Middle America (United States)

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This article is about the region of the United States. For the division of the Americas, see Middle America (Americas). For other uses, see Middle America.
A quiet street in a small Indiana town.

Middle America is a colloquial term for the United States heartland, especially the culturally conservative rural and suburban areas of the United States.

Middle America is generally used as both a geographic and cultural label, suggesting a Central United States small town or suburb where most people are middle class, Evangelical Christian or Catholic, and white. It is often caricatured in the same way as the American 1950s decade.

As a 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 Pennsylvania area is typically considered to be Middle American, with its entire Congressional delegation being Catholic, in contrast to its early years as a Mainline Protestant state that initiated the First Amendment. Alternately, the term is used to describe the central United States.

As a cultural label[edit]

Middle America is 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".[1][2]

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 implicitly included.


An abandoned American farm, June 2015

The economy of Middle America is traditionally agricultural,[citation needed] though most inhabitants 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 St. Louis, Missouri and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and major university towns such as Madison, Wisconsin, Columbia, Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas provide exceptions.[4][5]

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. 
  4. ^ Gabriel Winant (2010-05-17). "Who’s more condescending to Middle America?". Salon.com. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  5. ^ Bouie, Jamelle (2015-05-15). "Whites prefer to live with whites: Why integrating America’s neighborhoods and cities is harder than we think". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-05-29.