I am in the suburbs of Chicago. Growing up our colonial style house did not have a basement. My parents being from the east coast didnt think anything of it, but anyone from this area would not think twice about having a basement. While looking at houses, DH would not even look at houses without basements. Resale is tougher around here if you do not have a bsmt.
We have a 2 story that used to be a ranch before a previous owner added 3 bedrooms on top. Since its a ranch, we have a large basement. It has an alcove for a "shop" area so DH has two workshops since the heated garage has his woodshop. It has a laundry area, a huge pantry plus a large great area. Right now, its set up with about a millon toys and work out area. Dh will not create a tv area or carpet it so we will "finish" it with a painted floor and walls etc. Then a carpet rolled out instead of wall to wall because of flooding. The kids play down there and can fit at least a dozen more while the adults are upstairs.
I have seen basements that need Peter walsh to come and rescue, basmements w home theatres, basements done up for kids, apartments styles and even kitchens.
When friends of ours moved to Seattle, the no basement thing blew their mind.