Flyover country

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Aerial view of Kansas, the state in the center of the contiguous U.S.

Flyover country and flyover states are American phrases describing the parts of the contiguous United States between the East and the West Coasts. The origins of the phrases and the attitudes of their supposed users are a source of debate in American culture; the terms are often regarded as pejoratives, but are sometimes "reclaimed" and used defensively.[1] The terms refer to the interior regions of the country passed over during transcontinental flights, particularly flights between the nation's two most populous urban agglomerations: the Northeastern Megalopolis and Southern California.

The term is also sometimes used more broadly to describe flights between all the heavily urbanized megaregions of the United States.[citation needed] The term is often used in reference to the general economic, developmental, cultural, and political differences between the urban coastal and rural central regions of the United States. "Flyover country" thus refers to the part of the country that some Americans—especially those of urban, wealthier, white-collar status—only view by air when traveling and never actually see in person at ground level.[2][3]

Although the term is most commonly associated with states located in the geographic center of the country, the states with the most planes flying over without taking off or landing are located on the East Coast, led by Virginia, then Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.[4] Others argue that a more effective analysis looks at a state's ratio of flyover flights to destination flights—this places West Virginia first, followed by Kansas, Mississippi, and Iowa.[5] The circumstances surrounding alleged "flyover country" locations are prone to varying depending on changes related to urban development, business opportunity, and culture.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bullard, Gabe (March 14, 2016). "The Surprising Origin of the Phrase 'Flyover Country'". National Geographic. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  2. ^ Cowan, Jane (March 10, 2012). "Landing in the 'Fly-over' country". ABC Radio. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Techies reject coasts for 'Silicon Prairie'". CNN. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Munroe, Randall (October 21, 2014). "Science Answers Which State Airplanes Are Flying Over The Most". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "Flyover States: Flight Data Shows Which States Americans Think Are Boring | Champion Traveler". Retrieved March 15, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • de Wit, Cary W. (2007). "Flyover country". In Sisson, Richard; Zacher, Christian K.; Cayton, Andrew Robert Lee (eds.). The American Midwest: an interpretive encyclopedia. Indiana University Press. pp. 66–68. ISBN 978-0-253-34886-9.
  • Robertson, David (2004). "FLYOVER COUNTRY". In Wishart, David J. (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press. p. 386. ISBN 978-0-8032-4787-1.