Thursday, May 26, 2011
Defining America: Midwest is the best, but where are the rest?

Midwesterners are some of the kindest most hard-working folks I know and that's certainly true when it comes to iReport's cultural census project. We've received at least 10 iReports from each of the Midwest states – Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin – which makes the Midwest better represented than any other area. Here’s a gentle suggestion to the other regions of the U.S.: Step up and represent in kind!

 

The cultural census is a way for us to put some real faces and personalities behind the loads of Census statistics. From hearing the unique sounds of the Chicaaah-go accent (though I'm a proud Chicagoan, I refuse to admit I have one) to salivating over delicious photos of your best grilled bratwurst and kraut, we want to get a sense of what the Midwest is really all about.

 

 

Stephanie Michael’s silly portrait really paints a picture of a Hoosier who knows how to have fun. She and her family traveled to her grandparents’ farm in rural Nappannee, Indiana, back on Christmas Day 2009.

 

"Together as a family, we went back to explore places we had been with our grandparents," she said. "It looked quite different. … I was having fun with the past and enjoying how time has changed things."

 

So, to all the other states out there, I challenge thee to show us why you love your state. Start by filling out our survey (it takes two minutes, tops). Then, take a look at the cultural census assignments below and try your hand at one or, better yet, all five.

 

Share a photo
Take a self-portrait. Get creative!

 

Read aloud
Tape yourself reading a standard passage.

 

Eat dinner
Show us a photo of you or your family's typical weeknight dinner.

 

Write this down
Scan or snap a photo of your handwriting.

 

Get around
Show us how you generally get around town.

77 Comments
May 26, 2011
Click to view PJNorth's profile

I guess people in the Midwest have time for this crap. There is a reason they're referred to as the "fly-over States". Same Wal-Mart, gas station, and surly, bitter small-minded people who whine when they're not making babies or lynching anyone who doesn't live their narrow, so-called "Christian" lifestyle or differs in ANY way. They live there because they can't handle anything else. YEEEHAAW!

May 26, 2011
Click to view justingb's profile

While your comment was funny, you obviously have never been to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, etc. They are the opposite of your description. (However in fairness, we have some areas just as you said...just like their are in other parts of the county, north/east/south/west).

May 26, 2011
Click to view hertzler08's profile

Wow, talk about narrow mindness...

And like justingb said, you have obviously never been to much of the midwest.

May 26, 2011
Click to view Davidson19's profile

@PJNorth This is not the bible belt by the way & yeah as a Chicago native who attends school in NC let me tell you while in some rural areas that might apply overall your are mistaken.

May 26, 2011
Click to view tempest0309's profile

Wow PJ...you obviously do not understand where the Midwest is nor do you know anyone from there.  Sounds like you are describing the deep south.  Did you skip geography?? 

May 26, 2011
Click to view stitzman's profile

Actually, we live here because we like to be able to trust our neighbors and not put up with jackasses like PJ.

May 26, 2011
Click to view tegmech's profile

@PJNorth. Hilarious! You are clearly the stereotypical person that lives your life in a bubble of preconceived notions and single mindedness. I recommend you strip away the stereotypes followed by a bit of traveling.

May 26, 2011
Click to view McLovin21's profile

PJ, have fund in your big city where you can only inhabit about 10% of the city because you know you're afraid to go to the many, vast downtrodden areas of NYC.  Also, being so "open-minded", I hope your "open" to knowing Spanish, Arabic among the other languages necessary to go shopping in NYC.

May 26, 2011
Click to view ambernsuka's profile

Obviously PJ you have never been to the midwest.  Those who live in middle America are some of the nicest people you would ever meet. 

May 26, 2011

I've lived in Minnesota my whole life and I've never met any person that even comes close to the type of people that @PJNorth is describing. Get the facts before posting something about a place you've clearly never been (thankfully), it makes you sound uneducated.

May 26, 2011
Click to view zdan's profile
Yes, the Midwest is flat and has cold winters, but a lot of us call it home, including myself. Thanks for the Midwest pride, folks! The whole point of this post is to find out more about what life is like in the Midwest and to encourage other parts of the country to participate in the cultural census.
May 26, 2011
Click to view ddz's profile
ddz

I spent the first 40 yrs of my life in Indiana, and have spent the last 11 in California -- VERY different places. The coasts move faster, are more liberal, and more competitive about everything. And, even if they are spiritual (or religious), they don't have to talk about it or obssess over it or even mention it in day-to-day living. Midwesterners overall don't embrace change and new ideas nearly as quickly as the coasts, who seem to almost thrive on it. I rarely spoke of my liberal leanings or last of religious believe while I lived in the Midwest as I'd be met with that 'Ooohhh' everytime. The herd mentality is alive and well in the Midwest!

