My Two Favorite Graphs From Coming Apart
By Bryan Caplan
I have a predictably optimistic take on Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. But these two graphs did indeed shock me. The first contrasts divorce rates for working class (“Fishtown”) and professional (“Belmont”) whites:
Murray’s second shocking graph shows the fraction of working class and professional whites who say they’re happily married:
Still, as Kahneman reminds us, “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you’re thinking about it.” If you double-check in the GSS, you’ll find that overall happiness has been virtually constant since the survey began in 1972. On a 3-point scale, happiness has decreased by .001 per year. Current trends could continue for a century before we’d see a tenth of a point decline in average happiness. So quit yer mopin’.