Walton Family Foundation: Defining the American Heartland Key to Future of the Heartland’s Economy

BENTONVILLE, Ark.--()--As America’s Heartland becomes more of a concentrated focal point economically, culturally and politically, the Walton Family Foundation released new research today outlining key perspectives that could help shape the geographic makeup of the Heartland for generations to come. Read the research here.

George Strait sings about it. Kevin Costner built a baseball field in the middle of it. The Pioneer Woman cooks for it,” explained Ross DeVol, the lead researcher and Fellow at the Walton Family Foundation. “America’s Heartland is vital to the resurgence of the United States’ economy and bridging America’s economic divide.”

Today’s American Heartland is a mash up of what’s been known as the Breadbasket States, the Midwest, Rust Belt, Flyover Country and parts of the South,” DeVol said. Read the research here.

According to DeVol’s research for the Walton Family Foundation, the Heartland is based on the four U.S. Census Bureau regions and includes the East North Central (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin); West North Central (Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota); East South Central (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi); and West South Central (Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana).

DeVol concludes: “It must include parts of the South as many are central. By definition, you cannot be in the Heartland if you were a member of the 13 Colonies. Yes, that rules out Georgia and West Virginia because it was part of Virginia, even though culturally, they share many Heartland values. Florida was not a member of the original 13, the state cannot be in the Heartland as it has an Atlantic Coastline, so it must be part of the coast.”

DeVol’s research is part of a one-year tenure at the foundation, where he will assess opportunities for regional innovation ecosystems that foster job creation, wage gains and economic growth for Middle America residents. Learn more about DeVol here.

About the Walton Family Foundation

For three decades, the Walton Family Foundation has continued the philanthropic vision begun by Sam and Helen Walton. Their legacy is more important than ever as the foundation accelerates efforts to improve K-12 education for all students in America, to protect rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and to give back to the region that first gave Sam and Helen Walton opportunity.


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Release Summary

The Walton Family Foundation released new research today outlining key perspectives that could help shape the geographic makeup of the Heartland.

Walton Family Foundation