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Question of the day

Friday, Oct 20, 2017

* ProPublica Illinois asks

What do people mean when they say “Downstate Illinois?” Where are they actually talking about?

* Amdor has a simple and mostly accurate answer…


But parts of Kendall County, which isn’t in District 1, can be considered more suburban than Downstate. The official Chicago metropolitan area includes DeKalb County, which isn’t suburban.

I think it’s more of a state of mind in exurban regions. Like everything, it’s tough to define along the margins, like northern McHenry County, for instance.

* Back to ProPublica

And, if “Downstate” contains certain connotations, it’s important for our reporters to understand them, so we can better choose our words both in how we write and how we talk.

They also posted a couple of defensive tweets…



Downstate is definitely not a monolith. Kankakee has more in common with the South and Southwest Sides of Chicago than it does with, say, Anna. And we haven’t even talked about the Metro East yet. Go to Edwardsville and you’d think you were in a leafy suburban Cook town.

* And this…


I have a theory that “the real southern Illinois” starts 45 miles south of wherever you live.

* I’ve lived in Chicago and loved it, but I was born and raised Downstate (with detours to Utah and Germany) and I’ve never been offended if somebody called me a “Downstater,” even though the term was probably coined by a snooty Chicagoan.

* The Question: Should people be offended by the terms “Downstate” or “Downstaters”? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


online survey

- Posted by Rich Miller        

84 Comments
  1. - L.A. - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    Voted no. people are way to sensitive these days; take a chill pill.

    The better question would be where does Downstate start? South of I-80? South of I-72? South of I-70?


  2. - anon2 - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    I voted NO because the term mainly designates that someone lives outside the greater Chicago area. It should be no more of a pejorative than, say, Chicago.


  3. - Anon221 - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    Voted No. But, please don’t categorize everyone south of I-80 as being southern Illinois either. That is too often done by Chicagoans and a lot of above I-80 media. This state of ours is tremendously varied geographically. We need to celebrate all of the state and realize it’s not just Chicagoband Downstate.


  4. - Anon - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    We are becoming far too sensitive, and prone to missing the big picture as we stare at the shiny object. In this case, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So many are waiting to pounce on politicians to slip up and say they are in southern Illinois, when they are actually in central illinois. The fact remains that we are all one state, and different regions prioritize things differently. We need our elected officials to be the grown ups in the room. Stop pandering to this regionalism, and start accepting that one vote is equal to one vote. Work with those whose priorities are different than your own and make the best decisions for the state as a whole. As Americans, and as Illinoisans, we need to reset our focus on what binds us together, not what separates us, or else other states/the world will eat our lunch.


  5. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    I don’t find the term offensive. My Wisconsin friend calls us flatlanders, again not offensive.

    My wife, born in Chicago, considers everything south of Kankakee Southern Illinois. I grew up in Decatur, central Illinois to me.Southern Illinois started in Taylorville, my Dad’s home town.

    As a hunter, Southern Illinois is where you hunt quail more than pheasant.


  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    Good question. Doesn’t really encompass places like Galena.


  7. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    I’ve always consider “downstate” as everything in Illinois that is not within the Chicago media market. Kankakee gets its news from Chicago, which means to me anyway, that Kankakee isn’t downstate.


  8. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    I think it depends on who says it honestly.

    I tend to find it’s just shorthand for a lot of folks up here that don’t know how different Illinois is from place-to-place.

    But occasionally I’ve heard it used rather dismissively. Once I even had someone tell me that nothing of cultural significance comes from downstate. I was rather harsh in my retort, which shall not be repeated here.

    But again, I find most folks don’t mean anything by it.


  9. - Majority of Me - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    I grew up in Southern Illinois (capitalized, of course) where anything north of I-64 was suspect. “Downstate” meant nothing, but don’t you dare call anyone from the middle part of the state “Southern.”


  10. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    In high school, “going downstate” is a good thing - it means you’re playing for a championship.


  11. - Rayne of Terror - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    I’ve lived downstate for 22 years and have never heard of anyone being offended by that term. I think downstate has to be south of Chicago though. My husband is from McHenry and his family is in Rockford and they would never call that downstate. Having grown up in Terre Haute, I think I-70 is the dividing line for Southern IL.


