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Map of Northeastern United States; regional definitions vary

The Northeastern United States (sometimes called simply the Northeast) is a region of the United Statesmarker. According to the definition used by the United States Census Bureau, the Northeast region consists of nine states: the New Englandmarker states of Mainemarker, New Hampshiremarker, Vermontmarker, Massachusettsmarker, Rhode Islandmarker and Connecticutmarker; and the Mid-Atlantic States of New Yorkmarker, New Jerseymarker and Pennsylvaniamarker. Major cities in this area include New York Citymarker, Newarkmarker, Philadelphiamarker, Bostonmarker, Pittsburghmarker, and Buffalomarker.

The coastal corridors of Delawaremarker and Marylandmarker (including Baltimoremarker) are included in the Northeast megalopolis, and are economically very similar to the CB defined Northeast states, but the Census Bureau classifies the states as part of the South Atlantic region, part of the Southern United States. Other organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker, United States Department of Energy, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service consider Delaware, Maryland, and usually Washington, D.C.marker to be part of the Northeast.

The Northeast is the wealthiest region of the United States; New Jersey and Connecticut have the highest median incomes in the country after Maryland, while Massachusetts is ranked fifth. Pennsylvania also ranks high in per capita income. With Chester County coming in on the list of wealthiest counties. It also accounts for approximately 25% of U.S. gross domestic product as of 2007. All eight Ivy League schools are located in the Northeast. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts rank in the top 15 states in terms of population.


The Northeast is the smallest in area of the four Census Bureau-defined regions of the US. The region's landscape varies from the rocky coast of New Englandmarker to the fertile farmland of the Ohio River Valley behind the Allegheny Front in Pennsylvania. The Isles of Shoalsmarker near the Mainemarker/New Hampshiremarker border begin the rocky Atlantic coastline of the Northeast. Jagged cliffs rise up to a hundred feet above the ocean on Maine's northern coast; south of West Quoddy Headmarker Peninsula in Maine, the easternmost point in the United States, the coastline subsides to sandy beaches which extend through the rest of the Northeast's Atlantic coastline.

Four major rivers' mouths pierce the coastline to empty into the Atlantic: the Delaware at the New Jersey/Delaware border, the Hudson at the New York/New Jersey border, the Connecticut in Connecticut, and the Kennebec in Maine. The Kennebec River extends over sixty miles from the thick pine forests of Maine past Augusta, Mainemarker to the Atlantic. Two of the Great Lakesmarker, Lake Ontariomarker and Lake Erie, also border the region.

The Connecticut River flows south, running along the border of New Hampshire and Vermont between the Green Mountains and White Mountainsmarker, before flowing through Springfield, Massachusettsmarker, and Hartford, Connecticutmarker, on its way to empty into Long Island Soundmarker. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire is Mt.marker Washingtonmarker, the tallest mountain in the Northeast and the windiest location in the United States. The White Mountains were also the location of the geological formation called the Old Man of the Mountainmarker, which collapsed in 2003. To the west of the Green Mountains on the New York/Vermont border, and extending into Canada, is the glacier-formed Lake Champlainmarker, where Vermont's largest city Burlingtonmarker is located. The Lake Champlain area drains north into the St. Lawrencemarker river valley.

The Hudson rises in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York, passes between the Berkshiresmarker and the Catskill Mountains, then empties into New York Harbor in the New York metropolitan areamarker. The Mohawk River flows eastward from its source near Utica, New Yorkmarker between the Catskills and the Adirondacks before merging with the Hudson north of Albanymarker.

The Delaware River flows from its source between the Pocono Mountains and the Catskills down, forming the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and passing through the Lehigh Valley, Trentonmarker, and Philadelphiamarker areas before emptying into Delaware Baymarker on the Delaware/New Jersey Border. The Susquehanna River begins in Cooperstown, New Yorkmarker and winds down a valley between the Allegheny Plateau and the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania before crossing the border into Maryland, and emptying into the Chesapeake Bay.

To the North and West of the Susquehanna are the Finger Lakesmarker of New York, so called because they resemble human fingers, and the Northeast's borders with the Great Lakesmarker of Lake Ontariomarker in New York and Lake Eriemarker in both Pennsylvania and New York. On an isthmus between the two Great Lakes on the New York/Ontariomarker border near Buffalomarker is Niagara Fallsmarker. The St. Lawrence Rivermarker flows northeast out of Lake Ontario alongside northern New York and then through Canada to the Atlantic Ocean.

