The Midwest consists of the states Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The region has an area of 807,083 square miles, and its population as of 2012 is 65,377,684. It is divided into two sub-regions- The East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin), and The West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). 

The Midwest region is mostly flat. However, northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa are pretty hilly. The Black Hills in western South Dakota, which have mountains over 7,000 feet tall, are the tallest mountains east of the Rockies. Many major rivers run through the Midwest-- the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri are among them.

Most of the major tribes in the Great Lakes region were part of the Algonquin language family: the Hurons and Chippewas had the largest populations, with other major tribes including the Ottawa, Potawatomis, Menominees, Miami, Fox, and Winnebago. In the Great Plains region, the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Lakota, Plains Apache, and Shoshone, were among the nomadic tribes, while the Iowa, Missouria, Nez Perce, Omaha, Panwee, and Wichita, were tribes which lived in villages and raised crops. Most of these tribes hunted buffalo, elk, antelope, and deer for food, and they were often launching fighting and battles against each other. The French first explored the region in the mid 1500s, and the area became known as New France, with Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet being two notable explorers in the late seventeenth century. The French would be forced to cede New France to the British and Spanish after the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763. Americans began to settle the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s, setting up corn and vegetable farms. The Midwest was relatively free of slavery, but disputes over whether Kansas and Missouri should allow slavery lead to brutal violence. Following the Civil War, the region became highly industrialized, with the Great Lakes and Mississippi and Ohio Rivers as major shipping lanes. Cities with large industry included Cleveland, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Chicago. The 1800s and 1900s also saw large amounts of immigration. Germans, Irish, Norwegians, Hungarians, Jews, and Polish immigrants all came to the region, with many coming to work in factories in cities like Chicago. The industry of the region declined sharply through the late 1900s, earning the eastern part of the region, along with New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the name "Rust Belt". Today, the Midwest has a large agricultural economy, known for its rich farmland. Cities like Chicago and Detroit are centers of finance and technology. 

 StatePopulation (2014 est)  Area (square miles) Population Density
 Illinois12,880,580 (5th)  57,914 (25th) 232/sq mile (12th)
Indiana  6,596,855 (16th)36,418 (38th) 182/sq mile (16th) 
 Iowa3,107,126 (30th)  46,272 (26th) 54/sq mile (36th)
 Kansas 2,904,021 (34th) 82,277 (15th) 35/sq mile (40th)
Michigan 9,909,877 (10th)  96,716 (11th) 174/sq mile (17th)
 Minnesota5,457,173 (21st)  86,939 (12th) 67/sq mile (31st)
 Missouri6,063,589 (18th)  69,709 (21st)87/sq mile (30th) 
 Nebraska 1,881,503 (37th) 77,354 (16th) 24/sq mile (43rd)
 North Dakota 739,482 (47th) 70,700 (19th)11/sq mile (47th) 
Ohio  11,594,163 (7th) 44,825 (34th)282/sq mile (10th) 
 South Dakota 853,175 (46th) 77,116 (17th)11/sq mile (46th) 
Wisconsin  5,757,564 (20th)65,497 (23rd)  105/sq mile (23rd)

