Fresh off the press and some classics
Are Yankees Rude?

Are Yankees Rude?

Northern vs. Southern

A Comparison between the North and the South

Photo courtesy of Photographer Koratmember.

I vividly remember walking around in a New England city when I was a little boy and being dumbfounded when someone didn’t say “excuse me” when they bumped into me.  Since then, I have been mildly perplexed by the idea of northerners vs southerners, from a cultural standpoint.  Time and time again, I have listened to people comparing northerners to southerners.  I have heard it so much in fact, that it has led me to take a more in-depth look the situation and analyze my personal experiences.  In this article, I am going to compare a few observations that I have made about northerners and southerners.  Being a southerner who has spent some time living and visiting in the north (New York, Boston, and Washington D.C.), I believe that there are a few differentiating aspects with respect to northerners vs. southerners that I will address. Additionally living in the southwest city of LA has given me some more thoughts.

Are northerners really rude? Answering this question, I am going to say, it depends…

The good ole’ US of A

I have been fortunate in my life to visit a great many of the US states.  In addition, I have met some really great people who live all over the states.  I’ll get started here by saying that the United States is a really interesting territory.  The United States is extremely diverse in terms of land types, which is one way that I think geography and weather fit into the equation.

Since the days of slavery to prohibition, the north-south divide in America has grown quite extensively.  The north-south divide in America has created revolts, war, and heck even Nascar.

In traveling throughout some of the northern states, I have talked to many people to figure out some ways that they think are different.  What have I found?  There are a lot of differences between the two, I think that the strongest are in way of life.  For example, people who I have talked to in the north have told me that they don’t always know their neighbors. This is quite common in larger cities.  In southern states and smaller towns, it would be strange to not know your neighbors.  That being said, there are small towns in the north too.  So, bear in mind that this is not an exact science.  Another way that I find the way of life to be different, is in business.  In areas such as, Washington D.C., Boston, New York, etc. business is fast paced.  We live in a global market, therefore, time is money.  Coming up in this article, I am going to take a look at some other areas in the world where a division exists, which might shed some light on the division.

Comparison: A look at other countries

It doesn’t seem that this division is unique to the United States.  Therefore, in the interest of finding a well-rounded answer to this question, let’s take a look at several other European countries where there is a seemingly large divide between the north and the south.

European Examples:

North Ireland vs. South Ireland – Traditionally the isle of Ireland has been divided between the north and the south.  Northern Ireland is even part of modern-day England.  In addition, there was a long-standing religious divide between Irish protestants and Irish Catholics.

Northern Germany vs. Bavaria – I have never heard it more than just referred to in conversation, but I realize that there is cultural divide between the highland-Germans and lower-Bavarian Germans.  I am not sure to what extent, but it is so, at least linguistically.

Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy – The division between northern Italy and southern Italy is a very real divide and one that I am fairly familiar with.  Southern Italy, referred to as mezzogiorno, is seen as lower and less economically strong than its northern counterparts (by northerners of course).  Northern Italy is not only wealthier, but it is also more ‘European’.  Southern Italy is more country-Italian.

Northern France vs. Southern France – I have some experience with this divide, but it seems more cultural than economic.  Southern France traditionally has better weather than Paris and other northern areas.  People in France tend to follow this trend as well.  What I mean to describe is that southern French tend to be warmer and more receptive to foreigners than the northern French, although this is not exact.  I have met many great French from the north.  I include this one only because of what people have said and other experiences.

*I’m not even going to talk about Spain.  I could write an entire separate article about the division that exists within that country.


World Examples:  

There are other countries in the world where the there are existent divisions between people. However, the countries are not always divided from north to south or by northerners vs. southerners.  Often, divisions can be between the east and the west.

North-south divide – Setting specific countries aside for a second, the word at-large has a north-south divide.  In global politics, the north-south divide is a socio-economic division between the “western” nations as well as a few other select nations and the developing world.  The nations of the developing world, tend to be in the southern portion of the globe.  This would include most African, South American, Asian, and Middle Eastern nations.

Countries color coded by GDP.  A noticeable north-south divide.

Possible Causes

I have come up with a few possible factors for differences between northerners and southerners.