To the South, flowing out of the Allegheny Plateau to the southwest is the Ohio River, formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburghmarker. It flows west and becomes the border between Upper South states such as Kentucky and Midwestern states such as Ohio, then merges with the Mississippi River.


Despite being geographically one of the smallest regions of the United States, the northeastern states possess a wide range of climates. Rainfall varies from over annually in some coastal areas, to in the western part of Pennsylvaniamarker and New Yorkmarker. Snowfall can range from over per year in Upstate New York to only trace amounts in the coastal areas of southern New Jersey.

Generally, northern New England, the parts of New York north of the Mohawk River, highland areas in the Appalachiansmarker and some coastal areas possess a warm summer humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers and snowy, often bitterly cold winters. Cities in this zone include Syracuse, NYmarker; Burlington, VTmarker; and Portland, MEmarker. Portland's winters are softened because it is on the coast.

Below this line, much of the region (except for the higher elevations) has a hot summer humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Much of New England and the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic States have this climate. Boston, MAmarker, Hartford, CTmarker and Pittsburgh, PAmarker have this climate. Portions of extreme southern New York Statemarker including New York Citymarker, southern New Jerseymarker, extreme southeastern Pennsylvaniamarker including Philadelphia, PA, and southwestern Connecticut have a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and more mild winters.


The Census Bureau classifies Delaware and Maryland as part of the South Atlantic region, part of the South or Southern United States. They had a colonial immigrant history associated with the Chesapeake Bay Colony, similar economy for years, and more extensive slavery that contributed to a different culture and demographic pattern for centuries from that of most of the Northeast. Between the American Revolution and the eve of the Civil War, however, because of changing agricultural needs, Delaware freed most of its slaves, and close to half the blacks in Maryland were also free by 1860.


New England

New England is perhaps the best-defined region of the U.S., with more uniformity and more of a shared heritage than other regions of the country. New England has played a dominant role in American history. From the late 17th century to the mid to late 18th century, New England was the nation's cultural leader in political, educational, cultural and intellectual thought. During this time, it was the country's economic center.

The earliest European settlers of New England were Englishmarker Protestants who came in search of religious liberty. They gave the region its distinctive political format — town meetings (an outgrowth of meetings held by church elders), in which citizens gathered to discuss issues of the day. Town meetings still function in many New England communities today and have been revived as a form of dialogue in the national political arena.

Education is another of the region's strongest legacies. The cluster of top-ranking universities and colleges in New England—including four of the eight schools of the Ivy League, as well as MITmarker, NESCAC schools, Boston Collegemarker, Boston Universitymarker, Northeastern Universitymarker, Brandeis Universitymarker, Tufts Universitymarker, and numerous other elite colleges and universities—is unequaled by any other region. America's first college, Harvardmarker, was founded at Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker in 1636, its third, Yalemarker in Connecticut in 1701, and Brown Universitymarker, the nation's seventh oldest and third oldest in New England, is located in Providence, Rhode Islandmarker. Many of the graduates from these schools end up settling in the region after school, providing the area with a well-educated populace and its most valuable resource, as the area is relatively lacking in natural resources other than "ice, rocks, and fish".Soon after many descendants of original New England settlers migrated westward in search of land, new waves of immigrants from Canadamarker, Irelandmarker, Italymarker, and eastern Europe moved into the region to take industrial jobs. Many of their descendants became educated and joined the middle classes. Despite a changing population, New England has maintained a distinct cultural identity. As a whole, the area of New England has tended to be liberal in its politics. It is has been strongly supportive of education and community-building.

Certain architecture and sights have come to stand as New England icons: the simple woodframe houses and white church steeples that are features of many small towns, and lighthouses that dot the Atlantic coast. New England is well known for its mercurial weather, its crisp chill, and vibrantly colored foliage in autumn. In colonial times, the colder weather killed off germs and gave the region a healthier environment than that of the Chesapeake Bay Colony, where settlers suffered from summer illnesses and mortality was much higher. The region is a popular tourist destination.


These areas provided the young United States with heavy industry and served as the "melting pot" of new immigrants from Europe. Cities grew along major shipping routes and waterways. Such flourishing cities included Philadelphia on the Delaware River and New York City on the Hudson River.

