Assorted links

1. What people cured of blindness see.

2. Shoes that show you the way.

3. Which states are in the Midwest?  I say no to all the marginal cases, including Kentucky.  And how can it be that not everyone thinks Iowa is in the Midwest?

4. China insurance markets in everything.

5. Who is the gun salesman of the year?

6. Maids are no longer servants.

7. Interest rates.

8. Update on charter city plans in Honduras.

Comments

Re: midwest definition - I'm not sure the answers on any geography survey are going to make a lot of sense. I'm not sure what the "SurveyMonkey Audience" is composed of, but I once had a fellow student at Stanford ask me, when told that my parents lived in Rhode Island, "That's in Connecticut, isn't it?" (I swear that's true.) Forget about whether Kentucky is a part of the Midwest (or other marginal cases) - when only 81% pick Illinois, probably a significant minority of people aren't really even familiar with the term, and they are just guessing from "middle west" combined with a weak knowledge of US geography. As the article suggests, Chicago is so often referred to as a midwestern city - but then again, I bet in a fill in the blank question (or even multiple choice) a non-trivial minority won't correctly identify Chicago's state.

I worked for a pension fund in Montana, so we'd frequently call in to conference calls in New York and New Jersey, when setting one up, the coordinator asked if Montana was in Canada.

New Mexico Magazine ran (for years; it may still run) a feature with examples of people thinking New Mexico was either (a) its own country or (b) part of Mexico,

I bet a higher percent would place Chicago in the midwest than would place Illinois in the midwest. People are funny.

The author of the 538 piece said everything west of Philadelphia, and under the sort of logic one could say too much of Illinois outside greater Chicago-land is part of the South for it to qualify.

Rhode Island is part of Massachusetts, not Connecticut. I thought everyone knew that.

#1. Interesting about blindness to vision. I would've likely been one arguing that the newly sighted would visual tell a cube from a sphere. Sounds like a different response than those hearing for the first time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyECCMdlVFo

#3. I lived most of my youth in Kentucky. I would've never identified as Midwestern.

Grew up in Louisville, which is not midwest but probably closer to that than the South for all Derby suggests otherwise. Now live in N Ky / Greater Cincinnati. It is unquestionably a midwest vibe here. If I had to pick a label to best represent the geography unadjusted for population, it would be the South. If adjusted for population, I'd probably say midwest.

@JasonL. I lived in central KY (south of Lexington) when younger and have the southern accent to this day. In my high school years I lived in northern KY and agree it has a less southern "feel", but I still felt I was in the south. I have also lived for a spell in Chicago in my adult life and the contrast is stark - especially what I felt was a "formality of interactions" between people that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable to me coming from what I considered "the south."

The mid-west consists of the Big Ten states. I know that Missouri counts itself as midwest, but they have much fewer cultural linkages with Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, etc. than those states have with each other. My gut tells me this probably goes back to Missouri being a slave state originally. It just has a different mentality from the Big Ten states.

You also need to have at least one fairly large urban center to be considered a true Mid-west state. That's why Iowa is definitely fringe.

So you're putting not only PA (UPenn) but also NJ (Rutgers) and MD (U of Maryland) in the midwest? Or are you only including the teams that predate Penn State? If the latter, you're excluding Nebraska, which seems pretty midwestern to me.

You also need to have at least one fairly large urban center to be considered a true Mid-west state.

No, you need one to be considered Rustbelt.

"Midwest" is Rustbelt plus Plains. The eastern boundary is roughly along an axis which runs from Utica, N.Y. to Bethlehem, Pa. The southern boundary swings from there to the Ohio River and runs through the cities thereupon, then jumps to where the Ozarks fade out in Missouri, then runs along the Kansas-Oklahoma border. The western border runs about from Garden City, Ks through Rapid City, S. Dak to the Canadian border. If you trace an arc from Duluth to Minneapolis to Rockford to Evansville to just west of St. Louis, that separates the Rustbelt from the Plains.

