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Old 09-07-2014, 04:14 PM
 
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The Census Bureau splits up the Midwest region into "East North Central" and "West North Central." East North Central is Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin - which corresponds pretty closely to the Great Lakes/Rust Belt (though the American side of one Great Lake, Lake Ontario, falls entirely in the Northeast, and the Rust Belt also runs in NY and PA). West North Central seems to be more of an administrative classification for the rest of the Midwest. It includes the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas which are Great Plains states and Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri which can neither be classified as Great Plains or Rust Belt/Great Lakes (even though NE Minnesota does touch Lake Superior). "West North Central" does seem to be a transition zone from "east" (or at least not the west) to west. However, with the populations of the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas mostly falling in the eastern third or so of their land areas, they get classified as Midwest rather than West.

In Canada, the East/West split is much sharper with the Canadian Shield breaking it up. So Ontario is clearly eastern and Manitoba western. While in the US, driving from Ohio to Nebraska is more of a gradual transition. Winnipeg is at about the same longitude as Fargo and Omaha.

Lake Superior serves as a good break between "industrial heartland" and "prairie." You can't avoid it in Canada, while the "rocky/lake-y" Midwest only covers Michigan's Upper Peninsula, northeast Minnesota and a bit of Wisconsin.

The Great Plains provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are all part of the same region, the Prairies. In contrast, the Great Plains aren't an official region and include parts of the Midwest and bits of the West (i.e. eastern Montana, bits of Colorado and Wyoming). The split between the more "western" and "eastern" Prairies/Plains occurs about halfway across Saskatchewan.

So if the Plains were an official region like the Canadian Prairies, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas would be easy to classify. Under the Midwest/West split, they're transitional.
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Kensington View Post
The Census Bureau splits up the Midwest region into "East North Central" and "West North Central." East North Central is Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin - which corresponds pretty closely to the Great Lakes/Rust Belt (though the American side of one Great Lake, Lake Ontario, falls entirely in the Northeast, and the Rust Belt also runs in NY and PA). West North Central seems to be more of an administrative classification for the rest of the Midwest. It includes the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas which are Great Plains states and Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri which can neither be classified as Great Plains or Rust Belt/Great Lakes (even though NE Minnesota does touch Lake Superior). "West North Central" does seem to be a transition zone from "east" (or at least not the west) to west. However, with the populations of the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas mostly falling in the eastern third or so of their land areas, they get classified as Midwest rather than West.

In Canada, the East/West split is much sharper with the Canadian Shield breaking it up. So Ontario is clearly eastern and Manitoba western. While in the US, driving from Ohio to Nebraska is more of a gradual transition. Winnipeg is at about the same longitude as Fargo and Omaha.

Lake Superior serves as a good break between "industrial heartland" and "prairie." You can't avoid it in Canada, while the "rocky/lake-y" Midwest only covers Michigan's Upper Peninsula, northeast Minnesota and a bit of Wisconsin.

The Great Plains provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are all part of the same region, the Prairies. In contrast, the Great Plains aren't an official region and include parts of the Midwest and bits of the West (i.e. eastern Montana, bits of Colorado and Wyoming). The split between the more "western" and "eastern" Prairies/Plains occurs about halfway across Saskatchewan.

So if the Plains were an official region like the Canadian Prairies, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas would be easy to classify. Under the Midwest/West split, they're transitional.
Most people don't look close enough to see this, but you're right! I think it's more of a transition zone in the US because of it's proximity to the gulf. The further north you go, the drier it is to points further east. IE... Eastern and Central Kansas are less dry than Eastern North Dakota. It may seem arbitrary but it does play a big role in the culture and confusing transitional identity of these areas ... whereas Prairie Provinces of Canada are much more cut and "dry."
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Kensington View Post
Lake Superior serves as a good break between "industrial heartland" and "prairie." You can't avoid it in Canada, while the "rocky/lake-y" Midwest only covers Michigan's Upper Peninsula, northeast Minnesota and a bit of Wisconsin.
That "bit" of Wisconsin is the entire upper third of the state, the UP is bigger than many Eastern states, and the MN northwoods are a pretty large area - I think you're underselling the size of this region. Maybe because I'm a northern WI guy who has spent a lot of time in the MN/WI/MI northwoods...but it's got to be around the size of New England, and it's a huge part of the overall culture of these states and even Chicago/Illinois (which vacations and has a good chunk of the cabins there).
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:57 PM
 
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Fair point. I was thinking as much or more in terms of population though. In land area it's pretty significant and seems to be a pretty distinctive area, with some resemblance to northern Ontario and a bit of Manitoba over the border culturally and economically.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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True, it isn't very populated and there aren't any large metros, but it is visited quite a bit and to me has a fairly distinct culture (with some Ontario overlap, of course). And of course, in Canadian terms, it may very well seem like a small area land-wise.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:44 PM
 
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Yeah it's a pretty large area, but my point was this type of area can't be avoided when crossing Canada and more clearly splits up the Prairies and southern Ontario. And yes, Wisconsin is known as a vacation area for Chicagoans (what we call "cottage country" in Ontario).

Wisconsin is kind of an interesting crossroads. It's classified as East North Central and probably a majority of its population is in the rust belt. Milwaukee has many Polish Americans and a large Black population. On the other hand other parts of the state resemble Minnesota with Scandinavian heritage, lots of lakes and a history of progressive "prairie populism."
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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It's kinda split up between Milwaukee & environs, northwoods, and farming (Driftless + Central Sands + Eastern WI that's not in Milwaukee's sway). I'm not trying to derail you here, just throwing some details on top
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