Dutchmarker immigrants moved into the lower Hudson River Valley in what is now New Jersey and New York State. An English Protestant sect, the Friends (Quakers), settled Pennsylvania. In time, all these settlements came under English control. With the great shipping ports of Philadelphia and, later, New York City, the region continued to be a magnet for business, industry, and peoples of diverse nationalities.

Early settlers were mostly farmers and traders, and the region served as a bridge between North and South. Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker midway between the northern and southern colonies, was the site of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates from the original colonies that organized the American Revolution. The same city was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

The Mid-Atlantic, with two of America's largest cities, New York City and Philadelphia, has been an industrial powerhouse and major center for international trade. With New York as the center of finance, it continues as important economically. A major center of finance, pharmaceutical industry, technology, universities (including four of the eight Ivy League universities), business, media, education, the arts, and cuisine, the area is one of America's most prominent regions. Many immigrants are attracted to the region. New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are rich in immigrant culture. Still rich in cultures influenced by European heritage, the region has recently attracted more Asian and Hispanic immigrants. African immigrants also have many centers in urban and suburban areas.


Language, ethnicity, and religion

Culturally, the Northeast is somewhat different from the rest of the United States. In contrast to the South which has been predominantly Protestant, since the 19th century, the Northeast has developed into a region with a high percentage of Catholics in seven of nine states. Each Northeastern state has a plurality of Catholics, with Rhode Islandmarker having the highest percentage of Catholics in the United States at 63%. This is chiefly due to substantial immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries from Irelandmarker, Italymarker, Polandmarker, Hungarymarker, southern Francemarker, Quebecmarker, Puerto Rico and Latin America. The Northeast states contain the highest concentration of Irish Americans and Italian Americans in the nation.

In 2008, the number of self-identified Catholics in the Northeast was 36%, down from 43% in 1990.

The Northeast is home to many other religious groups. For example, New Yorkmarker, New Jerseymarker and Pennsylvaniamarker have the highest percentage of Jewish Americans in the nation, descended from late 19th and early 20th century immigrants from Germanymarker and eastern Europe. Their tradition of social activism and education has strongly contributed to the region's leadership. Connecticutmarker and Massachusettsmarker also have a significant percentage of Jewish Americans relative to most other U.S. states.

The Northeast contains the greatest accent diversity in the country, including:

The Northeast is an ethnically diverse region, with numerous European Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans, though it has generally low numbers of Native Americans. The high level of diversity has much to do with the magnet of New York Citymarker, which was and still is an entry point for many immigrants. The other major cities of the region have significant ethnic diversity as well. The three largest cities in the Census-defined Northeast: (New York Citymarker, Philadelphiamarker, and Bostonmarker) have the same four largest ethnic groups: African American, Italian, Irish, and Puerto Rican.

Many European-Americans live in the Northeast. Many Northeasterners frequently identify with their ethnic heritage more strongly than do U.S.-born whites from other U.S. regions, particularly the Deep South. The Northeast has a high percentage of people of Irish, Jewish, Portuguese, and French descent.

The Northeast has the second largest Asian-American population in the nation, after the West Coast. Numerous groups are of Indian, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Cambodian descent.

The Northeast has the third largest Hispanic-American population, after the West Coast and the Southwest. Unlike the West, Northeast Hispanics are chiefly of Puerto Rican descent. They live mostly in the states of New Yorkmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, New Jerseymarker, Massachusettsmarker, and Connecticutmarker. In 2006, the population of Lawrence, Massachusettsmarker, a city of approximately 70,000 people, was estimated to be 72.3% of Latino descent, chiefly those Dominican or Puerto Rican ancestry. The Northeast has the most people in the nation of "Other Hispanic" descent: the majority of Dominican, Central American, and Colombian descent. The Northeast has the second-largest population of Cuban Americans outside of the South. They are dispersed through the region, but many originally immigrated through New York. Hudson County, New Jersey has the largest Cuban-American population outside South Florida.While the Northeast has one of the smallest populations of Mexican Americans, the number of immigrants are increasing at a rate faster than that of any region in the country. Many cities and towns have significant populations of Hispanic-Americans, attracted to jobs in the area.

