  34. Kevin Quantmeyer

    You got Maryland wrong. How can you seperate MD from Virginia??? The Mason-Dixon is a straight line drawn by a cartographer and a mathmatitian! I live on Maryland’s eastern shore. I feel a kinship with the rest of the south east NOT states like Penn. or N.Y.

  35. Kevin Quantmeyer

    You got Maryland wrong. How can you seperate MD from Virginia??? The Mason-Dixon is a straight line drawn by a cartographer and a mathmatitian! I live on Maryland’s eastern shore. I feel a kinship with the rest of the south east NOT states like Penn. or N.Y.

  36. Judy Miller

    Oklahoma is a southern state. It is geographically, culturally, historically, spiritually and politically southern. It is not anything like Arizona, It is nothing like Wyoming. It is nothing like Iowa or Illinois. It’s not Midwest, it’s not southwest. It is as defined by the Census Bureau “West South Central.” Oklahoma territory was part of the Confederacy and all Five Civilized tribes fought for the Confederacy.

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