Midwest is Rustbelt and Plains, but those are overlapping fuzzy sets, hence the ambiguity of the Midwest. Areas with both a Rustbelt manufacturing sector and a field crop agriculture sector are at the center of the Midwest. Areas with only one of the two are ambiguous.

Speaking as a native Kansan, Art Deco is correct.

The Plains states north of Oklahoma are culturally more like Iowa and (rural) Illinois than they are like Colorado, Montana, or Utah. Of course, there isn't really a hard-and-fast "border" so much as a gradual transition.

Bill Bryson wrote about the transition from 'midwestern nice' to 'western hard' in one of his books.

The Plains states north of Oklahoma are culturally more like Iowa and (rural) Illinois than they are like Colorado, Montana, or Utah.

No one is suggesting that if they are not Midwest states that they must be Mountain states.

Why can't they be Plains states?

They are Plains states. But, as I detail below, the Plains states were ultimately settled and populated by people from the older Midwestern states. As such, the Plains states are part of the Midwest, economically and culturally.

To add to Deco's links, here's a dialect map of the U.S.:
http://aschmann.net/AmEng/#SmallMapUnitedStates

To me, this approximates the underlying regionality within the Midwest better than the physical or political geography do.

Michigan was initially settled (before late 19th century immigration) by people from New England and New York. This does not make Michigan a New England or northeastern state.
IMO, Midwest implies a mix of agriculture and (much decayed now) industry, with the upper Mississippi and the Great Lakes defining the geography. The Plains states are pretty much fully agricultural, with some other extraction industries. I would also limit the term to states that were in the Union when the Civil War began. And nowadays their politics is fairly "purple" with Illinois as the "blue" extreme and indiana the "red" extreme.
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Missouri only very marginally (the state's slavery history is a disqualifier, though St Louis is more Midwestern than Southern).

JonFraz,

Kansas was in the Union when the Civil War began.

Speaking as a Plains native, residents of the central and northern Plains states generally consider themselves Midwesterners.

http://www.virtualfieldwork.org/MapPing_US_%26_North_American_Earth_Systems/Entries/2009/9/19_Biomes_of_North_America_files/shapeimage_1.jpg

The biomes map can be an aid.

Given the decline of agriculture as an employer, one would be speaking of heritage more than present reality. The heritage is manifest in settlement types. Here you see the extent of colonial-era settlement:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/Map_of_territorial_growth_1775.svg/783px-Map_of_territorial_growth_1775.svg.png

and this

http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/04/17/brockman-full_custom-59f6ada2ed2bfd85296a83bf8e89e7bdbf759050-s40-c85.jpg

This seems right to me. I grew up south of Rochester NY, and we have some good friends from beside the Mississippi in Illinois, and we are culturally and linguistically very similar. Certainly have a lot more in common with them than anyone from Downstate.

Ditto.

The accent in the area is described as 'inland north' by linguists, found Upstate and in Michigan. You'll notice the place names are similar. Around Rochester you have Monroe, Wayne, Genesee, and Livingston Counties, all found in eastern Michigan as well. There's also an Otsego County in northern Michigan, which has it's namesake southwest of Albany.

What most people call "midwest" I call "Great Lakes". I grew up thinking that the Midwest was defined more by the Big Eight than the Big Ten. The Plains, basically, with Clark Kent being the prototypical Midwesterner.

Now I just avoid the term altogether and say Great Lakes or Plains.

For an average American, the mid west is probably not that far from the middle east.

The population center of the country is somewhere in Missouri. I'll wager people in St Louis know their not in Damascus.

The ones in Ferguson aren't so sure. Also, they probably say 'they're' not 'their' there.

The midwest is the Northwest Purchase + Iowa. Another good definition is the classic Big Ten state schools. Conveniently, these are the same!

I think you are conflating the Louisiana Purchase with the Northwest Ordinance/Territories.

