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Plain English with Derek Thompson

Why Americans Stopped Hanging Out—and Why It Matters

Plain English with Derek Thompson
Plain English with Derek Thompson
Today’s episode is about the extraordinary decline in face-to-face socializing in America—and the real stakes of the country’s hanging-out crisis.
From 2003 to 2022, American adults reduced their average hours of face-to-face socializing by about 30 percent. For unmarried Americans, the decline was even bigger—more than 35 percent. For teenagers, it was more than 45 percent.
Eric Klinenberg is a sociologist and the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the author of several books on the rise of living alone and the decline of social infrastructure. His latest is _'_2020: One City, Seven People, and the Year Everything Changed.' And he's not afraid to challenge the popular notion of an epidemic of loneliness in America. “There is no good evidence that Americans are lonelier than ever," he has written. Today, Eric and I talk about teens and parenting, the decline of hanging out, why America sucks at building social infrastructure, and why aloneness isn’t always loneliness.
If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com.
Host: Derek Thompson
Guest: Eric Klinenberg
Producer: Devon Baroldi
Why Americans Suddenly Stopped Hanging Out: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2024/02/america-decline-hanging-out/677451/
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Plain English with Derek Thompson
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