Heartland (United States)

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The term "heartland" often invokes imagery of rural farming regions, such as this picture of a Kansas wheat field.

Heartland is an American term referring to states of the Union that—as in the words of commentator Ronald Brownstein—"don't touch an ocean,"[1] whether the Atlantic or Pacific. The phrase not only refers to a tangible region but is also a cultural term connoting many ideas and values, such as hard work, rustic small town communities, rural heritage, simplicity and honesty.

Location[edit]

There is no consensus as to "where" America's heartland is physically located. However, the American Midwest is the most commonly cited area as being the nation's heartland, although many other places have been referred to as part of it, often extending to rural or farming regions in the great plains.[2][3] At least as early as 2010, the term Heartland has been used to refer to many so-called "red states", including those in the Bible belt.[4]

Corn field in Iowa.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the mean center of population in the U.S. in 2010 was in or around Texas County, Missouri. In 2000 it had been northeast from there, in Phelps County, Missouri. It is projected for the mean center of population to leave the Midwest and enter the Western U.S. by the middle of the 21st century.[5] (Note that when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union in 1959, the geographic center of the United States moved from Smith County, Kansas to Butte County, South Dakota.)

Use of the Term[edit]

Halford Mackinder, a British geographer, coined the word in 1904 to refer to the heart of the Eurasian land mass: a strategic center of industry, natural resources and power.[2] The use of the term "heartland" to apply to the American Midwest did not become common until sometime in the 20th century.[6][7][8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brownstein, Ronald (November 4, 2010). "Heartland Headache: Democrats have to be more competitive in states that don’t touch an ocean if they want to bounce back". National Journal. 
  2. ^ a b Badger, Emily; Quealy, Kevin (2017-01-03). "Where Is America’s Heartland? Pick Your Map". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  3. ^ http://www.vanabbemuseum.nl. "HEARTLAND - What is Heartland". heartlandeindhoven.nl. Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  4. ^ Boyer, Paul S., Clifford E. Clark, Karen Halttunen, Joseph F. Kett, and Neal Salisbury. The enduring vision: A history of the American people Volume II: Since 1865. Cengage Learning, 2016.
  5. ^ Yen, Hope (March 8, 2011). "US 'heartland' near historic shift from Midwest". Forbes. Associated Press. 
  6. ^ Imagined Heartland, Frontier to Heartland, Newberry Library (2009), Retrieved 4 February 2015
  7. ^ The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, pp. 71-73 (2006)
  8. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". books.google.com. Retrieved 2017-05-16.