In many ways, the US is very different from the country it was in the middle of the 20th century. Here are six of those trends. These graphs must reveal some kind of big picture, but I’m not sure what it is.
More Americans are getting college degrees than ever before – but not in engineering. Engineering degrees peaked in the mid 80s. How do you run a technological society without engineers?
College students have also been getting progressively higher grades.
Labour participation rates for men have been dropping since 1950, for a variety of reasons including Social Security for the disabled, greater female participation, and (in recent times) fewer jobs.
The US became a net importer of goods and services in the 70s. Not the best basis for the economy, perhaps.
Violent crime peaked around 1990 (property crimes have also dropped since then). No, the USA is not full of gun-waving Rambos.
The number of non-Catholic Christians has dropped from around 70% to 55% since 1950. In that time, the number of Catholics increased from 22% to 30%, then dropped back to 22%. Other religions are up to 9%, and those with no religion to 12%. That’s still 77% of the population being Christian, but nevertheless a big drop from the 91% of 1948.