Only 1 in 5 Americans Live More Than Commuting Distance from Parents

I wonder if political observations can be made from this surprising statistic about Americans? Add the fact that only 23.1 percent of Americans 25 and older have college degrees, and about 11 percent don’t have high school degrees, and you get a clearer picture: The American experience is still pretty provincial.

Only 20 percent of Americans live more than a couple hours’ drive from their parents, and the median distance Americans live from their mother is 18 miles, according to a NYT analysis of detailed demographic data.

“To some extent, people’s proximity to their parents is a reflection of opportunity: The biggest determinants of how far people venture from home are education and income. Those with college and professional degrees are much more likely to live farther from their parents than those with a high school education, in part because they have more job opportunities in big cities, and especially if spouses are juggling the career aspirations of two professionals.

Families live closest in the Northeast and the South, and farthest apart on the West Coast and in the Mountain States. Part of the reason is probably cultural — Western families have historically been the least rooted — but a large part is geographical: People live farther apart in rural areas.

…Over the last few decades, Americans have become less mobile, and most adults – especially those with less education or lower incomes — do not venture far from their hometowns.

Fewer Americans move. According to the 2010 American Community Survey, six in ten Americans were born in their current state of residence.

Yet only one in five citizens can name their statehouse representative, and most citizens can’t correctly name the party that controls their state legislature:

When the American National Election Studies’ Evaluations of Government and Society Study asked this question in 2010, 47 percent of registered voters got it right, far fewer than got it right for Congress.

All politics is national, not local.


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