America’s forgotten working class | J.D. Vance

Reading Time:  1 Minute

J.D. Vance grew up in a small, poor city in the Rust Belt of , where he had a to many of the social ills plaguing : a , failing schools, families torn apart by divorce and sometimes violence. In a searching talk that will echo throughout the country’s working-class towns, the author details what the loss of the n Dream feels like and raises an important question that everyone from community leaders to policy makers needs to ask: How can we help kids from ’s forgotten places break free from hopelessness and live better lives?

Talks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on , and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at

Follow news on Twitter:
Like on :

Subscribe to our channel:


40 Replies to “America’s forgotten working class | J.D. Vance”

  1. My family is from arkansas and this talk echoes my experience growing up. Bad education (the school literally spanked bad kids in grade school), hopeless and sad family life. I have lived more than half my life in a trailer and started drugs in sixth grade. So when I see things like affirmative action, scholarships for ethnic people, and being accused of white privelage it really pisses me off. I am still unemployed and have student loans from a community college that provided substandard education on a degree I didn't finish. I am poor and mad about it.

  2. It's interesting to see how working capital can take the best ideas, and market them to be an idea that shines. The topic changes into a children's psychology topic later, I don't think his background should have been mixed in, especially that dramatic, late in the presentation, it creates an imbalance.

  3. Not everyone can have a better life. Go back to your small town, educate everyone…. who will still want to work in that steel mill?

    I know it's a horrible thing to say but it's the truth. One more educated person is one more person I have to compete with to keep my job. If it's between me and someone else, I pick me. It's not like there is a dire need for more educated professionals in this country as people want to think.

    And no, this isn't a rich vs poor thing. It's a have a little vs have nothing thing. The rich will keep getting richer and everyone else will just have less to go around.

  4. This is a great talk, addressing the struggles of majority and the ordinary people that are often being mis-understood or forgotten. This, of course, not just restricts to his hometown, but many parts of the U.S. and even the world. I grew up exactly in the similar background just like him, and this is also what drives me to give back to my community and help those children and teenagers in those places to be prepared for their future. It's an inspiring talk.

  5. I disagree.I heard that so many times. Than they often becoming a bad people becouse of trauma in the childhood… many of children becoming a much better people comparing even to people who was living in a normal social life aroud him . People with trauma becoming even more compassionate and more loving .

  6. These are fucking problems that have plagued lower socio-economically developed areas for decades, urban problems. Now that they've hit white middle-western Main Street we're all supposed to give massive fucks. Oh, you poor, poor white people. Bullshit. (I'm white and I grew up ghetto.)

  7. Mr. Vance uses the term "social capital" several times.  Why not use the term "social support," for example?  "Is social capital" to be preferred just because economists use it?  Do grandmothers think of their grandchildren as human "capital" or "resources"?  How do private corporate tyrannies view kindergartners – units of "human capital"?

  8. What has happened in America? Since the 1960s the liberal left have weakened the family and strengthened the government. It is time to reclaim communities tom apart by drug abuse, family breakdown, economic decline and spiralling crime. But the solution will not be more liberalism.

  9. 3:10 — "In Utah a poor kid is actually doing okay.."

    No they're not, and obviously you're relying on statistics in a situation that you just described as overlooked and unexplained by statistics. They may be around wealthier communities packed in and around Salt Lake City but to say they're doing much better than kids in West Virginia is really not the whole story. If you're talking about class struggle it exists on the coasts too, and we really need a change on tone in America. I read his book, but it's still an 'us' (meaning middle America), versus them (coastal America). It needs to be the wealthy versus the poor, and that's where the real problem lies.

  10. I know you communists don't get it, but people hate you, socialism is evil, immoral and wrong, stealing from people is wrong as well, and no body wants terrorists coming here and socialism like in venezuala, so get out

  11. I find it interesting that the incidence of multiple childhood trauma is only 11% less in families that would be considered to have surpassed the working class. Trauma affects people rather equally, even if it might get expressed in more repressive ways in a family that is more well to do. It's true that 11 of every hundred kids is an important number, but so is the 29% of kids everywhere. I grew up at a threshold where I came from a poverty level family and watched mine move up over the course of my lifetime. Sometimes the outward appearances of privilege are as disadvantaging as the obvious appearance of traumatizing factors in a family like violence and so forth. At least someone can say to you — TV, will say to you, the Internet, will say to you — that's wrong. Anyway, just a random comment. The book was great.