Region’s Demographics More Closely Resemble 1950s America Than Today’s

You often hear American politicians speak about “Normal America” in a reference to the country’s historical small town narrative – one that is also defined by a largely white, European-derived population. FiveThirtyEight actually dug into the data and found that Normal America is most often found in racially diverse metropolitan regions between 1-2 million people in size.

One of the outliers in their assessment, however, was Cincinnati, which ranked as one of the top ten places in America that are most similar with 1950s America. Indianapolis joined Cincinnati as one of two large regions in this status. What’s more is that Kentucky (#1), Indiana (#3) and Ohio (#7) all ranked within the top ten states that most resemble 1950s America, not the one of today. More from FiveThirtyEight:

We all, of course, have our own notions of what real America looks like. Those notions might be based on our own nostalgia or our hopes for the future. If your image of the real America is a small town, you might be thinking of an America that no longer exists. I used the same method to measure which places in America today are most similar demographically to America in 1950, when the country was much whiter, younger and less-educated than today.

  • Jon Cramer

    I don’t think your headline is accurate. Cincinnati’s similarity to 1950 index is 54.2, we aren’t given Cincinnati’s similarity to today’s US. I’d guess it’s somewhere in the 70s or low-80s, but if it’s higher than 54.2, your headline is misleading.

    • The headline is in respect to the overall average. So today, Cincinnati’s demographics more closely resemble the “Normal America” of the 1950s than it does today.

      As the article from FiveThirtyEight mentions, it is, of course, natural that every place in America has moved toward today’s typical demographics. But when you look at today’s demographics and compare it to today’s average and that of the average from the 1950s, you see that places like Cincinnati and Indianapolis haven’t moved as far over the years.

    • Jon Cramer

      I get what you’re saying, but it’s only accurate to say that Cincinnati ranks higher on a list of similarity to 1950s America than 2016 America.

      But because of the overall changes in national demographics, Cincinnati of today is closer to today’s national average than to 1950’s. That’s the opposite of what your headline says.

  • matimal

    But, there are few places in American that reflect national averages. America isn’t a uniform society with slight variations, It’s a series of regional societies with their own cultural and economic origins and development. America is an empire of regional societies that should be understood on their own terms. I can’t see how comparing Cincinnati to a national average with a vast range of variation is useful.