Midwestern United States

Midwestern United States
Chicago from Adler Planetarium Ver2.jpg
Bison Badlands South Dakota.jpg
Corn fields near Royal, Illinois.jpg
St Louis Gateway Arch.jpg
Huron River (Upper Peninsula).jpg
Skyline of Detroit, Michigan from S 2014-12-07.jpg
Left-right from top: Chicago skyline, Bison in Badlands National Park, Jay Cooke State Park, Cornfields in Illinois, Gateway Arch, Huron River in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit skyline
Map of USA Midwest.svg
Regional definitions vary slightly among sources. This map reflects the Midwestern United States as defined by the Census Bureau, which is followed in many sources.[1]
Largest metro CSA
Largest cities

The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as "Region 2").[2] It occupies the northern central part of the United States.[3] It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984.[4] It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.

The Census Bureau's definition consists of 12 states in the north central United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The region generally lies on the broad Interior Plain between the states occupying the Appalachian Mountain range and the states occupying the Rocky Mountain range. Major rivers in the region include, from east to west, the Ohio River, the Upper Mississippi River, and the Missouri River.[5] A 2012 report from the United States Census put the population of the Midwest at 65,377,684. The Midwest is divided by the Census Bureau into two divisions. The East North Central Division includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, all of which are also part of the Great Lakes region. The West North Central Division includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, several of which are located, at least partly, within the Great Plains region.

Chicago is the most populous city in the American Midwest and the third most populous in the entire country. Other large Midwestern cities include (in order by population): Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Wichita, Cleveland, St. Paul, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Madison, and Des Moines. Chicago and its suburbs form the largest metropolitan statistical area with 9.9 million people, followed by Metro Detroit, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Greater St. Louis, Greater Cleveland, Greater Cincinnati, the Kansas City metro area, and the Columbus metro area.


The term Midwestern has been in use since the 1880s to refer to portions of the central United States. A variant term, Middle West, has been used since the 19th century and remains relatively common.[6][7] Another term sometimes applied to the same general region is the heartland.[8] Other designations for the region have fallen out of use, such as the Northwest or Old Northwest (from "Northwest Territory") and Mid-America. The Northwest Territory (1787) was one of the earliest territories of the United States, stretching northwest from the Ohio River to northern Minnesota and the upper-Mississippi. The upper-Mississippi watershed including the Missouri and Illinois Rivers was the setting for the earlier French settlements of the Illinois Country[9] and the Ohio Country.

Economically the region is balanced between heavy industry and agriculture (large sections of this land area make up the United States' Corn Belt), with finance and services such as medicine and education becoming increasingly important. Its central location makes it a transportation crossroads for river boats, railroads, autos, trucks, and airplanes. Politically, the region swings back and forth between the parties, and thus is heavily contested and often decisive in elections.[10][11]

After the sociological study Middletown (1929), which was based on Muncie, Indiana,[12] commentators used Midwestern cities (and the Midwest generally) as "typical" of the nation. Earlier, the rhetorical question, "Will it play in Peoria?", had become a stock phrase using Peoria, Illinois to signal whether something would appeal to mainstream America.[13] The region has a higher employment-to-population ratio (the percentage of employed people at least 16 years-old) than the Northeast, the West, the South, or the Sun Belt states as of 2011.[14]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Orta Qərbi ABŞ
беларуская: Сярэдні Захад
български: Среден Запад
català: Oest Mitjà
dansk: Midtvesten
français: Midwest
galego: Medio Oeste
한국어: 미국 중서부
latviešu: Vidējie Rietumi
Lëtzebuergesch: Mëttlere Westen
македонски: Среден Запад
Nederlands: Midden-Westen
norsk: Midtvesten
norsk nynorsk: Midtvesten
polski: Midwest
Simple English: Midwestern United States
slovenčina: Midwest (USA)
српски / srpski: Средњи запад
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Srednji Zapad (SAD)
татарча/tatarça: Урта көнбатыш
українська: Середній Захід
Tiếng Việt: Trung Tây Hoa Kỳ