LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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TOWN AND COUNTRY

As a third-generation native of Colorado Springs, Colo., I was surprised to see it repeatedly called a “college town� in the “Revival� article (October 2003).

The first problem with this characterization is that it has no basis in fact. The U. S. Air Force Academy, the Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are the three most prominent academic institutions and none of them are particularly sizable. Colorado Springs has more commonly been called a “military town.� Local military institutions include Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, U.S. Space Command, Air Force Space Command, Fort Carson Army Base, Army Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and many defense industry subcontractors.

The second and more important problem with calling Colorado Springs a�college town� is that it leaves the reader to infer that that there is some connection between college towns and the demographic information under discussion about the black populations in these locales. In this case, that would be especially erroneous. But it would be equally unwise to assume that the “military town� description is any more causal than the fictitious “college town� characterization without drawing some fact-based connections between industry growth and demographic change and representation within industries.

It's wonderful to learn that my hometown boasts a growing population of “middle-class and above� blacks. It would be even more interesting to find out why.

MELODY ROBERTS

New York City

MATCHMAKERS

As a long-time subscriber to American Demographics, I was both surprised and offended to read Matthew Grimm's invective in the “Democritic� column (November 2003). I take particular umbrage at the fact that he labels those who do not share his liberal cultural views as “ultraconservatives� or “ultra-right dogmatists�. His analysis is sophomoric in both content and tone, and he relies on his own political viewpoint and those of left-leaning institutions (e.g., Human Rights Watch) rather than unbiased empirical evidence to make many of the claims in his article.

I value American Demographics because it provides a wealth of data for analysts to reach their own conclusions about trends in culture and economics. I encourage you to continue providing clear, unbiased demographic information for your readers.

JAMES GENTILUCCI, PHD

University of California, Santa Barbara

I just read “Hitch Switch� by Matthew Grimm. Imagine how surprised I was to pick up a usually informative magazine that assists its readers in marketing and understanding trends and find someone using it as a social/political bully pulpit. The articles you publish are based on numerical trends of spending and living and of course, household formation and marriage are within that group. Yet this article was incredibly scant on fact, merely rehashing what has been noted elsewhere, and was instead used as a launching pad for the author's opinions on the subject.

There are many places where the issues raised by Grimm such as same-sex marriages, cohabitation, single-parent homes and unmarried couples — both heterosexual and homosexual — with children, are discussed at length and with more thought than Grimm is either capable of or displayed. But for the author to treat the matter as a lighthearted choice that those who oppose the breakdown of traditional relationships should just “accept for the moment that we have entered a ‘post-structural’ age of families and relationships� is shallow treatment indeed. To correctly address such an issue Grimm would have to do more research into why these trends are opposed by many and the power of those forces within much of middle America and not just among “right-wing dogmatists�. Of course, he doesn't even attempt this modicum of evenhandedness.

If Mr. Grimm is going to stand solidly on one side of a subjective issue that has moral, religious, environmental (in the social science sense) and legal implications, then he should find a more proper venue. And perhaps he should spend less time with his lexicon and more time reviewing balanced research and reporting skills.

RODNEY JOHNSON

Dallas

Note from the author:

I respect and appreciate the articulation of opinions and analyses that differ from my own.

CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS

  • In “Ones Add Up Fastâ€? (November 2003), the text should have read: Household formation among singles is up 20 percent decade-on-decade, between the 1990 and 2000 census cycles, with a disproportionate rate of growth among men, at 28 percent versus women, at 15 percent.

  • In “The ‘All-By-Myself’ Factorâ€? chart that accompanies the same story, the column heads should be switched. For example, men ages 30 to 49 who live alone are more likely than men of the same age who live with someone else to purchase devilled ham. In similar vein, women ages 30 to 49 who live alone are more likely to buy gin than women of the same age who live with someone else.

We regret the errors.

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