I just saw this article on one of my favorite blogs, FiveThirtyEight: ‘Normal America’ Is Not A Small Town Of White People. The gist of the article is that we usually think of Smallville, or Grover’s Corners, or some other predominantly white small town as the quintessentially American setting.
America is increasingly diverse, and the most “normal” cities in America reflect that. Here’s the top 10 list that they put together.
That’s right, Springfield, with its robust Hispanic population, is number 5 on that list. Hartford is number 3. It turns out I am living in a really “normal” part of the country.
This is especially important in the national political conversation for what it means to be “American.” During his candidacy, Ted Cruz mocked Donald Trump’s “New York Values,” implying that they were somehow different from “American values.” But as the list above shows, “normal” America is urban, diverse, and working class – something that describes much of New York quite well.
If the perception ever catches up to the reality, I look forward to national political candidates flocking here to the Pioneer Valley to show the median voter that they are just like everyone else – going to the Big E, checking out the Basketball Hall of Fame, and eating a big heap of mofongo.