Colorado is well known for its mountains, skiing, and outdoor adventure. It’s not quite on the west coast, though it’s definitely not in the east. So is Colorado in the midwest? This is a question many people are looking to clarify, so here’s an explanation.
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I grew up in the midwest and now am in Colorado. And I can tell you, they are very different! The climate, the geography, the agriculture all make these regions different.
Is Colorado Considered Midwest?
No, Colorado is not considered a midwest state. The state is on the border of a few regions, so often referred to as a few different regions.
What Region is Colorado in?
First, it’s part of the Rocky Mountain region. The rocky mountain run all the way through Colorado from north to south. To get from one side of the state to the other east to west, you have no choice but to pass through one of the many mountain passes of Colorado.
Some maps also refer to Colorado as part of the Southwest region. While people typically think of Texas, Arizona or New Mexico as part of the southwest, Colorado is just one state above New Mexico. The southern region of Colorado holds a lot of southwest culture.
The Colorado Plateau is a big marker of the southwest, spanning the four-corner states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The National Parks System uses the life and location of historic tribes throughout the southwest as a factor in defining the southwest. The Ancestral Puebloans lived among the southwest, and you’ll find evidence of their lives among the cliffs at Mesa Verde National Park and other areas.
Lastly, it’s often just called the Western Region being west of the Mississippi, but also even farther west into the mountain area.
Is Colorado on the West Coast?
Nope, Colorado isn’t a west coast state either. It is definitely in “the west,” but no part of the state sits along the coast.
Some maps refer to 11 or 13 west coast states, but there are truly only 3 state that sit along the coast.
West coast states include California, Oregon, and Washington. Often, Alaska and Hawaii are included as well, even thought they aren’t part of the 48 mainland states.
One of my favorite west coast places are among the beaches and rainforest of Olympic National Park in Washington. You can easily see the different in Colorado and what a west coast state is here.
Fun Facts about Colorado as a Southwest Region
Did you know that nearly half of the land in Colorado is used for farming or ranches? This is used by over 69,000 farmers and ranchers across the state on nearly 39,000 farms/ranches, according to the 2017 United States Census.
Livestock in Colorado is the #1 commodity, responsible for $5.3 billion.
Though you may think of midwest states as having all the farming, Colorado makes a good competitor. Colorado has over 460,000 sheep and goats, and it’s 10th in the nation for the amount of cattle/calves.
So even though Colorado is not a midwest state, its agriculture is notably strong in comparison. (Info Source)
Colorado is not in the Midwest. What is?
Why is it called the Midwest?
The midwest is considered the northern-central region of the US. Among these states you’ll generally find flat or rolling landscapes, plenty of farming and agriculture, and miles upon miles of prairie land.
Is Colorado in the midwest? No. With the exception of the eastern plains of Colorado as you drive toward Kansas, much of the state is not flat, but rather covered in mountains nearby or at least in view.
What States are in the Midwest?
There are traditionally 12 states that are considered midwest states. They include:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Midwest Fun Facts
The core of the midwest is usually referred to as Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.
While Texas (southern region) has the most farms, partly due to it’s massive land area, Missouri and Iowa come in next as states with the most farms.
The largest amount of corn is produced by Iowa, then Illinois, then Nebraska.
And if you’ve ever driven through these states, you know long, flat roads where you can see for miles. And you’ve probably driven through a plethora of cornfields along these roads.
While nearly half of Colorado’s land is used for farming and ranching (impressive for not being a midwest state), compare that to Iowa where over 85% of the land is farmed and Illinois where about 75% of the land is farmland.
FAQ Is Colorado a Midwest State?
Is Colorado considered a midwest state?
No, Colorado is not a midwest state. There are 12 midwest states and Colorado is not one of them. Colorado is often considered in either the Rocky Mountain region, the southwest, or western region.
What is Colorado Considered/What Region?
Colorado is either considered part of the Rocky Mountain Region or Southwest Region. While it does have flat areas in the eastern part and plenty of farms and ranches, Colorado is characterized by its rocky mountains that run through it and mountain life.
Is Colorado a Western or Midwestern State?
Colorado is a western state, enjoying the Rocky Mountain run through north to south. It is often even considered a southwestern state, joining New Mexico and Texas in classification.
Final Thoughts: Is Colorado in the Midwest
While Colorado is landlocked and not on the coast, it is also not considered part of the midwest. The rolling hills of the midwest are replaced with jagged mountains of Colorado. While farming and ranching is big in Colorado, it is a mountain adapted type of farming (or farming in the eastern plains).
Growing up in the midwest, I remember driving past cornfields everywhere we went, even though we didn’t live in a rural area. Now in Colorado, there are farms when we drive around rural areas, but only smaller farms in the suburbs.
After spending ample time in both areas, it’s easy to answer: is Colorado in the midwest?
No. Colorado is not considered a midwest state. Both regions are incredible, but present much different geographies, climates, and histories. And Colorado does not fit the geographical limits or cultural aspects of being a midwest state.