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Old 11-11-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: NY
778 posts, read 829,279 times
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I would say it starts at the Rockies, and East would start a bit east of the Mississippi River.

The rest in between is central/grey area.

The US cannot simply be split up West/East. Its just not that simple, and that kind of thinking is the real conversation.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Boise
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To me it's really the plain states. Although I would also argue that it starts once you hit the wall of the Rockies, which of course instantly turns the whole rest of the country west of Denver into an extremely different type of geographical beast compared to the east.
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:43 AM
 
Location: The Pacific Northwest
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I know this is an old thread and I'm not normally one to revive old threads, but I was just thinking about this topic the other day - I think the west has to begin at the beginning of the semi-arid/steppe zone. You can easily how the population density in rural areas quickly tapers off west of this line.

http://cdn.citylab.com/media/img/cit...24/desnity.png

You can also see it in the geography - there seems to be a misconception that it's all flatland in the steppes/plains east of the Front Range but it's definitely not the case. Sandstone buttes are not something one normally associates with the Midwest but are quite numerous in places like Kansas and Nebraska west of the arid line.

The Gypsum Hills at daybreak photo - Neil Marcus photos at pbase.com
http://www.kansassampler.org/KSamp-a...hotos/l/68.jpg
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/G...pgs/Buttes.jpg
https://www.google.com/search?q=red+...ml%3B550%3B363

And Nebraska:

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/DM-Re...ratio=1&webp=1

http://www.rlazyj.com/wp-content/upl...own-Butte2.jpg

Plus you have places like Dodge City, KS which are not at all Midwestern. Dodge City was a rough frontier town - nothing Midwestern about it.

Dodge City, Kansas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While all of these places are considered "Midwestern" by the Census Bureau, the steppe climate and geography has shaped a different history and culture than that of the rest of the Midwest. To me, it's far more akin to places further west than east. So I think the semi-arid/humid line is where the west begins.
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Old 09-28-2014, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
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I would say it begins where farming gives way to ranching. Basically somewhere in the middle of the plains states (Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma) and Texas. A lot of people say it doesn't begin until you reach the Rockies, but I disagree. The Western halves of the plains states definitely have a rugged, Western U.S. culture that contrasts with their Eastern halves.

I don't think it's absolutely necessary to have tall mountains as part of the equation in order to be truly considered "Western". Places like Dodge City, KS, Scottsbluff, NE, and Rapid City, SD all struck me as being very Western.
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Old 09-28-2014, 02:52 PM
 
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I think this map gives us a good indication where the west begins. Generally for farming to be economically sustainable, you need more than 30" of rain a year. Farming was for a large part of american history the means and livelihood for most of the american population. When people began to settle west of Austin, OKC, Wichita, they couldn't live like they had in the east. They couldn't just plant crops anywhere they wanted and assume that they would grow. So the people who moved here had to either change to a new industry, or leave. Many began cattle ranching. However the cattle industry soon became over-saturated, and the price of beef plummeted. Some went into resource extraction, like oil, or mining. But these industries only employed a few people considering the amount of land taken up. Many people moved to the west coast, where there was enough rain to grow crops like in the east. However the lack of rain is the biggest reason that the west was (and still is) the least populated part of the contiguous US.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Austin
596 posts, read 678,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apm193 View Post

I think this map gives us a good indication where the west begins. Generally for farming to be economically sustainable, you need more than 30" of rain a year. Farming was for a large part of american history the means and livelihood for most of the american population. When people began to settle west of Austin, OKC, Wichita, they couldn't live like they had in the east. They couldn't just plant crops anywhere they wanted and assume that they would grow. So the people who moved here had to either change to a new industry, or leave. Many began cattle ranching. However the cattle industry soon became over-saturated, and the price of beef plummeted. Some went into resource extraction, like oil, or mining. But these industries only employed a few people considering the amount of land taken up. Many people moved to the west coast, where there was enough rain to grow crops like in the east. However the lack of rain is the biggest reason that the west was (and still is) the least populated part of the contiguous US.
I've always thought of the dividing line to be approximately around I-35 which is actually pretty close to the line of rainfall you mention. It just seemed like where the line should be to me but with the rainfall chart, you gave me a reason to justify what seemed right in my mind.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
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Davy-040 - I would move that line about 400 to 450 miles West. According to that, Houston is in the West. As someone who grew up in Houston, I can assure you that it isn't. In Texas at least, the true Western culture/landscapes/climate don't begin until roughly the Western edge of the hill country. Basically near the town of Sonora, as a reference point. Some will argue I-35, though I disagree with that boundary. However, you will never hear too many people claiming Houston as a Western city/area.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:40 AM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobloblawslawblog View Post
1.Davy-040 - I would move that line about 400 to 450 miles West. According to that, Houston is in the West.

2.As someone who grew up in Houston, I can assure you that it isn't.

3.In Texas at least, the true Western culture/landscapes/climate don't begin until roughly the Western edge of the hill country. Basically near the town of Sonora, as a reference point. Some will argue I-35, though I disagree with that boundary. However, you will never hear too many people claiming Houston as a Western city/area.
1.100-150 miles maybe but that's the limit for me.

2.I understand that but when you ask people around the world (only people who have knowledge about countries/cities) is Houston, Texas a Western or a Eastern American city, i think at least 70% will say Western.

3.I can accept Houston as a a Eastern city but not Dallas (Cowboys = West). Coming from the East, the West starts in Grand Forks, Fargo, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Omaha, Kansas City and Fort Smith. Hard to tell where the West starts in Texas. Paris, Athens, College Station and El Campo?
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:21 AM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
2,343 posts, read 2,759,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davy-040 View Post
2.I understand that but when you ask people around the world (only people who have knowledge about countries/cities) is Houston, Texas a Western or a Eastern American city, i think at least 70% will say Western.
So the vague, uninformed opinions of people in other countries should define this rather than the firsthand knowledge of the people who live there? I mean, I know that's not literally what you're saying, but it almost sounds like you're condoning or excusing such ignorance. I know that for me personally, I don't let my preconceived notions about local nuances in other countries... or even other states/regions inhibit me from learning the truth from the people who actually live in those countries/states/regions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davy-040 View Post
3.I can accept Houston as a a Eastern city but not Dallas (Cowboys = West). Coming from the East, the West starts in Grand Forks, Fargo, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Omaha, Kansas City and Fort Smith. Hard to tell where the West starts in Texas. Paris, Athens, College Station and El Campo?
Wrong on Dallas. Just because their NFL team is called "Cowboys" doesn't determine whether or not Dallas is a Western city. Cincinatti's NFL team is called "Bengals". Good look finding any Bengal Tigers roaming the streets of Cincinatti. You'll also be pretty hard-pressed to find any actual cowboys in Dallas. As I said in an earlier post, in Texas, the true Western vibe begins at the Western edge of the hill country, and further North it begins in the panhandle, roughly. Wichita Falls and all that lies West of it.

Houston, Dallas, and the other major cities in Texas (with the exception of El Paso) are neither Eastern nor Western. They are South-Central U.S. The only cities in Texas you could get away with calling "Western" are El Paso, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland-Odessa, San Angelo, and possibly Abilene. There are no major cities in any of the plains states North of Texas that are Western in nature. Only small towns and barely-cities like Scottsbluff, NE, Rapid City, SD, and Dodge City, KS.

Your profile says you live in the Netherlands. I don't know if you're an American expat or a native European, but take it from someone who grew up in this transitional part of America... the West doesn't begin anywhere near as far East as you think it does.
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