Wonder where in the U.S Donald Trump supporters come from? The places where Trump has done well cut across many of the opposites in American politics. The geographic North and South, the political liberal and conservative, or the lifestyle rural and suburban. But The New Yorker reports an element common to a significant share of Trump’s supporters, which is that they have missed the generation-long transition of the United States away from manufacturing and into a diverse, information-driven economy intertwined with the rest of the world.
There are other things in common too. When the Census Bureau asks Americans about their ancestors, some respondents don’t give a standard answer like “English” or “German.” Instead, they simply answer “American.” Places where these self-described Americans reside turn out to be the same places Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has done well.
A picture of Trump’s voters as uneducated and nationalistic is taking shape. According to the article, hundreds of demographic and economic variables from census data were compared to examine what factors predict a high level of Trump support. The analysis shows Trump counties as places where white identity mixes with long-simmering economic dysfunctions.
The data reveals more specific correlations, using number one as the perfect match for Trump support. Here are a few of those correlations:
- White with no high school diploma equals correlation 0.61
- Percent reporting ancestry as “American” equals correlation 0.57
- Percent living in a mobile home equals correlation 0.54
- “Old economy” jobs including agriculture, construction, manufacturing equals correlation 0.5
While Trump also has support among the affluent and the well-educated, the data shows that support for him runs the strongest among the proportion of the white population that didn’t finish high school, working-age adults who neither have a job nor are looking for one, and people living in mobile homes. The article concludes:
“’It’s a nonurban, blue-collar and now apparently quite angry population,’ said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. ’They’re not people who have moved around a lot, and things have been changing away from them, but they live in areas that feel stagnant in a lot of ways.’”
With this, the importance of accessible education for everyone becomes very apparent.
Featured image screengrab via Wikimedia. This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 544449.