is an American colloquialism
used to describe either a cultural mindset or region of the United States
that, geographically, comprises the bulk of rural and suburban America. This term is usually used in contrast to the more metropolitan
areas. The two mindsets reflect different values that portray a dichotomy
in American culture. In regards to geographical usage, the term is not literal because one may hold "Middle American values" while not residing there, and vice versa.
Middle America may also be used to refer to Mesoamerica, or the grouping of Central America and Mexico.
As a cultural and geographical label
, the label Middle America
refers to the territory between the East Coast of the United States
(particularly the northeast
) and the West Coast
. The term has been used in some cases to refer to the inland portions of coastal states, especially if they are rural
. Much of the California Central Valley
and inland Pennsylvania
are typically considered to be Middle American
. Alternately, the term is used to describe the central United States
Middle America is generally used more as a cultural than geographical label, suggesting a small town or suburb where most people are middle class, Protestant, and white. It is often caricatured in the same way as the American 1950s decade. The idea of Middle America may exclude locations such as Chicago (the third largest city in the United States and one of the world's ten alpha cities) and the very wealthy Aspen, Colorado. However, the coastal regions of the southern United States are often implicitly included.
The economy of "Middle America" is traditionally agricultural, though most "Middle Americans" now live in suburban locales. Compared to coastal America, home prices tend to be low and economic disparities are less pronounced. Housing prices tend to be significantly less volatile than those on the coasts, and houses tend to appreciate in value more slowly.
The phrase Middle American values
is a political cliché; like family values
, it refers to more traditional or conservative politics, although places like Minneapolis
; and Lawrence, Kansas
but inland) provide exceptions.
Many of the political battleground states are situated in "Middle America".