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A Quick Breakdown of the Decline of Friendship in America

There’s been a sharp decline in friendship, especially for less educated Americans, a new survey has revealed.

SO WHAT

The effects of the decades-long devastation of the American working class go beyond mere economics.

THE NUMBERS

A new study conducted by the Survey Center on American Life of the American Enterprise Institute has unearthed a stark contrast in the social experiences of college-educated Americans and everyone else.

ZOOM IN

Over the past thirty years, Americans without college degrees have experienced a larger decline of close friends.

  • “The additional financial benefits that college graduates accrue throughout their careers is substantial, but the social advantages that come with a college degree may ultimately prove more impactful,” Daniel Cox, director of the Survey Center on American Life, wrote in his analysis of the new findings.
  • Rates of loneliness are also higher among the non-college-educated, 45 percent of whom report feeling isolated from others at least sometimes in the past four weeks. Only 36% of Americans with degrees say the same.
  • 73% of college graduates said they often feel like they have people they can turn to, as compared to 56 percent of Americans without degrees.

ZOOM OUT

In recent years, the right has positioned itself as the champion of working class Americans who feel abandoned and voiceless.

  • During the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump tapped into this sentiment, which undoubtedly helped propel him to victory over Hillary Clinton, an elite establishment token if there ever was one.
  • Liberals and the media have depicted working class political grievances as the product of racial resentment.
  • Meanwhile, studies have shown links between support for Trump and a sense of social alienation.

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