May 26, 2011
Click to view ladyGB's profile

Meh. The midwest is a foreign country to people on the coasts just like the coasts are foreign to those of in between. I love our snow and our sun, our wide open spaces and deep forests, our close knit families and our hard-working, fun-loving culture. After each of us have gone, we know our land and our traditions will go on as a legacy to us, our parents and our grandparents. Life is good. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

May 26, 2011
Click to view wke235's profile

The Midwest is hard working of course.  While all the folks on the east and west coasts waste their time flying over the Midwest trying to avoid it, the Midwest folks simple roll up their sleeves, get down to work, and use all that time they save from not having to travel to get things done.  While folks on the coasts glide in to work at 9 AM, folks in the Midwest start around 7 AM (you try scheduling a call with the coastal folks .. it always has to be early afternoon as they are never around in the morning hours .. and often leave early to do "something" other than work).  The Midwest is focused which means they are more productive as all that work is focused on a goal.  This is different than the coasts where so many different goals and ideas are being juggled that nothing gets done as everyone runs around (when they do happen to get to work).  You want ideas in abundence, ask the coast.  You want a result based on an idea, you go to the MidWest.          

May 26, 2011
Click to view Gopherit's profile

My mother's family were in Nebraska and being from coastal California myself I lived in small-town Nebraska and rural Minnesota for seven years. Appallingly hot and humid summers I never got used to, winters with temperatures sometimes in the - 30sF which were more bearable. But the people were marvelous, worked hard and also knew how to enjoy life. People didn't lock their homes and left their keys in their vehicles. Society was self-regulating. The only major people problems were some city people who came out and caused trouble. On the farm much of what we ate was from the farm itself or homemade, without chemicals and artificial preservatives. The locally-brewed beer was vastly better than the mass-produced stuff that comes from the huge outfits which advertise how good their product is when it actually is not. As a comparatively left-leaning voter (I dislike labels like "left" and "right")  politically I often was somewhat out of place but it wasn't a huge problem. People were into being people and interrelating with other people above all, and that was reflected, for example, in the high percentage of people who attended church. I now live within a mile of the Pacific because of the climate and scenery but still miss many aspects of Midwestern life.

May 26, 2011
Click to view ladygigis's profile

What I find hilarious about everyone talking how mid westerners are so backwards/narrow minded and so forth...

 

Iowa legalized Gay marriage and Illinois is on it's way to do it. I guess that means California is more Conservative.

 

Joking aside, you can find narrow minded people wherever you go. There isn't a state worse or better. I know just as many open minded people as narrow minded people. I know people who are a mix of it. And the accusation that somehow midwest is all the same then obviously you have never really spent time here. There are interesting and unique things to do in every state.. you just have to get off the interstate to do it... you know... instead of driving with your blinders on you should take lesser traveled highways and actually go to those small towns.

 

But what do I know? I only live in Iowa and love it here.

May 26, 2011
Click to view scchristophe's profile

PJnorth:  Irony, look it up.  You calling midwesterners narrow and small minded and then going on to have a narrow small minded opinion of what the midwest is like.  Funny.

 

I've lived alot of places and the midwest is no different from any of the other ones for the most part.  Just cracks me up how the ignorant coast people think we all live on farms here and are some kind of hick that loves nascar.  I've never lived on a farm, know nothing about them and hate nascar.

May 26, 2011
Click to view trinity530's profile

Ok I was born and raised in Iowa in a city that borders 2 other states. I lived in Chicago (loved it) and spent many a summer down south from Texas to Florida and every state in between while the rest of my summers were spent road tripping across the western part of U.S. I've been to Europe and I've been to Mexico. I'm 26 years old and grew up cursing my city and the whole state of Iowa for that matter. But what I have learned is that no matter where I go or what I do, Iowa is my home. But regardless I'd take Chicago or Iowa over any other city/state any day. Go Hawks and Go Sox!

P.S. I started off wanting to comment in reply to PJ's retarded arrogance but I think everyone else pretty much summed it up for me. Way to represent guys!

