What States Are Part of the Mid-Atlantic?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: March 10, 2023
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The United States is not made of homogenous states. However, the U.S. can be broken down into regions that have similar characteristics such as a shared history, common economic products, or lifestyles. New England is an example of a well-defined region. The Mid-Atlantic is another region that is not as easily defined, but still a region. Discover what states are part of the Mid-Atlantic see how many people live in the region and what qualities the states share!

Which States Are Part of the Mid-Atlantic Region?

Grand Central Station

New York City is a travel hub in the U.S.

©Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock.com

Seven states make up the Mid-Atlantic region, and they are New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington D.C.,  the capital of the United States, is also included in this region.

These seven states, and the region as a whole, also represent overlapping portions of other regions, the Northeast and the Southeast. Yet, the Mid-Atlantic region is not merely a hodge-podge of border states between other regions. This area has some definitive elements that tie the region together.

Some sources, like the U.S. Geological Survey, contend that the region contains these particular seven states and areas because they drain into shared waterways.

The seven-state model of the Mid-Atlantic region is not the only one that exists. Some sources do not consider the southernmost states, Virginia and West Virginia, as belonging to the region. Even the U.S. Census only considers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York as the Mid-Atlantic States while the others are called South Atlantic.

Still, the seven-state model is the most inclusive and justifiable of all the models.

What Makes the Mid-Atlantic a Region?

Washington Monument, The United States

Washington D.C. and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic were home to many important historical events in the history of the U.S.

©iStock.com/Sean Pavone

Knowing which states are part of the Mid-Atlantic region can provoke the question, what are the unifying characteristics of the region? Take a look at a few of the elements that make this region distinct. Keep in mind that not every part of the region has all of these circumstances, though.

Historical Connections

The Mid-Atlantic region is filled with states that were significant to the development of the United States. New York and New Jersey hosted many battles during the American Revolution, and the Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Virginia was the home of many early presidents and the place where the first colony was established in 1607. Of course, Washington D.C. is the modern capital of the United States. Needless to say, this region is steeped in the history of the U.S.

Large Coastal Cities

The Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is well-known for having major cities along the coastal regions. New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Annapolis, Baltimore, and Norfolk are just some of the cities located on major waterways that connect to the Atlantic Ocean.

The cities grew over time, and they stand as hubs of many industries. New York City is a financial and trade hub while Annapolis is known for being home to the United States Naval Academy. Old cities, like Philadelphia, have continued to innovate and grow from their roots as manufacturing areas into ones that also handle finances, tech, and life sciences.

Booming Industries

New York Christmas

New York is a financial hub.


The states in the Mid-Atlantic region were established early in the history of the United States. The large cities were well-positioned to facilitate manufacturing and shipping while remaining close to agricultural centers.

Those factors combined with a large local population provided key cities like New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore with the ability to produce valuable goods and employ many people in a variety of industries.

Meanwhile, supporting industries, like construction and food production, also grew to help support these areas. During times of war, like World War II, the Mid-Atlantic cities were utilized as hubs for developing and manufacturing the weapons needed to fight. The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard helped build and repair ships, including the U.S.S New Jersey.

In wartime and peace, the Mid-Atlantic cities have thrived and helped lead the nation’s economy.


The result of booming industries that grew in the Mid-Atlantic throughout the 19th and 20th centuries created affluence and wealth in the region. A lot of this wealth has remained prevalent in the area. The Mid-Atlantic region has 43 of the 100 counties with the highest income in the country.

That shows the potency of the economic systems in the Mid-Atlantic while also showcasing people’s desire to live in the region.

Coastal Ties

Baltimore Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland is one of many major cities that were built near large bodies of water in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Lastly, the Mid-Atlantic states are famous for having entertainment centered around the water. Many of the states have long stretches of famous beaches from Long Island, New York to Virginia Beach, Virginia. People flock to the coastal regions during summertime. Visitors want a good view, the opportunity to swim, and to spend some time gambling in the case of Atlantic City.

The entertainment venues bring in billions of tourist dollars throughout the region, bolstering the coffers of all the coastal states in the Mid-Atlantic area.

All told, the states that are part of the Mid-Atlantic region don’t overlap in every respect. Yet, it’s clear that the area has many things in common that unite the region.

How Did the Mid-Atlantic Region Get Its Name?

Shoreline at Atlantic Ocean and Mouth of Chesapeake Bay, Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Mid-Atlantic states are situated on the Atlantic Coast.

©Lou Taylor/Shutterstock.com

The states that are part of the Mid-Atlantic got their name because of their location. The states are between New England and the South. New England is the most northeastern part of the U.S. while the South typically encompasses everything from Virginia or the Carolinas to Texas. Thus, the area is in the middle of the Atlantic coastal states, and the term Mid-Atlantic was applied.

The Mid-Atlantic region is a region with a rich history, beautiful lands, powerful industries, and strong ties to the nearby bodies of water. While the area is very diverse, it is united by history, industries, politics, and coastal locations. All told, this region continues to be one of the most powerful areas of the U.S., and it appears poised to stay that way into the future.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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