Mid-Atlantic (United States)

The Middle Atlantic states, commonly shortened to Mid-Atlantic states, is a region of the United States generally located in the overlap between the Northeastern and Southeastern States. Its exact definition differs upon source, but the region usually includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. When discussing climate, Connecticut is sometimes included in the region, since its climate is closer to that of the Middle Atlantic states than the rest of the New England states.[3] The Mid-Atlantic has played an important role in the development of American culture, commerce, trade and industry;[4] in the late 19th century, the Mid-Atlantic was called "the typically American" region by Frederick Jackson Turner.

Left-right from top: Manhattan skyline, Independence Hall has in Philadelphia, Assateague wetlands, Panorama of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh skyline, Panorama of Washington, D.C.
States in dark red are traditionally included in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, while states in pink are traditionally included in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.
Coordinates: 41°N 77°W / 41; -77
Metropolitan areas
  • Baltimore–Washington
  • Buffalo–Niagara Falls
  • Albany–Schenectady–Troy
  • Philadelphia–Wilmington
  • New York–Newark
  • Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton
  • Pittsburgh
  • Richmond
  • Rochester
  • Syracuse
  • Scranton–Wilkes-Barre
  • Harrisburg–York–Lebanon
  • Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News
Largest cityNew York City
  Total191,308.5 sq mi (495,487 km2)
 (2008 est.)[1]
  Density300/sq mi (120/km2)
  Total$2.962 trillion (2007)

European Americans of the mid-Atlantic region have ancestry from its settlement by Dutch, Swedes, English Catholics and Quakers through to the period of British rule and beyond to the current day. Religious pluralism existed, particularly in Maryland, which was the only colony in the original Thirteen Colonies to have a substantial Catholic minority population. 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 19th 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 New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Baltimore, but also interior cities such as Pittsburgh, Rochester, Albany and Buffalo. New York, with its skyscrapers, subways and the Headquarters of the United Nations, emerged in the 20th century as an icon of modernity and American economic and cultural power. By the 21st century, the coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic were thoroughly urbanized.

The Northeast Corridor and Interstate 95 link 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. 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. The region is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the nation and world including Columbia University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, which rank among the top 20 universities in the United States and the top 25 universities in the world.[5][6]


There are differing interpretations as to the composition of the Mid-Atlantic, with sources including in the region a number of states from New York to South Carolina.[7] A United States Geological Survey publication describes the Mid-Atlantic Region as all of Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, along with the parts of New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina that drain into the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.[8] Sometimes, the region's nucleus is considered to be the area centered on the Washington metropolitan area, including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.[9] In contrast to other definitions (where the Mid-Atlantic overlaps the Northeast and Southeast), the United States Census Bureau defines the Middle Atlantic as a subregion of the Northeast consisting exclusively of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.[10]

West Virginia and Virginia are atypical of this region in a few ways. They are the only states to lie primarily within the Southern American dialect region,[11] and the major religious tradition in both states is Evangelical Christian, 30% in Virginia and 39% in West Virginia.[12] Although a few of West Virginia's eastern panhandle counties are considered part of the Washington, D.C. MSA, the major portion of the state is rural and there are no major or even large cities.[13]


Shipping containers at the Port Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminal, part of the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Shipping and trade have been important to the Mid-Atlantic economy since the beginning of the colonial era. The explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to see the region in 1524. Henry Hudson later extensively explored that region in 1611 and claimed it for the Dutch, who then created a fur-trading post in Albany in 1614. Jamestown, Virginia was the first permanent English colony in North America, it was established seven years earlier in 1607.

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 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. The New York and New Jersey campaign during the American Revolutionary War saw more battles than any other theater of the conflict. 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 the United States Bill of Rights was drafted and ratified and the first Supreme Court of the United States sat for the first time, in the first capital under the Constitution at New York.

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 New York and Newark on opposite sides of the Hudson River, Philadelphia on the Delaware River and Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay.