Yep! Northwest Territory. This apparently is a common mistake because the first google hit for "northwest purchase" is the Wikipedia page for the "Northwest Territory". Thanks!

The Midwest is exactly the original Northwest: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin.

Iowa has the best claim of being a fringe Midwest state, but it's better placed with Minnesota in the Plains. Kentucky is of course in the South, as is Missouri.

Not quite.

Missouri is a split state with the Missouri River as a crude approximation of a dividing line. Southern Missouri, oriented around the Ozarks, is definitely highland Southern in culture, almost an extension of Appalachia. Northern Missouri is Midwestern and more like Iowa.

The Plains states, north of Oklahoma, are Midwestern as are Iowa and Minnesota. After the Civil War and with the end of the Indian Wars, these states shifted from frontier range economies to crop economies. Incoming settlers of northern European, predominantly German, extraction moved in from the older interior Union states--Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, etc.--and pushed the cowboys and other frontier-types further west. And not always peacefully. As a consequence, the northern Plains states were culturally assimilated into the Midwest.

Missouri is somewhat complicated for its size, but I remember that the main slaveholding areas were along the Missouri River, north of St. Louis, which upsets the North-South paradigm you cited.

For what its worth, during the Civil War, Union forces quickly gained control of St. Louis and pushed into the Ozarks, but could never consistently control the rest of the state.

There were pro-CSA guerilla outlaw bands that operated in Missouri, but after the first year of war pushed the Confederates out of the Ozark region and established bridgeheads on the Mississippi below Cairo, the possibility that Missouri might secede was pretty much nill.

Note the date of this event: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%27s_Raid".

While termed a raid, Price, the Governor of Missouri at the start of the war, had an army of 12,000 men, which included artillery,and was finally cornered and defeated by reinforced Union forces near Kansas City! Its interesting what goes down the memory hole and this campaign falls into that category for whatever reason. But the Confederates did a bit more than guerilla activity in Missouri quite late into the war.

12,000 men is pretty small force by Civil war standards.

Missouri and for that matter Kentucky too are always going to be problematic because they are the quintessential border states. Not quite southern, not quite midwestern.

#8 - Haven't rich, idealistic Americans tried this at least twice before. Has this ever worked out anywhere?

When Paul Romer and his wealthy friends and their private armies get these places up and profitable, how much will they have to budget for kickbacks to avoid nationalization? Also, will these charter cities have open borders?

Well, seeing as these "charter city" deals are all accomplished via corrupt Third World dictatorships, I'd say that future kick-backs to avoid nationalization are already accounted for.

Yep here we go again. Romer manages to give both colonialism and anti-colonialism a bad name with this nonsense.

#5 - For the sixth straight year, even factoring that he golfs more than he wrecks, Obama is the greatest gun salesman. One very happy man is Jimmy Carter. He is now the second worst president in history.

#3. The corporation pays my subscription to quarterly, real estate developer, investor, and market surveys. Unluckily, I (fly back early AM tomorrow) am working at a financial services institution in Chicago. So, I printed some of the pages and threw them in my PC valise. I believe the bottom list (IA, KS, MO, ND, NE, OK, SD - cities included Kansas City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, region) is the preferable Mid West state list.

The survey (developers') says,

Midwest - AR, IA, MO, MN.

Great Lakes - IL, IN, MI, OH, WI

Then, the survey (market) gets squirrelly (states show up again).

East North Central - MI, OH (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit/Ann Arbor, region)

West North Central -IL, IN, WI (Chicago/Racine/Naperville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee/Racine, region)

Mid West - IA, KS, MO, ND, NE, OK, SD (Kansas City, Minneapolis/ST. Paul, St. Louis, region)

#7 seemed kind of unfocused. This year, as the economy has limped along (little by little) and the Fed has begun tapering, inflation expectations have come down (not surprising) and real rates have come down more (more surprising). It's the new normal, and low interest rates aren't artificial.

