The United States is remaking itself in the 21st century. Changes in technology and economics are redefining the social, political and cultural fault lines that make the country what it is. The American Communities Project exists to explore those changes with a massive data library and a demographic/geographic breakdown of communities that lets it understand where the country is going at the local level.
A combined political science/journalism effort based at American University, the ACP uses a vast array of data – from elections results and economic numbers to consumer survey and poling – to break communities into different types for analysis. The primary point: Even in the age of the Web, people in different places experience the world very differently.
Working with academics, the ACP used a wide range of different factors – everything from income to race and ethnicity to education to religious affiliation – and a clustering technique to identify 15 types of counties, everything from Big Cities to Aging Farmlands. It has mapped those types to show where the country’s political, socio-economic and cultural fissures are.