This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Geodemographics of Support for Trump

Neil Irwin and Josh Katz of the Upshot have a very nice article in today's NYTimes dissecting the geography and demography of support for Donald Trump. Here's the methodology:
To see what conditions prime a place to support Mr. Trump for the presidency, we compared hundreds of demographic and economic variables from census data, along with results from past elections, with this year’s results in the 23 states that have held primaries and caucuses. We examined what factors predict a high level of Trump support relative to the total number of registered voters.
And here is their summary of findings:
The analysis shows that Trump counties are places where white identity mixes with long-simmering economic dysfunctions.
The places where Trump has done well cut across many of the usual fault lines of American politics — North and South, liberal and conservative, rural and suburban. What they have in common is that they have largely missed the generation-long transition of the United States away from manufacturing and into a diverse, information-driven economy deeply intertwined with the rest of the world.
“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.”
The story has a table of correlations that are interesting, but actually starts with a brilliant example of using geodemographics for political analysis:
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.”
The places with high concentrations of these self-described Americans turn out to be the places Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has performed the strongest.
I should note that the Upshot analysis squares nicely with another thoughtful piece produced a few days ago by George Friedman and distributed by Mauldin Economics.



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