#8: Wow, this article paints a pretty dismal picture of how the whole charter city movement has taken shape. Even as a leftist, I wasn't convinced that they would be *that* bad. But then again, I guess I shouldn't be surprised when it turns out that the private cities are accomplished via the support of corrupt dictatorships and get their initial land by stealing from existing communities. "Non-aggression principle", my ass.

Which states comprise The South?

The 11 states of the Confederacy (less Northern Virginia, greater Miami, misc. geezer funk holes in Florida, and the desert zone of Texas around El Paso), West Virginia less the Ohio River cities, Maryland less greater Baltimore and the Washington annex, Delaware less the Philadelphia annex, Kentucky less Louisville, the Ozark area of Missouri, a slice of Oklahoma.

Are Austin and San Antonio part of The South? What about Houston?

If you omit the Baltimore-Washington corridor, you're not left with a whole lot of Maryland to work with (and that' before we even split hairs over Southern and Appalachian, to which both Western Maryland and most of West Virginia properly belong). Same goes for Delaware and the Philadelphia suburbs.

In both cases, I don't think it's really accurate to call them "Southern"; they're both pretty urbanized along Northeastern lines but retain a non-trivial agricultural sector/rural economy. Not much different from Massachusetts, really, save for proximity to the South.

If you omit the Baltimore-Washington corridor, you’re not left with a whole lot of Maryland to work with

You're left with 1.9 million people in five subsets, more people than live in Nebraska. The distinction between theses areas and Baltimore and Washington is stark. About 85% of the population therein is small town and rural and all of your cities have populations under 150,000.

Your Massachusetts analogy is strange. Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore have black populations proportionately six or seven times as large as you see in small towns and countryside in Massachusetts and host a black college to boot. Hagerstown, Frederick, and Waldorf are nowhere near Springfield in population and none are more than half the size of Worcester. Massachusetts has an ant heap of private colleges outside of Boston, and a private polytechnic and small university as well. There are several private colleges around Frederick, but nothing to the west of Frederick, nothing in Southern Maryland, and only one small private college on the Eastern Shore.

1.9 Million is barely a third of Maryland's total population, which sort of proves my underlying point that it's not remotely correct to say the South includes "Maryland less greater Baltimore and the Washington annex" as through "southern" describes the average Marylander.

But of course, density and demographics don't determine Dixie. It's a cultural divide better represented in things like education level, per capita income, linguistics, and softer factors like common pastimes. You seem to just be assuming that low-density areas with high black populations on the borders of the old confederacy count as the South; and sure, under the definition, Frederick I guess counts as southern? But it doesn't under any sane or useful definition.

The South is sundered by similar divides as we see in the Midwest. for instance I see the Rust Belt, Corn Belt, and Upper Midwest as notably distinct cultures, united by the fact that they all end up in Chicago in their mid-twenties (well, that and football). Similarly, contra to what Southern Living would have you believe, the South can be divided into the black-dirt South, the red-dirt South, and Appalachia. Houston, Miami, and New Orleans are Freie Reichsstädtes.

"the South can be divided into the black-dirt South, the red-dirt South, and Appalachia."

While red clay is a notable southern phenomenon, you still have plenty of black dirt areas mixed in with the red clay. So, I'm not sure how useful that distinction is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultisol Indeed, I don't really know of any consistent differences between the red clay and the black dirt regions. I would agree that Appalachia is a distinct culture, though that's clearly on the wane.

And having lived in several different regions of the Southeast, including 4 years in Louisville, I would judge Louisville as a Southern city in culture. It's pretty similar to Nashville or Birmingham.