 

May 26, 2011
Click to view WT4EVR's profile

I'm from the west not the midwest, but have spent time in the midwest, on both coasts, the south, and God forbid even Texas. I've found good and bad people in all locatons. The midwesterners may not like change but they don't complain when it ocurs. They just make the adjustment and continue on. Unlike the coasts who complain about everything, are in a rush, very demanding and Competitive is an understatment. On the coasts if you look at someone, you get instant drama. In the midwest you almost always get a hello how are you. I love the Mountains (that's why I'm here) but if forced to live on the flatland or oceans, I'd choose the midwest...at least they take time to truly live.

May 26, 2011
Click to view TCaceres1's profile

We are not small minded or bitter.  I think it is ignorant for people to look down on us.  We are proud Americans who believe in working hard to achieve the American Dream.  We are no different than any other state. I don't understand how people can comment such rude and arrogant things before getting their facts straight. It's just plain offensive and demeaning.

May 26, 2011
Click to view mokiotis's profile

First off, PJ you need to unlock the 15 deadbolts you have on your 120 square foot apartment's front door and see more of the of the world around you. Maybe then you will be able post something intelligent. Secondly, my family grew up in the midwest. When my older sister turned 22 she moved to the west coast and stopped shaving her legs and armpits and wanted to be addressed by her "new name"....Dovespirit White Feather. I think I'll stay in the midwest.

May 26, 2011
Click to view jrwasko's profile

I have lived in the Chicago area for 15 years now after living up and down the east coast.  As far as Illinois and Wisconsin go I have never seen a more bunch of selfish self centered bunch of ignorant individuals in my life.  They are only concerned to what is in it for me and how can I benefit from it.  The only fun they have around here are being a$$holes.  When I first move here I just thought it was my imagination but after meeting countless numbers of people from both coasts they agreed with my statement above.  I leave next June and never will I ever want to come back to the mid west again!  Good riddance!

May 26, 2011
Click to view EuroNat's profile

As we talk about narrowmindedness. I've never been to the midwest, but I have lived in and traveled extensively all over NM, AZ, CA, and OR. What I have found is that the most closed-minded, least friendly, and most judgmental people live in Arizona, particularly in the Phoenix valley.

May 26, 2011
Click to view docplocky's profile

This is truly amazing.  There are still people whom presume "cultural rumors", such as "backwoods rural dwellers" still may exist within a region of states. Granted, yes a few that may fit that persona do exists, but its my bet they look that way as they may be homeless, struggling, or just simply live that way.  I know we live in the 21st Century, but do we still have to make arrogant, self centered, un educated comments? I would hope at the very least as a nation, we would have evolved away from these things. For those whom may think differently, name calling does not make you smarter, nor does it validate your arguement.  You say according to your experience that people are self centered in your region, jrwasko, when it seems to me, your attitude toward people may be causing everyone to react to you the same. Maybe you should move, would be the best, and when you get settled in, talk with a professional about your own issues. 

May 26, 2011
Click to view IowaTed's profile

The surly bitter small minds are West of us. The baby machines are due East.  The lynches are to the South - if they even exist. Although a trip through Wal-Mart can be convenient, we do prefer our local grocery, hardware, and department stores.  They do us just fine.  And, we don’t mind knowing our way around the local gas station/convenient store, it makes the stop more comfortable.  Lastly, fly’n over is okay by us.  We’d rather you have that choice, than being forced to stop in and spread your cynicism.  Thanks for your input, though.  Y'all have a great weekend.

May 26, 2011
Click to view TNopinion's profile

I grew up in the Deep South and can honestly say that the people in the Midwest are a lot like the people in the South - even if they don't want to think they are.  The only difference besides what we serve up at a family cookout, what we catch on the end of the fishing pole, and what type of grass we plant is that the people in the South are more tolerant to heat and the Midwesterners are more tolerant to the cold.  Now, those New England people and people on the Left Coast.....truly a breed of their own. 

May 26, 2011
Click to view docplocky's profile

Part of what is wrong with this country in general, we are still looking to point out flaws with others in comparison to ourselves or also, others.  We seriously need to get a grip on what is right and wrong, not point fingers, call names, stereotype, slander, or cuss cause we are unhappy.  The America I live in has changed dramatically over the years.  We used to be a nation driven to change things for the better and work together to accomplish it.  Now, for the most part, we stomp our feet, point fingers, blame, and mistreat rather than seek long term solutions. The beauty of the internet, if you never post a picture that is current, no one knows what you look like, and the information in profiles can easily be manipulated to fit criteria, with checking, giving everyone the right to jab, cuss, hide behind an anonymous location, and act like jerks.  What happened to civility? What happened to trying find a good solution? What happened to our America? Did 9-11 change our views that drastically that we cannot still exercise common sense or courtesy?  Even now, in an earlier comment, I did the same thing, I allowed a "unknown" to invade and provoke.  Very few who will read that, will realize that until they read this post.  This is what I am talking about, we are all too caught up in too much, to actually slow down and fix it.

