Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Real America

Sarah Palin just loves to talk about how small towns are the "real America."

Even putting aside her absurd comment that small towns constitute the "pro-America areas of this great nation," it's incredible how we've allowed ourselves to be gulled by the notion that "real America" consists of small towns (preferably in the midwest).

It's just not true. The census shows that 79.2% of Americans live in urban areas. Now, that defines "urban areas" to include "Urban Clusters" with a population of 2,500 to 49,999, which might seem inappropriate. To me, a place with 2,500 people is a small town. But the same chart shows that 58.3% of Americans live in urban areas with a population of more than 200,000. And another 10.4% live in urban areas with a population of 50,000 - 200,000. So 68.7% of Americans live in urban areas with populations of 50,000 or more.

So even if we give "small town" the very generous definition of anything less than 50,000, we're talking about 32.3% of America -- less than a third. More than 2/3 of Americans live in urbanized areas with a population 50,000 or more.

If you like to live in some kind of imaginary place where you define your own reality, you could say that the group that makes up less than a third of something is the "real" part. But if you care about actual facts, it seems pretty absurd to ignore the group that makes up more than 2/3 of the population you're talking about.

Oh, and by the way, I'm sure every real American woman has spent $150,000 on her clothes since August, plus $4,700 on hair and makeup!

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