- I was happy to move out of the Midwest as soon as I graduated from college, but plenty of things still surprised me.
- More than a dozen Midwesterners shared with Business Insider what shocked them when they left their homes in Kansas,Michigan,Ohio,Indiana, and elsewhere.
- Lots of people from the Midwest said coastal people were rude and that the cost of living was high, but also that areas outside of the Midwest are more beautiful and have more diversity.
Although I grew up in the Detroit area, I always considered myself more of an East Coaster at heart.
I lived in Washington, DC for a newspaper internship after my junior year of college, and I thought I had finally found my place.
I felt happy to be in a city where people who stood on the wrong side of the escalator weren’t tolerated and where people had pushed themselves to live outside of what I judged as bland “flyover country.” Unlike in my suburb, it was no longer required to constantly banter with everyone who passed by on the street. I was certain that I would fit right in.
Until people started asking me where in Canada I’m from.
My strong Midwestern accent confused my coastal colleagues. Unless they already knew I was from Michigan, lots of people assumed I was Canadian.
People from Michigan and other Midwest states, as a Rice University study found, tend to pronounce words like “bag,” “damn,” and “man” like byag, dyam, and myan. And of course, soda is “pop.” (I’ve lost the most pointed parts of this accent, but I still have to stop myself before I ask a non-Midwestern friend if she wants a pop.)
I asked more than two dozen Midwesterners who moved elsewhere about the US outside of their home region, and what surprised them the most.
People seem healthier
A finance student from Michigan, who now lives in Oregon, said she thinks people outside her home state are healthier.
The most unhealthy cities in the country are in the South, according to NerdWallet, but these Midwestern cities are in the top 30 most unhealthy nationwide:
- Canton, Ohio (17)
- Wichita, Kansas (23)
- Detroit (25)
- Fort Wayne, Indiana (26)
- Toledo, Ohio (27)
- Indianapolis (28)
It’s more diverse and open-minded
Some Midwesterners said they found that people outside their homes were more progressive.
The Michigander who studies finance in Oregon said there’s “more ‘out of the box’ type of people” in her new home.
Jake, who is from Indiana and now lives in New York City, said he was pleasantly surprised by “people being open-minded and progressive.”
The cost of living is super-high
“The cost of living increase was a shock,” James Hoyt, a copy editor from Kansas who lives in Utah, told Business Insider.
Other Midwesterners told Business Insider that they felt the crunch when they moved outside their home state.
A native Ohioan, who now lives in the DC suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, told Business Insider that she was shocked by “how expensive everything was, especially housing.”
The landscape is more interesting
The Midwest is beautiful, but we’re definitely lacking in mountains and oceans.
While many of us love to ski, sled, and engage in a variety of outdoor sports, we lack the topography to really do it. I was surprised just how much better skiing is in Utah, or hiking is in Massachusetts.
A native Tennessee resident who is from Indiana said she was initially surprised by the “different topographies and landscapes.”
A different Indiana native said the Midwest needs “more oceans.”
Everyone is impatient
Midwesterners found those on the East Coast to be a bit high-strung.
“When I first moved out of the Midwest to DC, I was surprised most at the speed of things,” A native Nebraskan told Business Insider. “Waiting 15 minutes in line somewhere is fine in the Midwest, but on the East Coast, that was a travesty to some people. I’ve found that Midwestern people are much more patient.”
A native Iowan found the same thing.
“People are always in a hurry on the East Coast,” the Iowan told Business Insider. “Like waiting 20 seconds on the escalator is enough to drive someone into a frothy rage. Chill out y’all, your time isn’t that valuable.”
People are unfriendly, too
Midwesterners like Illinois native Anna Yabloch, who now lives in Southern California, said she was surprised by “how unfriendly people are.”
“Not everyone knows their neighbours or borrows a cup of sugar or and egg,” Sandra Smith DuPree, a native Nebraskan who now lives in Florida, told Business Insider.
Or, they’re actually pretty nice
Joey, a business analyst from Michigan, said he was pleasantly surprised by New Yorkers when he moved here after college.
“People are nice in New York, and full of life,” he told Business Insider. “I had never visited New York prior to moving here, so my preconception of NY was that it’s fast-paced and people are short-tempered a–holes.
“But that’s not the case. Most people are very nice, and they care about their time, like almost every single person who has places to be and things to do.”
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