May 26, 2011
Click to view wms01's profile

I have lived in MI, CA, HI, VA, & MD. While I wouldn't want to go back to the midwest to live (too cold!) the people from there are the friendliest by far. Yes, the ones who stay there are somewhat resistant to change, but generally speaking, they are no more or no less religious than most. Bigotry rates are probably the same as most other places, but probably somewhat lower than that of the south. I can pretty safely say that the midwesterners I meet now almost always have a strong work ethic and strong family values. Not a bad thing at all.

May 26, 2011
Click to view beanandzeus's profile

Frankly, I'm happy that that the benefits of the midwest are well-kept secret.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to buy my gorgeous bungalow for $72000 in a town with three colleges, great restaurants, amazing trails, unlimited outdoor activities, multiple music festivals, and a world-renowned film festival.  Keep on thinking that way PJNorth, and keep the midwest affordable for those of us who know how great it is.

May 26, 2011
Click to view kleenex's profile

I've been all over the country and no matter where you go people are all the same.  Religious and devout people of all religions act the same, a jackass is always a jackass no matter what their accent is.  Common men want to be respected and common women want to feel secure and heard.  All the kids, no matter what color, love to play hide 'n seek and war.  And there isn't a better feeling in the world that the first time you hold hands.  Don't be a cynic, those midwesterners have a good thing going.

May 26, 2011
Click to view jmacs's profile

I have lived in Iowa my entire life - with a bit of travel to both coasts and out of country once or twice. You will find jerks everywhere you go - no matter where you are. But most of us in the Midwest work hard, value our families and friends, and would do almost anything to help a person in need.(yes even a stranger) We do "stop and smell the roses" - almost daily - because we are taught to slow down - value the time we have - be thankful for what we have & not to take anything for granted.

Maybe some of you coastal people should try that sometime and see how much more pleasant life can be!

May 26, 2011
Click to view sheby9's profile

Wow... Some of these comments are brutal! I have been and have lived all over the MIdwest and it is nothing like some of the people, who are posting negative comments about the Midwest, are describing....

May 26, 2011
Click to view NebraskaJack's profile

PJNorth... I find your comments decidedly uniformed.  I grew up in Nebraska, spent 18 years living in Miami-Dade County FL,18 years in the metropolitan Los Angeles and 9+ years living overseas in Glasgow, Scotland, Warsaw, Poland and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  When we moved back to the USA I was allowed by my job to live any where I chose and I came back to Nebraska.  The people are nicer, more well rounded and have the best priorites about work, family, and friends.  YOu have obviously never spent any length of time in the flyover states.  AnNd remeber if you like a good steak it probably came from Nebraska.

May 26, 2011
Click to view vfr800cr250's profile

I live in the midwest and I love Walmart on a warm sunny day.  There is nothing better than slightly trashy women in skimpy clothing and Walmart drags'em in faster than the yellow lights outside the Dairy Queen can attract moths.  As you might guess from my love of women in scanty attire I love making babies too.  And life doesn't get much better than watching those babies play baseball on a cool June evening while the sun goes down. 

 

So some of the stereo type is probably right on.  The funny part to me though is that I don't waste my time trying to make myself feel better by putting down people in other parts of the country.  Maybe that's what one needs to do though when they're unhappy with their life....

May 26, 2011
Click to view cricket08's profile

PJNorth--I have to agree with most of the other comments. I was raised in the Midwest and Midwesterners rock! Someone in KY tried to call me a "Yankee" and I informed them that "Yankees" were east of the Alleghenies and you are one of those that they can't stand. Don't wish to be associated with someone so narrow minded. Wondered if you've been out of your Lazy Boy for anything other than a can of Old Milwaukee's Best. Your type makes Americans look bad, never mind Midwesterners.

May 26, 2011
Click to view ckinoc's profile

I have lived in both the Midwest and on the West Coast and there are pros and cons to both. That's what makes our country so great! So how about everyone play nice and just comment about why they love where they live instead of complaining about everyone else, okay? =)

May 26, 2011
Click to view bluecoatdq's profile

It simply isn't true that the people are the same. The people of the heartland are definitely friendlier than those on the coasts.

