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View Poll Results: Which do you identify more with, your city or your state?
City 56 70.89%
State 23 29.11%
Voters: 79. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-28-2011, 03:19 AM
Location: Chicago
422 posts, read 688,365 times
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One thing I have noticed is that IMO a number of Americans overemphasize the importance a state has on culture and self identity. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I live in a big city and most people who live in large cities identify with their city much more than the state they happen to be in. That is not to say necessarily they don't care about their state at all or people living in other parts of the state but it's a matter of what one considers their primary geographic identity.

So when you are travelling to a different part of the country or world where do you say you are from? Do you say the name of the state you are from or the city? Illinois is kind of strange in this way in how people identify themselves. I say I am from Chicago no matter where I am and I think just about everyone who lives in the city, especially those with family roots here will say Chicago and not Illinois. The suburbs vary, some will say Chicago or Chicagoland/Chicago area, etc. The only people in Illinois who really identify themselves as Illinoisans first are people who live downstate. In part I think because when you live in a small town or city people from far away will not have heard of it but will know the state. Honestly it is kind of a pet peeve of mine when people only mention the state they are from because in reality it tells me very little about them, I don't know if they are urban, suburban or rural.

Also I think it varies from city to city and state to state. Texas has a strong state identity whereas Illinois doesn't really. New York City shares a name with it's state causing confusion to people who have trouble understanding New York State doesn't necessarily mean city living. California is interesting because it has a fairly strong state identity and also large cities that have strong identities. In the case of Los Angeles it is hard to separate it's identity with a stereotypical California identity, San Francisco has a bit more of a distinct identity but still strongly associated with California. Illinois is strange because it's name can make people think of cornfields or Chicago. Florida seems like a state where people identify with it before their respective city, I know tons of people who say "Florida" and then when pressed will say the city name. It seems many people from the south or interior west identify with their state more frequently due to more rural and isolated populations.

Think about city and state flags as well. The only place I see Illinois flags is on government buildings but you will see people flying Chicago flags as it is very distinctive looking. As far as other states the Texas and California flags are very recognizable to even outsiders.

So what is your primary geographic identification and how does it compare to other people near where you live?
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:12 AM
Location: Chicago (from pittsburgh)
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City. Both now in Chicago and when I lived in Pittsburgh. Seems more reasonable to identify with your locale rather than your state , in which the culture can vary widely from one part to the other.

I always get a kick when people try and judge an entire state and every city within when they've only been to one little part of that state. For example, a friend of mine from Altoona, PA often complains that "Pennsylvania is so boring". I always want to tell her that its a little ridiculous to judge the entire state of PA on the basis that Altoona is boring. Does she not realize that, you know, little places called Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are also in the state and may not be quite as boring...
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:14 AM
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,423 posts, read 18,320,690 times
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Definitely my state. I love Massachusetts, summer on Cape Cod will always have a place in my heart, Salem in one of my favorite cities, in the fall the Berkshire Hills are divine, and Martha's Vineyard is my favorite island. The irony is Boston really just isn't one of my favorite cities, and I'm one of few here that really just doesn't have a passion for the sports following here (yes I am native). I like the North Shore, the rocky coast and lighthouses of Cape Ann, historic seaports, and sandy beaches. I just identify and spend most of my time in coastal Massachusetts, and Boston well... I could take it or leave it.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:18 AM
Location: West Tennessee
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Reputation: 1331
My state, but I specify what region (SE Missouri) I'm originally from. It's probably more of a Missouri thing because culturally Missouri is 4 or 5 different states.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:40 AM
Location: Brooklyn, New York
3,737 posts, read 3,848,110 times
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City. I also find it interesting that a lot of people, especially out west, emphasize counties as well. Here, the majority of people don't even know what county they live in. I am pretty sure less than 25% of adult New Yorkers can name the 5 counties of the city.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:41 AM
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,234 posts, read 19,531,226 times
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When traveling abroad, most people are more familiar with major U.S. cities than they are with states. The biggest exception is California and sometimes Texas and Florida as well.

I can go pretty much anywhere in the world and say I'm from Washington. And people know immediately that is Washington, D.C.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:11 AM
Location: roaming gnome
12,391 posts, read 24,559,220 times
Reputation: 5662
State, I've always felt more of a transplant and have moved around a LOT since I was 18...and probably will continue to into the future. I'm eying both DC and NYC for the job market there. But there aren't too many native Floridians so...I'll go with Florida as I grew up on the beach there. I do like a lot about FL but not really the cities there. I still go there fairly often to visit parents and such. As much hate as FL sometimes seems to get (And I hate it for certain things sometimes also), it does have good weather, and it does have lots of diversity as well as biodiversity. I also think it would be disingenuous to rep somewhere like NYC or Chicago and have only lived there a few years... Yet so many people do that for some reason. I think they try to associate the city with their self worth after moving there from say, Nebraska. I also think it is disingenuous for suburbanites to do it. I think after you are there for a decade or so, you can start claiming it.

I can't say I have allegiance to anywhere necessarily, I have friends allover.

Last edited by grapico; 10-28-2011 at 08:29 AM..
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:12 AM
Location: Maryland
4,265 posts, read 5,475,910 times
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I identify with city, and I'm in Madison, WI.

Although I think a general trend may be that if a state is dominated by one very large city, people are probably more apt to identify with the dominant city than the state...especially if that city is well-known on a global scale (NYC, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, etc.). The caveat being if you live in a state and are nowhere near the dominant city in the state. I think then people tend to emphasize "We live in [state] but not [state's dominant city]." For example, my family lives in Illinois, but in Springfield, so they tend to emphasize that they live in Illinois but not Chicago, because people automatically assume if you say Illinois that you live somewhere in/around Chicago.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:28 AM
Location: Republic of New England
633 posts, read 1,280,394 times
Reputation: 192
I go by state and the region of New England
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:07 AM
4,668 posts, read 6,111,171 times
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Good question. I think it all depends on the size of the city and how well known it is. I grew up in Davenport, Iowa. But when people ask where I'm from I'm not going to say Davenport..I'm from Iowa.

I've lived in Chicago for the last 10 years and identify with this city more than the state of Illinois. When someone asks where I live I say Chicago not Illinois.
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