This morning, the New York Times has published a compelling online narrative about this issue, and it includes an interactive map in which you can click on your region of the country and get detailed information. The bottom line: If you live in places like Atlanta or or Charlotte or Memphis and you are born into poverty, you are likely to remain in poverty as an adult. If you are born in places such as New York or Pittsburgh, that's not necessarily the case. For those of us here in northeast Alabama, where Atlanta is only a short drive east, the information on the ATL is particularly interesting. And, by being able to get detailed information on our part of Alabama, it allows us to ask the question, why is income mobility so low around here? (The Times' report is based on a new study, Equality-of-Opportunity.org.)
The Times writes, "Climbing the income ladder occurs less often in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, the data shows, with the odds notably low in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. By contrast, some of the highest rates occur in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.
“ '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.' "
-- Phillip Tutor