Heartland soul: Many issues divide America, but few stir passions like deciding upon the boundaries of “the Midwest.” Maybe it’s an impossible task, because the Midwest isn’t just a geographic entity: It can also be a cultural identity only loosely associated with the land itself. Sure, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis are easily Midwestern, but what about Pittsburgh or Buffalo? To get to the bottom of this, CityLab data reporter and fully licensed Midwesterner David Montgomery asked readers to tell us themselves.
More than 12,000 people responded to a simple survey asking two questions: What zip code do you live in, and do you consider it part of the Midwest? The results so far, shown above, won’t end any debates, but do offer a picture of how the region is popularly understood. David also spoke with geographers to understand what, beyond borders, defines America’s midsection. Read: We Mapped ‘the Midwest’ for You, So Stop Arguing