Oct 20, 2023 - News

Illinois is the Midwest, but new survey suggests Idaho could be, too

Share who say they live in the Midwest
Data: Middle West ReviewEmerson College Polling; Note: Includes 22 states traditionally considered part of or surrounding the Midwest; Map: Axios Visuals

There's no question that Illinois is a Midwest state, but a new survey shows people as far as Idaho and Pennsylvania also consider themselves Midwesterners.

Why it matters: Despite the U.S. Census Bureau's input, defining a Midwesterner is still under debate. But this survey suggests that a large swath of the U.S. agrees it's best to be Midwest.

Driving the news: Emerson College Polling and the Middle West Review recently asked 11,000 people from 22 states if they think their state is part of the Midwest and whether they identify as Midwesterners.

By the numbers: Unsurprisingly, 93.8 % of those surveyed in Illinois say they live in the Midwest. Most people in other states we often associate with the Midwest — including Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin — said so, too.

The intrigue: A large share of Oklahoma and Wyoming residents consider themselves Midwesterners. So do some in Colorado (42%), Kentucky (30%), West Virginia (13%) and Pennsylvania (9%).

  • More than 25% of Idaho residents surveyed think their state is part of the region.

What they're saying: "I think one of the big findings of this study is that American regions are still alive. And people still identify with regions," Middle West Review editor Jon Lauck tells Axios' Linh Ta.

  • "Midwestern identity is very strong. I think a lot of people have a sense that it's weaker here or people don't really connect to their states or region as much as, say, the South," Lauck says. "But that is clearly untrue."

📣 Tell us: Which of these states is NOT in the Midwest? Vote below.


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