Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles MurrayFrom the bestselling author of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, this startling long-lens view shows how America is coming apart at the seams that historically have joined our classes.
In Coming Apart, Charles Murray explores the formation of American classes that are different in kind from anything we have ever known, focusing on whites as a way of driving home the fact that the trends he describes do not break along lines of race or ethnicity.
Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, Coming Apart demonstrates that a new upper class and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship—divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad.
The top and bottom of white America increasingly live in different cultures, Murray argues, with the powerful upper class living in enclaves surrounded by their own kind, ignorant about life in mainstream America, and the lower class suffering from erosions of family and community life that strike at the heart of the pursuit of happiness. That divergence puts the success of the American project at risk.
The evidence in Coming Apart is about white America. Its message is about all of America.
How zip codes helped organize America
People who enjoy eating out or nightlife might congregate near the U Street corridor, while those who value family life might choose someplace with a lawn and a good school district. It just so happens that people with similar levels of education and income also have a tendency to live near each other. It turns out that the Washington D.
Do you live in a ‘Super Zip?’
Charles Murray continues to collect data from volunteers who take his social class isolation bubble quiz. Among zips with at least 15 respondents, the most upscale in class terms is Fremont in Silicon Valley followed by a zip code on the Upper East Side of New York. If he loosens his rule to look at zip codes with 10 to 14 respondents, he gets:. Fourteen zip codes had 10—14 respondents and scores lower than 27, meaning that they were virtually a lock to have qualified for the top if they had added just a few more respondents. In order of scores from low to high, they were Westborough, MA with an incredibly low mean of Westborough is an exurb of Boston. It was home to Eli Whitney.
Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, the book demonstrates that a new upper class, who live in hyper-wealthy zip codes called SuperZIPS, and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship—divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad. In the below essay, Murray discusses trends that have occurred since I began the discussion of the SuperZips with a promise to update the results in later editions of Coming Apart when the census results became available. Those results were published from December through the spring of This is the story they tell:. My expectation that Asians would increase their presence in the SuperZips was borne out: From to , the proportion of Asians in SuperZips rose by half, from 8 to 12 percent of people living in SuperZips. These are extraordinary numbers for an ethnic group that still constituted fewer than 5 percent of the national population in
Charles Murray Charles Murray. Today, Charles Murray continues his exploration of the scores and ZIP codes from the bubble quiz in a second post.
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