Is America Coming Apart?

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2013

Published In

Eastern Economic Journal


In his recent book Coming Apart: The State of White America, Charles Murray looks at both trends in behavior and differences in behavior between those with high education and occupational prestige and those with low. According to his indicators, the trends in the last half-century show a falling away from traditional values and widening disparities in behavior between the upper and lower classes. After briefly reviewing his main evidence, I turn to more extensive data that, by and large, support his claims about trends. However, they provide less support for his claims about a divergence in the values between those with high and low educational levels.