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triadcat

Do West Virginians see themselves as part of the South?

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There was a study done about how some states view themselves.

Supposedly only 25% of West Virginians see themselves as Southerners. That is a much lower percentage than most people would think about WV.

I personally see WV as a weird tri-brid (ha) state. I see it as a Southern/Midwest/Northeast mix due to it's unique location and history. :rolleyes:

What do you WV'ians see yourselves and your state as?

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There was a study done about how some states view themselves.

Supposedly only 25% of West Virginians see themselves as Southerners. That is a much lower percentage than most people would think about WV.

I personally see WV as a weird tri-brid (ha) state. I see it as a Southern/Midwest/Northeast mix due to it's unique location and history. :rolleyes:

What do you WV'ians see yourselves and your state as?

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As someone who lives near West Virginia... I'm not suprised that only 25% of West Virginians see themselves as southerners. People from Wheeling/Northern Panhandle and Morgantown areas see themselves as part of the Pittsburgh Region... which certainly isn't part of the South. There are hundreds of thousands of West Virginians within an hour's drive of Pittsburgh. Charleston is far away from anything... but one of their nicknames is "Little Pittsburgh" and Pittsburgh sports are popular there (as in most of WV). Huntingdon has strong ties to Ohio... especially Columbus and Cincinnati. Eastern Panhandle has ties to the Capital Region. The rest of the state is a transition zone between Northern Appalachia and Southern Appalachia. Areas around Beckley and Bluefield obviously have more a Southern Appalachian character (similar to Blacksburg/Roanoke, VA).... while the Hatfield-McCoy region south of Huntingdon shares ties with impoverished coal region of Eastern Kentucky. The state really has little in common with most of the south outside of its Appalachian regions. Heck, it even voted itself out of the South in 1863!

In my next post... I will post a couple maps from http://www.commoncensus.org . They certainly are not scientific... but offer some insight into how people see themselves regionally. It doesn't address the question "North vs. South", but asks users (anyone can fill out a survey) to identify with a major city. There are also maps of professional sports allegiences.

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This map was last updated in October. It shows what cities people identify themselves with.

Most of the northern half of WV identifies with Pittsburgh. The Eastern Panhandle identifies with DC.

The Parkersburg area identifies with Columbus. Charleston and Huntingdon have their own small spheres of influence.

Lastly, Roanoke and Charlottesville, VA have small areas of "influence" in southern WV.

national_1280.gif

This is a map of NFL allegiences. Admittedly, this is a poor proxy for the question of Southerness...

but I think it offers some insights. As you can see, most of the state roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers,

while the eastern extremity roots for the Washington Redskins. Much of the state is so sparsely populated

that it hasn't generated enough responses to be mapped.

nfl_1280.gif

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Interesting maps. I lived only minutes from West Virginia for 18 years, and I always associated the metro area of Huntington-Charleston as part of the north. Anything north of that was the north to me, including Wheeling, Elkins, Charleston, etc. Anything to the south, like Beckley, Lewisburg and Bluefield, was part of the south.

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I agree, seicar. BTW, I thought you were a West Virginian... did you live in Ashland, KY or somewhere like that?

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I agree, seicar. BTW, I thought you were a West Virginian... did you live in Ashland, KY or somewhere like that?

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This is very interesting. I am glad I made this topic! :thumbsup:

I dont know why, but "border states" (south of the Mason-Dixon; but north of the old Confederacy) like WV, MD, and KY REALLY intrigue me......

I have known several West Virginians though and I have to say most of them had an overall southern accent. :rolleyes:

My high school Geography teacher was from West Virginia and he always talked about it. He had a light southern accent.

I have heard and read that West Virginia once thought about naming their state "Westylvania".....which would be a cool name, imo. :shades:

I think the best description of WV is "Appalachia" as the entire state is within the Applachian Mountains...

