Travel

Which states are in the South? I asked 20 coworkers to find out.

A few weeks back, I asked 20 random coworkers which states were in the Midwest. The only definitive conclusion: they're bad at geography and coloring inside the lines.

But you know which region people get way more fired up about? The South. Southerners take pride in things like sweet tea, SEC football, and pickup trucks, and they have clear definitions of which states are Southern. You know who doesn't care about those things? 20 office workers in Manhattan.

To settle the debate, I asked 20 random coworkers which states are in the South. These are their answers.

Notes

I asked participants to include where they were from along with their names. People who work in the accounting department apparently thought that meant which department they were from. I don't know why they thought that.

Coworkers also enjoyed poking fun at the South more than the Midwest. Hence the Confederate flag ,and other doodles.

Texas appeared on 12.5 maps, which feels about right. It's kinda Southern, but not really. Texas is Texas.

And then there's Florida, which appeared on 18.5 maps. Even Florida doesn't know what to think of itself, as it's considered splitting into two states.
 

Conclusions

Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi are the Southiest of the South, appearing on 20 out of 20 maps. There was no such consensus in the Midwest. South Carolina and Louisiana appeared on 19 of 20 maps, so they were almost there. 

I'm a neophyte, so I'll let two Southern coworkers put this in context.

Dave, from Georgia:
Dear Lord, what is wrong with the American education system? 20 entries, ONE correct answer. The random inclusion of Northern Pennsylvania aside (or is that just a stray line?), Andrew from NJ is the only one who nailed it. THAT is the South. Case closed. Sure, the Census Bureau also throws in Maryland/Delaware and Oklahoma/Texas, but let’s be honest, even they don’t consider themselves Southern. Right, Delaware?

Liz, from Alabama:
Here’s the thing: there’s the Deep South, and then there’s the South. The Deep South is Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, but not the mountainous part of it. And since I’m from the heart of that part, that’s the FIRST thing I think of when I hear South. But there’s no denying that the boundaries have to include Arkansas and Louisiana and Virginia and Kentucky. Texas? No. Florida, below the panhandle? No. West Virginia? Absolutely not. New Orleans? Not really, it’s its own thing, like Texas. But, honestly, the rest have figured out what to do with collard greens long ago, and they’re totally covered in Southern Living’s list of states (SL includes some dubious options too, though… I’m looking at you, Maryland).
 

Winners

Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, of course; Shaheen for being able to identify individual states; Molly and Hope for precision in coloring.
 

Losers

Tony from JT. No one thinks New Mexico or Arizona are Southern except Tony from JT. Sorry, dude.

And Florida. Because it's Florida.


Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Travel Editor. He thinks Charleston is probably America's most underrated city. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.