Best Places to Be Born for Upward Mobility

iStock_000019793162XSmall“Where you grow up matters,” said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist. “There is tremendous variation across the U.S. in the extent to which kids can rise out of poverty.”

A new study, which the New York Times states “researchers are calling the most detailed portrait yet of income mobility in the United States,” proves via data that where a child is raised has to do a whole lot with their access to the social and economic ladders.

My kid is in luck. She is growing up in San Francisco which has a pretty high rate of upward mobility compared with the rest of the country. If she grew up in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati or Columbus, she might not have that same chance.

The data that they collected, by looking at millions of financial records, shows just how much location has to do with a chance at a better life.  The New York Times states that, “These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas.”

What were the other places where upward mobility is most possible? In the “Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.”

The New York Times has a fascinating interactive map (you can check it out here), that range from a 4% chance in Atlanta, Georgia to 34.8% chance in Gettysburg, South Dakota.

Do you think location has much to do with your child’s chance of climbing the economic ladder?

Photo Source: istockphoto


Article Posted 3 years Ago

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