Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump counties had 36% of nation's economic activity in 2015; Clinton's 64% unprecedented

Donald Trump won more than 80 percent of U.S. counties, reflecting his rural base, but those counties only represented 36 percent of the nation's economic activity last year, based on data from the Brookings Institution, Jim Tankersley reports for The Washington Post. Trump won more than 2,600 counties, while the fewer than 500 counties Hillary Clinton won represented 64 percent of the economic activity in 2015. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump narrowly won enough big battleground states to win the electoral vote.

The economic numbers appear "to be unprecedented, in the era of modern economic statistics, for a losing presidential candidate," Tankersley writes. "The last candidate to win the popular vote but lose the electoral college, Democrat Al Gore in 2000, won counties that generated about 54 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the Brookings researchers calculated. That's true even though Gore won more than 100 more counties in 2000 than Clinton did in 2016." (Associated Press map: How Americans voted)
Since 2000 "U.S. economic activity has grown increasingly concentrated in large, 'superstar' metro areas, such as Silicon Valley and New York," Tankersley writes. "It appears that, compared to Gore, Clinton was much more successful in winning over the most successful counties in a geographically unbalanced economy." Brookings analysis found that counties with higher gross domestic product per capita "were more likely to vote for Clinton over Trump, as were counties with higher population density. Counties with a higher share of manufacturing employment were more likely to vote for Trump.

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