The 12 differences of the North and South: You thought it, I said it.

Born and raised in New York City, I am well aware of the lifestyle there.

Fast. Expensive. Busy. Flashing lights.  A large melting pot with immigrants from all over the world squeezed into a tiny 2 mile wide island called Manhattan. The city has changed rapidly (as it always did historically) since my childhood. I quickly realized the city life wasn’t in the cards for me.

When I got married, we (my husband, children and I) moved to upstate NY. The capital region, near Saratoga Springs. We traveled frequently all over upstate to Boston, Vermont and New Hampshire.  We will go to Ohio twice a year. In short, we are  very familiar with the North overall. It’s scenery, opportunities, people and history.

When deciding the best place in the US to purchase property, a business and raise our children- we came to the conclusion that the South West was best.

We had already visited the region prior to the move. We met with business owners, politicians, visited a school district and a real estate agent to inquire about land. We didn’t want to make any decision with our heart, but to use our head instead. Everything checked out. When we returned to the North after this visit, we were anxious and motivated: we immediately began preparing to move our family (and our life) to the South.

This is a big deal.

The people who did encouraged the move would say: It is still in America, you’ll be fine.

But these people tend to forget how living particularly in New York is totally different than any other place. There is seriously no other place in the world like New York. It is very hard to leave. Not just by financial reasons but mental and emotional reasons. I call this the “Cuba Effect.” New Yorkers would leave New York for the sunny beaches at Florida. Only to return to a cloudy, struggling and expensive New York City within a year.

Did I ignore this reality as we prepared for this move? We are still New Yorkers, and it shows with our plates on our cars.

We might be homesick a bit. We might miss upstate NY in particular. But now that I am living down South (in the Wild Wild West at that) I can testify there are major differences between the two regions. It might take time for my mental and emotional settlement, but I noticed it is far more easier for my younger children. (I also stood at Louisville, Kentucky. Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. Little Rock, Arkansas. Louisiana and Mississippi. All of Texas. We are talking Deeeeep South!)

Is the difference merely the Industrial North and King Cotton South? Actually, it goes more deeper than that. Cotton is no longer in high demand and we will focus more on culture, values, customs and behavior.

Yes, I get it. We are united through the Federal government. Yet, this truth doesn’t change the fact that I felt like an alien to these states. A whole different country.

Differences that cannot go unnoticed.  But often goes unspoken. Until now that is….

Here are the top 12 things that separate the North and the South:

12. The feminist of the South has dreams of moving to the North. While all kinds of individuals of the North dreams of moving to the South.

While this may sound like a joke, it’s the truth. I’ve met over a dozen of single, part-time working feminist who long to live at Los Angeles, New York and even Miami Beach. Sorry Chicago. No one willingly is suicidal for that move.

Then back at NY- I couldn’t find many people who actually wanted to spend the rest of their life there. They wanted out to: Virginia, the Carolinas and Florida. But they weren’t so daring to move further out West. They enjoy the whole EST light. (Again, this is just talk from both sides. I believe it when I see it.)

11. The South= No eye contact. The North= Staring contest.

When you are meeting someone from the South, they tend to shake your hand nervously while looking away… pretty odd. No one is cross eye, so I don’t get it.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers glare on fixedly at you with their eyes wide open. This is usually a invitation for conflict, flirtation or lack of certainty. It’s also odd.

10. The South is lawless. The North is lawful.

The South doesn’t like to be told what to do. Same here. That is why I am also attracted to the area. However. They don’t even follow a basic law, like a speed limit or paying a toll. You can forget about forcing Southerns to purchase healthcare. The motto here is: Tax me, you die. The funny thing is… No one seems to care unless you are bothering someone else.

The North likes to tell others what to do- but will anyone listen? The “authority” there do so through tricky and manipulation. Much crafty. Much clever. Much arrogance. Much time on their hands.

9. South is extremely religious (and loud about  it). North is blended on religion (quiet Christians, loud secularist).

This one is pretty obvious. But the boldness of Christianity in the South is mind blowing as a New Yorker.

Albany, NY came in as the most atheist city in the USA. I happened to live nearby. But even there, I found many religious people. Almost in hiding, but they were there. The secular intellects who have a platform tend to be more vocal than a pastor from NY. Not in the South.

The churches, school prayers, parks with a cross of Jesus Christ and community members with bibles out on a Wednesday felt like I was in Germany with Marin Luther. I received an email from my daughter’s teacher. But I couldn’t figure out if this email was from her Sunday school teacher or reading teacher from school. The email had heavy overtones of religion in it. (Not that I mind, but I am astonished at this act of bravery.) It was her 3rd grade reading teacher.