Cities with over 100,000 people
 City Population (2014)
1. Chicago, Illinois 2,722,389 (3rd)
 2. Indianapolis, Indiana 848,788 (14th)
 3. Columbus, Ohio 835.957 (15th)
 4. Detroit, Michigan 680,250 (18th)
 5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin599,642 (31st) 
 6. Kansas City, Missouri 470,800 (37th)
 7. Omaha, Nebraska 446,599 (41st)
 8. Minneapolis, Minnesota 407,207 (46th)
 9. Cleveland, Ohio 389,521 (48th)
 10. Wichita, Kansas 388,413 (49th)
11. St. Louis, Missouri  317,419 (60th)
 12. Cincinnati, Ohio 298,165 (65th)
 13. Saint Paul, Minnesota 297,640 (66th)
 14. Toledo, Ohio 281,031 (68th)
 15. Lincoln, Nebraska 272,996 (72nd)
 16. Fort Wayne, Indiana 258,522 (77th)
 17. Madison, Wisconsin 245,691 (83rd)
 18. Des Moines, Iowa 209,220 (105th)
19. Aurora, Illinois  200,456 (115th)
 20. Akron, Ohio 197,859 (118th)
 21. Grand Rapids, Michigan193,792 (123rd) 
 22. Overland Park, Kansas 184,525 (128th)
 23. Sioux Falls, South Dakota 168,586 (147th)
 24. Springfield, Missouri 165,378 (149th)
 25. Kansas City, Kansas 149,636 (170th)
26. Rockford, Illinois 149,123 (171st) 
 27. Joliet, Illinois147,928 (174th)
 28. Naperville, Illinois 146,128 (178th)
 29. Dayton, Ohio 141,003 (183rd)
 30. Warren, Michigan 135,099 (191st)
 31. Olathe, Kansas 133,062 (194th)
 32. Sterling Heights, Michigan 131,741 (196th)
 33. Cedar Rapids, Iowa 129,195 (203rd)
 34. Topeka, Kansas 127,215 (213th)
 35. Evansville, Indiana 120,346 (223rd)
 36. Ann Arbor, Michigan 117,770 (229th)
 37. Independence, Missouri 117,494 (231st)
 38. Columbia, Missouri 116,906 (232nd)
39. Springfield, Illinois  116,809 (233rd)
 40. Fargo, North Dakota 115,863 (235th)
 41. Peoria, Illinois 115,828 (236th)
 42. Lansing, Michigan 114,620 (238th)
 43. Rochester, Minnesota 111,402 (249th)
 44. Elgin, Illinois 111,117 (251st)
 45. Green Bay, Wisconsin 104,891 (279th)
 46. Davenport, Iowa 102,448 (289th)
 47. South Bend, Indiana 101,190 (295th)

Many of the major schools in the Midwest are part of the Big Ten Conference: University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, and University of Wisconsin. Several of these schools, particularly Northwestern University and University of Michigan, are considered to be among the finest in the country. The University of Chicago, founded by John D. Rockefeller, consistently ranks in the top ten colleges in the nation. Other famous private schools in the Midwest include Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Notre Dame.

Culture and Politics
According to a survey, 54% of people in the Midwest regularly attend church. Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the region, and the Midwest also has a large Protestant population. Many people in the Northern Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota) are Lutheran. Chicago is well-known for its blues and jazz music, home to record labels like Chess and Alligator. Cleveland, where Rock and Roll was first coined, is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many famous musicians have come from Detroit, including Aretha Franklin, Four Tops, The Supremes, Kid Rock, The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Eminem, and Martha and the Vandellas. Most of these artists were popular in the 60s and 70s, and were soul and R&B. In the 70s and 80s, Midwestern native musicians like John Mellencamp and Bob Seger became popular for a musical style known as heartland rock. The cuisine of the Midwest is considered to be traditional and local, featuring meat, dairy, and grain, but almost no seafood, due to its distance from an ocean. The Republican Party originated in the Midwest in the 1850s. Throughout its history, the region has been home to many swing states, making it crucial in national elections. The Great Plains States (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas) and Indiana are considered dominantly Republican, while Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan have tended to vote Democratic. Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio are evenly divided, and have been battleground states in many presidential elections. 

The Midwest is home to 29 teams from the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.

Chicago (5): Chicago Cubs (MLB), Chicago White Sox (MLB), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Bears (NFL), Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
Cincinnati (2): Cincinnati Reds (MLB), Cincinnati Bengals (NFL)
Cleveland (3): Cleveland Indians (MLB), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Cleveland Browns (NFL)
Columbus (1): Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Detroit (4): Detroit Tigers (MLB), Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit Lions (NFL), Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Green Bay (1): Green Bay Packers (NFL)
Indianapolis (2): Indiana Pacers (NBA), Indianapolis Colts (NFL)
Kansas City (2): Kansas City Royals (MLB), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
Milwaukee (2): Milwaukee Brewers (MLB), Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)
Minneapolis (4): Minneapolis Twins (MLB), Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), Minneapolis Vikings (NFL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
St. Louis (3): St Louis Cardinals (MLB), St Louis Rams (NFL), St Louis Blues (NHL)

Many of these teams have been very successful, most notably the Chicago Bulls (6 NBA Titles), St. Louis Cardinals (11 World Series), Green Bay Packers (4 Super Bowls), and the Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cups). Indianapolis is home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the most prestigious auto racing tracks in the world.