The Mid-Atlantic is a region of the United States located in the overlap between the Northeastern and Southeastern states of the United States. The region typically includes seven states, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and one city, Washington, D.C., which has served as the nation's capital since 1800.
Left to right from top: Lower Manhattan skyline, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Assateague Island, the skyline of Philadelphia, the Catskills from the Hudson River, Downtown Pittsburgh, Jersey City, and the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and Washington, D.C. skyline
|Coordinates: 41°N 77°W / 41°N 77°W|
|Largest city||New York|
|• Total||191,299.86 sq mi (495,464.4 km2)|
|• Land||174,468.45 sq mi (451,871.2 km2)|
|• Water||16,831.41 sq mi (43,593.2 km2) 8.80%|
|• Density||320/sq mi (120/km2)|
|• Q3 2022||$5.233 trillion|
The Mid-Atlantic region played an instrumental and historic role in the nation's founding and the development of the nation. Each of the seven states were members of the Thirteen Colonies that gathered in Philadelphia during the Second Continental Congress to adopt the Declaration of Independence in 1776, formalize the Continental Army under George Washington's command that escalated and ultimately won the American Revolutionary War over British colonialists. Following independence, the states again gathered in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention, where, in 1788, they ratified the United States Constitution, which remains the oldest and longest-standing written and codified national constitution in force in the world today.
In the late 19th century, the region played a vital and historic role in the development of American culture, commerce, trade, and industry sectors. It was labeled "the typically American" region by historian Frederick Jackson Turner.
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 and freedoms existed in the original Thirteen Colonies and were 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 three of the top ten-ranked universities in the nation: Johns Hopkins University (in Baltimore), Princeton University (in Princeton, New Jersey), and the University of Pennsylvania (in Philadelphia), according to U.S. News & World Report's 2022-23 College Ranking.
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. 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. Sometimes, the region's nucleus is considered to be the area centered on the Washington metropolitan area, including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. 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.
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, and the major religious tradition in both states is Evangelical Christian, 30% in Virginia and 39% in West Virginia. 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.
An 1897 map displays an inclusive definition of the Mid-Atlantic region.
An 1886 "Harper's School Geography" map showing the region, exclusive of Virginia and West Virginia.
The U.S. Census Bureau Regions and Divisions, displaying an exclusive three-state definition of the Middle Atlantic.
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.
|MSA||2020 Census||2010 Census|
|1||New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||20,140,470||18,897,109|
|6||Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||1,799,674||1,713,954|
|1||New York, NY||8,804,190|
|5||Virginia Beach, VA||459,470|
|8||Jersey City, NJ||292,449|
|2||Albany, New York||99,224|
|3||Trenton, New Jersey||90,871|
|5||Charleston, West Virginia||48,864|
Note: The Mid-Atlantic region is also home to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
|Nonpartisan||Federalist||Democratic-Republican||National Republican||Democratic||Whig||Know Nothing||Republican||Constitutional Union||Progressive|
|Presidential electoral votes in the Mid-Atlantic states since 1789|
|Year||Delaware||District of Columbia||Maryland||New Jersey||New York||Pennsylvania||Virginia||West Virginia|
|1789||Washington||No election||Washington||Washington||Gridlocked||Washington||Washington||No election|
|1792||Washington||No election||Washington||Washington||Washington||Washington||Washington||No election|
|1796||Adams||No election||Adams||Adams||Adams||Jefferson||Jefferson||No election|
|1800||Adams||No election||Jefferson||Adams||Jefferson||Jefferson||Jefferson||No election|
|1804||Pinckney||No election||Jefferson||Jefferson||Jefferson||Jefferson||Jefferson||No election|
|1808||Pinckney||No election||Madison||Madison||Madison||Madison||Madison||No election|
|1812||Clinton||No election||Madison||Clinton||Clinton||Madison||Madison||No election|
|1816||King||No election||Monroe||Monroe||Monroe||Monroe||Monroe||No election|
|1820||Monroe||No election||Monroe||Monroe||Monroe||Monroe||Monroe||No election|
|1824||Crawford||No election||Jackson||Jackson||Adams||Jackson||Crawford||No election|
|1828||Adams||No election||Adams||Adams||Jackson||Jackson||Jackson||No election|
|1832||Clay||No election||Clay||Jackson||Jackson||Jackson||Jackson||No election|
|1836||Harrison||No election||Harrison||Harrison||Van Buren||Van Buren||Van Buren||No election|
|1840||Harrison||No election||Harrison||Harrison||Harrison||Harrison||Van Buren||No election|
|1844||Clay||No election||Clay||Clay||Polk||Polk||Polk||No election|
|1848||Taylor||No election||Taylor||Taylor||Taylor||Taylor||Cass||No election|
|1852||Pierce||No election||Pierce||Pierce||Pierce||Pierce||Pierce||No election|
|1856||Buchanan||No election||Fillmore||Buchanan||Frémont||Buchanan||Buchanan||No election|
|1860||Breckinridge||No election||Breckinridge||Lincoln||Lincoln||Lincoln||Bell||No election|
|1864||McClellan||No election||Lincoln||McClellan||Lincoln||Lincoln||No election||Lincoln|
|1868||Seymour||No election||Seymour||Seymour||Seymour||Grant||No election||Grant|
|Year||Delaware||District of Columbia||Maryland||New Jersey||New York||Pennsylvania||Virginia||West 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 Jersey||Giants
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 nominal of over $5.2 trillion, the Mid-Atlantic economy would be third largest in the world if calculated separately, only behind the remaining United States and China and nearly $1 trillion larger than next place 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, 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|
|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|