Jun 14 2010

Northerners, Southerners, Midwesterners, oh my!

Published by at 11:43 am under this crazy cool country of ours,travel

We’ve been traveling quite a bit over the last couple of years, large cross-country treks (several of them by car before health issues interfered). Obviously, it’s always interesting and engaging to observe geographical and vegetative changes depending on where in the country you are, but I find that each trip I become more interested in the human differences between regions.  Not just the differences that climate variations bring to daily behaviors and routines — not to mention the architecture — but attitudinal shifts and cultural differences as well.  I feel like I want to be writing some blog posts about these thoughts, but I haven’t quite figured out where to dive in.  So in the meantime, or as a sneaky backdoor entrance into the topic, I thought I’d put up this short post to ask you, Fearless Readers, about some of your own observations on these matters.

I don’t mind hearing the old saws everyone drags out on North vs. South, but I’ll admit I’m more interested in the observations you have that aren’t along traditional regional division lines, or different perspectives than we normally hear about the different US regions.  Starting with, in terms of broad categories, how many are there that are useful and effective labeling differences?  Northerner and Southerner seem to not really cover all of the US states in terms of cultural demographics, so we at least need to add in the Midwest and West Coast, but should there be more for the top-level categories?

What is a favorite cultural-quirk or regional-difference observation from the last time you traveled far enough outside your home region to notice the changes?

I’m looking forward to reading what you have to share!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Northerners, Southerners, Midwesterners, oh my!”

  1. Holly Elioton 25 Jun 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I’ll tell you what I’ve noticed about small towns: everyone is more civil. This is because even if you divorce someone, the kids run back and forth between houses, and you all wind up sitting together to watch the parade. Exes and half-relatives have potlucks together. Everybody has to get along because there is no anonymity whatsoever. Grudges just get worn down by proximity.

    This also cuts down on crime. And the need for lawyers. A farmer can make a verbal agreement to buy land in the morning and plow it that afternoon. Everybody knows the other guy’s character through long association. Grown men tell stories on each other from childhood. If you didn’t grow up in this atmosphere, you’d smother. If you did, it feels absolutely natural.

  2. Maryon 26 Jun 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve always lived in large metro areas like Miami, Altanta, and Dallas; however, I’ve visited at length with relatives in small towns. I much prefer the big cities as there are no limitations; you can get anything and everything you want. No lack of stores, restaurants, theaters, types of entertainment, sports venues, etc. So many choices! Also, the educational venues are vast. And, like in small towns, there was much in the way of nurturing as I grew up. There were “country” revival meetings (even though they came to “town”), multi-family ice cream suppers, and block parties. Neighbors helped neighbors. All the parents in the neighborhood helped to raise all the kids. You minded all the moms and dads in the neighborhood just like you minded your own. The latter-day concept of “it takes a village” to raise a child was not just the lip-service then as now. It was real. I am a true Southerner in every way. Having visited relatives in the north ahd having done business there, I much prefer the South. The manners of the South have always been more polite, more firm, and more true to me. The culture of the South is, for me, more genteel, refined, unpretentious, and elegant. I am very proud of my southern heritage and our way of life in the South.

  3. Melanieon 26 Jul 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I am from the North. South Dakota is home but have done time in North Dakota and Nebraska. Now I am living in Chattanooga Tennessee and work in Georgia. There are extreme regional differences in the people, the traditions, the food, and religion.

    North Dakotans are very closed communities and loyal to their own. If you are from there, or the predominant nationality for that town you are more easily accepted. They are a harder, less emotional people. They are hard working and have an amazing work ethic. It seems to be somewhat of a Bible belt. Marriages seem to last.

    The western part of South Dakota differs from the East. The state is split by the Missouri river. They will say you are “west river” or “east river”. West river people are more of a meld as it is a tourist region and so a lot of people move there from other places. The people are less serious than North Dakotan, they are friendly, diverse, and really a good mix. Although people are churched I wouldn’t say it is a Bible belt. Divorce is common but not extreme.

    As far a Nebraska I can only speak about the Lincoln area. These seem to be a very back stabbing, all for one, sort of people. Career oriented focus. I would actually say they are friendly yet uptight if that makes sense.

    Chattanooga Tennessee is a melting pot so it is very diverse. But people are very friendly. They are respectful, especially the natives to Tennessee. Children are very important and the food is much different than up north. There are lots of churches!! I don’t know many people in Chattanooga yet and it is hard to judge because so many are not from here. But I still think they are friendlier than up north. Very few southern accents here.

    North Georgia wins for friendly people, genuine, caring and extremely family oriented yet there seems to be a lot of divorce and blended families. It is definately a Bible belt and they know each other and are very protective of their own. They like guns and would use them if you were found on their property and didn’t belong there. But if they know you they would do anything for you. They are very respectful and seem to be more layed back. Customer service is great, they are so friendly, it even shows in their driving. Accents are strong.