Geography shapes destiny—at least when it comes to income mobility, according to a new study by Harvard economists. Not surprisingly, Baltimore—which ranks 15th out of 2,478 counties nationally—is among the worst in helping poor children up the income ladder.
Researchers Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren identified 5 factors associated with strong upward mobility: less segregation by income and race, lower levels of income inequality, better schools, lower rates of violent crime, and a larger share of 2-parent households. The effects of place generally are sharper for boys than for girls, and for lower-income children than for rich.
“The broader lesson of our analysis,” the pair writes, “is that social mobility should be tackled at a local level.”