Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 is a 2012 book by Charles Murray, a political scientist and W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Murray describes what he sees as the economic divide and moral bifurcation of white Americans that has occurred since 1960. He focuses on white Americans in order to make it clear that the decline he describes was not being experienced solely by minorities, whom he brings into his argument in the last few chapters of the book.
Murray describes several differences he sees forming between and causing two emerging classes—the New Upper Class and the New Lower class—among which are differences in or lack thereof in regards to religiosity, work ethic, industriousness, family, etc. Murray goes on to provide evidence that religiosity, work ethic, industriousness, family, etc., have either remained strong or have weakened minimally in the New Upper Class, whereas these same attributes have either weakened substantially or have become almost nonexistent in the New Lower Class. Much of his argument is centered on a notion of self-selective sorting that began in the 1960s and 1970s, when he argues that cognitive ability became the essential predictor of professional and financial success, and people overwhelmingly began marrying others in the same cognitive stratum and living in areas surrounded largely by others in that same stratum, leading to not only an exacerbation of existing economic divides, but an unprecedented sociocultural divide that had not existed before in America.