Monday, July 22, 2013

Income Mobility by Region

Such an interesting NYT story about how different various US regions can be in terms of people being able to rise above the economic status they're born to:

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters

Their sub-head makes it sound like New York and Boston have the highest chances for income mobility, but based on the map, it looks like the Dakotas and Nebraska area is actually the best of all? Odd... maybe some of these areas have had a boom in a particular industry that accounts for it. In any case, the stagnancy of incomes in the southeast is pretty dramatic...

From the article:

“Where you grow up matters,” said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the study’s authors. “There is tremendous variation across the U.S. in the extent to which kids can rise out of poverty.”
That variation does not stem simply from the fact that some areas have higher average incomes: upward mobility rates, Mr. Hendren added, often differ sharply in areas where average income is similar, like Atlanta and Seattle.
The gaps can be stark. On average, fairly poor children in Seattle — those who grew up in the 25th percentile of the national income distribution — do as well financially when they grow up as middle-class children — those who grew up at the 50th percentile — from Atlanta.
Geography mattered much less for well-off children than for middle-class and poor children, according to the results. In an economic echo of Tolstoy’s line about happy families being alike, the chances that affluent children grow up to be affluent are broadly similar across metropolitan areas.


Unknown said...

I think where you were raised is just one factor. Other factors include family, education, motivation, friends, and your own aspirations contribute to your income level.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Dakotas and Nebraska, one word: oil.

Debbie in St. Paul said...

@ Leona: culture significantly influences the factors you mention. And culture is influenced by geography. I would agree that every family has a culture unique from the families within their neighborhood, but wider cultural influences matter too. And there are exceptions to prove every rule.

krist said...

Let's see now....mmmmm. the report says that the more taxpayer money given away, the greater the mobility of the receiver. Well now! What a surprise!

Here's another surprise. It happens in areas that have " progressive tax policies". Amazing!

Wonder how much Grant money was used to find out this oh so important information?