REPORT: ‘Normal America’ Looks More Like a Big Diverse City Than a Small Homogeneous Town

By Sameer Rao Apr 29, 2016

Critiques of urban areas as out of touch with mainstream or "normal" America (like Ted Cruz‘s) often involve a dangerous subtext: that cities, with all their poverty and people of color and corruption, cannot represent American values. Data-driven news outlet FiveThirtyEight took those critiques to task with a new piece that reimagines "normal America."

The piece’s title—"‘Normal America’ Is Not A Small Town of White People"—succintly summarizes its core argument. Author Jed Kolko uses U.S. Census and American Community Survey data to compare various metropolitan areas’ demographic balance ("based on age, educational attainment, and race and ethnicity") against the whole country’s. They ultimately conclude that major metropolitan areas better represent the United States than the small towns that people like Cruz lionize. New Haven, Connecticut (pictured above) is the most comparable, with a 93.2 percent similarity. For comparison, Kolko also lists the metro areas and states whose demographics most-reflect America in the 1950s.

Read the full FiveThirtyEight piece here.

(H/t The Washington Post)