  12. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    Living in both places I can see the resentment from people outside the Chicagoland area when talking to someone from Chicago who has no idea how big this state and what it has to offer. Rauner has made this problem worse by creating an us versus them mentality. The fact he made his millions in Chicago and is able to get away with it is absolutely mind boggling.


  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    ===Kankakee gets its news from Chicago, which means to me anyway, that Kankakee isn’t downstate. ===

    So does Iroquois County.


  14. - Gene Johns - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    I voted “no.” Nothing offensive about it…and I live in deep “Downstate” Illinois.
    I was once told that the term “Downstate” was coined by writers at the Chicago Tribune to refer to anything outside of Chicago….and that the term and its usage was in their style book. Might just be a rumor.


  15. - Interim Retiree - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Voted No. Born/raised/lived in Chicago 1st 30 years, have lived several areas “downstate” past 30+ years. Liked everywhere I’ve lived. If downstater is worst thing you call me, you are OK w/me.


  16. - OneMan - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    I would describe it as it starts in a 30-mile radius from the end of each Metra line…

    As for offended, I voted no, but the whole ‘is term X offensive’ is a tough call.


  17. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    No. never mean it offensively. NY uses upstate. it’s just descriptive in my opinion even if unclear on where the lines are drawn. And any negative comments sure go both ways. on Chicago, it’s like some think everyone in Chicago is either wealthy or a criminal. It’s different from where you are wherever you go.


  18. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    ===So does Iroquois County.===

    My sister lives in Gilman, and they get WCIA too, so it’s split. My guess is most Iroquoians identify more with downstate than Chicago.


  19. - Thoughts Matter - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    Depends on how you use it. If you are using it to describe ‘ south of here’, then no. No different than using downwind to describe where the wind is blowing to. If you use it to mean somehow less than yourself, then yes.

    Divide Illinois using 2 horizontal lines equidistant from each other. That’s Northern, Central. and Southern Illinois.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    ===But parts of Kendall County, which isn’t in District 1, can be considered more suburban than Downstate.===

    As a Kendall County resident, I’d say I’m “suburban-ly rural” with enough off of 71 to be, by definition “downstate”, and more than 50 miles, in some places, away from “Chicago” that I’ve been perplexed where I live…


  21. - AndyIllini - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    It’s not offensive, but it’s kind of a tipoff that whatever follows is going to be pretty uninformed, that someone from Chicago is talking about a part of the state they don’t know anything about. “Southern Illinois” is a term that people may have differing definitions of. “Downstate” is just not a real thing, people outside of the Chicago area don’t talk about the state that way and don’t really have an opinion on what it might mean, other than that we can infer that Chicagoans are talking about us when they say it.


  22. - the Cardinal - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Not in the six county area and anything west of I-39 south of I-80. Media market has little to do with in this day and age.


  23. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    I voted no.

    Until someone comes up with a better term to characterize the portion of the state under discussion, ‘downstate’ will do.

    – MrJM


  24. - dbk - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    That was a fun question; ProPublicaIL seems to be enjoying the answers!

    I’m from downstate, but describe myself as a “central Illinoisan” - CI, IOW. For me, Illinois = corn, soybeans, hog farms, Illinois River + CAT. Best memories ever.

    Not exactly what someone from Winnetka would think of, I realize, but nonetheless within the state’s boundaries.

    Btw, hope we’re all rooting for ProPublica IL, and thinking up great investigative topics for their newly-announced collaborations with local newsrooms.


  25. - Chris - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    In Minnesota, they call everything outside the TC metro “outstate Minnesota” or “greater Minnesota”.

    Maybe if downstaters (esp your reps) start using “Greater Illinois”, it could catch on.


  26. - David - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    I took us 34 in from the West to Naperville . The 60 mile sign is very rural but just outside Sandwich it’s a sudden transition to the suburbs. I would call Rockford to Dekalb to LaSalle and Kankakee exurban. NYC calls itself downstate so I can’t see why it is a problem. My problem is the conflation of downstate as all rural or the southern tip. The bulk of downstate is urban.