The Northeast also has the largest population of African-Americans outside the South. Most of the African American population resides in New Yorkmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, or New Jerseymarker. New York has more African Americans than any other state; Pennsylvaniamarker is ranked tenth in number of African Americans; and New Jerseymarker is ranked fifteenth. Massachusettsmarker and Connecticutmarker also have large black populations. The ancestors of most of the current populations moved north in the Great Migration of the early decades of the 20th century, seeking jobs and opportunities in the rapidly industrializing cities, as well as the chance to escape the segregation and disfranchisement of the South.

The Northeast also contains most of the more recent African and West Indianmarker immigrants. The largest neighborhood in Boston, Dorchestermarker, has a surging Cape Verdean-American population. Dorchester, along with Brocktonmarker, Fall Rivermarker and New Bedfordmarker in Southeastern Massachusetts, is the capital of the Cape Verde Diaspora. Rhode Islandmarker has the highest percentage of Cape Verdeans in the nation; Massachusetts has the highest population and second highest percentage of Cape Verdeans.

The Northeast has the largest concentration and percentage of Jewish Americans in the nation. They are most notable in the areas of Philadelphiamarker, New York Citymarker, and southern New England. The region also has the highest number of Hindus and Sikhs in the nation, with slight more than the West. The Northeast has more people of Indianmarker descent than any other part of the country, and it has the highest population in the world outside India.

The region is also home to many residents who are Muslim, Buddhist and other faiths. Due to increased immigration from eastern European nations in the last three decades, the region has the highest number of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the nation.

While much of the region is highly diverse, the Northeast also contains the three states with the highest percentage of European Americans: Mainemarker (96.9% white), Vermontmarker (96.9%), and New Hampshiremarker (96.2%). Most are descendants of colonial and 19th century immigrants from the British Isles and Europe; these three states also have high concentrations of French Canadians.


The Northeast has from colonial times had a strong fishing and seafaring tradition.

The result has been a developed seafood sector with two centuries of experience. Maine's lobster is shipped around the nation. Bostonmarker, one of the oldest seaports in America, makes what the locals consider clam chowder in the United Statesmarker. New England is also offers fried and steamed clams. Many restaurants around the Chesapeake Bay boast crab cakes made from locally caught blue crab or oysters.

Philadelphiamarker's large immigrant population has contributed to a large mixture of tastes to mingle and develop. This city is known for its soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, and hoagies, but also has many fine Italian and continental restaurants, supplemented by more recent Vietnamese and Cambodian restaurants founded by 20th c. immigrants. From an earlier period, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are also known for their citizens' traditionally enthusiastic consumption of scrapple, a breakfast food mostly unknown outside of the region. Philadelphia has also been ranked as one the top restaurant cities in the U.S.

Urban, suburban, and rural

The entire population of the northeastern United States is estimated at 54,680,626. Much of the history of the Northeast is characterized by archetypical medium and large manufacturing cities. The sometimes urban character of the region gives it a strange mix of reputations, and many view Northeastern cities as places of economic opportunity. In major Northeastern cities, ethnic enclaves are common. Most of the cities have large, and at times, provocative, artistic and theatrical scenes.
Older religious and ethnic factionalism have become relatively minor concerns. At the same time, the major cities are expensive and have large economic disparities, often giving them a reputation of being impersonal and aloof.

The deindustrialization of the mid to late 20th century caused major job losses in the Northeast. Notable examples of cities left damaged and often severely depopulated from loss of manufacturing include Yonkersmarker, Uticamarker, Buffalomarker, Syracusemarker, and even parts of New York Citymarker in New York state; Newarkmarker, Trentonmarker and Patersonmarker in New Jersey; Lowellmarker, Lawrencemarker, Worcestermarker and Springfieldmarker in Massachusetts; Hartfordmarker and Bridgeportmarker in Connecticut; Pittsburghmarker, Scrantonmarker, Allentownmarker, Readingmarker and Harrisburgmarker in Pennsylvania; and Providencemarker in Rhode Island. However, examples dot the entire region and much of the neighboring region of the American Midwest.

Some of these cities, though, have enjoyed revivals in the last generation, replacing their economic reliance on manufacturing with job development in the medical, technical and educational industries. Pittsburghmarker, for example, now counts 23% of its workforce in blue collar occupations, according to a 2005 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The last of the city's steel mills closed in 1998.