May 26, 2011
Click to view JohnnyOh2323's profile

Not only is the midwest the best region of the Country it's the best region of the planet according to Forbes, Travel Magazine, Steven Hawking, and Jesus.

May 26, 2011
Click to view mbulltex's profile

I sure hope we all share and take pride in a common heritage no matter our differences....

aren't we one nation....we need to be now more than ever

 

May 26, 2011
Click to view SgtWyrich's profile

I am from the mid-west and am very proud of it. I am very hard working and love baseball and apple pie. Oh yeah and am also a veteran of 2 tours in Iraq. I work hard and play hard as far as people like PJNorth trust me you wont be miss if you never come. The people here are friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand.

May 26, 2011
Click to view drclive's profile

They say you know you are in Chicago when you walk into a Home Depot and some nice man spends half an hour with you picking out tools, and then you find out he's just another customer. We also have some the best public schools and state universities in the nation in the upper Midwest. Some I doubt PJ North has been a 35 year season subscriber to the opera...

May 26, 2011
Click to view karotMN's profile

Minnesota is the only state that has consistently voted democrat in every presidential election since the 1950's. It also has the 2nd highest average credit score (after North Dakota, and right before South Dakota). Minneapolis is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. I don't see what's so "backwards" about the Midwest, because MN seems to know what it's doing!

May 26, 2011
Click to view Walrus1984's profile

PJNorth- Are you French?

 

May 26, 2011
Click to view nurselmf's profile

I'm from the northeast, lived in the south and Texas, and lived in Minnesota.  Of all the places I've lived, I would never in a million years go back to Minnesota.  The people there are rude and cold.  I was never treated so bad in my life as I was treated there.  Minnesota nice should really be "MINNESOTA ICE"!!!!

May 26, 2011
Click to view Diggsut's profile

I'm assuming PJNorth is just trolling for reactions as I can't believe he is that clueless or cynical in real life.

 

It is comforting to live some place where I don't need to lock the doors of my house and can leave the keys in the car.  And if my daughter drops her wallet at the gas station it's no more than a few minutes before some one drives out  of their way to drop it off at the house with all the money intact and refuses to accept a reward.  Traveled and lived all over the US.  No place else feels like home.

May 26, 2011
Click to view Annbann's profile

I live in the UPPER midwest and Florida. I find the people in the uppermidwest, self-righteous, judgemental and hold grudges. Florida on the other hand, has such friendly, happy people and most importantly people in Florida and the South ( I lived in other parts of the south too) do not hold grudges. It's wonderful! :)

May 26, 2011
Click to view nurselmf's profile

I'm with you, Annbann..... they really are judgemental in the midwest.  Even my inlaws (who live in MN) have always been unkind towards me because I'm not like them.  I think I'll stay in Pennsylvania :)  People in the Northeast are wonderful!!!

May 26, 2011
Click to view SFNative's profile

I can't speak for other Midwestern states, but I live in Indiana and PJ's comments describe life here to a T.

May 26, 2011
Click to view ChooChoo22's profile

I've been fortunate through work to live and work in a variety of places, large and small, throughout the United States, some overseas and had a mid-western family member.  By far, I found the midwest to be the friendliest and hope to live there someday.  Cities are cities, especially on the coasts...anonymous and impersonal as all get out.  Are all people like that on the coasts? Of course not.  But I generally found more friendly folks in the midwest by and large compared to most other places.  Coming from a large city and going to college in a small city of 33,000, my first experience with smaller town living, a friendly hello was commonplace.  Say that in a large city and people wonder what you want from them.  I look forward to living in the midwest.  Thank you for the opportunity to blog, cheers to the midwest and Joplin you're in our thoughts.

May 26, 2011
Click to view rolandgunner's profile

Apparently Minneapolis has a lot of supporters.  Where are all you folks from Gary, IN and Flint, MI?  Tell us about what it's like to live in your own veritable Disneyland.

May 26, 2011
Click to view Spellheck's profile

Wow.......I can't believe you people actually get on here to bash a part of the country that is full of good people that will give you the shirt of their backs for you....I'm from Kansas, don't get much more midwest than that. However my father joined the military as I was born there and remember little about living there. Anyone who bashes the midwest is probably cause you never actually lived there or hated driving through the state...I've lived in Europe and all over the US, I've seen it all. I'd bash other parts of the country as I've actually lived there, but thats not how I was raised.. Oops... Guess thats too midwest for you all... I'm proud to be from the midwest, even if I never lived there...

