• middle class houses on American suburban street

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) released a progress report measuring economic growth in the “flipped” counties — which Barack Obama carried in 2008 and 2012 — whose turns were decisive in President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016. EIG’s analysis reveals that these counties experienced slower growth in employment, a slower rise in the number of business establishments, and a more pervasive decline in prime age workers than consistently Democratic or Republican counties.

“Struggling areas played an outsized role in deciding the 2016 election,” said EIG President and CEO John Lettieri. “As the 2020 campaign season begins, our analysis finds that swing counties as a group continue to experience weaker economic conditions that are out of step with the robust national economy.”

Key findings:

  • The economic trajectory of politically important “flipped” counties, which generally experienced a weak recovery prior to the 2016 election, did not meaningfully change during the first two years of the Trump administration.
  • Flipped counties continued to lag far behind on employment and business establishment growth through the end of 2018. The employment growth gap between flipped counties and the rest of the country grew wider over the past two years.
  • 53 percent of flipped counties lost population from 2016 to 2018, and a staggering 94 percent have lost prime working age population over the past decade.
  • Flipped counties added jobs at less than half the rate of both the comparison groups and the nation as a whole between December 2016 and December 2018.
  • Flipped counties have seen their share of the national totals of jobs, businesses, and population diminish over the past two years, as they added jobs, business establishments, and residents in far lower volumes than would have been proportional.
  • Growth rates have converged across consistently Democratic and consistently Republican counties due to somewhat decelerating growth in Democratic areas and modestly accelerating growth in Republican areas over the first two years of the Trump administration.

About the Economic Innovation Group (EIG)

The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is an ideas laboratory and advocacy organization whose mission is to advance solutions that empower entrepreneurs and investors to forge a more dynamic American economy. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by an experienced, bipartisan team, EIG convenes leading experts from the public and private sectors, produces original research, and works to advance creative legislative proposals that will bring new jobs, investment, and economic growth to communities across the nation. For more information, visit eig.org.


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