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I have known several West Virginians though and I have to say most of them had an overall southern accent. :rolleyes:

My high school Geography teacher was from West Virginia and he always talked about it. He had a light southern accent.

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I wouldn't say most West Virginians have a Southern accent... it's more of an Appalachian accent...derived from the Ulster Scots who settled the area... you can find similar accents in the rural areas of mountainous Central/Western Pennsylvania

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I don't think the boundary between North and South is clear-cut... and it certainly doesn't conform to state boundaries. I once heard somebody claim that I-64 is the boundary between today's North and South. I think it works pretty well... what do you think?

800px-Interstate_64_map.png

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Roughly, though there are parts of southern Ohio and more of southern Indiana which might be identified with the South than the map would indicate. The map above with the "spheres of influence" is very interesting indeed. I'll readily agree that West Virginia doesn't fit neatly into any category. Some parts of West Virginia near Washington are rapidly being sucked into the city's orbit. This is a good topic.

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I don't think the boundary between North and South is clear-cut... and it certainly doesn't conform to state boundaries. I once heard somebody claim that I-64 is the boundary between today's North and South. I think it works pretty well... what do you think?

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GeographicMorphology.jpg

Here's a cultural map created by this nations most reknown geographer. From this you'll see that areas of Southern Indiana and Illinois are in the Southern cultural boundary which definantly puts Kentucky in the South.

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I assume that thick black line... the "Primary Cultural Boundary" is the de facto boundary between "North and South"... not all of KY is in the south according to that map... as Covington and the Cincy suburbs are above the line...

The map looks pretty accurate from a historical perspective... there could probably be some slight shifts in the 57 years since... there has IMO been an erosion of traditional Southern culture in some of the border regions... like Northern Virginia... often due to transplants and a radical shift in urbanization and lifestyle... the DC area has boomed in recent decades... I'd probably nudge that Primary Cultural Boundary to the south a bit in the eastern part... and maybe a bit to the north in Indiana and Illinois... this map is actually pretty similar to the I-64 map...

WV is truly a tough state to pinpoint... it's easy to say it's Appalachian... and it's complete Appalachian-ness makes it hard to determine if it's Northern or Southern... Morgantown, Eastern Panhandle and Northern Panhandle are probably part of the North... and Beckley, Bluefield and the southwestern coal region near Kentucky are probably part of the South... where the transition takes place between those regions... is ambiguous...

I'll admit... coming from a Western/Central Pennsylvania background... when I visit Charleston, WV... it doesn't feel Southern to me... it feels quite familiar to me...it could be a neighborhood in Pittsburgh... but I'm sure it would feel vastly different for somebody from Long Island, NY or Madawaska, ME...

btw, I apologize for nitpicking... but I find it strange that Louisville's Indiana suburbs would be included in "The Core" yet not Louisville itself... likewise for the slender strip of land between PA and OH known as WV's Northern Panhandle... Wheeling and Weirton were part of the major Ohio Valley steel region...

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This is a very interesting topic. When I traveled th state had an overall Southern/Appalachian feel to it with the exception of the areas closest to Pittsburg.

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This is very interesting. My own travels in West Virginia were on I-68 and I-81 in the north, I-79 through the center and I-64.

I think the best representation probably isn't a hard black line between north and south, but broader bands that are very south, somewhat south, neither north nor south, somewhat north, and very north. There's probably not that many areas in the US where you get that distinct north/south divide with the same intensity of say El Paso/Juarez or the Korean DMZ.

I'm guessing West Virginia would be the textbook case in such a representation, with just about every category within the state.

Even better would be a "Purple America" type representation based on "In your opinion, do you reside in the north or the south?" I wonder how much of the state would be "Purple West Virginia."

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I recently moved to Charleston, WV from Charlotte, NC and was surprised to hear how many people considered themselves southern. I had always associated it with Midwestern/Northern... Of course, I am also surprised to hear only 25% claim that southern'ness' I would have expected a much higher percentage.

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