With Florida only the portions that are north of the Tampa/Orlando/Daytona metro areas are Southern. With Texas, only East Texas-- Southern Texas is Southwest, northern Texas is Plains. In regards to Maryland, only the Eastern Shore (ditto southern Delaware still counts as Southern)-- Western Maryland is part of Appalachia (a separate region from the South, strongly loyal to the Union in the Civil War).
It's also possible to differentiate between the Atlantic South and the Deep South (in Florence Kings; words the South of horses, tobacco and Episcopalians vs the South of mules, cotton and Baptists)

Re: #3:

What is “the Midwest”? The Census Bureau defines 10 regions, one of which is the East North Central region. It consists of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Another possibility is the old Northwest Territory—the same as the Census East North Central region, plus the southeastern part of Minnesota. I’d (maybe) take the East North Ventral and add Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. A part of me, though, says, “If it’s west of the Mississippi River, it’s not part of the Midwest.”

Born, grew up, and live in Indiana.

I'm from north-central Kansas. I live in northern Virginia. Every few years, I drive back taking I-70 almost the entire way. The terrain, the culture, and the economy don't change all that much from west of Wheeling, West Virginia to west of Salina, Kansas. Flat to rolling countryside carved up into farm fields punctuated every so often by a river valley or a sprawling industrial city. Southern friendliness without the resentment and attitude; Northern calm without the icy reception.

From Kentucky and agree that it is not Midwest.

But it is not the South either.

I long thought that eastern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee should be one state and the western portions of the two another state.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECSLtbzLiIg

Louise Slaughter at age 85 does not have an accent as thick as she did at 55. It used to be intense. Represents Upstate New York, born in Kentucky.

--

People in Tennessee recognize three Grand Divisions, not two, so you'd have to cut up Kentucky in three slices and also figure out whether you keep Louisville and the Cincinnati annex or whether you concede them to Indiana and Ohio.

I'm a southerner who lives in KY, and most of KY is more Midwestern than southern. It's very much a rust belt state. I see nothing southern about any of the populated areas.

But KY is weird.

Indiana and Kentucky are merging into one state called "Basketball".

I lived in Louisville for 4 years and graduated from UofL. If you don't notice the Southern culture, you weren't looking very hard.

My first day in Louisville, I mispronounced the name and was promptly corrected: LOO-AH-VUL, Ky.

One of the cities more prominent nicknames is "Gateway to the South", the signature drink is the Mint Julep. It hosts the corporate HQ for Kentucky Fried Chicken, as well as, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the SouthEast Christian Church.

Is anyone here aware of any talk to turn Gaza into a charter city? I've been following the charter-city movement on and off, and was just curious. Thanks!

You cannot fix Gaza.

O yeah! Sean Penn, et al could move there and serve as charter, human shields. .

#2 $100-150 is a lot more affordable than I was expecting but those soles do not look durable

I always thought it odd that the mid west was mostly mid east.

The term is probably from the 19th century- first half of.

Hail, hail to Michigan, the champions of the West.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Victors

Getting back to #8, the missionary zeal of American intelligentsia for everywhere but their own boring country and its disappointing countrymen is pretty hilarious. For example, Detroit, has plenty of idle labor and cheap land and there's ample legislative precedent for low or no tax commercial enterprise zones. Detroit's municipal authorities would probably be thrilled to give Romer a free hand, and the bribes and logistics wouldn't be nearly as expensive. Also, Michigan is a common law jurisdiction with a good court system, banking, American dollars, and English as its official language. But of course, Honduras is where the nice coastline is.

But wouldn't you need the state and national governments to bless the idea too? The point of doing a charter city in a dysfunctional Third World country is they are so desperate they are willing to give it a try. Detroit might be but Michigan and the US are not ready to let certain cities suspend the usual rules and regulations and taxes on their soil. So even if the 'intelligentsia' you snark at wanted to set up Detroit as a charter city, they wouldn't have as willing of a national partner here.

How do you think states and municipalities attract film production and auto factories? Again, it seems a lot easier just to find a region in the US with cheap real estate and get government officials to give you a bunch of tax incentives and provide you with a charter for a development authority--this has been done many times. The infrastructure and judicial system are already here along with a police force who will happily crack criminals' heads, and they'll do it for the salary and pensions the taxpayers are already paying them. No need to fund a private army or give make-work jobs to all the local Big Men and their friends and relations who might otherwise get a gang together and burn your place down.

