Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. International Politics
  2. US Election 2020
13 November 2020updated 28 Jul 2021 5:56am

The city shift: how the urban-rural divide deepened in the US election

A City Monitor piece examines how our political polarisation can be mapped across America's cities, suburbs, and rural areas. 

By Emily Tamkin

“Heavily urban areas have long been associated with larger shares of Democratic voting, but the results of this year’s election show that this relationship is becoming more extreme, with bigger swings in the vote towards the Democrats tending to occur in more densely populated counties.”

So explain Alexandra Kanik and Patrick Scott in our sister publication, City Monitor. By taking a deep dive into the data, Kanik and Scott explore the ways in which America’s cities are becoming more Democratic; and rural areas, more Republican.

That’s important for (at least) two reasons. First, it helps to explain how Biden won — movement toward the President-elect in areas around large cities was key in flipping certain pivotal states. But second, it explains not just where the country is, but where it’s going. A win through the cities can, as Kanik and Scott explore, paper over the fact that cities are actually at a disadvantage in the American electoral system and can help blind victorious Democrats to the realities of the rural-urban divide. 

For more election News in Brief, visit our US election 2020 hub.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday - from the New Statesman. Sign up directly at The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. Sign up directly at Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.