The Mentality of the Midwest: What Are the Values of America’s Heartland?

April 11, 2017 at 2:01 am Thomas Reischel

The Mentality of the MidwestAh, the Midwest. Twelve states (i.e., Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) that make up the American Heartland. Myself, I’m a proud Minnesotan. People here are straightforward. We’re polite and always say hi to others, even to strangers we meet on the street. It’s probably because we like to trust people. In turn, people trust us because of our Midwestern mentality. That’s what people call our values. That is what I’m going to be talking about today.

First off, our industrious mindset is our core. True to our “Heartland” moniker, the Midwest pumps hardworking individuals into the economy. We’re the workhorse of the country. Express Employment Professionals did an analysis on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December 2014 report which had ratios on how many people in each state were part of the labor force. The report says that the top five states are North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, in that order. All five are in the Midwest. In fact, almost all of the Midwestern states had percentages above the national average, with Michigan the only one to fall below it.

Numbers don’t lie. These statistics prove that people from the Midwest are America’s hardest workers.

The Restless Midwest

Although often stereotyped and overlooked as a quaint “fly-over zone” by both the East Coast and the West Coast, the Midwest is, in fact, the cradle of many innovations. Water skiing started in Lake City, Minnesota, and inline skates gained traction here. The current digital age started in the Midwest with corporations such as UNIVAC, IBM, Control Data, and Cray setting up shop right here in Minnesota. McDonald’s opened their first franchise restaurant in Illinois and got their burger buns from Baldinger Bakery, who are based in St. Paul, Minnesota and who still supplies McDonald’s with their buns.

Several innovations that benefited the world also came from the Midwest. Polaris and Arctic Cat pioneered the snowmobile industry, Dayton’s company created the first shopping mall, Pillsbury and General Mills invented breakfast cereals, and Blue Cross Blue Shield, Alina, and United Health Group started the HMO industry. Other notable businesses founded in the Midwest are Cargill, Mayo Clinic, Hormel, Honeywell, Target, Best Buy, Medtronic, and 3M.

Need more examples of our curiosity? Well, we’re always in the loop of things, and if there’s not much to go on, we go out of our way to glean info on any issue, even getting our hands dirty. Heck, even our wildlife has a bit of a curious streak. There was this turkey who wandered into downtown Minneapolis last March, probably wondering what all the hullabaloo was about around Nicollet Mall. He sauntered right through the streets and got his screen time in the news. What a cuckoo day that was!

Anyways, those are just some of the quirks we in the Midwest have. How about the folks in your region? What qualities are you proud of?



Express Employment Professionals. 2015. “Express Releases State-by-State Analysis of Labor Force Participation Rates.” Accessed March 31, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *