The wealthier you get, the less social you are

Posted on May 11, 2016

Rich Americans aren't only getting richer. They're becoming more isolated from the rest of America, too.

Rich Americans spend less time socializing with their family and neighbors — although they do spend more time socializing with friends.

The study is part of a growing body of research that suggests a yawning gap between what it means to be rich and poor in the United States.

In addition to looking at evenings spent socializing, the authors also examined how a typical day plays out for Americans at different income levels. They found that people with higher incomes spent an estimated 10 minutes more alone in a day, 22 minutes more with friends, and 26 minutes fewer with family than people with lower incomes.

Rising affluence, Bianchi suggested, has pushed forward "individualization" — an idea that political scientist Robert Putnam wrote about in his seminal work Bowling Alone, which began as a 1995 essay and turned into a book in 2000.

Putnam argues there that the individualization of leisure time is in part responsible for a decline in civic participation.

"I've always been struck by the idea that we've become wealthier as a country and by many metrics less happy, less involved in our communities, and certainly interacting less," she said. "That's been a puzzle to many scholars and something that's always captured my attention and interest. I see this as a small piece of understanding that."

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Category(s):Social Isolation

Source material from Vox


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