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Welcome to the 'Great Divergence'

Before 1980, places in America with lower average incomes grew faster than their richer counterparts, so that incomes converged. Today, that’s no longer the case.
A boat passes under a raised bridge across from the Chicago Tribune building in Chicago, Illinois.
A boat passes under a raised bridge across from the Chicago Tribune building in Chicago, Illinois. Jim Young/Reuters

One of the biggest takeaways from the election of Donald Trump was what it revealed about the polarization of America by class and geography. Knowledge workers and manufacturing workers occupy not just different classes, but different spaces and worlds.

The growing divide between the higher-skilled, higher-income, more educated workers who occupy Blue America and the lower-skilled, lower-income, less educated workers of Red America is something economists increasingly refer to as the Great Divergence.