Silicon Prairie - Midwest Living to Midwest Technology

The Midwest. Are there advantages of Midwest living or Midwest technology? What is actually there, besides the flyover states. Is it changing with the times, or will it forever just be farmland, to feed and nurture the country? What states are actually considered the Midwest?

Let’s start off with the last question, the government recognizes that North and South Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio as the states that make up the Midwest. We are here to convince you that the Midwest is changing, and if you act now, you could join while the iron is still hot.

You may or may not have heard about the rise of the Silicon Prairie. If you have great, keep reading, and see if there is something you didn’t know. If you haven’t, well keep reading, and learn about the hottest new tech hub in the United States. If you are an IT person, you already know the major places in the U.S. where to be a tech star. Those places are the Silicon Valley, New York City, Chicago, Houston, Washington D.C., well it seems there are a lot of places where tech people thrive in.

We don’t plan on focusing on those known tech hubs, though, we want you to know about the Silicon Prairie. Your first question is most likely where is it located? You should know that the Silicon Prairie spans, several states, and not just a portion of a city. This is great because you have options to choose from if you decide to move. Now the definition of the location of the Silicon Prairie varies by the person you are asking. Some say that it is contained to Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Others say that it is Northern Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and certain areas of Wyoming and Illinois. Others, you will find having variations of them. Beings that Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas are part of both of those definitions, we will cover those states and some of their more popular cities. We will, however, give a brief look into the other Midwest states, and if this goes over well, come back and add more to the others.

Skip around if you’d like:

Facts about the Midwest (Perks to Some, Losses to Others.)

Midwest living? You may be asking yourself why would I want to move to the Midwest? We don’t want to say larger, more populous cities are a bad thing, however, in the Midwest you can find people, who genuinely want to help you. Engine23 has employees that live in the Midwest and employees that have visited, and they love the openness of it and not seeing so much build up.

What we mean is that you can go driving and not see just building after building, or town after town, you see vast amounts of open land, miles of crops that you cannot see in many of the more populated states. You will not miss out on sporting events because the Midwest is home to many major sports teams and their fans are diehards. You will also find food that could be in your hometown, but truly originated from this region and once you try it your life will be forever changed (just try some original cheese curds.) Here are some facts, though, there is a lower cost of living meaning you’ll have the ability to purchase a home, buy groceries, pay all your bills, and raise children with a reasonable income that wouldn’t be possible in some of the other cities we compare them to.

You have bigger cities in the Midwest but most likely won’t be overwhelmed by too many bodies being jammed into a city block. If you miss the vast amount of shopping choices, you have in those larger cities. We now live in the twenty-first century where you can shop basically any store online. Yes, you won’t be able to try it on first, but that’s what’s great about return shipping!

It’s Not Just the Fly Over States

The Midwest is just like every other area; they are not behind in the technology field whatsoever. Yes, they have focused on the agricultural scene for a very long time. All they need are more hands and minds to lift them to the greatness in other fields they are aspiring to be. Midwest technology has evolved. The Cushman motor scooter and the Vise-Grip wrench were both invented in Nebraska. In Iowa, the computer, vending machines, Pinterest, gas tractors, is among the many inventions that came from this state. Texas gave you the handheld calculators, integrated circuits, Dell computers, and Silicon breast implants. Without these inventions coming out of Wisconsin, we may not be as advanced as we are without the typewriter, we may still be waiting in line for our next beer without the turbotap, or not able to listen to our musical individually without Koss stereo headphones. From Kansas, came the helicopter, the Coleman grill, and helium. So many technological inventions originated in Minnesota, that it would be hard to name them all but a few of them include; the concrete grain elevator, Satellite TV Broadcasting, and the first supercomputer. 8 tracks, Lear jets, microchips, and LCD technology came from Missouri. Illinois brought you the first cell phone, wireless remotes, LED lights, plasma TV's, and traffic lights. The Midwest technology scene has been growing unceasingly there is nothing stopping them from continuing their momentum to be as reputable as the other tech hubs.