Though it generally is seen as having a very urban character, at least in its most populated areas, the Northeast was one of the first regions to undergo heavy post-World War II suburbanization. The most notable of these early suburbs was Levittownmarker in the Long Islandmarker region of New Yorkmarker, east of New York Citymarker; Levittown is often regarded as the archetype of the "cookie-cutter" suburb. Since its early years, however, successions of owners have added to and altered their houses to introduce considerable variation. New Jersey also has suburban sprawl and some urban decay. It does have the region's lowest murder rate in the United States.

Today, suburbanization is a rampant trend in United States housing development outside of the Northeast, driven by widespread use of the automobile and de-emphasis on mass transit and commuter railroads as popular forms of transportation. Nonetheless, the iconic New York subway system is widely used, as is the PATHmarker system connecting Newark, Hobokenmarker, Jersey City, and Manhattanmarker. The New York metropolitan areamarker's Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New Jersey Transit commuter rail are the three largest regional rail systems in the country and together transport about one-third of commuters who use rail transportation in the United States each day.

Many of the major and secondary cities in the region also utilize mass transit. Systems that provide both rail and bus service include Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Buffalo's Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Philadelphia's SEPTA and PATCO, and Pittsburgh's Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT). Many other smaller cities have smaller, bus-only systems. In Pennsylvania, new commuter rail projects, such as CorridorOne, are being undertaken to expand service between Harrisburgmarker and Lancastermarker. Three states - Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island - have public transit providers that cover much or all of their respective states.

Rank Metropolitan Area State(s) and/or Territory July 1, 2007

Population Estimate
1 New Yorkmarker CTmarker, NJmarker, NYmarker, PAmarker 18,815,988
2 Philadelphia DEmarker, MDmarker, NJmarker, PAmarker 5,827,962
3 Boston MAmarker,NHmarker 4,482,857
4 Pittsburgh PAmarker 2,355,712
5 Providence MAmarker, RImarker 1,600,856
6 Hartford CTmarker 1,189,113
7 Buffalo NYmarker 1,128,183
8 Rochester NYmarker 1,030,435

Rank City State(s) and/or Territory July 1, 2007

Population Estimate
1 New Yorkmarker NYmarker 8,274,527
2 Philadelphiamarker PAmarker 1,449,634
3 Bostonmarker MAmarker 609,023
4 Pittsburghmarker PAmarker 311,218
5 Newarkmarker NJmarker 280,135
6 Buffalomarker NYmarker 272,632
7 Jersey Citymarker NJmarker 242,389
8 Rochestermarker NYmarker 206,759
9 Yonkersmarker NYmarker 199,244

The Northeast as a megalopolis

Today, the coastal Northeast is said to resemble a megalopolis, or megacity, an interdependent network of cities and suburbs that blend into each other. Economically, the region provides many of the financial and government services the rest of the country and much of the world depends on, from New York's Wall Streetmarker to Boston's academia to Washington's K Street lobbying firms. It is linked largely by the I-95 Interstate, which runs from Virginiamarker, around Washington, D.C.marker, through Baltimoremarker, Philadelphiamarker, New York, and up to Boston and into Mainemarker. By rail, the cities are linked by Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Suburbs of Boston as far north as New Hampshiremarker and even Mainemarker, as well as Washington's suburbs in Northern Virginia are all part of the region.

Political scientists Ruy Teixeira and John B. Judis argue that city and suburbs in the northeast and in other regions of the country are moving towards a state of economic and cultural seamlessness. Teixeira and Judis use the increasingly similar voting and demographic patterns of city and suburbs to make their argument. It is also evidenced in increasing population density and tightly linked infrastructure. Along New Jersey's Gold Coast, the area across the Hudson River from New York City, population density has become so great that the state built the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system to decrease traffic congestion. This system complements the PATH system, New Jersey Transit commuter bus and rail service, a complex highway transportation system, and Port Authority Airports. Future expansion of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail may go to Staten Islandmarker in New York City to the south, and throughout Bergen Countymarker to the north. Similarly, since the 19th century both Boston's and Philadelphia's have connected their cities with surrounding suburbs by rail and bus. Further, much of the Northeast region is heavily linked by state-run commuter trains and Amtrak.

