19 Eye-Opening Things That Show How Much American Regions Differ From Each Other

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By Jonathan Trent

Go from one state to the next in the U.S., and you can often feel like you’re in a completely different country. Extreme differences in everyday life clearly show just how much variation exists. Here are 19 eye-opening ways these U.S. regions differ.

The Cuisine Variations

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From clam chowder to Southern gumbo, cuisine can vary extensively from region to region. Many places, such as New York, have a lot of influence from immigrant communities, which has affected popular cuisine. Food festivals do a great job of showcasing each region’s culinary specials, from Maine’s Lobster to California’s Garlic Festival.

Weather and Climate Differences

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It’s amazing how different the weather can be from state to state. The southwest has dry terrain, while the southeast has such humid conditions that constant air conditioning is needed to cope. If you’re looking for the best weather, California takes the top spot, according to World Population Review.

Dialects and Language Use

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There can be more than one word for the same product across the U.S., including ‘pop’ versus ‘soda’ for carbonated drinks in the Midwest and East Coast, respectively. You can also find a blend of different languages from all over the world in various communities.

Sports Allegiances and Culture

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Certain sports reign supreme, depending on which U.S. region you’re in. Ice hockey is the favored sport in colder parts like the Northeast, whereas football has the biggest following in the southern states. Some regions even have their own exclusive sports, such as Texas and its love for rodeo.

Local Celebrations and Their Historical Significance

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Local holidays and celebrations vary depending on your state. Patriots’ Day is observed in New England, and New Mexico celebrates Native American art and culture through its annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Interestingly, in many parts of the South, Civil War reenactments are the norm.

Educational Systems

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Many states in the U.S. struggle with educational funding issues, while others are known for their top-of-the-line schools. There are also stark differences in preferred education, with tech and media often taught in California, compared to maritime pursuits in Maine.

Artistic and Cultural Movements

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One of the biggest regional differences is the artistic and cultural movements: whether it’s New York’s Broadway or the Nashville country music scene in the South, there are so many diverse artistic celebrations. Explore Louisiana says New Orleans has been cemented as the birthplace of jazz music.

Economic and Industry Focuses

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Silicon Valley is known for its focus on technology, while Hollywood dominates the world of film and media. In terms of economy, states like Texas are known for their oil fields, while the Appalachian region depends on its coal mining.

Political Landscapes and Voting

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Many regions differ substantially in their political values. The South, in particular, is associated with conservative values, while the West Coast is more liberal. Local government styles also vary considerably, such as New England still favoring more traditional town meetings.

Medical Access

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You can expect different medical options depending on which U.S. region you’re in, which results in both advantages and challenges. Rural regions can struggle with medical care, whereas busy urban areas have the best hospitals. The South often faces the biggest health challenges, while cities like San Francisco enjoy cutting-edge medical programs.

Transportation Networks

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In the biggest cities, you can expect high-quality public transport systems, but in more rural regions, you’ll need your own car to get around. Some cities, like Denver, are focusing on more sustainable public transport, while Chicago is considered one of the most important influences on U.S. transport.

Environmental and Conservation Efforts

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Each state has different priorities when it comes to environmental and conservation efforts. California has very strict water usage policies, while coastal states are more concerned with marine life and erosion. Bigger cities such as Portland encourage community initiatives for sustainability, while inland states prioritize rivers over the ocean.

House Trends and Styles

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Architecture can be vastly different, too. The South prioritizes porch space, while states prone to earthquakes will focus on designs that withstand tremors. Architectural Digest finds that the midcentury modern style seems to be the most prevalent across the U.S.

Immigration Patterns and Influences

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Certain cities in the U.S., such as Chicago, have strong immigrant support networks and less strict policies than other regions. Immigration influences in the northeast have seen a surge of Irish and Italian influence, while Texas has been enriched by Hispanic culture.

Social Norms and Etiquette

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The South is known for its manners, where using ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ is normal. In contrast, you could never hope to hear a ‘ma’am’ on the West Coast, thanks to its more relaxed style. Social norms in regions also vary, including a fast-paced lifestyle in urban cities and a community-focused lifestyle in rural areas.

Technology and Innovation

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Look no further than Silicon Valley or Seattle for tech innovation and software trends. But if you’re looking for the best technological universities, those can be found in Massachusetts or Stanford. Depending on which state you’re in, you’re also going to have better (or worse) access to basic technology like high-speed internet.

Agricultural Trends

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Different regions across the U.S. are known for different agricultural products. Florida is famous for its citrus fruits, while you’ll need to travel to Napa Valley for the best grapes. Corn and soybeans are normal in the Midwest, while livestock competitions are popular in Iowa.

Community Health Initiatives

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Certain regions have targeted health initiatives due to prevalent risks in that area, such as heart disease risks in the southeast. Forbes ranks Georgia as the worst state for healthcare, while Minnesota is ranked the best. In general, health education is more accessible in more progressive states like Massachusetts.

The Business Scene and Entrepreneurship

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How business is viewed can also vary, as reflected by New York’s fast-paced and competitive market in comparison to Midwest cities that build more community spirit in business. Certain cities, like Austin, focus more on supporting startups through local governments.

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