Mid-Atlantic (United States)

The Mid-Atlantic of the United 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 typically includes seven states: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., the nation's capital.

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
Largest cityNew York
  Total191,299.86 sq mi (495,464.4 km2)
  Land174,468.45 sq mi (451,871.2 km2)
  Water16,831.41 sq mi (43,593.2 km2)  8.80%
  Density320/sq mi (120/km2)
GDP (nominal)
  2021$4.0 trillion

The Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. played a vital and historic role in the nation's founding and the development of the nation's culture, commerce, trade, and industry sectors; in the late 19th century, the Mid-Atlantic was called "the typically American" region by historian Frederick Jackson Turner.[3]

The Mid-Atlantic region was settled during the colonial era between the early 17th century and the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, by European Americans of primarily Dutch, German, Swedish, English, and other Western European ethnicities. Religious pluralism existed in the original Thirteen Colonies and was particularly prevalent in Pennsylvania and the geographic region that ultimately broke from Pennsylvania to form Delaware. Maryland was the only colony of the original 13 with a substantial Catholic population.

Following the American Revolution, the Mid-Atlantic region hosted each of the historic capitals of the United States. The nation's capital was constructed in Washington, D.C. and relocated there from Philadelphia following its completion in 1800. 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 the world, including Columbia University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, each of which rank among the top 20 universities in the U.S. and the top 25 universities in the world.[4][5]


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.[6] 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.[7] Sometimes, the region's nucleus is considered to be the area centered on the Washington metropolitan area, including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.[8] 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.[9]

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,[10] and the major religious tradition in both states is Evangelical Christian, 30% in Virginia and 39% in West Virginia.[11] Although a few of West Virginia's eastern panhandle counties are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, the major portion of the state is rural and there are no major or even large cities.[12]


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 City 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, including New York City and Newark on opposite sides of the Hudson River, Philadelphia on the Delaware River, Allentown on the Lehigh 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
MSA2020 Census2010 Census
1New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA20,140,47018,897,109
2Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV6,385,1625,649,540
3Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD6,245,0515,965,343
4Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD2,844,5102,710,489
5Pittsburgh, PA2,370,9302,356,285
6Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC1,799,6741,713,954
7Richmond, VA1,314,4341,186,501
8Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY1,166,9021,135,509
9Rochester, NY1,090,1351,079,671
10Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY899,262870,716
Top ten largest cities by population in the Mid-Atlantic Region
City2020 Census
1New York, NY8,804,190
2Philadelphia, PA1,603,797
3Washington, D.C.689,545
4Baltimore, MD585,708
5Virginia Beach, VA459,470
6Newark, NJ311,549
7Pittsburgh, PA302,971
8Jersey City, NJ292,449
9Buffalo, NY278,349
10Chesapeake, VA249,422
Historical population

State capitals

Capital 2020 Census
1 Richmond, Virginia 226,610
2 Albany, New York 99,224
3 Trenton, New Jersey 90,871
4 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 50,099
5 Charleston, West Virginia 48,864
6 Annapolis, Maryland 40,812
7 Dover, Delaware 39,403

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
LibertyGotham FC

Notable golf tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic include the Barclays, Quicken Loans National and Atlantic City LPGA Classic.

Two high-level professional tennis tournaments are held in the region. The US Open, held in New York, is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, whereas the Washington Open is part of the ATP Tour 500 series and WTA 250 series.

Notable motorsports tracks include Watkins Glen International, Dover Motor 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.


With a GDP of nearly $4.75 trillion, the Mid-Atlantic economy would be fourth largest in the world if calculated separately, only behind the remaining United States, China, and Japan. This economic prosperity is buoyed by a significant financial services and banking sector, healthcare and chemicals industry, and telecommunications and entertainment conglomerates.

According to the Global Financial Centres Index,[15] the Mid-Atlantic region is home to the leading financial center in the world (New York) at #1, with Washington also present at #15.

Notable companies (over $100 billion market cap) headquartered in the region include:

Company Headquarters Market cap ($ billions) Global rank
Chase New York, New York $447.91 13
Johnson and Johnson New Brunswick, New Jersey $430.06 15
Mastercard Harrison, New York $364.48 22
Pfizer New York, New York $272.39 29
PepsiCo Harrison, New York $232.01 40
Verizon Communications New York, New York $225.96 45
Comcast-NBC Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $211.42 50
Merck Kenilworth, New Jersey $192.90 60
Danaher Washington, District of Columbia $190.74 61
Morgan Stanley New York, New York $169.08 73
American Express New York, New York $147.98 89
Bristol Myers Squibb New York, New York $147.23 91
Citigroup New York, New York $127.27 105
Goldman Sachs New York, New York $115.43 118
BlackRock New York, New York $114.67 120
International Business Machines North Castle, New York $111.45 124
Estee Lauder New York, New York $108.67 130
Lockheed Martin Bethesda, Maryland $105.24 137

See also


  1. Bureau, US Census. "2020 Census Apportionment Results". The United States Census Bureau.
  2. "GDP by State | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)".
  3. "United States". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  4. "National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  5. "Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  6. "Merriam-Webster". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  7. Earl A. Greene et al. "Ground-Water Vulnerability to Nitrate Contamination in the Mid-Atlantic Region". Archived 2017-11-17 at the Wayback Machine USGS Fact Sheet FS 2004-3067. 2005. Retrieved April 25, 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.
  8. "Word Net Definition". Wordnetweb.princeton.edu. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  9. "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.
  10. Labov, William, Sharon Ash and Charles Boberg, Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change, Mouton de Gruyter, 2005 Southern Regional Map Archived 2017-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "Religious Landscape Study". Religions.pewforum.org. May 11, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  12. "U.S. Census 2000 Report" (PDF). Census.gov. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  13. Earl A. Greene et al. "Ground-Water Vulnerability to Nitrate Contamination in the Mid-Atlantic Region" Archived 2017-11-17 at the Wayback Machine. 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.
  14. "Historical Population Change Data (1910–2020)". Census.gov. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  15. "The Global Financial Centres Index 30" (PDF). Retrieved February 21, 2022.


  • Bodle, Wayne, "The Mid-Atlantic and the American Revolution", Pennsylvania History 82 (Summer 2015), 282–99.
  • 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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  • Richter, Daniel K, "Mid-Atlantic Colonies, R.I.P.", Pennsylvania History, 82 (Summer 2015), 257–81.
  • Rosenbloom, Joshua L., and Thomas Weiss. "Economic growth in the Mid-Atlantic region: Conjectural estimates for 1720 to 1800". Explorations in Economic History 51 (2014): 41–59.
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