  27. - Joe M - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    I voted yes, because Chicagoans lump everyone who lives outside the Chicago area as downstate, with no recognition, or even caring about the intricate differences and cultures that make up the rest of Illinois. It similar to lumping all Blacks or all Asians as stereotypes. There is often a certain dismissive attitude at play.

    On the other hand, those who do not live in the Chicago metro area are just as bad. They lump anyone who lives East of DeKalb as “Chicago” and attache their own stereotypes to Chicagoans - and are just as dismissive.


  28. - Not miffed - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    I get more annoyed by…”the great state of Chicago” declaration as if they should be the 51st state.


  29. - Try-4-Truth - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    I live like 3 miles from Wisconsin (suburban Rockford) and I’m called a “Downstater”.

    Call me whatever you want. I can take it.


  30. - LakeviewJ - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    I vote no and I hope I’ve never given offense by using the term. I use it when speaking generally about the part of Illinois outside the Chicago metro. I use different terms to describe specific regions (e.g. Metro East).


  31. - illini97 - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    Voted no. Lived downstate all of my life and Rich’s point of differences is spot on. Grew up in the Danville area and that is entirely unlike the Edwardsville area I live in now.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    To the Question,

    I voted “No”.

    Thr real “anger” should be when central Illinois (Peoria, B-N, Urbana-Champaign, Macomb, Quincy) is called “Southern Illinois”. It’s not.

    Another great example I’ve run across is “Upstate” in reference to New York State, and where this imaginary 45 degree angle from the 5 Boroughs and Albany (up the Hudson) and Buffalo.

    So, keep central Illinois, southern Illinois separate, I’m fine with the bland distinction, even in Oswego/Kendall Illinois, of downstate.


  33. - Duke of Normandy - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    Voted no. even though it is an inherently divisive term, it’s not offensive. People have a real ability to categorize each other and most of the time it’s not good. This isn’t either, but offensive is a bit strong.


  34. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===I grew up in Southern Illinois (capitalized, of course) where anything north of I-64 was suspect. “Downstate” meant nothing, but don’t you dare call anyone from the middle part of the state “Southern.” ===

    Could’ve written this myself. As someone who grew up in Southern Illinois, spent a fair amount of time in Springfield, and who’s now in Chicago, I don’t see anything about “Downstate” being offensive. I’d add, Central and Southern Illinoisans generally agree on their nomenclature. It’s the folk who are native to Chicagoland who tend not to recognize the difference.


  35. - Get a Job!! - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    I tend to lump the state into 4 categories:

    Chicagoland - Cook & Collar counties
    Northern - North of I-80
    Southern - South of I-70
    Central - Everything in between

    When I hear someone say “downstate” I assume they’re referring to anything outside of what I consider “Chicagoland.”


  36. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    This nomenclature focused on urban centers happens in other states. “Upstate New York” is literally everything that isn’t NYC and Long Island. “Northern California starts around the middle of the state to distinguish the Bay Area from Los Angeles. I have seen descriptions of “Western Pennsylvania” that incorporate Scranton and Harrisburg. This is the Illinois version.


  37. - Distant Viewer - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    As a Chicago area resident, I always thought Downstate was a term meant to exclude Chicago and the suburbs. Like Downstate was somewhat akin to Real Americans. Funny how perspectives work. Also, as someone born outside Illinois, I have always thought it was weird that the mid-sized cities of Illinois constantly get ignored by this term and how northern Illinois is “downstate.” Quite frankly, Peoria, Rockford, Bloomington, etc. should be more in alignment with Chicago than they are. Not knowing the districts well, I suspect gerrymandering plays a role in limiting the city dwellers voices in these cities.


  38. - Because I said so.... - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    I voted no. When I use the term, I don’t mean it as a slight but just referring to a part of the sate.
    I live in Chicago so maybe we have a different interpretation. I consider south of Springfield downstate. I guess it also depends on how and when people use the term downstate.


  39. - Responsa - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    No. People nowadays seem to be able to find “offense” at almost anything anybody else says if they look and stretch hard enough. My advise: don’t look so hard.


