Under Trump, Trump Country Continues Falling Behind Rest Of The United States

Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

President Trump promised a lot of "winning" during his campaign, but counties that voted for him haven't seen it yet.

During his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump promised his supporters — and arguably all Americans — that under his rule, so much winning would take place that they would get tired of winning.

Without specifying exactly what he meant, Trump convinced millions of people that they would be better off after electing him than they were under former President Barack Obama, or any other president before him.

Many took this promise to mean economic winning, but a recent Washington Post analysis reveals that so far, counties that voted for Trump are not much better off, if at all, under the current president than they were under Obama.

And the counties that voted for Hillary Clinton? Those are chugging along just as well as they were before.

> By most measures, my latest research shows, Trump counties — and especially counties with higher proportions of Trump voters — continue to fall farther behind the rest of the country economically. The story of our economy, like the story of our politics, continues to be a story of division and divergence.


> It is no secret that the country is as geographically fractured as it is economically unequal. In fact, the two trends are intertwined. In separate studies, economists Rebecca Diamondand Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag revealed a widening gap in incomes, skills and wages between low-income and high-income regions, beginning around 1980. After decades of converging, in other words, our cities and states have been growing apart. The wider the income gap grows between the regions, they show, the harder it becomes for those in service and even blue-collar jobs to afford to live in high-income, high-rent places with high-quality amenities such as clean air, good schools, low crime, strong job markets, transportation infrastructure and retail stores.


> Driven out of thriving communities by those rents, people who were just getting by are surrounded by others who were also struggling, in areas that the better-off had fled. That leaves a skimpy tax base, shrunken opportunities and economic segregation.


> Thus, we increasingly live in two Americas, and we vote accordingly.

Looking at employment and cost of housing, the Post’s Anthony Orlando noted that counties where the majority voted for Clinton employ on average seven to eight times as many workers as counties where Trump took the majority of the vote.

> In part, this difference reflects the higher population density of the urban areas, which voted disproportionately for Clinton. But as my analysis shows, it has been growing over time, as the Clinton counties outperform their Trump counterparts.


> After November 2016, many Trump supporters told reporters that they expected this gap to narrow. In essence, they were hoping to see faster job growth — and income growth, which would drive up housing prices — to catch up to the rest of the country.



> Housing prices tell a similar story, with even more data stretching into 2018. Regardless of how I compare the counties, Clinton supporters consistently come out on top. Even though their housing prices started significantly higher than their counterparts in Trump counties, their value increases even faster after November 2016.

Even accounting for pre-election trends, which might show that Trump counties are improving faster relative to their previous performance even if not compared to Clinton counties, the data reveal the same basic story.

> Using a standard statistical technique called “difference-in-differences,” I estimate the difference between Trump and Clinton counties before and after the election and show whether the difference … differs. In other words, I look at whether the economic performance gap narrows. The answer: No. Statistically, there appears to be no significant improvement in job growth. The gap in housing price growth actually widens. In fact, the larger the Trump electorate and the larger the degree of Trump support, the worse the county’s economic performance.

Perhaps over time the winning will reveal itself, but until then, it is nowhere to be found.

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