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The Heartland, Population

Urban expansion, wholesale center, transportation hub, urban living, largest population

As the largest productive agricultural region and the industrial nucleus of the United States, the Heartland contains the largest population of any region of the nation. Population density varied dramatically throughout the region during the 1990s, from fewer than 4 persons per sq km (about 10 per sq mi) in rural areas to more than 4,642 per sq km (more than 12,024 per sq mi) in the heart of Chicago. The vast majority of the population is concentrated in the many urban areas that developed around manufacturing centers. A decline in manufacturing jobs since the 1970s slowed the rate of expansion in many urban areas, but these cities continued to grow as people chose urban living over rural lifestyles.

Large cities in the region include Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis and Kansas City in Missouri; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Cleveland, Ohio. Chicago is the dominant metropolis. It serves as a wholesale center and transportation hub for the region. St. Louis is a commercial and transportation hub that is the largest urban center between Chicago and the Pacific Coast. Other major cities include Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; and Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota. Urban expansion continues, although it slowed toward the end of the 20th century, as the region lost population to the South and West.

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