Technological advances

Let’s take a look at the states we have mentioned before to get a better look at the “fly over” states.


Facts about the Midwest state - Nebraska: The Cornhusker state the population is 1,902,00, and the two most popular cities are Omaha and Lincoln. The state's current unemployment rate is 3.0, the nations is currently at 4.7. You will have the Old Market, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, and Creighton University in Omaha. In Lincoln, you have the state's capitol, Memorial Stadium, and the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Some fun facts about Nebraska are that they have the largest mammoth fossil in the world at the University of Nebraska and Kool-Aid was invented here. Warren Buffett and Larry the Cable Guy are from Nebraska. Nebraska’s National Forest is the largest hand-planted forest in the world, the Carhenge, the Henry Dooley's Zoo and Aquarium houses the largest indoor rainforest in the United States.

Midwest Site Seein

Midwest living in Nebraska looks like eating Omaha steaks with a side of corn on the cob, drinking tomato beer (V8 and lager), and watching a Huskers game, live or on the television.

To find job openings in Omaha or Lincoln, you can check out many different job posting sites I linked to different ones for each of the major Nebraska cities we talked about previously. If you want to work in Nebraska but have another city in mind, go here to look for a job.

Omaha is home to five of the Fortune 500 companies, Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific, ConAgra Foods, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., and Mutual of Omaha. Some other large companies that are headquartered in Nebraska are Buckle, Amigos/King Classic, Godfather Pizza, and Omaha Steaks. They have many large companies, occupying space in Nebraska, but look at what some of the start-up businesses are like. Bulubox,Bugeaterfoods, Opendorse, Thisisliberty, and Fantasizr.

In the table below, you can see what prices will look like in Nebraska compared to the Silicon Valley and New York. The prices may vary, as the housing market and gas prices fluctuate.

Nebraska Silicon Valley New York
Salary $50,000 $96,123 $129,475
Median House $238,434 $880,553 $1,355,865
Median Rent $736 $3,051 $3,883
Internet $58.40 $55.15 $52.42
Avg. Utilities $129.74 $112.98 $129.56
Gas Prices $2.21 $2.66 $2.31
State Sales Tax 5.5% 7.5% 4%

*Based off of Omaha for what you would need to make in the other cities. Also, for the other categories. New York is based on Manhattan prices for the salary, housing cost, and rent. The Silicon Valley is based on San Francisco prices.

As you can see, if you are making $96,123 in Silicon Valley you are able to take a whopping 47% pay cut and keep living the same way in Nebraska. If you are a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur you can see that creating a startup will be easier for you. You will not have to have high compensation for your employees. Well, at least, not until your business is booming, and you are able to afford it!

Lastly, you should know that Engine23 was founded in the great state of Nebraska, and is based on Omaha. You can find one of the co-founders still riding out on the Engine23 Fire Truck!


Facts about the Midwest state - Kansas: has a population of around 2,900,000 - 3,000,000, there unemployment rate is at 3.7. Major cities in Kansas, include Wichita, Overland Park, and Topeka. In these cities, you will find a myriad of places to visit. In Topeka, you will find the state's capital, the beautiful Lake Shawnee and Gage Park, the Brown vs. Board Historical site, and the Zoological Park. In Wichita, you can visit the Sedgwick County Zoo, Museum of World Treasures, Botanica: The Wichita Gardens, and if you like being a kid, or you have kids visit the Exploration Place. In Overland Park, go to the farmers' market, check out their Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and Museum at Prairiefire.

There’s no place like home (well not my home, but Dorothy's), here are some fun facts about Kansas! Kansas is home to the world's largest concrete swimming pool, biggest wheat elevator, and a hand dug well. People and companies that came from Kansas are Amelia Earhart, Pizza Hut, and White Castles. Helium was discovered here as was the famous Icee.

Midwest living in Kansas will result in you eating a slab of their slow smoked ribs, picking which state team you want to root for (it will be demanded of you,) be prepared for a road trip, and take pride in the second amendment.

To find job openings in Wichita, Overland Park, and Topeka, you can search the internet, or use the sites linked to the cities' names. In the state of Kansas there are over 32,000 job openings if you would like to go to a different city.

