Which States Are Truly In The Midwest? A New Poll Covering 22 States Has People Online Divided … And a Little Salty

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Idaho and Pennsylvania are fighting for their lives in the group chat right now following the release of a new Midwest study that has sparked some passionate discussion online.

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The study by Emerson College Polling and the Middle West Review, which aims to explore Midwest state boundaries and identity, was the result of more than 11,000 responses across 22 states. The states included those traditionally considered to be in the Midwest, in addition to some surrounding states such as Arkansas, West Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma.

The results are in, and well, Midwest elitists and gatekeepers better brace themselves.

To start, the vast majority of people in Illinois, 93.8%, consider themselves as living in the Midwest, according to the study. Researchers found that the majority of residents in the following 14 states consider themselves to be part of the Midwest:

  • Iowa (96.7%)
  • Minnesota (96.5%)
  • Missouri (95.3%)
  • Illinois (93.8%)
  • North Dakota (93.8%)
  • Wisconsin (93.6%)
  • Nebraska (92.8%)
  • South Dakota (92.2%)
  • Indiana (91.6%)
  • Kansas (91.2%)
  • Michigan (85.5%)
  • Ohio (78.2%)
  • Oklahoma (66.2%)
  • Wyoming (53.5%)

(Courtesy of Emerson College Polling and the Middle West Review)(Courtesy of Emerson College Polling and the Middle West Review)

But when it comes to those who identify as “Midwesterners,” the numbers are slightly lower than those who consider themselves to live in the Midwest, the study finds. For instance, 97% of Iowans say they live in the Midwest while 90% of Iowans consider themselves to be Midwesterners.

States in the survey that didn’t have a majority of residents who said they lived in the Midwest included: Colorado (42.1%), Kentucky (30.8%), Montana (30.1%), Arkansas (26.6%), Idaho (25.2%), West Virginia (13%), Tennessee (9.7%) and Pennsylvania (9.4%).

“These intriguing results underscore the strength of Midwestern identity, despite what some have claimed, and further justify the efforts being made to study the Midwest and its history,” said academic journal Middle West Review editor Jon Lauck, in a news release about the study.

A map of the study results posted Tuesday by the Middle West Review on X, formerly known as Twitter, has garnered over a million views.

As expected, people were quick to voice their thoughts.

One user “Clint Midwestwood” replied: “I think it's sad that the Great Plains states have abandoned their own identity to join something they’re not. And Missouri is just its own thing. It and Arkansas need to get together and be the Pseudo-South. Oklahoma is just North Texas.”

Other users on X shared their frustration and surprise with the study results:

Contact Eunice Alpasan: @eunicealpasan | 773-509-5362 | [email protected]

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