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Lecture 4

PSC 101 Lecture 4: Chapter 4 - Structural Foundations of American Government and Politics

Political Science
Course Code
PSC 101
Mr. Joseph R Matheson

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September 12
PSC 101-008 Chapter 4 Notes - Structural Foundations of American
Government and Politics
demographics - the statistical study and description of a population; has
influence on government and politics
Unlike most other rich democracies, the US continues to experience
significant population growth. Higher than replacement birthrates
and immigration led to this increase; also, both are important for
economic growth and fiscal health
As the population grows, more people work/pay taxes, help cushion
burden on national budgets of those who are retired and more
businesses are formed to service new citizens’ needs.
Some are concerned that the population will run up against the
limits of available resources and the natural environment will be
U.S. population…
Has become more diverse (immigration since 1840s) - minority
racial and ethnic groups have gained political influence
Is moving west and south - enhanced the political influence of
the southern and western states in Congress and in
presidential elections
Is growing older (important political issue- How do we finance
Social Security and Medicare? Who is the working class?)
Is becoming more unequal economically
the US has one of the highest standards of living/GDP,
but a lower median household income
GDP - monetary value of all goods and services
produced in a nation in a year; does not include
income residents earned abroad
median household income growing
Minority average incomes rising, white non-college-
educated men hit hard…
the wealthier are getting wealthier
Political Consequences:
When the average household is doing well, the US
is generally happy with elected officials
High poverty rate is consequential (crime, drug use,
family disintegration) affects other citizens
Money = influence
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