Here’s a great point from Ali Frick. Sarah Palin thinks New Hampshire is a “microcosm” for America and in the past she’s said Alaska is a “microcosm of America.” In fact, these are highly unrepresentative states — richer than average and full of white people:
United StatesNew HampshireAlaskaMedian Income (’04)$44,334$53,377$52,141Poverty Rate (’04)12.7%6.6%10%Non-Hispanic Whites (’06)66.4%93.8%66.4%Blacks (’06)12.8%1.1%3.7%Hispanic/Latino Origin (’06)14.8%2.3%5.6%
I would also add that Alaska and New Hampshire are exceptional in that neither of them contains a substantial city. But the broader metropolitan areas around large cities contain the bulk of our population and economic activity (the NYC and LA Metropolitan Statistical Areas together contain ten percent of the country’s population). The states that are basically outside the orbit of major metro areas are often nice places — I’ll testify to the merits of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine and I’m sure Alaska’s neat, too — but they’re quite a bit outside the mainstream of contemporary American life. These are places that are facing their share of challenged, but they’re not the challenges that the places where most Americans live are dealing with.