Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
West North Central States
Seven states comprise the division: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, and it makes up the western half of the United States Census Bureau's larger region of the Midwest, the eastern half of which consists of the East North Central States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The Mississippi River marks the bulk of the boundary between these two divisions.
Where the East North Central States are seen as being synonymous (though not absolutely coterminous) with the Rust Belt by the vast majority of Americans, the West North Central States are regarded as constituting the core of the nation's "Farm Belt." Almost all of the territory contained within the West North Central division falls into what Joel Garreau called The Breadbasket in his 1981 book The Nine Nations of North America, and what James Patterson and Peter Kim labelled the Granary in their similarly-themed work The Day America Told The Truth (the only exception being southern Missouri, placed in Dixie by Garreau and Old Dixie by Patterson and Kim). Another name popularly applied to the division is the "Agricultural Heartland," or simply the "Heartland."
Beginning in the early 1990s, the West North Central division has consistently had the lowest unemployment rate in the United States (especially in its many college towns), and has also been noted for its plentiful supply of affordable housing.
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