Drug Use and Class

By Richard Florida

Yesterday, we looked at the relationship between drug use and economic patterns. We saw that drug use was associated with both higher levels of state economic output as well as higher levels of unemployment.

Today, I turn to the relationships between drug use and economic class. My colleague Charlotta Mellander charted the relationships between drug use and the percentage of a state's economy that is made up of two classes: the creative class--that is, people who work in knowledge-based, artistic, and professional occupations; and the working class--those who work in production, transportation, and construction jobs.

While the associations between drug use overall are weak, the patterns for marijuana and cocaine are significant. Take the creative class: both marijuana and cocaine use are positively and significantly related to states with higher concentrations of the creative class.

Correlation coefficient: 39**

Correlation coefficient: 36**

Now look at the results for the working class, where the pattern is reversed. Both marijuana and cocaine are negatively and significantly related to the concentration of working class jobs in state.

Correlation coefficient: -.35**

Correlation coefficient: -.36**

Note: * indicates statistical significance at the .05 level; ** indicates significance at the .01 level.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2009/08/drug-use-and-class/23027/