Despite the heavy urban/suburban characteristics of the coastal region, many rural areas survive. Much of Upstate New York, and even parts of Westchester Countymarker closer to New York City, have decidedly rural characteristics. The Pine Barrensmarker and the part of northwestern New Jersey known as the Skylands are known as retreats from the urban areas of the Northeast. In fact, New Jersey is more rural than most people realize despite its stereotype of urban and suburban sprawl. Both Long Island and western New York have well-known wine-producing regions. New York is a heavily agricultural state. Even New York City's boroughs of Queensmarker and Staten Islandmarker had farm production well into the late 20th century. Small towns and cities dot western Massachusetts' Berkshiremarker region, as well as Vermontmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, and New Hampshiremarker.

While formerly important rural industries like farming and mining have decreased in importance in recent decades, they persist. Artisan dairy and cheese producers and organic farmers are becoming more important in upstate New York and New England, where they are building relationships with major universities and urban farmers' markets. Pennsylvania also emphasizes programs for farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture in the "Buy Fresh; Buy Local" movement.


Until World War II, the Northeast's economy was largely driven by industry. In the second half of the 20th century, most of New England's traditional industries have relocated to states or foreign countries where goods can be made more cheaply. In more than a few factory towns, skilled workers have been left without jobs. The gap has been partly filled by the microelectronics, computer and biotech industries, fed by talent from the region's prestigious educational institutions.

Like New England, the Mid-Atlantic region has seen much of its heavy industry relocate elsewhere. Other industries, such as drug manufacturing and communications, have taken up the slack. The economy of the New York Citymarker sub-regions is more complex; its fortunes are heavily (but far from completely) dependent on the financial industry and the stock market.

As the service sector is less dependent on heavy labor than the formerly dominant industrial sector, the incentives unskilled immigrants and unskilled laborers once had to move to the Northeast have diminished. They lack the skills to compete in, for example, the financial, technical, educational, and medical markets. However, the Northeast remains a magnet for skilled workers from around the world.

The Northeast area is the wealthiest region of the country. The Upper East Sidemarker of the New York City borough of Manhattanmarker hosts the largest concentration of individual wealth in the world. Connecticut and New Jersey are the wealthiest states in the union in terms of both per capita and household income. Also, in history, the Northeast was always known for its trading because of its location on the Atlantic Ocean, and its abundance of harbors.

Real estate

In December 2008, sales of existing homes dropped 10% from the preceding year. The median home price fell 8% to $268,200.


The northeast led the nation in nursing home costs in 2009. A private room in Connecticut averaged $125,925 annually. A one-bedroom in an assisted living facility averaged $55,137 in Massachusetts. Both are national highs.


The Northeast region has been known recently for its political liberalism. For example, every state in the region had a majority vote for John Kerry in the 2004 election and Barack Obama in the 2008 election. However, both Pennsylvania and New Hampshire were considered "battleground states" in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, meaning that they were seen as winnable by both political parties. New Hampshire did vote Republican in 2000, as George W. Bush won the state by a close one percentage point. Pennsylvania voted for Al Gore in 2000 by a 51-47% margin. In 2004, both New Hampshire and Pennsylvania gave Democratic candidate John Kerry a 51-49% victory. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama easily carried both states; he won Pennsylvania with 55% and New Hampshire with 54% of the vote. In addition to the region's increasing loyalty to the Democratic Party at the presidential level, the region is also increasingly Democratic at the state and congressional levels as well. After the 2008 congressional elections, the Republicans do not hold a single congressional seat from the six-state New England region. Of the twelve U.S. Senators from New England, three are Republicans.

Colonial to 1960s

The Northeast was a Federalist, Whig and Republican from 1800 to the late 19th century.

During the early 19th century, the Republicans appealed to the Northeast by advocating public education, freedom of movement, entrepreneurial solutions, and open markets. They tried to encourage industrialization and endorsed the concept that laborers have the right to sell their labor in exchange for wages. In part because the North developed a different labor market, its residents were able to abolish slavery locally with little economic impact, although its wealth had been built on trading, shipping and manufacturing linked directly to the slave economy.

Abolitionists became active in the Northeast. Republicans generally opposed labor unions and slavery. Greater New England voted Republican in Presidential elections from 1856 until the 1960s. The 60s marked major cultural and political realignments across the nation. The Republican regional identification was even stronger at the Congressional level.

From the American Civil War until the Great Depression, Northeastern and Midwestern Republicans and allied business interests tended to dominate American politics. The wealth and power of the Northeast during this period generated animosity in regions of the country with more agrarian interests, in part because of Republican domination.