  • Geographically speaking, many countries are elongated where distance is greater between north to south with in comparison with east to west.  Although this is not true in every case, it tends to be something worth noting.  The greater the distance between the north and the south, the more opportunity for differences of every kind.
  • Weather, another possible connection between the friendliness of southerners in comparison to northerners could be weather.  I wouldn’t say that it is a scientific fact, but many believe that good weather positively affects a person’s mood.  Truthfully, most northern areas are colder than their southern counterparts.
  • Sense of family and community, this conclusion is something that can vary greatly depending on the family and/or person.  One thing that I have noticed in my travels of the United States is that southerners tend to have more emphasis on family and community than northerners.  I am not in any way saying that northerners don’t care about their families and communities. What I am saying is that northerners have less attachment to home, which leads them to be on their own to fend for themselves.  People on their own may be weary of outsiders who do not yet have credibility in their minds.  On the other hand, family and community are heavily emphasized by the bible belt states in America, many of which are in the south.
  • Economics, a huge difference between the north and the south, visible in America, Italy, and parts of the world, is the focus on economics.  Northern America (specifically the New England region), much like northern Italy is the economic powerhouse of the country for certain industries.  Much of the world’s finances are handled daily through New York city.  The same is true in Italy, in places such as Milan.
  • The state system, commonly known as countries,  is not always exact.  We are seeing the repercussions of this world-wide through internal strife.  Many countries are filled with several countries, or regions that seek autonomy. I cannot say that this is exact with the United States because people are more mixed than say Spain for example, but it could be another potential cause for differences between the north and the south.
  • Higher population can also be looked at in this case.  Many of the larger cities in the United States are in the north.  Larger population leads to less connection between communities.  For example, a small town tends to be more communal than say a metropolis.
  • Culture in general could be to blame for the north-south divide.  This is really a blanket statement that encompasses religion, languages, ethnicities,  and just people in general.  Cultural differences can be quite large.

Tying it all together and answering the question

In conclusion here, I am going to try to answer the question: are norther’s rude? Let’s take a look back over this article.  We have discussed several world examples ranging from Italy to Ireland where there is also a division among its people.  We just finished looking at some possible causes and contributing factors for a divided people.  Do those factors have enough impact to make people become so distinctly different?

In my experience, northerner’s get a bad rap, but that’s not the end of the story.  What I think, is that people in the north are specifically focused economics because it is demanded from them and part of the culture there.  It is not that they do not care, it is just that they have been trained not to unless it personally affects them.  This emphasis may give off the wrong impression to people not used to their way of being.  Another thing to note in this case, is the amount of people living in the north.  We, as southerners, are perplexed by the idea of going somewhere and not knowing someone.  Northerners can do this everyday, especially in a city like New York due to its enormous population.

Outside of what I have said, I am not sure if I can make further thoughts on this division.  I definitely see a division and experience it, but I think that it is due to a combination of factors. What do you think?


Let the debating begin, what are your thoughts?

Do you have another example of a place where there is a great divide between northerners or southerners? Perhaps, easterners vs. westerners could be an alternative. 


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  1. I agree with you partially. I lived in the state of Tennessee for 5 years and I encountered rude people throughout the southern region…….tn ….alabama. …and georgia to be exact. …
    There are nice people and mean people all over the globe. People make decisions to love or hate.
    Im from the Midwest and im a very nice person

  2. DC is technically a Southern city- and I say in comparison to the NE cities, DC is much more slower placed and friendly in general. I mean- of course in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, I wouldn’t say that is a northern mindset exactly. In fact, DC area and Atlanta Metro are astoundingly much alike. Its transient, for sure. But I don’t consider DC a truly Northern city. Baltimore marks the end of the NE corridor, IMO.

  3. Little confused here… you talk about “lower” Bavarians versus “highland Germans.” ???
    The Bavarians ARE the highland Germans! They’re right next to the Alps, along with the Swabians, who are even higher up, near to Switzerland. (The Danube flows from Swabia down to Bavaria)

    Northern Germany, on the other hand, is lowland. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean. Sea level, in other words. Low elevation. Flat.

    Surely you don’t think that north on a map means high and south means low… I hope…

    But you’re right about the North-South cultural and linguistic divide in Germany.

    • Hey Mary,

      I really was speaking in generally and not trying to specify where in Germany people are from. In the article, I was just sharing some of the things that I have been told by German people in traveling. However, thank you for the explanation and clarification. I actually, learned some things from you 🙂 and appreciate that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Northern Ireland is not part of ‘England’ . It is a constituent nation of the United Kingdom , alongside Scotland, Wales, and England. England is by far the largest but it is like saying Rhode Island is part of California , whereas they both form States within the USA.

  5. I’m wondering why Florida is not included in the southern states…? Not sure if that was a mistake or what, but you clearly forgot a state here. The only reason I could think of for why you wouldn’t include it as part of the south is if you have only been to the tourist parts. But other than those tourist traps, florida should definitely be on this list as a southern state. Here’s to hoping you correct the problem.

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