The Southern churches are even more bold. Let’s just say during service, my mouth dropped open at the raw, graphic and (maybe too much) information shared. NY is very politically correct. Even the churches there walk on eggshells. The Southern Pastors have gun ranges out back and doesn’t care what a person from DC has to say.

8. The scenery and weather.

The North has amazing trees, the beautiful Adirondack mountains and great lakes. These are especially beautiful in the Fall time.

The South is very flat but this helps support amazing sunsets, sunrises and lightening storms.

When it comes to the weather, the North is cold and the South is hot. When the North goes into winter, it shows no mercy. However, I have experienced July and August in Texas. Let’s just say: I am Odysseus.

The South is actually very efficient on handling the heat. They have outdoor mist stations, fans and sprinklers for everyone- including adults. Every indoor place is blasted with Central Air. The North is far behind on handling heat spells. But they are expert on snow removal and driving in it.

Bottom line: Weather is something inescapable. All parts of the globe offer different risk and awards. But I tend to give the North a upper hand on this one. I like soups and hot coffee.

7. Food portions and The Southern Hospitality.

Honestly, if you don’t accept a Southern homemade meal- that is consider treason. Alright, maybe they downgraded the level of offense. But it is certainly disrespectful.

When my family and a friend of ours were deciding to eat at a restaurant at Louisville, Kentucky- we chose a local business. After a few minutes of being uncomfortable and not liking the menu options (Chili Bacon, Chili Cheese, Chili Hotdog, Chili CheeseCAKE…) we wanted to Chili Skedaddle. Hey- a new menu option!

But the thing was…. it wasn’t that simple. When we all stood up and began to leave the restaurant- the head chef shouted as he held his spatula: “Hey! Where y’all headed? I know y’all ain’t leaving!” Everyone at the restaurant (3 people total) stared at us while chewing slowly on their Chili. “Yes, um. See you later…” was our response.

We get it. The South enjoys to serve, while the North likes to be served. While we will receive 10x better customer service and pricing in the South, the North tends to focus on their restaurant’s critics (need the A grade on your restaurant from health inspectors to attract customers) and quantity rather than quality.

6. Cost of living.

You heard of the South rising? That would also be the cost of living.

The South knows people around the country are flocking down for better quality of living and more opportunity. Just don’t expect a much difference at the cost of living. Sure your auto insurance might slightly go down. But your house payments will flat line or possibility be more expensive depending on where you are coming from. The result is: You’re pretty much spending the same amount because you will have the same lifestyle. Unless you add on or make cuts to your lifestyle, your cost will remain the same.

5. Language.

Yeehaw! (An expression from the South. Typically associated with a good attitude.) If the British thought the colonist were uncivilized because of their abuse of the English language, then the South would definitely evoke outrage.

While the Northerners in general keep to themselves, they at least attempt to use a proper vocabulary when forced into dialog. (However, due to social handicap- they usually it comes off as narcissistic or awkward.) The South (and areas of the North is also guilty of this) uses slang, idioms and whatever comes to mind the quickest to express their thought. Even if it is gibberish.

Side note: according to the South, it is the Yankees with the accent…. y’all.

4. Southern people are chatty. Northern people are anti-social… at least on the surface.

As I mentioned previously, the folks in the North tend to mind their business. It is actually considered rude to ask a New Yorker “private” questions such as: Where do you work? Are you a veteran? Do you have a wife and kids? None of these questions are ever asked and eventually creates an attitude of ‘not caring.’

But back down South… it is completely different. They will smile, say phrases like “bless his little heart”, ask you about your life and even invite you to their house for some American Apple Pie. But be caution with the smile: It is deceitful and can turn on you real quick. ‘The more they smile, the more they hate you’ is the motto.

So let’s wrap this up and remember this summary:

  • When entering the homes of the North: Keep your shoes on. You don’t pay rent.
  • In the South: Take your shoes off. You don’t pay rent.


3. Union who? The South is BIG on state rights. The North seems not to care.


Where do I begin? Should I start with the Texas flag being held up higher than the US flag? Or how they BRAG about not having a 13 colonies (and help of France) to go to war against Britain? That they fought Mexico- one on one? Or how about the South not caring what a Federal government has to say? This could be why Common Core is ban from Texas.

The local government and their citizens has influence over the communities of the South. (Seek Tenth Amendment.) In New York, it is different. While NYC tends to operate as their own state, separated from New York State- they rely heavily on Albany law markers. With New York City government officials and Albany lawmakers, they rule the entire state. The South doesn’t give that much power to a central force.

Side note: My children already have a Southern accent and know random facts about the State of Texas. When I asked my daughter “Do you remember George Washington? Patrick Henry or Ben Franklin?” She replied “Of course. The men that pave the way for  Sam Houston. They are also very important to the Independence of Texas.” 