  40. - don the legend - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    Voted no.

    The real insult is the language used by Rauner and Raunerites claiming ‘downstate taxpayers’ were being forced to bailout the ‘corrupt’ Chicago schools.


  41. - AndyIllini - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    I’d kind of agree that it means anywhere not getting their news from Chicago. That’s where you’re most likely to hear the term, and they are referring to the State beyond their area. Since its rarely used anywhere else it doesn’t have a different meaning elsewhere. Now “Southern Illinois I’d essentially say Mt. Vernon is the northern border (you could say I-64 except Southern IllIllinois” doesn’t jut to the north to STL the way 64 does). But that varies depending who you ask.


  42. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    In my experience, other than politicians and reporters, people in the Chicago metro do not use the term “Downstate.”

    And growing up in the cornfields, we certainly didnt refer to ourselves as Downstaters (but we all knew what “like Chicago” meant; not a secret).

    Just my observation, but people in the metro will speak very specifically about Champaign, or Bloomington, or Carbondale, or the Quad-Cities, etc. — places they’re from originally, went to school or know well.

    I think it much more a political insider term than one common in the vernacular.

    If it’s offensive, I’d suggest Downstate politicians stop using it when they draw a distinction in their Chicago bashing.


  43. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    Yes. Galena is approximately 38 miles -North- of Chicago.


  44. - Justin - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    As a Madison County, IL resident, Downstate Illinois is to me:
    - Anything SOUTH of either US 136 or I-72/US 36.

    And, no, neither Chicago, Rockford, Rock Island, Kankakee, nor Ottawa/La Salle are downstate to me. Peoria and Bloomington/Normal are barely considered downstate to me.


  45. - Plainfield liberal - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    Not offensive. They’re just one word terms used to describe general demographics and geography in a contextual sense. I think “Downstate” starts where it would take a representative or senator 1 hour+ to drive from one edge of their district to the other in farm country, traveling many miles at high speeds.


  46. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    “Yes. Galena is approximately 38 miles -North- of Chicago.”

    And this *offends* you?

    Why?

    – MrJM


  47. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===I get more annoyed by…”the great state of Chicago” declaration===

    Um, that was a Dan Quayle flub.


  48. - Regular democrat - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    I voted no but as long as dog whistle is the new term du jour downstate to me means white people


  49. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    I’ve got my feet firmly planted in both Chicago and downstate. Downstaters think I’m a city slicker, and city folks think I’m a hillbilly from the Netherlands (a little exaggeration there, I’m sure). The downstate part of me is not offended by the term.

    To me, I-64 is the southern/northern IL dividing line. DeKalb feels like it’s downstate to me because of all the ag, and that most NIU students don’t commute every day from mom and dad’s house. Kankakee feels like it is downstate, but Manteno and Peotone are full of south suburban expats. Lake and McHenry, Chicagoland for sure, but Marengo has a more downstate feel than Crystal Lake. Maybe it’s like pornography…you can’t define it, but you know it when you see it.


  50. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===Anything SOUTH of either US 136 or I-72/US 36===

    Um, that would include me. So I would beg to differ.


  51. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    “Downstate” isn’t offensive to me as a central IL resident, but I find it intellectually lazy shorthand used mostly by the upstate Chicago media. It’s easier for lazy journalists to lump disparate places such as Freeport and Cairo under one umbrella than to describe them as distinct places with their own attributes. Chicago media types would be shocked to grasp that Effingham isn’t the same as Macomb, which isn’t the same as Taylorville, which isn’t the same as Pekin, and so on ad nauseam.


  52. - LevivotedforJudy - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    As a Metro-East native who lives in Lincoln Park, I said no. But, I consider Downstate South of I-80, but Southern Illinois starts at Marion (excluding the Metro-East though).


  53. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    === Chicago media types would be shocked to grasp that Effingham isn’t the same as Macomb===

    Oh, stop. You’re proving yourself to be a goofball.


  54. - Midstate Indy - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Central IL: Peoria. Southern IL: Carbondale. Downstate: South of I-70.

    Northern IL to a Downstater: North of Decatur.


