CHAPTER 5

Why Doesn’t the Working Class Just Move to Where the Jobs Are?

ONE BIG QUESTION pundits and commentators mull over is this: why don’t people facing hard economic times move to where economic times are better? If you live in Detroit, Michigan; Millinocket, Maine; Camden, New Jersey; York, Pennsylvania; or Yuma, Arizona,74 why not move to an area where the economy is growing? At best, elites are puzzled. At worst, they’re patronizing and even scornful. “Donald Trump cannot deliver new jobs like pizza wherever you live,” said Glenn Helton,* decrying the “stubborn immobility of the white working class.”

Part of the reason is the power of “clique networks,” as sociologists call them, where everybody knows everyone else and ties run deep. ...

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