Midwest Niceties vs. Delco Realness: A Midwesterner's Perspective on Delaware County

Since moving to Delaware County from a small town in South Dakota in late August, I’ve racked up a list of cultural differences between the two regions. Though the Midwest and “Delco” areas both have different cultural reputations across the nation, I went into this change unassuming, which made it easy to spot the differences in lifestyle, mannerisms, and even speech.


Across the nation, the Midwest is known for the “Midwest nice” stereotype- one that can often be described as “too nice,” or fake nice. Midwesterners are overly polite, courteous, and friendly to all. It’s common to smile and wave to random strangers in the Midwest, and conversations at the window with your barista are expected.

In the Midwest, the Northeast/Delco area has a stereotype of being rude, direct, and sometimes blunt. While all these traits can be true, they don’t fully encompass the essence of Delco residents. Most Midwest natives have never been as far as Delaware County or Philadelphia, or even New York, for that matter, so most of the expectations of what life is like here are exaggerated or based on television or movies.

Some staple dishes in the Midwest are chislic, tater tot hotdish, snicker salad, and green bean casserole.

 In my experience, I’ve found the popular saying “No one likes us, we don’t care” to be exceptionally true of Philly/Delco residents. The whole “no one likes us” part isn’t all that true, but Delco residents are often unapologetically themselves, an attitude that is honestly refreshing after living in the “Midwest nice” culture for so long.

In my opinion, some staple dishes in Delco are tomato pizza, hoagies, and Rita’s “wooter” (water) ice.

Delco Pride

Delco residents are robust in their love for their county, something that is extremely uncommon in the Midwest. I’ve seen all kinds of Delco-themed merchandise, ranging from bumper stickers to clothing and other apparel. The typical Delco resident also loves Dunkin’ Donuts, Wawa, and soft pretzels.


Even before I moved to Delaware County, I was aware of my strong Midwest accent and stretched vowels, as well as the difference in accents and slang in the Philly area. In fact, the first interaction I had on campus was with Sister Linda ****, where she asked, “Where are you from? I love your vowels!”

Being from South Dakota and having family in Northern Minnesota, I naturally say certain words differently, like many other Midwesterners. Delco residents typically pronounce ‘bag’ with a short ‘a,’ whereas some parts of the upper Midwest stretch the ‘a,’ which makes it sound more like ‘beg.’

Immediately upon moving here, I could hear some differences in my teammates and coaches’ accents. The first word I heard pronounced differently was ‘wooter,’ for ‘water.’ I also learned slang I had never heard before, such as phrases like, “not too much,” “jawn,” and “drawlin’.”

After living here for almost nine months, I can say I am glad I chose Delco as my new home. Though there are cultural differences between the two regions, I have grown to appreciate certain parts of both. As we head into finals week, I am sad to leave Aston and all the friends I have made, even if it is just for the summer.