Middle America (United States)

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For other uses, see Middle America.

Middle America is an American colloquialism for a cultural mindset or region of the United States that, geographically, comprises the bulk of rural and suburban America. Middle American is contrasted to the more metropolitan areas and, particularly, those of the East and West Coasts. The two mindsets reflect different values that portray a dichotomy in American culture. In regard to geographical usage, the term is not literal because one may hold "Middle American values" while not residing there, and vice versa.[1][2]

As a cultural and geographical label[edit]

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,[citation needed] though most "Middle Americans" now live in suburban locales.[citation needed] Compared to coastal America, home prices tend to be low and economic disparities are less pronounced.[citation needed] Housing prices tend to be significantly less volatile than those on the coasts, and houses tend to appreciate in value more slowly.[3]


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.

Many of the political battleground states are situated in "Middle America".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Comment: editorials, opinion and columns". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  2. ^ "Time: Middle Americans". Chnm.gmu.edu. 1970-01-05. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b Paul Jankowski (2012-04-18). "Six Ignorant Stereotypes About Middle America". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-10-30.