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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mid-Atlantic Region
States in solid red form the official Census Division, while those shown in red stripes are often categorized as Mid-Atlantic and/or Southern states.
Regional statistics
Composition Delaware Delaware
Maryland Maryland
New Jersey New Jersey
New York New York
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Virginia Virginia
West Virginia West Virginia
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
 - Total

191,300 sq mi (495,464.7 km²)
(Slightly smaller than Spain.)
- Total

- Density

57,303,316 (2008 est.)[1]
(Pop. of Canada and Australia combined.)
300/sq mi (116/km²)
Largest city New York City New York City (pop. 8,246,310[2])
GDP $2.962 trillion (2007)[3]
Metropolitan Areas New York–New Jersey

The Mid-Atlantic States (also called Middle Atlantic States or simply the Mid Atlantic) form a region of the United States generally located between New England and the South. Its exact definition differs upon source, but the region often includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and sometimes Virginia and West Virginia.

The Mid-Atlantic has played an important role in the development of American culture, commerce, trade, and industry, yet it is one of the least self-conscious of American regions.[4] It has been called "the typically American" region by Frederick Jackson Turner. Religious pluralism and ethnic diversity have been important elements of Mid-Atlantic society from its settlement by Dutch, Swedes, English Catholics, and Quakers through to the period of English rule, and beyond. After the American Revolution, the Mid-Atlantic region hosted each of the historic capitals of the United States, including the current federal capital, Washington D.C.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, New York and Pennsylvania overtook Virginia as the most populous states and the New England states as the country's most important trading and industrial centers. Large numbers of German, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and other immigrants transformed the region, especially coastal cities such as Manhattan, Newark, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, but also interior cities such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

New York City, with its skyscrapers, subways, and headquarters of the United Nations, emerged in the twentieth century as an icon of modernity and American economic and cultural power. It would suffer the brunt of the September 11 attacks, along with two other places in the Mid-Atlantic, Arlington, Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. By the twenty-first century, the coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic were thoroughly urbanized. The Northeast Corridor and Interstate 95 linked an almost contiguous sprawl of suburbs and large and small cities, forming the Mid-Atlantic portion of the northeast megalopolis, one of the world's most important concentrations of finance, media, communications, education, medicine, and technology. Waves of Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Russian, Dominican, Jamaican, Filipino, Pakistani, Salvadoran, and other immigrants now are further transforming the Mid-Atlantic economy and culture.

The Mid-Atlantic is a relatively affluent region of the nation, having 43 of the 100 highest-income counties in the nation based on median household income and 33 of the top 100 based on per capita income. Most of the Mid-Atlantic states rank among the 15 highest-income states in the nation by median household income and per capita income.


Defining the Mid-Atlantic

There are differing interpretations as to the composition of the Mid-Atlantic. Sometimes, the nucleus is considered to consist of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, with additional states possibly included.[5] Other sources consider New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to be the core Mid-Atlantic states, with others sometimes included.[6] For example, since the 1910 census, the Mid-Atlantic Census Division has included New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, which combined with the New England Division, comprised the Northeast Census Region.[7]


The 'Typically American' region

Middle Atlantic States.jpg

An 1897 map displays an inclusive definition of the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.

Frederick Jackson Turner wrote in 1893 about the important role the Mid-Atlantic or "Middle region" had played in the formation of the national American culture, and defined it as "the typical American region".[8]

The Middle region, entered by New York harbor, was an open door to all Europe. The tide-water part of the South represented typical Englishmen, modified by a warm climate and servile labor, and living in baronial fashion on great plantations; New England stood for a special English movement-- Puritanism. The Middle region was less English than the other sections. It had a wide mixture of nationalities, a varied society, the mixed town and county system of local government, a varied economic life, many religious sects. In short, it was a region mediating between New England and the South, and the East and the West. It represented that composite nationality which the contemporary United States exhibits, that juxtaposition of non-English groups, occupying a valley or a little settlement, and presenting reflections of the map of Europe in their variety. It was democratic and nonsectional, if not national; "easy, tolerant, and contented;" rooted strongly in material prosperity. It was typical of the modern United States. It was least sectional, not only because it lay between North and South, but also because with no barriers to shut out its frontiers from its settled region, and with a system of connecting waterways, the Middle region mediated between East and West as well as between North and South. Thus it became the typically American region. Even the New Englander, who was shut out from the frontier by the Middle region, tarrying in New York or Pennsylvania on his westward march, lost the acuteness of his sectionalism on the way.

The Frontier in American History


Shipping and trade have been important to the Mid-Atlantic economy since the beginning of the colonial era.

From early colonial times, the Mid-Atlantic region was settled by a wider range of European people than in New England or the South. The Dutch New Netherland settlement along the Hudson River in New York and New Jersey, and for a time, New Sweden along the Delaware River in Delaware, divided the two great bulwarks of English settlement from each other. The original English settlements in the region notably provided refuge to religious minorities, Maryland to Roman Catholics, and Pennsylvania to Quakers and the mostly Anabaptist Pennsylvania Dutch. In time, all these settlements fell under English colonial control, but the region continued to be a magnet for people of diverse nationalities.

The area that came to be known as the Middle Colonies served as a strategic bridge between the North and South. Philadelphia, midway between the northern and southern colonies, was home to the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates who organized the American Revolution. The same city was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1787.

While early settlers were mostly farmers, traders, and fishermen, the Mid-Atlantic states provided the young United States with heavy industry and served as the "melting pot" of new immigrants from Europe. Cities grew along major ports, shipping routes, and waterways. Such flourishing cities included Manhattan and Newark on opposite sides of the Hudson River, Philadelphia on the Delaware River, and Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay.

Cities and Urban Areas

Combined Statistical Areas

Combined Statistical Areas with more than 1,000,000 people:

Large Cities

Cities with more than 200,000 people:

State Capitals

See also


Simple English

The Mid-Atlantic States (also called Middle Atlantic States or simply Middle East) form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. The division consists of three states: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.[1] This definition corresponds with the region's traditional definition as the section of the Atlantic Seaboard between New England and the South. However, many people consider the Mid-Atlantic to be the states south of the Northeast, centered in Delaware, Maryland.

The traditional Mid-Atlantic States comprise the most densely-populated of the nine U.S. regions, and anchor the megalopolis which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C.. The southeastern part of New York State, eastern Pennsylvania, and all of New Jersey combine to form the bulk of the moral region of the Metropolis, according to socio-political geographers James Patterson and Peter Kim, co-authors of the 1991 book The Day America Told The Truth. (Metropolis begins in the southern Connecticut suburbs of New York City and stretches along the Eastern seaboard to the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.). The book classifies the remainder of New York State and Pennsylvania in the Rust Belt.

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