The 12 States of America, by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel, from “Patchwork Nation”
The 12 States of America
This process of assigning socio-demographic profiles to counties is fraught with problems, as commenters on The Atlantic blog have duly noted. First of all, it reduces a heterogeneous and multi-faceted county to a uni-dimensional descriptor. Many counties would rightfully be able to lay claim to being in several of these categories, and despite the fact that the authors say they had a method for ascertaining which was the most appropriate category, it still feels a bit arbitrary and unsatisfactory. If you click on the category name, they do give some definitions and demographic graphs, fleshing out their classification process a little more. For instance, “service worker centers” are defined as “Midsize and small towns with economies fueled by hotels, stores and restaurants and lower-than-average median household income by county.” According to this, the service worker centers have a predominantly white population, with a lower household income than the country average, and place very high on the “Hardship Index.” Whereas the “Immigration Nation” category means “Communities with large Latino populations and lower-than-average incomes, typically clustered in the South and Southwest.”
“In the United States, there are law enforcement and safety reasons for cellphone companies being encouraged to keep track of its customers. Both the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration have used cellphone records to identify suspects and make arrests.
From the New York Times article, March 27, 2011
It’s Tracking Your Every Move and You May Not Even Know, by Noam Cohen.
It’s a brave new world.