What is the Rust Belt?

The Rust Belt refers to a region of the United States that was once a critical and thriving segment of the country’s industrial sector, but has since undergone dramatic de-industrialization, economic decline, population decline and urban decay. This term became famous in the United States in the early 1980s.

Where is the Rust Belt?

The Rust Belt is a part of the United States that extends from the Great Lakes region to the upper Midwest states. It begins in the western part of New York and crosses Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and up to the lower peninsula of Michigan. In the past, the area was commonly referred to as the industrial heart of the United States. Once the Great Lakes region was used for transportation, extraction and production of natural resources. The coal and steel industries have flourished thanks to the availability of natural resources and access to transport routes. The Rust Belt is commonly depicted by old production centers and damaged industrial skylines.

Major cities in the rust belt

One of the major cities of the Rust Belt is Chicago, Illinois. The city’s proximity to the American west, the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan meant that the movement of people, products and raw materials was easy. This led the city to become known as an important transportation center in the early 20th century. Chicago has mainly specialized in the production of livestock, timber and grain products. Later a canal was built in 1848 to connect the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Chicago has grown to become one of the largest railway centers in North America and serves as a production center for freight and passenger wagons. Baltimore, Maryland, is another important city in the Rust Belt region. It is located on the eastern shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland has the availability of rivers and inlets that connect to the Chesapeake Bay. Having the longest waterfront, Maryland has been significant in the production of metals and transportation equipment, such as ships. Other major cities in the rust region include Buffalo, New York, Detroit, Michigan and St. Louis, MO.


The cities in the Rust Belt region remain the main merchandise centers in the United States. Their past economic and industrial experience has permeated them with a great diversity that has led to the success and cultural greatness of the United States.

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