Is Kansas in the Midwest? Or, what makes a region?

So I was having a conversation with my partner who is from one of the Northern Midwest states. She claimed that Kansas, where I am from, is not Midwest. She said that there was a set group of Midwest states and that Kansas was Great Plains. Several other people from the state agreed with them.

So, first, is Kansas in the Midwest?

Secondly, on a more serious question, what makes a region? The census defines Kansas as in the Midwest but is that the end all? Or is it conventional wisdom? Or, is it based by feel? To me the state I’m in now and Kansas feel very similar, like they have the same vibe. I also jokingly suggested that if you heard a country song and 75% of the time it could take place in your state, it’s the Midwest. (Which would exclude most of the Great Lakes Midwest states.)

I’m interested in your thoughts!

Where is Kansas?

  • The Midwest
  • Great Plains
  • The South (???)
  • Other

0 voters

According to my research:

It’s in the midwest alright

EDIT: But for real, as a Marylander, this is a question I think about constantly. There are parts of Maryland that feel like Maine or New Hampshire as there are parts that feel like Georgia or Tennessee. I suppose it’s commonly referred to the as the Mid-Atlantic, but what characteristics does that even entail?


Being a member of the clueless northeastern coastal elite, I was not aware that the Midwest and Great Plains were recognizably different regions.

On my end though, no one better call New York a part of New England. Pennsylvania as well. New England has a hard cutoff at the western edge of Vermont/Massachusetts/Connecticut. Why? No one knows.

(Actually I’m sure there’s probably a reason and someone does know, but I don’t.)

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in pittsburgh we’re either the most western part of the mid atlantic region, most eastern part of the midwest, most south eastern part of the great lakes, most south western part of the northeast, or most northern part of Appalachia. its a mess

tbh great plains is probably a subregion of the midwest since like ohio and kansas dont exactly have a ton in common


The Northeast looks like an outline of Rex from Toy Story. But for real, why can’t some “Great Plains” states also just be considered the Midwest but not all Midwest states are necessarily Great Plains states? Connecticut still gets lumped in with New England even though two-thirds of it is really an extension of New York.

Interesting…I’ve honestly not heard this before in relation to Kansas. It is something I’ve thought about before, but for me it’s usually in regards to the South and Florida. I lived in Florida for 20 years, and while it’s definitely about the farthest south you could go in the US, I never really consider it as The South. Ya know, like Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia “South”. And it seems to be a thing I’ve heard from other Floridians as well. If you pass through Northeast Florida, you don’t get much of a ‘Southern’ vibe, and Southern Florida (Miami, going toward the Florida Keys), it’s more of a Hispanic and Caribbean feel.

I moved to Georgia a year and a half ago, and the area around where I live feels more “Southern” than just about anywhere in Florida I’ve ever been…weird stuff.

I’d say Kansas is in the Midwest but I’ve also never really been to the midwest and don’t know anyone from there. I’ve known more people from Colorado or Utah or Nevada or NY, living in the south, despite the midwest being closer. I guess to me, if the state starts west of the Mississippi River, it’s in the midwest. I only just found out recently that people from Arkansas often consider it part of the south, and I’d personally consider it part of the midwest prior to learning that.

So I guess for me its a cultural thing and what most people there consider it to be. Lots of people in North Carolina don’t consider Virginia part of the south, but (almost) everyone in Virginia considers it part of the south and lots of them would start a fight if someone implied otherwise. Some states I feel are opt-in based on the individual. Like, you can choose to be southern or not if you’re from West Virginia.

I think what I’m finding from my talking with people is that there’s the capital “M” Midwest, otherwise known as the Great Lakes, and it feels like those people don’t accept those from the Great Plains as Midwestern, but most everyone else, including those from the Great Plains, think they’re from the Midwest.

As someone who grew up in the Great Plains, it’s amusing that some people don’t consider us Midwest even though we are uhhhhh more west than them? Like look at a map people.

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The current regional system should be abolished and replaced with a French-Revolution-style rationalized system under which Kansas would belong to the ‘zonecentrale’

Incidentally, New York is not considered part of New England because it is part of the New Netherlands (i.e. its first European colonizers were Dutch). That said, the distinction is irrelevant as that entire region is now the ‘zonesupérieuredroite’


i recently talked to a californian who was convinced that idaho was in the midwest. shrug

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That is wild. I grew up on the West Coast and honestly, Idaho felt more like a neighborhood than a state. Could be because its landscape is so similar to Washington, Oregon, and Utah, you often won’t know you’re in Idaho until the license plates change.

Great Plains and Midwest aren’t mutually exclusive. Kansas, Nebraska, North, and South Dakota are midwestern. Kansas, Nebraska, North, and South Dakota are all Great Plains along with most of Montana, Wyoming, and Texas, and a small slice of Colorado. Evidence I present in favor of Kansas being midwestern culturally is Dan Rychert of Giantbomb.

Coloradan here. I’ve been to Topeka a lot, and suburban Kansas shares a lot more culturally with Ohio or Indiana than it does with the Colorado Front Range. I’d personally but the westernmost Midwest boundary somewhere near the easternmost edge of Wyoming and Montana, if you were to extend that south through Colorado. Great Plains seems more like a sub-region than a fully different entity.

I grew up in Kansas, I lived in Kansas for the first twenty-three years of my life, I graduated from the University of Kansas, and I can confirm that it is not in the Midwest, or the Great Plains, or the South, or wherever. It is in Hell.


This tracks with my experience. I grew up in Wisconsin, and my spouse grew up in Kansas. I grew up thinking Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio were ‘the Midwest’ and anywhere west or south of their was either ‘Great Plains’ or ‘The South’. My spouse…disagrees with that…and for the most part, I’ve come around to it, with us now living in one of those ‘Great Plains’ states (Nebraska), that still feels distinctly ‘Midwest’.

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I’d say all this stuff is pretty much arbitrary nonsense, because I’ve lived in Miami my whole life, which I absolutely wouldn’t classify as “The South” and you’d have to drive several hours north before you hit somewhere that would fit the typical idea of the South.

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Despite its position farther south of and historical membership with the states that are usually regarded as “The South,” most northeasterners I know consider Florida a distinctly separate entity to the rest of the South, and not at all part of the “Deep South.”

Basically, agreed, it’s all weird and arbitrary.


I grew up in Nebraska (Just North of Kansas for ya coastal elites) and always considered it part of the Midwest (and concur with others here that great plains is a sub-section of the Midwest). I went to a great show at the BSA Space one time that had this nice break down of the midwest into agrarian midwest and industrial midwest (ND,SD,NE,IO,MN,KS,OK,MO and IL,MI,OH,IN, WI, or the great plains and the great lakes regions), which feels correct from an economic perspective.

I always thought there were five regions? East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, South, and Mountain (CO,MT,ID,WY). TX and FL are definitely separate entities :wink:

Just to bring in a non-US view here about regions and borders:

Norway is in the process of readjusting our counties, for the first time since the 70s, mostly combining into larger regions. The western shores of Norway – around four counties – has, informally, been called “Vestlandet” (The western land, definite singular), a bit like the US calling the area “The Midwest” or “The South”.

Now two counties are combining, and formally calling the area “Vestland” (West land, indefinite singular), which has caused a lot of angry people. Imagine the Dakotas and Minnesota joining up and formally calling the state “Midwest”. In Norway, both north and south of the “Vestland” border, people have considered themselves “Vestlendinger” (People from The Western lands).

Can the nomenclature of the old informal borders still a thing, or would you say that those names are dead now?

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