UPDATE: Russell Sage Foundation Call for Proposals for grants to work with mobility data


Is America the “Land of Opportunity”? In two recent studies, we find that: (1) Upward income mobility varies substantially within the U.S. [summary][paperAreas with greater mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families. (2) Contrary to popular perception, economic mobility has not changed significantly over time; however, it is consistently lower in the U.S. than in most developed countries. [summary][paper] 

 

 

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This map shows the average percentile rank of children who grow up in below-median income families across areas of the U.S. (absolute upward mobility). Lighter colors represent areas where children from low-income families are more likely to move up in the income distribution. To look up statistics for your own city, use the interactive version of this map created by the New York Times.

 

This figure plots the difference in average income percentiles for children born to low vs. high-income parents in each year from 1971-1993. On average, children from the poorest families grow up to be 30 percentiles lower in the income distribution than children from the richest families, a gap that has been stable over time. For children born after 1986, estimates are predictions based on college attendance rates.

 



Upward Mobility in the 50 Biggest Metro Areas: The Top 10 and Bottom 10

 

  Rank  

Odds of Reaching Top Fifth
Starting from Bottom Fifth

  Rank  

Odds of Reaching Top Fifth
Starting from Bottom Fifth

 
  1 San Jose, CA 12.9% divider 41 Cleveland, OH 5.1%  
  2 San Francisco, CA 12.2% 42 St. Louis, MO 5.1%  
  3 Washington DC, DC 11.0% 43 Raleigh, NC 5.0%  
  4 Seattle, WA  10.9% 44 Jacksonville, FL 4.9%  
  5 Salt Lake City, UT 10.8% 45 Columbus, OH 4.9%  
  6 New York, NY 10.5% 46 Indianapolis, IN 4.9%  
  7 Boston, MA 10.5% 47 Dayton, OH 4.9%  
  8 San Diego, CA 10.4% 48 Atlanta, GA 4.5%  
  9 Newark, NJ 10.2% 49 Milwaukee, WI 4.5%  
  10 Manchester, NH 10.0% 50 Charlotte, NC 4.4%  
 

 

For a printable version of this webpage, click here.  a

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