  55. - Kid - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    “I tend to lump the state into 4 categories:

    Chicagoland - Cook & Collar counties
    Northern - North of I-80
    Southern - South of I-70
    Central - Everything in between”

    This is spot on. Outside of sports teams, there was never too much connection to Chicago. And people in Central Illinois have made a conscious choice to live there.


  56. - Kid - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    To expound of my post, people in Central Illinois realize the country (Chicago) isn’t the same without them.

    Caterpillar built the machines that make the roads, ADM & John Deere plow the land that feed the people and State Farm supplied the $$ to offset the risk.

    Not a lot of shrinking violets in the 309.


  57. - Andrea Durbin - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    No vote, although I am really interested in the results. But I wanted to share a story — I was in Vienna last week, and one of the people I met with noted that we really were downstate, since we were south of Mt. Vernon! That cracked up everyone in the room.


  58. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    Offended? Nope. Proud. You skunks from around Chicago dont know what a real lifestyle is. (My attwmpt at A funny).


  59. - My New Handle - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    I have always wondered why the Tribune capitalizes downstate. Capital letterrs are a signal that the writer is writing about a specific thing. What is the Tribune referring to specifically in its Downstate usage? (Other news outlets may capitalize, but the Trib is one that comes to mind.)


  60. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    ===I have always wondered why the Tribune capitalizes downstate===

    Because it’s a place, like the South Side.


  61. - Don Gerard - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    Champaign has been among the fastest growing cities in the United States and the number one destination for folks leaving Chicago for the past few years…an a mere 200 Rahm miles from Chicago, no less!


  62. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:16 pm:

    Growing up in Chicagoland, we never knew that there was any place different from Chicagoland. Never thought of people being different in any other place. Never heard the term “Downstate” used until about 20 years ago.

    I had a college buddy from Olney. He had an accent and when I drove down to spend time there, I loved it. Yet he seemed kind of embarrassed.

    I don’t know why anyone outside Chicagoland should wonder what us folks in Chicago think about the, because the truth is, we don’t ever think about them. Indiana and Wisconsin - yeah - but nothing south of I-80 or west of the Fox Valley.


  63. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    @MisterJayEm
    “And this *offends* you? Why?”

    The laziness of it. “Outstate” would be more accurate, and demonstrate some thought.


  64. - Downstate43 - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    Not offended by it in the slightest. I think it’s actually a point of pride for us Downstaters - and I’m farther north than Naperville.

    Plenty of people stick with the south of 80/west of 39 definition, but I’ve always thought of it as anything outside Cook +5. The census might count DeKalb, but I bet most DeKalbians don’t and neither do the other 6.


  65. - Nishi - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    I’m born and raised in Springfield. I’m not offended by the use of the word downstate, although I would agree that it is difficult to define and should be used less broadly. I would also agree that most central IL folks tend to be offended by Chicagoans referring to the area as “southern” in any way.


  66. - paddyrollingstone - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Grew up in Joliet and didn’t think of it as really part of the Chicago area until I went to college in the mid-80s when it all began to combine with the south and west suburbs, although its not exactly “downstate.”

    I think of anything south of 80 as downstate now. I think its actually a cool term.


  67. - Justbored - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    45 miles south of my Illinois home is called Tennessee.


  68. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    We’re not offended by the term Downstate. The closer you get to the capital, the higher class of criminal you get.


  69. - Keyser Soze - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    I’ve done consulting work throughout most of Illinois, maybe 80 of the 102 counties. Here are some observations.

    When you are in Southern Illinois, you know it. I-64 is a pretty good demarcation. Yet, Centralia, north of I-64, doesn’t seem central, although Vandalia, north of Centralia does.

    Passing through Decatur, you may detect a bit of a Kentucky dialect. And, how is Galena even in Illinois? Some of the locals there could have been extras in the movie Fargo. The island Quincy is really part of Missouri, just as the Quad cities are in Iowa. Rockford and Freeport? Upper Mid-West.

    I-80 is a good north-central border. And, Blo-No is as central as it gets. Metro-East is none of the above; it’s a melting pot of all.

