New Research from the Opportunity Atlas seeks to answer the question which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty. The Research consists of an interactive map and a research paper published by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Nathaniel Hendren, MaggieJones, and Sonya Porter.

The interactive map is County by County analysis of datapoints related to a child’s upward mobility. The research pulls from Census Data in 2000 and 2010, and Federal Income tax returns from selected years in the 1990’s and 2002 through 2015.

Each geographical tract can be searched for one indicator or it can analyzed to conclude the mobility of individual’s within that region.

The interactive data points include:

  • Incarceration rate
  • Teenage birth rate
  • Individual income
  • Spouse’s income
  • Fraction married
  • Employment rate
  • High school graduate rate
  • College graduate rate
  • Hours worked per week
  • Hourly wage
  • Fraction in top 20% based on household income
  • Fraction in top 1% based on household income
  • Fraction in top 20% based on individual income
  • Fraction in top 1% based on individual income
  • % staying in same city as adults
  • % staying in same tract as adults
  • Household income for U.S. natives
  • Household income for immigrants
  • Individual income for U.S. Natives
  • Individual income for immigrants
  • Number of children
  • Mean rent 2006-2010
  • Job growth rate from 2004-2013
  • Poverty rate from 2006-2010
  • Media household income of residents from 2012-2016
  • Fraction college graduates 2006-2010
  • Fraction non-white
  • Foreign born share
  • Fraction single parents
  • Population density 2010
  • Density of jobs 2013
  • Fraction with short commutes 2006-2010
  • Census response rate

The report looks at different policies aimed at improving children’s outcomes such as Opportunity Zones, preferential status for admission to schools, environmental remediation programs, Headstart Centers and how those programs impact upward mobility.

Key takeaways from the analysis include:

  • Upward mobility substantially varies across nationwide and varies within tracts.
  • Substantial variation within racial groups.
  • Neighborhoods have substantial causal effects on child’s long-term outcomes.

The Economic Importance of Upward Mobility 

Economic mobility is fundamental to the American dream. Numerous articles look at the decline of American economic mobility and corresponding effects. 

Further reading on American Economic Mobility: 


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