May 26, 2011
Click to view rlaughli's profile

I call the Midwest home and I have traveled the entire country and lived on the west coast.  I have to say I find the notion that one group of people are somehow better than another simply based on their geography to be ridiculous.  There are good, bad, liberal, conservative, trailblazers and followers in every state of this great country of ours and everywhere you go in this world.   It is what you choose to take from your journeys that define you and speak to what kind of a person you are...As for me I love all the diverse cultures, and people who make up this country and find no need to insult any group just to make myself feel more important or cultured.

May 26, 2011
Click to view complexbear's profile

HEHEHE this is really funny....I've only lived in 2 places my whole life....St. Louis and NYC but have been in every state except Alaska and there are rural narrow minded bigots in the backwoods of EVERY state. New York has some real hicks up in some of the hills, St. Louis has had a domestic partership registry for LGBT couples since back in the '90s and you go a few dozen miles out of San Francisco or LA and find family trees without enough branches just like in the south.

May 26, 2011
Click to view Lew3's profile

"...no need to insult any group just to make myself feel more important or cultured." -rlaughli

This comment reminds me of a phone call that was placed from the University of Iowa here in Iowa City to a phone at the Harvard University. Upon learning that the caller was from Iowa, the answering party asked the caller, "How are the Indians out there?" The caller figured that he was talking to a transplanted Iowan who couldn't wait to get away from this state. And, thus, having now been more cultured, he couldn't wait to insult an Iowan. The only Native Americans we have in Iowa are on a reservation near Tama. They also run the state's first casino. So it's rare for an Iowan to encounter a Native American unless he goes gambling there.

May 26, 2011
Click to view as260704's profile

I think what PJ is describing is suburbia and that exists everywhere....

May 26, 2011
Click to view kswigg's profile

I dislike generalizations and labels, but I think there is a truth to the "down-to-earthness" of the Midwest. I'm from Wisconsin and go to college here that has a lot of students from around the country, most substantially from the coasts. For me, I can always tell when someone is from the Midwest when I see someone hold a door open for someone else and that person reply with a thank you. My friends, also from Wisconsin, have also noticed this and it surprises all of us. I think people not from the region can appreciate that.

May 26, 2011
Click to view David1984's profile

I was born and raised in Minnesota and lived there for 16 years, before moving to Colorado and then northwards to Alaska. I started working when I was 12 years old, my first paying job with tax withheld. I'm 26 now and whenever I apply for a new job and mention that I'm from the midwest and I've worked for over half my life (when most people my age have 4-8 years work experience), I'm offered the job almost immediately. Yes, we work hard, and yes we play hard. I'm proud of where I was born and raised, and my boss is too!

May 27, 2011
Click to view shimmer10's profile

I was born and raised on the east coast,in a town that is one of the richest cities in america. I have lived in the midwest for the past 14 years and can say I have never met more friendlier and hardworking people. I have contemplated many times about moving back to be closer to family, but the friendy people, great morals and safer communities have kept me here. The midwest is definatley a great place to live, work and raise a family. midwestrule1

May 27, 2011
Click to view jessefell's profile

If courtesy, patience, and tolerance are aristocratic virtues, then the Midwest can be called aristocratic.  At the same time, it is a democratic place: midwesterners are amused by people who put on airs, but do not try to stop you if you want to talk about your distinguished ancestors or how well you children are doing in life.  Midwesterners are not the best informed people in the world, and their view of national and world events can be insular, but few of them become bigots or fanatics. Bigotry and fanaticism are neither reasonable nor fair, and midwesterners prize reasonableness and fairness. And they are, for the most part, without guile.  When the person at the check-out counter asks you "Did you find everything you were looking for?" they actually want to know. 

 

I am an Ohioan currently living in Boston (which has its own good points).

May 27, 2011
Click to view BADGUY's profile

I'm from Chicago and currently live in Milwaukee. But I have also lived in NJ (just outside NYC).Alabama, Louisiana, California,and Seattle, WA. Some Comments:

New Jersey/New York City: People in NJ were very nice, much like mid-westerners. NYC people are also much kinder than they would like other people to believe. They tend to "ethnocentricity" regarding NYC. I'd wish they'd cut back a little.