    In between the dots are rural pockets that have unique charms all their own that defy classification. And, by the way, if the Mason-Dixon Line is extended westward, it passes through a location somewhere near Litchfield.

    None of the above has anything to do with the matter of upstate versus downstate. New York, with its Albany and Buffalo, has the same issue.

    All in all, our state is a special place. I have enjoyed everywhere I’ve been in Illinois.


  70. - Behind the Scenes - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    I’m a NO vote. I’ve always thought anywhere south of I-80 was downstate.


  71. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    –Passing through Decatur, you may detect a bit of a Kentucky dialect.–

    You’ll detect more than a bit of something if your schnozz is operational.


  72. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    Currently living in Chicago, grew up Downstate. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Could spend the rest of my life in the city and will always consider myself a downstater.


  73. - In 630 - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 2:30 pm:

    Now calling parts of the state Kentucky or Wisconsin, THAT is derogatory.


  74. - FormerParatrooper - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Not being an Illinois native, when I moved in the Peoria area I understood it was Central Illinois. When I started working for a company based outside of Chicago, I heard the term Downstate and the thought anyone south of I80 had to be a hillbilly. Having grown up in Southern Missouri, I thought that was hilarious, people in Illinois wear shoes all year round! How can they be hillbillies?

    Is it an offensive term? I believe context in how you use the word determines whether it is offensive or not. It doesn’t offend me either way, and neither did being called a hillbilly by people where I grew up.


  75. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Keyser -
    If you extend it due west, the Mason-Dixon line runs through Springfield just north of Toronto Road.


  76. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    South of I-80 it is really like Alabama, except it’s colder and the Illini are not the Crimson Tide.


  77. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:09 pm:

    –South of I-80 it is really like Alabama,–

    Ron, you’re supposed to put your name on those idiotic drive-bys.


  78. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:09 pm:

    ‘“Outstate” would be more accurate, and demonstrate some thought.’

    But anything demonstrating the Chicago area giving Downstate some thought would be dishonest.

    – MrJM


  79. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:13 pm:

    “But anything demonstrating the Chicago area giving Downstate some thought would be dishonest.”

    The crowds of vehicles headed west when the leaves turn in Galena indicates they give at least -some- thought to the areas outside of the Chicago area.


  80. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:13 pm:

    ===it passes through a location somewhere near Litchfield===

    Which is where I think southern Illinois begins (45 miles south). The local WSMI radio station used to advertise itself as a southern Illinois station, but now claims to serve “Mid-Illinois” http://www.wsmiradio.com/

    I-64, coincidentally (or not) is about 45 miles south of Litchfield.


  81. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    ===South of I-80 it is really like Alabama, except it’s colder and the Illini are not the Crimson Tide.===
    (Sigh)

    The only close parallel that exists is Indiana should be located between Mississippi and Alabama.

    You haven’t seen rural poor until you visit Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia…

    Even comparing Indiana to that rural poor and despair isn’t close but it’s closer than comparing Downstate to Alabama.


  82. - Gooner - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    I usually intend it as an insult, so yeah, they should take it as an insult.

    That’s not 100% true. I know some nice people who live downstate. I’ve had some wonderful experiences in places like Ottawa, Sterling and elsewhere.

    However, as a Chicago resident, I’m so tired of the repeated Chicago bashing by people who live outside Chicago that generally I view them the same way as many of them see us. It is defensive and reflexive.


  83. - King of the Hill - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 3:27 pm:

    Answer: Shucks no.
    But tell any Chicagoan that the vast majority of downstaters, who have in recent years trended Republican/Tea Party-ish continue to believe Chicago should become a state of its own…and the Chicagoans are not offended. They just think of downstaters as rubes.


  84. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 20, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    As a person who has lived in central Illinois most of my life, I am not offended by the term, but it is poorly defined if Galena is “downstate.” Better to use northern Illinois, central Illinois, and southern Illinois, plus Chicagoland. Those places actually exist, even if we may argue about their whereabouts. They provide geographic context for those who may never have had to think about it before. And I tend to divide it up by interstates (80 and 70), even if places near the boundaries might not fit well (southern Will Co).


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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