If you consult the US Census, the South comprises 16 states and Washington, DC. It starts at Texas and Oklahoma in the West, pushes up against the Ohio River with Kentucky and West Virginia, and ends at the Atlantic Ocean with Delaware.
Wait — Delaware? Really? I had long considered the South everything below the Mason-Dixon line, a boundary survey that represented the line of freedom for black people escaping slavery, combined with the effects of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. So that would include states like Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia, as well as DC — but not Delaware.
Earlier this year, I asked readers which states they thought belonged to the Midwest. Now I'm turning the same exercise to the South — another region whose boundaries might vary depending on whom you ask. So we're asking you: What's the South?
Your definition of the South might depend on history — or where you live
Some years back when I was living in Los Angeles, I met some Marylanders who told me the Free State was definitely not a Southern state. Now that I've lived in DC for a couple of years, I wouldn't call it Southern either (even if it's humid as all get out).
For some folks, the South is the 11 slave states that seceded from the United States to bring on the Civil War, but not the handful of slaveholding border states that did not: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia, which split from Confederate Virginia during the Civil War.
After you submit your selection on the map above, all the states that generated more than half the highest count will be displayed back to you as a reader-generated South. Our scale is based on how many times each state was picked, not the percentage of readers who selected the state, so the highest count sets the baseline.
Be careful — you only get one chance to make your vote. Update: We've now closed the poll, but if you haven't submitted your selection, you can still see how your South compares to 41,923 readers.