Middle America (United States)
Middle America is a colloquial term for the culturally conservative rural and suburban areas of the United States. Middle America is usually contrasted with the more culturally progressive urban areas of the country, particularly, those of the East and West Coasts. The conservative values considered typical of Middle America (often called "family values" in American politics) are often called Middle American values.
As a cultural and geographical label
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Geographically, the label Middle America refers to the territory between the East Coast of the United States (particularly the northeast) and the West Coast. The term has been used in some cases to refer to the inland portions of coastal states, especially if they are rural. Much of the California Central Valley and inland Pennsylvania are typically considered to be Middle American. Alternately, the term is used to describe the central United States.
Middle America is generally used more as a cultural than geographical label, suggesting a small town or suburb where most people are middle class, Protestant, and white. It is often caricatured in the same way as the American 1950s decade. The idea of Middle America may exclude locations such as Chicago (the third largest city in the United States and one of the world's ten alpha cities) and the very wealthy Aspen, Colorado. However, the coastal regions of the southern United States are often implicitly included.
The economy of "Middle America" is traditionally agricultural, though most "Middle Americans" now live in suburban locales. Compared to coastal America, home prices tend to be low and economic disparities are less pronounced. Housing prices tend to be significantly less volatile than those on the coasts, and houses tend to appreciate in value more slowly.
The phrase Middle American values is a political cliché; like family values, it refers to more traditional or conservative politics, although larger cities such as Minneapolis, Minnesota and major university towns such as Madison, Wisconsin, Columbia, Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas provide exceptions.
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