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The Central United States is sometimes conceived as between the Eastern United States and Western United States as part of a three-region model, roughly coincident with the Midwestern United States plus the western and central portions of the Southern United States; the term is also sometimes used more or less as a synonym for the Midwest, omitting all or most of the South.
Somewhat misleadingly, the central states are not in the exact center, but a bit towards the East Coast - states such as Colorado, geographically very close to the center of the contiguous United States, are almost never considered the central US, while Ohio is.
|West North Central States||East North Central States|
|West South Central States||East South Central States|
Almost all of the area of these 20 states is in the Gulf of Mexico drainage basin, and most of that is in the Mississippi Basin. Small areas near the Great Lakes drain into the Great Lakes and eventually the St. Lawrence River; the Red River Basin is centered on the North Dakota-Minnesota border and drains to Hudson Bay.
The Central Time Zone is the same area plus the Florida Panhandle, minus Ohio, Michigan, most of Indiana, westernmost fringes of Great Plains states, eastern and northern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and El Paso, Texas.
Census Bureau Divisions with Central in name.
Organizations that need to subdivide the US are free to define a "Central" region to fit their needs.