Midwest Business startups

There is only one Fortune 500 company based in Kansas City and it is SeaBoard Corp. Other large companies headquartered in Kansas are Big Dog Motorcycles, Lee, AMC Theaters, and Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad.

Check out some of the start-up businesses that are already selling their products/services or preparing to begin; https://flipntoss.com/, https://www.fireshark.com/, and http://www.blooom.com/.

Now that we sold you on some of the cool places in Kansas, let’s talk (or you can scan beings that it’s in a chart form) about living expenses and how they differ from well-established tech hubs in the United States.

Kansas Silicon Valley New York
Salary $50,000 $92,739 $124,917
Median House $222,400 $880,553 $1,355,865
Median Rent $683 $3,051 $3,883
Internet $53.32 $55.15 $52.42
Avg. Utilities $139.19 $112.98 $129.56
Gas Prices $2.11 $2.66 $2.31
State Sales Tax 6.15% 7.5% 4%

*Based off of Wichita for what you would need to make in the other cities. Also, for the other categories. New York is based on Manhattan prices for the salary, housing cost, and rent. The Silicon Valley is based on San Francisco prices.

You’re living in New York City (sweet), but you’re tired of being in traffic all the time and constantly having your personal bubble invaded by the millions of people there. You’re ready to slow down and start somewhere new! Not saying that you’re going to take a 59.9% pay cut but if you did you could still maintain your way of living that you're accustomed to in New York if you decide to leave for Kansas.


Facts about the Midwest state - Iowa: In 2015 Iowa’s population was at 3,123,889, their unemployment rate is currently at 3.9. However, we do not want to focus on Iowa as a whole, we are going to focus on the three tech-riddled areas. Let’s start with Des Moines, the state capital and one of the most heavily populated cities. There are many things you are able to do in Des Moines, go to the sculpture park, one of many of their museums, catch a ball game either at the ballpark or the arena, or you can always just go on a hike on one of their trails. Cedar Rapids another larger city in the state, you have the ability to catch a show at the theater or visit the National Czech and Slovak museum. In Iowa City, you have the state university located here, theaters and museums, and an array of outdoor activities.

Big City Living in the Midwest

Some fun facts, they have the highest literacy rate out of every other state, President Hoover and John Wayne were from Iowa, who doesn’t love sliced bread (invented in Iowa), and if you love curvy roads, Snake Alley has made its home in Iowa.

If you find yourself choosing to start Midwest living in Iowa, learn to love fried food, the undecided mood of mother nature, attending the bacon festival, and bathe in the creativity, between the art scene, the theatrics, and poets your creative side will be in heaven.

Job openings in Des Moines, < a href="http://www.careerbuilder.com/jobs-it-in-cedar-rapids,ia" target="_blank">Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City. Or if you want to just look for jobs in Iowa.

Now let's get down to business, you have two fortune 500 companies in Iowa both originating in Des Moines, Principal Financial Group and Casey’s General Stores. Other well-known companies in Iowa are Lee Enterprises, the Principal Financial Group, and Global Reach Internet Productions.

If you want to see some of the startup businesses that are excelling in Iowa, check out http://golfrz.com/, https://www.stratbase.com/, and https://www.howfactory.com/.

Find some facts about the cost of living in Iowa compared to other tech-riddled cities.

Iowa Washington D.C. Chicago
Salary $50,000 $77,601 $62,870
Median House $275,826 $788,478 $436,871
Median Rent $639 $2,980 $1,125
Internet $37.84 $56.81 $48.60
Avg. Utilities $119.69 $139.98 $122.66
Gas Prices $2.25 $2.36 $2.28
State Sales Tax 6% 5.75% 6.25%

*Based off of Des Moines, for what you would need to make in the other cities. Also, for the other categories.