Seattle, WA: Very nice, non-judgemental. Very reserved (must be their scandanavian background). I wish they'd drink more beer though and "let go" sometimes.

California: Very nice but into money and status.

Alabama: Much nicer than I expected. I think they're victims of Northern prejudice and the media. Yah, they had the segregation thing but 50 years makes a big difference.

Louisiana: Nice

Chicago: Generally very polite and they empathize with others pain. Not as ethnocentric as New Yorkers about their city.

Milwaukee: Nice but a bit sarcastic. They drink a lot of beer which is OK with me.

 

 

If I had to pick? I like Milwaukee the best. Medium size city. Easy to get around with car or bike. Beautiful Lake Michigan. Second: Seattle. Senery is breath taking and the city is very clean.

May 27, 2011
Click to view VoodooIdol's profile

PJNorth has obviously never been to the midwest.  I've spent plenty of time there and (this coming from a guy who's been a part of the punk rock music scene since the early 80's) they are some of the most accepting, kind hearted people I've ever encountered.  Can't wait to move there when my daughter graduates!  Beats living on either coast by miles.

May 27, 2011
Click to view Agreed's profile

Completely agree with JPNorth. I moved to Missouri 5 years ago so I am speaking from experience. It would be interesting to hear from other transplants who are unbiased because they don't have roots in the midwest.

May 27, 2011
Click to view oddens79's profile

I was born and raised in Minnesota.  I've lived in Florida, Georgia, Alaska and have travelled to numerous other states.  Granted, I absolutely loved Alaska, my heart belongs to the midwest.  That's why I moved back here (more like the military moved me here, but I had a little say).  I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else!!

 

May 27, 2011
Click to view prospera's profile

People!! We're one nation!! Yes, some stereo types do ring true but surely you'll find a racist in Minnesota, bleeding heart liberal in Alabama, a friendly New Yorker, and a status free Californian any day. If the media were center in Chicago then the coasts would be fighting the "fly over" mentality that truly only the small minded buy into. BTW... some of the most progressive of ideas in art , architecture, education, politics, science began in the Midwest.

May 27, 2011
Click to view hurricane23's profile

Having lived in a dozen states and 3 countries I returned to Indiana in 2006.  The thing I love about the midwest is the lack of pretentiousness.  People here value the important things in life.  There is less concern about what car you drive or how big your house is and more attention paid to what kind of person you are.  Unfortunately these are values that are sorely lacking in Washington and among the corporate "leaders" of our nation.

May 27, 2011
Click to view prepwork82's profile

I've found that Midwesterns, in general, tend to underpromise and overdeliver. East Coast and CA tend to overpromise and complain. Most in the Midwest will gladly deal with the crappy weather and flat terrain to avoid ignorant jackasses like JPNORTH and INFRMEDON00. I wonder, do all coastal dwellers think like these tools?  

May 27, 2011
Click to view krististeini's profile

Having lived in the Midwest for most of my life, a big "THANK YOU" to all of you who made kind comments about my part of the country.

Although, I'm a bit confused.  What about Ohio? or Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota...all of which are technically Mid-western states?

May 27, 2011
Click to view slypilot's profile

I've traveled the world. Met many great people from virtually everywhere. Also met some knucklehead idiots, too. Midwesterners are good folks, same with southerners. In fact, Americans throughout the country are generally nice, hard working people, with plenty of schmucks sprinkled around.

 

The only thing is... how do you middle country folks live without mountains and oceans?? In the Delaware Valley (PA, DE, NJ) we live in the best area. Two hour or less drives to the mountains, ocean beaches, city or country. Close to New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC. Culture, arts, events, and more are always at our fingertips. I will never leave, its too good!!

May 27, 2011
Click to view ugotabkiddn's profile

Okay that was seriouslly funny.  Obviouslly if PJ is serious he is an idiot.  Otherwise he was funny.

May 27, 2011
Click to view ynotgetalong's profile

PJ - Commenting without checking facts? Wisconsin has gone for the democratic presidential candidate most elections in my lifetime (45 years). The capital, Madison, is a pretty liberal college town. Granted, we did elect a conservative governor the last time around, but that was a vote against the status quo during a scary economic time more than an embrace of his politics, and the voters already regret it. I'd say we're a more fiscally conservative, socially liberal (live and let live) kind of place.