Major cities and urban areas

Metropolitan areas

Largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas by Population in the Mid-Atlantic Region
MSA2016 Estimate2010 Census
1New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA20,153,63419,567,410
2Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV6,131,9775,636,232
3Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD6,070,5005,965,343
4Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD2,798,8862,710,489
5Pittsburgh, PA2,342,2992,356,285
6Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC1,726,9071,676,822
7Richmond, VA1,281,7081,208,101
8Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY1,132,8041,135,509
9Rochester, NY1,078,8791,079,671
10Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY881,839870,716
Top Ten Largest Cities by Population in the Mid-Atlantic Region
City2019 Est.
1New York, NY8,336,817
2Philadelphia, PA1,584,064
3Washington, D.C.705,749
4Baltimore, MD593,490
5Virginia Beach, VA449,974
6Pittsburgh, PA300,286
7Newark, NJ282,011
8Jersey City, NJ262,075
9Buffalo, NY255,284
10Chesapeake, VA244,835

State capitals

Note: The Mid-Atlantic region is also home to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C..

In presidential elections

NonpartisanFederalistDemocratic-RepublicanNational RepublicanDemocraticWhigKnow NothingRepublicanConstitutional UnionProgressive
  • Bold denotes election winner.
Presidential electoral votes in the Mid-Atlantic states since 1789
YearDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaMarylandNew JerseyNew YorkPennsylvaniaVirginiaWest Virginia
1789WashingtonNo electionWashingtonWashingtonGridlockedWashingtonWashingtonNo election
1792WashingtonNo electionWashingtonWashingtonWashingtonWashingtonWashingtonNo election
1796AdamsNo electionAdamsAdamsAdamsJeffersonJeffersonNo election
1800AdamsNo electionJeffersonAdamsJeffersonJeffersonJeffersonNo election
1804PinckneyNo electionJeffersonJeffersonJeffersonJeffersonJeffersonNo election
1808PinckneyNo electionMadisonMadisonMadisonMadisonMadisonNo election
1812ClintonNo electionMadisonClintonClintonMadisonMadisonNo election
1816KingNo electionMonroeMonroeMonroeMonroeMonroeNo election
1820MonroeNo electionMonroeMonroeMonroeMonroeMonroeNo election
1824CrawfordNo electionJacksonJacksonAdamsJacksonCrawfordNo election
1828AdamsNo electionAdamsAdamsJacksonJacksonJacksonNo election
1832ClayNo electionClayJacksonJacksonJacksonJacksonNo election
1836HarrisonNo electionHarrisonHarrisonVan BurenVan BurenVan BurenNo election
1840HarrisonNo electionHarrisonHarrisonHarrisonHarrisonVan BurenNo election
1844ClayNo electionClayClayPolkPolkPolkNo election
1848TaylorNo electionTaylorTaylorTaylorTaylorCassNo election
1852PierceNo electionPiercePiercePiercePiercePierceNo election
1856BuchananNo electionFillmoreBuchananFrémontBuchananBuchananNo election
1860BreckinridgeNo electionBreckinridgeLincolnLincolnLincolnBellNo election
1864McClellanNo electionLincolnMcClellanLincolnLincolnNo electionLincoln
1868SeymourNo electionSeymourSeymourSeymourGrantNo electionGrant
1872GrantNo electionHendricksGrantGrantGrantGrantGrant
1876TildenNo electionTildenTildenTildenHayesTildenTilden
1880HancockNo electionHancockHancockGarfieldGarfieldHancockHancock
1884ClevelandNo electionClevelandClevelandClevelandBlaineClevelandCleveland
1888ClevelandNo electionClevelandClevelandHarrisonHarrisonClevelandCleveland
1892ClevelandNo electionClevelandClevelandClevelandHarrisonClevelandCleveland
1896McKinleyNo electionMcKinleyMcKinleyMcKinleyMcKinleyBryanMcKinley
1900McKinleyNo electionMcKinleyMcKinleyMcKinleyMcKinleyBryanMcKinley
1904RooseveltNo electionParkerRoosevelt RooseveltRooseveltParkerRoosevelt
1908TaftNo electionBryanTaftTaftTaftBryanTaft
1912WilsonNo electionWilsonWilsonWilsonRooseveltWilsonWilson
1916HughesNo electionWilsonHughesHughesHughesWilsonHughes
1920HardingNo electionHardingHardingHardingHardingCoxHarding
1924CoolidgeNo electionCoolidgeCoolidgeCoolidgeCoolidgeDavisCoolidge
1928HooverNo electionHooverHooverHooverHooverHooverHoover
1932HooverNo electionRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltHooverRooseveltRoosevelt
1936RooseveltNo electionRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRoosevelt
1940RooseveltNo electionRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRoosevelt
1944RooseveltNo electionRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRooseveltRoosevelt
1948DeweyNo electionDeweyDeweyDeweyDeweyTrumanTruman
1952EisenhowerNo electionEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhowerStevenson
1956EisenhowerNo electionEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhowerEisenhower
1960KennedyNo electionKennedyKennedyKennedyKennedyNixonKennedy
YearDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaMarylandNew JerseyNew YorkPennsylvaniaVirginiaWest Virginia



