Take a look at the above picture. Oklahoma East Central University cartographer Matthew T. Campbell created a huge map of the names people call soft drinks by. Here’s what we learned by looking at the map:
• “Pop” is the generic name for soft drinks in most of the country in terms of sheer land mass. The majority of the Midwest, the Rocky Mountain states and the Pacific Northwest all call it by that name.
• “Soda” is the preferred moniker for soft drinks in terms of population. Both the Northeastern United States and the state of California call them that.
• “Coke” serves as a generic label for soft drinks throughout much of the South. Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kentucky all serve as fault lines in the Pop/Soda/Coke divide.
But what’s truly interesting is the anomalies. Coke is the preferred term for soft drinks not only in the traditional south, but also in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Although most of Florida is in the “Coke Belt” as well, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and other counties with a high percentage of northeastern expats all call it by that name. Meanwhile, a belt of land along the Mississippi River stretching roughly from central Illinois to St. Louis defies the Midwest’s “pop” sensibilities by opting to call it soda. Meanwhile, residents of Buffalo and Pittsburgh are more like Midwesterners than Northeasterners in their soft drink naming habits.
As for us, we’ll just call it soda.
The Soft Drink Map [Pop Vs. Soda]