May 27, 2011
Click to view ezekial2517's profile

I like to point to the many lists put out by magazines ranking various measures of quality of life. Minnesota and the Twins Cities are CONSISTANTLY at/near the top.  Just sayin'...I love it here and would require one hell of a job offer to leave.  -Paul in St. Paul

May 27, 2011
Click to view zdan's profile

@TNopinion - Your comment gave me pause. It had a nice way of reminding me that despite where we are from, we’re a lot alike. Thanks for the perspective!

 

May 27, 2011
Click to view zdan's profile

@krististeini - Great question about how we defined the region. Yes, you are correct that there are more states in the Midwest. Admittedly, we divided U.S. states into less than orthodox groupings. We did so in order to have roughly the same number of states in each group and the number of groups was decided ahead of time in order to feature each group before the end of the month.

May 27, 2011
Click to view Diggsut's profile

slypilot - "The only thing is... how do you middle country folks live without mountains and oceans?"

 

Fresh water - 20% of the world's supply in the Great Lakes (not including the 10,000s of fresh water lakes throughout northern. MI, WI, MN).  Many times more miles of shoreline (including inland lakes) than all other coastal states combined.  Not hard to find a lake all to yourself in many places.

June 6, 2011
Click to view SFNative's profile

Just out of curiosity, how does one show how much they don't like where they live? Neither the census nor the activities provide a method for listing satisfaction levels.

June 16, 2011
Click to view mrmefco's profile

I live and have always lived in California. There are negatives and positives with living here, just like anywhere. The living here is easy if you have a job, but again that's the same everywhere. We are diverse. We have great weather. We have beautiful beaches, miles and miles of coastline. Desert and Mountains. So many things to do and see. These are just some of the reasons we have more people then any other state.

July 11, 2013
Click to view del302's profile

I’ve lived on the West coast and in the Midwest. First off, it is true that the Midwest does possess more diversity of opinion than one might expect. It is also true that the Midwest does have a long traditional view about work and family. The Midwest also has numerous ethnic groups clustered in and around its metropolitan regions that do live out their traditions largely in peace with the larger majority of Christian evangelical communities. Cincinnati, for example, has one of the largest Jewish populations in the country, and Michigan possesses one of country’s largest Arabic Muslim populations-if not the largest. One can even find Buddhist Monasteries occupied by authentic Tibetan monks in Indiana and Ohio.

 

However, none of this detracts from certain criticisms of the Midwest either. If one welcomes social change and innovation, enjoys exploration of new ideas, and desires to see those ideas promoted across wide regions of the population, then the Midwest isn’t for you. While it is true Midwesterners value hard work, they do tend to overvalue it above and beyond perhaps what many would prefer or even ought to. I find many Midwesterners don’t really value such hard work nearly as much as many might think. If one has made certain life decisions that are regrettable (bad marriage, substance abuse or pick your vice), you likely won’t find acceptance easily. Also, making friends isn’t easy. Because there’s an emphasis on family and traditions, people tend to be skeptical of making and maintaining friendships and cultivating acquaintances into future friendships.

 

The West-coast fits my preferences far better- even with its “problems.” My inclination of West-coast cities is Seattle-hands down. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. Its people are non-judgmental and open minded. However, there can be a kind of pretentiousness and a stiffening of character largely absent in the Midwest-for sure. Yet, it is much easier to work through this sort of presented façade- I find- and foment enduring friendships than what one typically finds in the Midwest. Innovation and education is par excellence. Its optimistic outlook combined with its laid back attitude (known as the “Seattle Chill”) creates social environments that are largely welcoming and understanding.

 

So, in the end, it will depend on your own value-philosophy and likes and dislikes-- as well as perceptions of other places and peoples. I think I’ve made my biases fairly clear here. There is something critical to be said for each of these virtues mentioned above, however: simply because one appreciates social change doesn’t mean that such changes won’t create new problems. For example, gender relations may change, but how that affects how genders relate to one another creates certain confusion around boundary issues. Here nor there, in the end, the West-coast is a leader in areas of technology, wealth, social justice issues, and restructuring market and educational institutions. It is a major source of change for our culture for good and ill. Given this, one may complain about West-coasters being lazy or too progressive. But, once more, such States as California, Oregon, and Washington carry much of the U.S. economy and acts as a catalyst of cultural change for the rest. Such a region doesn’t attain such power and influence without its virtues of hard work and traditions of ‘valuing change’ and acceptance. Without these national virtues that the West-coast has given us, we’d all be quite a bit poorer and far less interesting—as would be the case if we lost ANY region of our country. In the end- and at some time or another- and in some way or another, I believe, we all become West-coasters 

 

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