The Data Behind "American Carnage"

Donald J. Trump became the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017. Among the most-quoted lines of his inauguration speech was his statement: "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

This sentence closed a dramatic paragraph detailing various social maladies that Americans face:  

"Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

—President Donald J. Trump

Watch: The full inauguration.

This story looks at relevant data for the topics President Trump mentioned, from 2000 to the latest date available. 

The data in these charts have not been weighted or adjusted. They are straightforward counts of the number of Americans that fit into each category, taken directly from official government surveys. The data have not even been adjusted to account for population growth. (If you'd like to view these figures as percents of the total U.S. population, see the interactive chart at the end of the story.)

"Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities..."


Source: U.S. Census, Table 20: "Poverty Status of Related Children Under 6 Years of Age"

"...rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation..."


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Employment by Industry (Manufacturing), not seasonally adjusted.

"...an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge..."


Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

"And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential."


Source: Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, CDC Wonder database, Underlying Cause of Death.

Make your own comparisons: 

• Use the Change Filter feature on the charts below and select categories to display.

• The bottom chart shows the data as percentages of U.S. population, which rose from 281,421,906 to an estimated 323,127,513 between 2000 and 2016.

Data Sources

United States Census

• Child poverty: Table 20: "Poverty Status of Related Children Under 6 Years of Age." Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

• Manufacturing and government employment: Table B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail. Not seasonally adjusted. Annual averages.

• Unemployment: Unemployment Level, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Not seasonally adjusted. Annual averages.

• Part-time workers: Table A-9. Selected employment indicators. "Part-time workers," not seasonally adjusted. Note: the BLS defines employed part-time workers as persons who usually work less than 35 hours per week. Not to be confused with the narrower subset, "Part-time for economic reasons."

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

• High school dropouts: Digest of Education Statistics, Table 219.71: Population 16 to 24 years old and number of 16- to 24-year-old high school dropouts (status dropouts), by sex and race/ethnicity: 1970 through 2014

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)

• Drug-induced deaths and firearm homicides: CDC Wonder Database. Data for these measures can be found by selecting "Drug/Alcohol Induced Causes," and "Injury Intent and Mechanisms," respectively.