Just like us

The Pew Center is out with a survey this evening that says most people like the idea of living in a diverse neighborhood or area, even though most don’t live in areas that are politically diverse.

Says the survey:


This preference for diverse communities is greater among Democrats, liberals, college graduates, blacks, and secular Americans than it is among the population as a whole. But virtually all major groups, at least to some degree, choose diversity over homogeneity when asked where they would like to live.

But almost half the votes cast in the presidential election last month were cast in counties that went for either Barack Obama or John McCain by huge margins.


Back in 1976, only 27% of all voters lived in such “landslide counties,” according to figures compiled by Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing, authors of “The Big Sort,” a book which argues that Americans are clustering into politically like-minded enc

What’s unclear, they say, is whether that’s happening by accident or whether people are intentionally living in or moving to areas where other people — at least politically — are just like them.

  • I sense a “Bradley Effect”. Isn’t that what anyone would figure is the “correct” answer?

    Since I live in such a ‘hood, I have to tell ya the look I get when I describe where I live … not that I mind, of course, since it keeps people away from Ton Reid’s when there isn’t a Wild game. Well, that’s not a good thing, since Tom needs the business, but the point is that I often feel as though I have the good life to m’self. That is, it’s just for the rest of my rather diverse neighborhood and me.

  • Minn Whaler

    I believe we chose our home for reasons far from who else was in the neighborhood, but by school system and proximity to schools, affordability, proximity to work, etc. During the many showings and the narrowing down I don’t ever remember assessing for diversity, culture, politics, etc.

    As it happens my dear spouse and I abhor moving and when we chose we were in a small suburban community, blessed with an incredibly diverse neighborhood (mostly because of the 3M employee exchange program) but have Iranian refugees, a jewish couple from NY, a racially mixed couple: Ethiopia and America, Romanian refugees who became citizens in the minimal time allowed and invited the entire neighborhood. No matter how much fun, or warmth or diversity… It seems to me that organized religion embraces segregation and worship days whether the sabbath be Saturday or Sunday or anyday, you will not find much diversity amongst old school organized religions. Not sure how that plays into the theory presented here, but the organization “The Pew Center” points towards religion and there is nothing out there less diverse than religion.

  • We purchased earlier this year in NE because we found a great house for a great price in the city… no suburbs for this urban chick… but I must say I was very happy when counting how many other Obama signs were up on my block in addition to ours. I think 7 is a good number 🙂

  • beryl k gullsgate

    Maybe it is a form of subliminal ‘tribalism’ that never leaves us…economically, culturally, politically? The need to be surrounded by sameness rather than diversity is elemental to the backside of human nature.

    “Fitting-in” deteriorates to “keeping-out” and whether it be ‘neighborhoods’ or ‘nations’ so involved, wars do, too often, become the result of that basic signature, tribalism.

    “Politics” is but one of many significant footprints marking the selective nature of “the neighborhood.”, however broad may be those boundaries?

    So, I suppose, however enlightened we may hope to be, there still exists the primitive cry…”there-goes-the-neighborhood”, the nation, the world; forever trying to fit-in by keeping-out and not recognizing the diversity of the other…

  • bsimon

    It is no surprise to me that the people who choose to live in my neighborhood would share similar political values.

    The more interesting question is what has changed since ’76. I think the answer is that we are more transient. In the 70s more people tended to buy a home and stay there, whereas more recently the trend has been to buy a ‘starter home’ and periodically ‘upgrade’. With more mobility, it seems likely there would be more self-segregation.

  • Bob

    The poll’s findings are hardly surprising. The question, “Do you like the idea of living in a diverse neighborhood?” is bound to garner lots of disingenuous “yes” responses, thereby nullifying the poll’s value; few people want to be on record as being intolerant or unappreciative of diversity.

  • Lucie Amundsen

    There’s a book about this called The Big Sort about self-segregation. Here’s a blog about it here: http://www.webdigs.com/blog/?p=233

    I’ll attest that it can simply be easier to hang out with people with similar views. When I’ve in conversations with right wing Christians I feel like we’re both carefully avoiding the Pink Jesus in the room.