Do you live in a bubble?
There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author.
Take this 25-question quiz, based on a similar one published in Murray’s 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010,” to find out just how thick your bubble is.
Share this quiz on social media to see how your score compares with your friend group.
The scoring of the archetypes reflects a few realities about socioeconomic background and the bubble.
If you grew up in a working-class neighborhood, you are going to have a high score even if you are now an investment banker living on Park Avenue. Your present life may be completely encased in the bubble, but you brought a lot of experience into the bubble that will always be part of your understanding of the world.
Growing up in a middle-class neighborhood also scores points for you on several questions, and this too is reflected in the real-world experiences that people bring to their adult lives in the new upper class. But middle class covers a wide variety of environments, and the degree to which people who grew up in the middle class seal themselves off from that world after they reach the new upper class also varies widely, which is reflected in the wide range of possible scores.
Having grown up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood inevitably means some restriction to your exposure to average American life. If you grew up in an exclusive part of town such as Chicago’s North Shore or Northwest Washington, you or your parents had to take proactive steps to force you out of the bubble. That sort of thing happens, but even then it is often artificial. For example, your parents made you help out in a soup kitchen during high school, and you volunteered for Habitat for Humanity during college. In those cases, you might have had brief exposure to some of the most downtrodden people and disorganized neighborhoods, but you still have little idea what life is like in an ordinary working-class or middle-class neighborhood.
For more on the topic, watch Making Sen$e’s latest segment with Charles Murray on why economic anxiety is driving working-class voters to “Trumpism.”
More on the bubble quiz
- What does your bubble quiz score say about you?
- Did you grow up in a bubble? These ZIP codes suggest you did
- How the new upper class perpetuates its status into the next generation
- How two cities organized their elite enclaves
- The man who designed the bubble quiz also lives in a bubble
- Column: ‘Mainstream America’ doesn’t actually exist
This is the second version of the “Do you live in a bubble?” quiz. You can find the original quiz here.
Editor’s note: The introduction has been edited to clarify Charles Murray’s expertise, which focuses on white American culture.