Patchwork Nation Gets $450K Grant from Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded a $450,000 grant to PBS NewsHour for its Patchwork Nation, which PBS NewsHour described as a “collaborative multimedia, multiplatform project that uses demographic data to divide the nation’s counties into 12 community types to better understand the socio-economic, political, and cultural shifts coursing through the country.”

Patchwork Nation is a joint effort by PBS NewsHour, The Christian Science Monitor, Politico, WNYC, and National Public Radio.

This marks the third grant to Patchwork Nation from the Knight Foundation, and it runs from April 1 through the end of December 2011.

From the release by PBS NewsHour:

Patchwork Nation explores what is happening in the United States by examining different kinds of communities over time. Using demographic characteristics such as income level, racial composition, employment, and religion, the efforts divides America’s 3,141 counties into 12 different types of communities: Boom Towns, Campus & Careers, Emptying Nests, Evangelical Epicenters, Immigration Nation, Industrial Metropolis, Military Bastions, Minority Central, Monied Burbs, Mormon Outposts, Service Worker Centers, and Tractor Country.

For its next incarnation, Patchwork Nation will use the same demographic-clustering analysis to organize the country’s 435 congressional districts into distinct types with the hope of being able to better observe and understand the 2010 midterm elections. This analysis will exist alongside the current county analysis.

In the fall of 2010, the book Patchwork Nation: The 12 Distinct Types of Communities That Make Up America (and What They Can Teach Us) by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel will be published by Gotham Books, a division of Penguin. The book focuses on using the 12 community types to examine and forecast changes in America’s political, economic, and cultural makeup in the coming decade.

Patchwork Nation project director Chinni said:

The project has found that any talk of there being a single American economy or political culture misses the mark. The true picture of the United States in 2010 is far more nuanced and complex. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.