The differences between Washington D.C., Chicago, and Iowa are not as outlandish, as we have seen above with the Silicon Valley and New York City. However, if you did want to move and you can continue to get paid the same wages. It would give you an extra $12 - 27 thousand for you to start saving either towards your retirement, some epic vacations, or whatever you’ve been wanting but don’t have the spare cash to get it. Moving from Washington D.C. to Iowa, you could potentially take a 35.6% pay cut and still be able to continue living the way you are accustomed to.


Celebrating the Midwest

Facts about the Midwest state - Missouri: is home to over six million people, their unemployment rate is standing at 4.3. We are going to focus on three of the major cities in Missouri. Let’s start off with the Kansas City, there are plenty of museums, theaters, and many activities to partake in. The next city we will talk about is the one with the big arch or some call it St. Louis. There are always parks, stadiums, museums, and many other things to also see and visit in St. Louis. Lastly, we will talk about Columbia. If you are outdoorsy this is the place for you there are plenty of outdoor activities for you.

They obviously have the tallest man-made national monument (Gateway Arch), held the first U.S. based Olympics game, the ice cream cone was invented here, and President Truman was from here.

Envision your Midwest living by becoming a Missourian, before you do make sure you enjoy BBQ sauce, relish a Budweiser, appreciate exploring caves, and when you’re in St. Louis enjoy all of the free things they have to offer (zoo, science center, museums, farms, and more.)

Job openings in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Columbia are linked to their city names. Or if you just want to look at Missouri as a whole.

Missouri is home to 10 of the Fortune 500 companies, nine of them are based in or around St. Louis. That list includes Express Scripts, Emerson, Centene, Monsanto, Reinsurance Group of America, Peabody Energy, Jones Financial, Ameren, and Graybar Electric. The last Missouri company that is a Fortune 500 is located in Springfield and goes by the name O'Reilly Automotive. Other large companies based in Missouri are Bass Pro Shop, Boeing Defense Space and Security, and Hallmark Cards are all headquartered in Missouri.

With so many national if not international brands being headquartered in this state, that leaves plenty of jobs opening and gives you the incentive to build a business here. However, you could be wondering about some of the start-up businesses from Missouri. The Invisible Girlfriend/Boyfriend is a real thing, it started off as a joke, but is pretty legit these days. Fewdm.com started in 2012 and has been empowering people, since with their workout equipment.

Missouri Washington D.C. Chicago
Salary $50,000 $77,601 $62,870
Median House $288,140 $788,478 $436,871
Median Rent $820 $2,980 $1,125
Internet $45.91 $56.81 $48.60
Avg. Utilities $186.66 $139.98 $122.66
Gas Prices $2.04 $2.36 $2.28
State Sales Tax 4.225% 5.75% 6.25%

*Based off of Kansas City for what you would need to make in the other cities. Also, for the other categories.

Your utility prices may be higher in Missouri, but you can get a house for $500,000 less or rent 3.6 two bedroom apartments for what you would get in Washington D.C... No Missouri may not have everything that Washington D.C. has to offer, but you’re ready for a change and why not try out somewhere in the Silicon Prairie. You could take a pay cut of 20.5% and still live the same way!


These states are ridding themselves from their referring name of the flyover states. They are not just lands to feed the country; they have many thriving reputable businesses established in the Midwest. Midwest living seems like a dream to those who enjoy being humble and being among a community. We’ve given you facts upon facts about the Midwest. They are just waiting for you to come build a startup business and to have the opportunity to grow with them. A huge note to remember is that the great thing about the internet is that it has advanced from dial-up and only being able to reach certain places. Say “Hello” to 2016 and being able to connect with the entire world in a matter of seconds (depending on the speed of your computer, and the internet.) We here at Engine23 are experts at being able to help you connect your business to the online world, all you have to do is contact us to learn about our eCommerce services. Before you pack your bags, the smart thing to do is line up a job, a place to live and make sure your finances are healthy. Check out this website that you could use, when planning your move. Didn’t find what you wanted on this blog? Message us and let us know what we can add! You did like this post, and felt that it was helpful? Please share it with your friends! :)

If you want to read more stories about the silicon prairie, check out the story of why one person based his company in the Midwest, or check out Silicon Prairie News.