The most out-of-touch places in America: where fancy people live

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 10:47 AM

Murray calls this insular grouping "elites," but a better duration might be "fancy people."Fancy people drink wine instead of cheap beer; they look auteur shows love "Mad Men" or "True Detective." Fancy people obtain married later and have kids later; they purchase fresh produce at Whole Foods and exercise to stay trim.

The most out-of-touch places in America: where fancy people live

In his two thousand twelve book "Coming Apart," conservative writer Charles Murray argues that America'south upper class has fallen out of touch with mainstream (white) culture. Murray calls this insular grouping "elites," but a better duration might be "fancy people."

Fancy people drink wine instead of cheap beer; they look auteur shows love "Mad Men" or "True Detective." Fancy people obtain married later and have kids later; they purchase fresh produce at Whole Foods and exercise to stay trim. And many of them pile into exclusive ZIP codes where these habits are the norm.

To assistance people figure out if they were fancy or not, Murray devised a quiz in his book. Latest month, PBS Newshour adapted his questions into an , which has garnered over 50.000 responses so far.

Scores range from from 0-one hundred, a full score meaning that someone is totally in tune with working-class culture. Maybe not surprisingly, the Newshour audience is largely composed of fancy people. The median score was around forty out of 100.

The poll also asked people where they currently live and where they lived when they were ten. Latest week, Murray revealed what he calls the "bubbliest" places in America – where children grow up the most isolated from mainstream white culture.

Most of the seventy-five Murray identifies as top incubators of fancy people are located in major cities or wealthy suburbs of major cities. These places tend to have high median incomes and high rates of college attainment. The upper-crustiest space was the Upper E Side. People who grew up there scored a median twelve.5 out of 100 on the working-class empathy quiz.

ZIP codes in New York, Washington, D. C., and the Bay Area were particularly well-represented on the list – cities that Murray calls the "power centers of contemporary America." A central portion of his argument in "Coming Apart" is that the people running the country don't really realize regular America. These latest poll results seem to back up his claim. If you live or grew up amongst wealthy, educated people, you're unlike most of the nation.

You can get the quiz yourself at the PBS website. If you go through the questions, you'll notice some problems with Murray's approach.

The questions tend to be arbitrary or weirdly specific. For instance, Murray asks if people have ever bought a pickup truck, if they've eaten at Applebee'south in the latest year, if they've ever walked a factory floor. Most fancy people may not have done these things – but most middle-class Americans haven't either. The pickup-driving, Bud-swigging, blue-collar worker is a genuine kind of person, but he'south not necessarily representative of lower-middle-class America.

Besides, just because someone has never made an Avon purchase (question (hash)12), or has never gone fishing (question (hash)fifteen), doesn't imply they're blind to how the less affluent live. (Conversely, bringing an heiress to an Applebee'south is unlikely to assistance her better realize the plight of the working class.)

Murray himself has admitted that the quiz began as more of a rhetorical tool than a scientific instrument. He explained to PBS that his original goal was to indicate elites how different they're from mainstream America. "I could expect that many of my readers would be portion of that new upper class," he wrote. "The problem that stumped me for a while was how to convince them that their isolation is real."

Some of the questions are more serious. One asks if people have ever worked a physically taxing job. "If you've grown to adulthood and you've never held a work that caused a body portion to damage at the finish of the day, you fundamentally don't realize what work is love for a grand proportion of the population," Murray said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2012.

The larger argument in "Coming Apart" is that the schism between the classes has increased inequality. While the elites continue to work tough and marry, the lower classes have mislaid some of those values, Murray writes. The book paints a romantic picture of the one thousand nine hundred fifty and one thousand nine hundred sixty, a time when Murray argues that the wealthy and the destitute were more alike than they were different. Richer men may have been able to afford Jack Daniel'south instead of Jim Beam - but by and large, Murray writes, people were buying and consuming the same kinds of things.

Now, it'south nearly as if elites live in an entirely different galaxy, with their $50 yoga classes, their single-origin coffees, and their NPR podcasts. Murray concedes that some of these differences might seem trifling, but argues that these examples emphasize the divergence between fancy people and the rest of America.

But there'south a hole in this argument, as many have pointed out – talking about shared institutions and shared culture is harder when there hasn't been shared economic prosperity in recent decades.

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