Paul Taylor, the executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, has long experience explaining why things happen. When we chatted on the PBS NewsHour this week, the subject was the widening chasm of economic segregation.
It was a wonky demographic discussion (not that there's anything wrong with that) that was rooted in census data and other fun facts. A greater percentage of the poor live in poor neighborhoods, while a greater percentage of the rich live in wealthy neighborhoods.
At first blush, this seems obvious. Isn't that the way it's always worked? Well, no. And there is a price to be paid for that growing social isolation.
At the end of our conversation, Taylor, who in a former life was one of the nation's top political reporters, closed that loop. By living in a divided world, he said, many Americans know and care less about each other. They're not even curious.
"So it's not just that people of the same income are increasingly living among themselves," he told me. "It's people of the same partisanship and the same ideology increasingly living among ourselves. That has delivered us a Congress that is more polarized by all sorts of measures than at any time in modern history."