Beginning with the 1980 United States census, Reynolds Farley examined findings from three decennial censuses, summarizing that work in four ground-breaking books that compared demographic, social, and economic characteristics of Americans in and across decades. In the two edited volumes and two monographs—The Color Line and the Quality of Life in America (with Walter Allen) and The New American Reality: Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We Are Going—Farley analyzed and integrated tens of thousands of national statistics in illustrating how Americans have changed.

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