Wednesday, December 01, 2004

That's Why We Call Them Cliches

In all of the red state-blue state and red county-blue county discussions, we are getting dangerously close to a geography-is-destiny view.

Impossible in the dynamic and mobile U.S. For many years, the Census Bureau had been tagging people by whether they resided in a metro or nonmetro county; the former could have been living in that county's central city or its suburbs. (This is all slowly changing in favor of a better system of metropolitan and micropolitan areas.) The 2003 Current Population Survey reports that year, approx 11.6 million Americans moved from one of the three types of places to another. Most of them (54.5%) arrived in the suburbs (vs. 31% in central cities and 14.5% in exurban and rural areas). If you can get through the Bureau's PC racial groupings (and we used to sneer at Apartheidists and Nazis for their application of politics to race), you find that the groups most likely to arrive in the suburbs (given that they were moving) were "blacks only" (59.7%) and "blacks only or in combination with one or more other races" (58.8%).

In a better world, those who keep referring to suburbs vs center cities in stark white and black terms (reporters and academics still do this a lot) would get a headache or a leg cramp every time they stick to the old chestnut.