The Five Midwests, Part II

So, I’m following up on the last post about the Five Midwests.  First, I’d add a correction to my previous post on this.  I would include portions of West Virginia and Kentucky in this mix, at least the parts closest to the Ohio River.  The uplands beyond the river are much more Appalachian – and Southern – in orientation.  That makes 16 states that could lay some claim to territory in the Midwest, but with seven core Midwestern states. 
Here’s a map that illustrates my thoughts on the Five Midwests:
Here’s a typology table that might illustrate some of the differences of the Midwest’s subregions:
 
Five Midwests Typology
Region
Population (2010 Est.)
Full States Included
Partial States Included
Initial Settlement Period
Settler Group(s)
Period of Greatest Growth
North Woods
4,000,000
MI, WI, MN
1850-1880
New Englanders; Scandinavians
1880-1910
Lower Lakes
29,000,000
NY, PA, OH, MI, IN, IL, WI
1820-1850
New Englanders; Mid-Atlantic farmers; Mid-Atlantic businessmen; Eastern and Southern Europeans; Blacks; Hispanics
1900-1930
Heartland
15,500,000
OH, IN, IL, IA, MN
1820-1850
Mid-Atlantic farmers; Southern farmers; Eastern and Southern Europeans; Blacks
1950-1980
Midland Valley
13,500,000
PA, WV, KY, OH, IN, IL, MO
1800-1830
Mid-Atlantic farmers; Southern farmers; Blacks
1900-1930
Plains
7,250,000
MN, IA, MO, ND, SD, NE, KS
1870-1900
Heartland farmers; Rust Belt farmers; Mid-Atlantic businessmen
1900-1930
And another table that shows estimated population breakdowns, within subregions, by state:
Midwest Population Breakdown (Estimate)
State Pop. (2010)
Midwest Pop. (2010)
Pct. Of State Pop. In Midwest
North Woods
Lower Lakes
Heartland
Midland Valley
Plains
State Capital
State Capital Midwest Location
OH
10,500,000
10,500,000
100.0%
0
5,000,000
2,000,000
3,500,000
0
Columbus
Heartland
MI
9,500,000
9,500,000
100.0%
1,500,000
8,000,000
0
0
0
Lansing
Lower Lakes
IN
6,000,000
6,000,000
100.0%
0
2,000,000
2,000,000
2,000,000
0
Indianapolis
Heartland
WI
6,000,000
6,000,000
100.0%
1,000,000
3,500,000
1,500,000
0
0
Madison
Lower Lakes
MN
5,000,000
5,000,000
100.0%
500,000
0
4,000,000
0
500,000
St. Paul
Heartland
IA
4,000,000
4,000,000
100.0%
0
0
3,000,000
0
1,000,000
Des Moine
Plains/Heartland
IL
12,500,000
12,250,000
98.0%
0
9,000,000
2,500,000
750,000
0
Springfield
Heartland
MO
6,000,000
5,000,000
83.3%
0
0
500,000
2,500,000
2,000,000
Jefferson City
KS
2,500,000
2,000,000
80.0%
0
0
0
0
2,000,000
Topeka
Plains
NE
1,500,000
1,000,000
66.7%
0
0
0
0
1,000,000
Lincoln
Plains
ND
500,000
250,000
50.0%
0
0
0
0
250,000
Bismarck
Plains
SD
1,000,000
500,000
50.0%
0
0
0
0
500,000
Pierre
Plains
WV
4,000,000
1,000,000
25.0%
0
0
0
1,000,000
0
Charleston
PA
13,000,000
3,000,000
23.1%
0
500,000
0
2,500,000
0
Harrisburg
KY
4,500,000
1,000,000
22.2%
0
0
0
1,000,000
0
Frankfort
NY
19,000,000
2,500,000
13.2%
1,000,000
1,500,000
0
0
0
Albany
105,500,000
69,500,000
4,000,000
29,500,000
15,500,000
13,250,000
7,250,000
Percent of Midwest Pop.
5.8%
42.4%
22.3%
19.1%
10.4%
This is where some trends become apparent.  These are purely estimates, but the Lower Lakes subregion heads this list in terms of population in the Midwest, with more than 42 percent.  Heartland and Midland Valley are a distant second and third, at 22 and 19 percent respectively.  The Plains and North Woods are even further behind at 10 and 6 percent respectively – not surprising since harsh climates and scarce resources have limited their development. 
What stands out to me, however, is the location of state capitals when compared with major populations in the Midwest.  Refer back to the Five Midwests map.  The map also shows the location of state capitals (marked with an asterisk) and the location of the 14 metro areas with a population over one million within my Midwest boundaries (cross-hatched counties).  If anyone wants to know why Midwestern states might be slow to act on the wish lists of their major cities, this map might show why.  Midwestern state capitals are largely located in the Heartland or Plains subregions, and are physically separated from large metros in the Lower Lakes and Midland Valley.  In fact, some of the best economically performing metros over the last couple decades have been Heartland state capitals (Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis/St. Paul).
My larger point is that even though proportional districting in state legislatures brings appropriate representation to state capitals, the location of state capitals away from the population centers of the region can lead to some identity crises among the states and for the region as a whole.  At least that’s the theory I’m working with.

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