Here’s a 1944 view of ‘Yorkites.’ A sample of York County, Pa., today would look different

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This photograph of a cross-section of York County, Pa., residents appears in Life magazine in June 1944 with an article: ‘These Are the People Who Answer the Gallup Poll Questions.’ Historian June Lloyd found the article in York County Heritage Trust library files and posted it on her Universal York blog. Notice one of those polled was prominent York Corporation businessman W.S. Shipley, shepherd of the York Plan. This project sought large defense contracts in World War II by pooling York County manpower and machinery. Also of interest: York County sacrificed on homefront and war front to aid Allies in World War II .

Several years ago, National Public Radio came to York County because residents here represented a typical American group to explore.

“We chose York, Pa., as the site for this discussion. Pennsylvania is an important battleground state, and York is in the center of it,” NPR stated, as found in a yorktownsquare.com post: York, Pa.: ‘It’s a midsize city with an interesting history’.

This wasn’t the first time that York countians interested those seeking to sample America.

In her most-interesting post York countians had their opinions count,  blogger June Lloyd wrote:

I just happened across an article in the files of York County Heritage Trust and discovered York County’s role in the polling process, as reported by journalist Selden Menefee in the June 13, 1944 issue of Look magazine. The two-page article, “These Are the People Who Answer the Gallup Poll Questions,” is accompanied by a photo of 10 York County people of varied backgrounds. The heading explains that “York, Pa., is a Gallup sample area and these 10 Yorkites represent us all.” By all, Menefee means not just York County, but the whole country.

June concludes her post with the comment: “It would be interesting to see how different or how similar the faces of York County would look today.”

I’ll offer this quick response to her question.

An accurate cross-sample would show great change.

Consider these stats from the 2010 census:

– The Hispanic population increased for the county percentage-wise, increasing by 115 percent since 2000.
– The county’s white population increased by 8.7 percent, but decreased in the city by 8.2 percent.
– York County’s black population increased by 72.7 percent, and 19 percent for the city.

This growing diversity is a good thing.

Consider our schools, as just one example.

The diversity prepares our students for a world that is becoming increasingly multicultural.

In our communities, imagine the richness of experience when our neighbors come from backgrounds that are different from ours.

Yes, it would be a good thing if York County in late 2013 would be chosen by pollsters as a people that “represent us all.”

Also of interest:

York hardly a hardscrabble river town?
YorkCounts quality-of-life indicator: Post-high-school prospects rising
Despite historic occurrence among Pennsylvania Dutch, rate is falling
York countians tipping the scales – 2/3 of us are fat or obese.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in All politics is local, Archives, all posts, Black history, Books & reading, Explanations/controversy, For photo fans, Genealogy/research, Local journalism & Web, Notable images, People, The Pennsylvania Dutch, War, Women's history, World War II and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Here’s a 1944 view of ‘Yorkites.’ A sample of York County, Pa., today would look different

  1. Tom Foster says:

    In 1944 I was five years old. My Dad worked as an expediter at the York Shipley plant where they were manufacturing parts for tanks. He was too old for the draft, so at night he served as an air raid warden for our neighborhood across from Lincoln Park. On the other side of Roosevelt Avenue, then often referred to as the Bull Road, was still farmland. My parents, along with some other folks had a large Victory Garden.

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