But I doubt Romer's wealthy friends want to live anywhere in the midwestern United States and all the really good US coastal property is already taken.

OTOH, Romer and his friends are probably under-estimating the Hondurans as well, thinking they're all these nice, docile peasants like the local color photographs they see in Conde' Nast. If Romer and his rich friends don't read a situation correctly, they could end up getting themselves killed, like William Walker or the French in Haiti.

The risks just don't seem in line with the hypothetical rewards, as opposed to just buying cheap Midwestern real estate and paying US taxes, which we are constantly told are way too low.

A fair point, but aren't charter cities about more than cheap land and less regulation? Aren't they about, basically, libertarian levels of regulation i.e. hardly any at all? The boss can do whatever he wants and so on? I just don't think it's that equivalent to a ghetto with some tax incentives. Detroit can only offer freedom from Detroit's taxes. Maybe Michigan would kick in some breaks too. But the Feds? Not likely.

In fact isn't Dan Gilbert kind of doing for Detroit what you are proposing?

If it was really that similar of an opportunity Romer and his friends could make plenty of money setting up in Detroit and still live elsewhere.

Any idiot knows that the Midwest consists of the Great Lakes states plus the Great Plains states. But I could easily imagine someone believing that the Midwest is only one or the other of these regions, so it's not that much of a shock that even true Midwestern states don't get a 100%.

Maybe the definition isn't rustbelt so much as the euchre-belt. Heck, I even googled this (that is, euchre region) and an old post of yours, from 2009, was one of the top hits (http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/04/questions-that-are-rarely-asked-1.html ) , in which your commenters asserted that euchre was a game of Midwesterners, or, potentially, former Michiganders more specifically. (Marginally-related question: are Michiganders a distinctive culture? http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/09/back-from-detroit-part-2-on-michiganders.html )

As someone who grew up playing euchre, I can tell you I've never found anyone who played it that didn't grow up in the Midwest. I in fact went to camp in high school at UMich & we had to teach the kids from the east coast etc both the mitten map and euchre. Apparently it's popular in some parts of Canada as well.

I've had v intense debates with friends over whether all the Plains states count as the Midwest, but I suppose when I think of the Midwest, I think of the Great Lakes region and swaths around it. Nebraska just seems a bit too fringe to count, but I have reluctantly accepted that it *may* count as Midwest to some.

Plains culture is very different from the culture of the Great Lakes states. In many ways the Plains pattern more with the West than the Midwest

Everyone else has had a go so I might as well too. The Midwest is everything that is (1) west of the original 13 colonies, (2) east of "the West", which traditionally begins at the Mississippi River, and (3) was not part of the "the South", i.e. the Confederacy. Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as parts of the original colonies, are right out. As are the Dakotas and Kansas and all those other definitively Western states. Iowa and Missouri technically fail this definition but they do at least border the Mississippi so an argument could be made for their inclusion. Kentucky technically fits this definition but it is culturally very Southern -- it was officially neutral during the Civil War and had strong Confederate sympathies -- so an argument could be made for its inclusion.

"As are the Dakotas and Kansas and all those other definitively Western states."

The locals would disagree with you.

Many families would still have full-time maids if the government hadn't turned the pool of candidates into paid but unpublished television critics.

#1 was interesting. Crap, we spend a lot of time in the first year of life simply calibrating the machinery and figuring out how it works.

Quoting Nate Silver from the 538 article:

"I’m from New York, and I generally consider anything west of Philadelphia the Midwest"

I'm also from New York, though due to my parents my accent is a classic general American "midland" accent. There is a historical and cultural case for putting the eastern border of the Midwest at the Appalachian watershed, until you hit New England (eg include Pittsburgh and Buffalo as Midwestern cities). But there are enough differences in history, culture, and accents between upstate New York/ western Pennsylvania and the Midwest to leave these areas in the Northeast, though its definitely a transitional zone.