The Mid-Atlantic is home to 33 professional sports franchises in the five major leagues and the two most prominent women's professional leagues:

New York/New JerseyGiants
Red Bulls
LibertySky Blue
WashingtonWashington Football TeamCapitalsNationalsWizardsUnitedMysticsSpirit

Notable golf tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic include the Barclays, Quicken Loans National and Atlantic City LPGA Classic. The US Open, held in New York, is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, whereas Washington Open is part of the ATP World Tour 500 series.

Notable motorsports tracks include Watkins Glen International, Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway, which have hosted Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR, World Sportscar Championship and IMSA races. Also, the Englishtown and Reading drag strips such have hosted NHRA national events. Pimlico Race Course at Baltimore and Belmont Park at New York host the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes horse races, which are part of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

See also

  • List of regions of the United States


  1. "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  2. "News Release: GDP by State" (PDF). Bureau of Economic Analysis. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  3. "Middle Atlantic states - region, United States". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  4. "United States". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  5. "National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  6. "Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  7. "Merriam-Webster". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  8. Earl A. Greene et al. "Ground-Water Vulnerability to Nitrate Contamination in the Mid-Atlantic Region". USGS Fact Sheet FS 2004-3067. 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2013. Note: Although the locator map appears to exclude part of northwestern Pennsylvania, other more detailed maps in this article include all of the state. Often when discussing climate, southern Connecticut is included with the Middle Atlantic.
  9. "Word Net Definition". Wordnetweb.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  10. "Census Regions and Divisions of the United States" (PDF). United States Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, United States Census Bureau, Geography Division. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 21, 2013.
  11. Labov, William, Sharon Ash and Charles Boberg, Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change, Mouton de Gruyter, 2005 Southern Regional Map
  12. "Religious Landscape Study". Religions.pewforum.org. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  13. "U.S. Census 2000 Report" (PDF). Census.gov. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  14. Earl A. Greene et al. "Ground-Water Vulnerability to Nitrate Contamination in the Mid-Atlantic Region". USGS Fact Sheet FS 2004-3067. 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2013. Note: Although the locator map appears to exclude part of northwestern Pennsylvania, other more detailed maps in this article include all of the state.


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  • Heineman, Kenneth J., "The Only Things You Will Find in the Middle of the Road are Double Yellow Lines, Dead Frogs, and Electoral Leverage: Mid-Atlantic Political Culture and Influence across the Centuries", Pennsylvania History, 82 (Summer 2015), 300–13.
  • Landsman, Ned C. Crossroads of Empire: The Middle Colonies in British North America (2010)
  • Longhurst, James. "'Typically American': Trends in the History of Environmental Politics and Policy in the Mid-Atlantic Region". Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 79.4 (2012): 409–427.
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