In a study recently published in Nature Human Behavior , they have used the exact location of every registered voter in the United States to measure party segregation on both a large scale and a hyperlocal scale .
The result is that a large portion of Democrats live in hypersegregation, with virtually no exposure to Republicans, in their residential environment. Or put another way: echo chambers don’t just take place on Twitter and other 2.0 environments .
Measurement with respect to a thousand closest neighbors
To calculate party segregation, we used data containing information on each of the 180,735,645 registered voters in the United States as of June 2018. The data includes approximately 80% of the voting population, as well as the exact address of almost 75% of the adult population of the United States.
The study accurately measured the distance of each voter from their 1 000 closest neighbors , something unprecedented until now because sociologists did not have such precise and individualized data, which has allowed the creation of a spatially weighted matrix of approximately 180,000,000,000 of cells that takes into account the distance of each voter from their closest neighbors.
In this way, segregation can be measured on any arbitrary scale of geography.
Even Democrats and Republicans living in the same neighborhoods separate from each other :
This classification was also observed in a variety of geographies and contexts , not only in very rural or very urban places:
But why are Democrats and Republicans so segregated? That is the next question that should be addressed beyond this investigation.
However, one thing that we can advance, in order to pave the way to fruitful hypotheses, is that there is simply no reproduction of racial segregation taking place: taking racial segregation into account and isolating it, there is still a lot of more partisan segregation observed. regardless of ethnicity or skin color.