It would be interesting to compare Western Pennsylvania and Northeastern Ohio, or just Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Northeast Ohio was one of the parts of the Midwest originally settled from New England, so it may be the least Midwestern part of the Midwest. Western Pennsylvania is the least Northeastern part of the Northeast. Looking at these areas would seem to be the key to settling the boundary.

Once difference between the Midwest proper and upstate New York/ western Pennsylvania is that automobile manufacture was a big deal historically in most of the Midwestern states, and alot of people from the South (both blacks and whites) migrated to the Midwest to work in the factories. This did not happen in New York and Pennsylvania and I think accounts for some cultural differences, even though upstate NY/ Western PA is clearly part of the Rust Belt in a way that greater New York City and greater Philadelphia aren't.

I find geographic questions such as the 538 article fascinating. This is my general take on what goes into determining regional divisions in the US:

1. Do you go with a small number of broad regions, or try to deliminate sub-regions and micro-regions. The American English dialect atlas Art Deco is an extreme example of the second approach, separating out not just New Orleans, but a handful of wards in New Orleans, from the rest of the South. I favor the "few broad regions" approach due to how much Americans move around and how quickly things change. Growing up in New York City, I've seen how quickly gentrification made the New York accent and dialect disappear from four of the five boroughs and completely changed the character of neighborhoods, in a matter of a few years in some cases. Plus since World War II regional differences have greatly faded due to TV, coast to coast corporations, the interstate highway system, etc.

2. Do you use state boundaries or ignore them? I lean towards using state boundaries as consistent with the "few, broad regions" approach. Even when a physical boundary seems more appropriate, such as the Catskills-Poconos-Adirondecks watershed for the Northeast-Midwest boundary, it turns out that the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line still has to be used to split off a subregion or transitional zone in the Midwest. It seems better to use state boundaries with a recognition that states will contain pockets of areas somewhat out of step with the rest of the state. Another approach is to place metropolitan areas in different regions and not worry about the exact boundaries.

3. Do you acknowledge transitaional areas and how to you handle them? On the 538 site, its interesting that a small majority of the Southerners place Kentucky in the South, and a large minority of the Midwesterns place Kentucky in the Midwest, or maybe I misremember and its the other way around. But this is consistent with the state's history. On balance, Kentucky should be placed in the South and Missouri in the Midwest, but the situations with these states are very similar and theses are both close calls.

Favoring the few broad regions approach, I think there are four and a half American regions, the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, and the West, with Texas as the half region. Pretty much which state goes there follows pretty intutively. Its interesting that neither Southernors or Midwesterners put West Virginia in their region, so it goes to the Northeast by default.

I've heard Kansas City and Fort Worth classified as a Western cities, and St. Louis and Dallas classified as Eastern cities. The question is does Kansas City have more in common with St. Louis or with Denver? These things can become out of date.

Kansas City is more like St. Louis than like Denver. Hands down. Large black populations, jazz/blues scene, decayed urban areas, though I think gentrification is farther along in KC than in STL.

Denver's an interesting case in itself. In the '80s, it was basically Dallas, Jr. Then, in the '90s, as the Mexican population grew and upper-middle class Whites started flocking in from LA, it took on a strongly southwestern character. Now, with the marijuana legalization, it's starting to evolve into something almost northwestern a la SF, Portland, and Seattle.

Dallas-Fort Worth is where the South starts to transition into the Southwest. Heading west, the transition is complete by the time you get to El Paso.

On the midwest...

Did people pick states from a list rather than a map? Or even had to list them wthout prompting? It seems possible that not everyone can remember where all the states are, yet still have a strong geographical sense of the midwest.

The 80% mode for Illinois might be understood in this fashion; maybe 100% of people would have pointed to it on a map as midwest, but as a single name in a long list, 20% either missed it or couldn't quite remember where it was.

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
on the video to make your point. You clearly
know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

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