Um… excuse me?

2. South: Men are heavily interested in other men’s work. North: Men don’t care about work.

As the South is very chatty, they show no hesitation on finding out what your husband does (of if you are a man- what you do) for a living. From my experience, any work I do- even if it is employment is considered a hobby. The main focus is what does my husband do for a living. Being from the North, this (pleasantly)  surprised me.

The North doesn’t really care what you do for a living, as long as you leave them alone. Now, after several conversations with a Northerner, they might start to become curious and ask about your occupation. The difference is: They want to know what you AND your spouse does for a living. Is it because the North is heavily feminist or just wild expensive? Maybe both. But this is very common to see both parties working, while in the South it is very common to see only the men working. Uncommon and dishonor for unemployed able men.

Side note: Having many children and homeschooling is huge in the South. While in the North, 0-2 children is considered ‘understandable’ and placing them in public school is the norm. My husband and I having 3 children in the North was an eye opener to many people. They saw my husband and I as rabbits. In the South, 3 children is considered amateur and we get the boot.

You can’t win.    

1. Black Americans work in the South. (All types of positions.) Northern Blacks don’t.

This is absolutely my favorite. And no, it’s not because I like to see only one group of people working. I enjoy to see ALL Americans striving and achieving together. This is not only good for America, but good for the world.

Back in NY, I would NEVER see a young black American man working as a cashier at your local bodega. I would see Latinos, Asians and Middle Eastern immigrants 10x before an American Black worker. If a Black person did work in NY, the person was more likely to be a woman or elderly Black with a government position. Many Northern young (male) blacks are street vendors, dreams of becoming a rapper or NBA star. Many are involved in crime due to no work ethics. Rarely were any of them working on family or climbing the corporate ladder.

But in the South… can someone say Self-reliance?  Responsible? Friendly and religious? Even… patriotic Black Americans? Yes! At Memphis we stopped at a gas station. Do you know who was behind the register? Was it my husband’s Indian uncle? No! It was a 19 year old black American professional. He was polite and helpful. I have NEVER seen that in the North.

We also stood at a high end hotel in Memphis. The entire establishment is run by professional, kind heart and jazz loving Black Americans. One young black woman worker there told me: “Wow. Y’all from NY? I’m just a small town girl. I love my town, my mama and papa. Auntie Carol and my dear Uncle. We got a small farm, nothing big. Just a blessing from the good Lord. We go back generations. So y’all headed to Texas?  Texas is a fine state. Other than bringing drugs to my sweet Memphis, Tennessee. But they sure are good people overall.”

Blacks from the south have families. They have work. They have manners and are friendly. Above all, they have God. It’s just not the Black Americans who have been heavily oppressed by the Democrat welfare policies.But all kinds of Americans who perhaps didn’t have a “head start” in life. (Born into wealth or parents) but only have the ambition, work ethic and US Constitution to utilize the opportunity available.

IF! They want it. Not only if they want it, but the environment of the South strongly encourages and rewards those who do put effort. By keeping taxes low, having less regulations, promotes patriotism, family, work, education and God.

This trait of the South was completely overlooked when I originally came to visit years ago. It is no wonder the Northern people have desires and dreams of settling in the South. While the North offers things that the South wouldn’t- the South also offers things the North once did. Together as Americans, we can learn from one another. Furthermore, with the different options the states offer, we as Americans can choose what best suites us.

The North and Southern styles can help that.

2 thoughts on “The 12 differences of the North and South: You thought it, I said it.

  1. Interesting. I visited North Carolina some years ago and was impressed by the incredible sweetness and hospitality I experienced.

    One day I was with my friend and a group of people when a women he invited over to meet me was walking up the drive. A lady in the room began cursing the woman stating how much she hated her with such a passion that I feared a confrontation. Instead, when the woman arrived, the lady that “hated” her turned into the sweetest thing; waiting on her hand and foot and constantly referred to her as Miss. You would have thought she adored the woman. It was so sincere that it was surreal. When the woman left, the lady practically yelled in disgust. “God, I hate her!”. Unreal.

    And, yes, they are very into Jesus.

    1. Yes, there are many people like that down south! I couldn’t believe the southern “hospitality”… It’s like bi-polar.

      It’s one thing to be professional and civilized in public or at work. It’s another thing to really change your entire being to the point of you being unrecognizable.

      I overheard a lady at the office over here. She was a wicked, bitter pro-black woman who is at work on the phone discussing the “motherland” Africa. Immediately when I came in, she hung up the phone and morphed into the sweetest, most polite Christian woman. What is this madness?

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