Most immigrants and working class residents of major cities were organized by, and therefore more likely to support the rival Democratic Party. Then often became linked to powerful political machines that dished out patronage. The Tammany Hall machine in New York Citymarker continued its dominance into the 1960s. Immigration to Northeastern cities rapidly pushed the population of the region upwards from the 1790s until World War II. However, it was not until the 1920s and 1930s that ethnic voters became more important to the Democratic Party in the north. The Democratic Party often won the support of immigrants through aid and political patronage.

In the 20th century, there were major demographic changes from two waves of the Great Migration of African Americans, from 1910-1970 overall. In multiple acts of passive resistance, African Americans fled the lynchings, segregation and disfranchisement of the South to move to northern and midwestern cities for new industrial jobs and better opportunities for education. During this period, half the African-American population went from being rural to becoming urbanized. They joined and greatly expanded black populations that had increased after the Civil War in cities like New York and Boston, and also migrated to such cities as Philadelphia, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Hartford, New Haven and Pittsburgh. In the 1920s New York's Harlem became a center of black intellectual and artistic life for the nation. A total of seven million blacks migrated to the North, Midwest, and West, especially to California. From the administration of FDR during the Great Depression on, many African Americans became Democrats. Before that they had been allied with the Republicans, the party of Lincoln.

1960s to present

When the Democrats began softening their economic policies in the early 1990s, suburban northeastern voters responded favorably and became more supportive of them. On the federal level, sufficient northeastern voters abandoned the Republican Party, resulting in Democratic victories. Even though the local Republican Party in much of the Northeast tends to be more socially liberal than in other regions of the country.

Since the late 20th century, the region's politics have been largely explained v by a strong coalition of demographics predominant in the North that are overwhelmingly Democratic. These groups include the majority Catholic population with a significant urban, Democratic legacy (this would apply to the Jewish population as well), artists, educators, and intellectuals of New York Citymarker, Bostonmarker, New Havenmarker, Philadelphiamarker, and Pittsburghmarker, and Ivy League university towns; the large minority populations of those same cities; a large socially conservative but economically liberal blue-collar population throughout the region; and the often socially liberal suburbanites of New Jerseymarker, Connecticutmarker, and New Hampshiremarker. Pro-business policies espoused by the national Democratic Party since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 have drawn many upper-class white professionals into the Democratic fold who would have been Republicans as late as the 1980s.

This also continues its contrast and rivalry with the more conservative South, where a majority of white conservatives have supported national Republican candidates in recent decades. Within the Northeast, there are significant political and demographic differences between the cities and the suburbs that surround them, with even more differences from the more thinly populated outlying areas. This is particularly prominent in Philadelphiamarker, and New York Citymarker (which even has a secession movement). Cities must compete with the suburbs and rural areas for state funding.

However, because of the increasing integration of the Northeast megalopolis combined with the more centrist Democratic Leadership Council's appeal to free trade advocates, ideological differences have softened between city and suburb in recent decades, strengthening the Democratic Party overall. Residents of first-tier suburbs have begun facing changes once regarded as uniquely urban, such as gangs, urban crowding, and drug abuse, while becoming increasingly ethnically diverse. In addition, they often found that unbroken Republican Party leadership resulted in corruption and poor practices, as in Nassau County on Long Island. Both Nassau County and Suffolk County have elected Democratic County Executives in recent years.

Post-war migration patterns weakened the Northeast's power considerably. Industry often relocated to the West Coast and South since land was less expensive, the areas were less crowded, and they were little unionized. By the 1970s, Californiamarker had surpassed New Yorkmarker as the most populous state, and by 1994 Texasmarker had pushed New York to third place. While New York Citymarker remains by far the largest city in the United States and a large recipient of immigrants, most immigration now goes elsewhere. Secondary cities in the northeast region, such as Buffalomarker, never regained their economic foothold after the decline of industry. Larger cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia have developed service and knowledge industry economies.

In 2007 the population was approximately 50 million, compared to 434,373 in 1790.

See also


  3. US Regional Divisions, accessed 16 Apr 2008
  4. Income 2006 - Two-Year-Average Median Household Income by State: 2001-2006
  5. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State
  6. Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619-1877, New York: Hill and Wang, Paperback, 1994, p.82
  7. Murder Rates 1996 - 2006
  9. Northwest New Jersey Skylands Guide
  10. David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, paperback, 1991,
  11. David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, paperback, 1991, pp.856-880

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