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Upward Mobility In America

A new, nationwide study on upward mobility shows big differences between different American cities — and some surprising reasons why.  We’ll look at the map (check out the interactive version of the map).

A map displaying upward mobility by region. Darker shades indicate lower intergenerational mobility. (Harvard University)

CLICK TO ENLARGE: A map displaying upward mobility by region. Darker shades indicate lower intergenerational mobility. Lighter colors represent areas where children from low-income families are more likely to move up in the income distribution. (Courtesy of Harvard University)

Upward mobility was central to the American Dream. The promise that no matter where you started, you had a reasonable shot at getting ahead. In recent years, that promise has faded.

Overall, the U.S. has fallen behind other developed countries as the land of opportunity for all. But a huge, new study reveals that a lot depends on where you live within the U.S.

If you start poor in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, New York, Boston, Houston, you’ve got a decent chance to rise. But if it’s Atlanta? Charlotte? Memphis? South Bend? A whole lot harder.

This hour, On Point: The map of American mobility.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief for The New York Times. (@DLeonhardt)

Raj Chetty, professor of economics at Harvard University and co-director of the Public Economics group at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He’s one of the authors of “The Economic Impacts of Tax Expenditures Evidence from Spatial Variation Across the U.S.,” a new study on income mobility in the United States.

Isabel Sawhill, senior fellow for Economic Studies and Co-Director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution. Co-author of “Creating an Opportunity Society” and “One Percent for the Kids: New Policies, Brighter Futures for America’s Children.” (@isawhill)

Interactive Map

The New York Times: In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters

Interview Highlights

Raj Chetty on the surprising results:

We weren’t expecting such a great deal of heterogeneity across the U.S. There’s so much variation in the degree of mobility across cities … Often the question people ask is “Is the U.S. still the land of opportunity?” And what we’re finding here is maybe that’s not the right question to be asking. There are some places that are “lands of opportunity,” if you like, and there are other places that are probably better described as “lands of persistent inequality” within the United States. So it really matters where you live.

Chetty on smaller towns showing more mobility:

We find that some of the highest mobility places in America are smaller towns rather than the biggest cities … What’s happening in those communities is they’re producing these very successful kids, even kids frmo low-income families. And they end up leaving those communities typically, moving to bigger cities and being very successful in the broader American economy. But they’re being produced in these smaller towns.

Chetty on residential segregation, education and two-parent households:

Take a place like Atlanta … it’s a very residentially segregated city, where low-income people are living in neighborhoods  that are quite separted physically from higher income. And the public transportation’s not great. And so that was a common characteristic that we found of many places of low rates of upward mobility.

TOM: Meaning that people end up living in kind of sealed areas of poverty. It’s not interwoven with affluence, hard to get on that train, hard to get where the jobs are potentially.

That’s potentially one mechanism. But, again, there are other potential mechanisms.

So, for example, the quality of schools for low-income kids is likely to be higher in a place where they’re living in neighborhoods integrated with higher income families because there’s going to be more funding for the schools, smaller classrooms, better teachers. And we have evidence from other work that that kidn of thing really matters for kids’ outcomes.

Areas with more two-parent households have higher rates of upward mobility. But a very important point to keep in mind is even for kids from married families from two-parent households, rates of upward mobiltiy are lower if they live in areas with high single-parent rates. So this is not just saying that kids from single-parent families have lower outcomes, which we know is the case, but rather it’s something about the community as well.

From Tom’s Reading List

Salon: Upward mobility Is A Lot Easier In Some Cities: “A major new study by academic economists show that it’s still possible to get ahead in America but a great deal depends on where you’re trying to do it. As is the case with many socio-economic indicators, the northeast, and mountain and ocean west come out shining while the southeast and rustbelt lag behind.”

National Review: Upward Mobility Across U.S. Metropolitan Regions: “Leonhardt observes, some U.S. regions, like the Pittsburgh (2.4 million), Seattle (3.5 million), and Salt Lake City (969,000) metropolitan areas, have levels of upward mobility for the poor comparable to those that obtain in countries like Denmark (5.6 million) and Norway (4.9 million), while the Atlanta (5.5 million) and Memphis (1.3 million) metropolitan areas have levels of upward mobility that would be among the lowest among affluent countries.”

Delarware Online: Will: Upward Mobility Necessary To Develop Human Capital: “Today, the dominant distinction defining socioeconomic class is between those with and without college degrees. Graduates earn 70 percent more than those with only high school diplomas. In 1980, the difference was just 30 percent.”

 

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  • Michiganjf

    Golly, that map sure makes limited upward mobility look like it’s highly concentrated in Red States…

    Now why would upward mobility be most restricted in areas where Republican dogma and policy holds sway?

    Praise the lord some of the country is keeping that red tide at bay!

    • jefe68

      Good question.
      The South and the Mid West are pretty bad, most are red states. The South is the worst according to this map.
      The South is were you have the most conservative right wing state governments. North Carolina is a very good example.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I thought it was spelled “Merka”?

      • hennorama

        Shag_Wevera – nope.  That’s too close to burka.

    • GISandMAPguy

      That does not explain the red states in the plains and West (like ID, WY, UT, ND, SD, MT), nor the limited mobility in very blue locations like around Chicago, Milwaukee, and D.C. I think it correlates much more with race than political dogma. Very much the limited mobility is in locations with high populations of African-Americans (though curiously, not Hispanics).

    • geraldfnord

      True, the most avid advocates of the Late Rebellion seem to have it the worst, but there are Republican states, even benighted Texas, that are doing well or decently—a district-by-district comparison of voting habits and mobility would be useful, and I’d bet that the parties have such.

      Four possibilities immediately come to mind:
      1.) People vote as they see—where mobility is strong, the poor seem responsible for their poverty…
      2.)…or the poor seem to need help, and there are fewer of them so they seem less frightening.
      3.) Where mobility is low, fear of moving downward and joining the poor increases the very real hatred of them, hatred and its father, callousness, being the best distancing mechanisms on hand.
      4.)Where mobility is high, some notable fraction of those rising did so with the perceived aid of the Market or the State, and are grateful thereto, and properly—at least to the extent that the perception were accurate. (Some liberals don’t understand the Market’s information-propagation and efficiency-boosting; some conservatives underplay how much easier to get and keep wealth where the State enforces property rights impossible in Nature and buys off the poor with subsistence or slightly better.)

    • Don_B1

      Upward mobility seems also correlated with urban sprawl, as charted by Paul Krugman, using some of the data from the study brought to us here by David Leonhart:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/did-sprawl-kill-horatio-alger/

      He points out the two outliers, Chicago and Houston, but does not have an answer yet, though the ability of Houston to incorporate the land outside the city, so that there remains a tax base for the entire city, not enclaves outside the city where those with more money can withdraw and not be responsible for the whole metropolitan area, has to be a factor.

  • StilllHere

    This doesn’t jibe with all of On Point’s shows about how upward mobility doesn’t exist.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Upward mobility is an opiate smokesceen used to hide the fact that too few have too much in our society.  Maybe you could too!!!  (sucker)

    • geraldfnord

      I don’t think that most people are deluded to the extent that they believe that they probably will be rich, but rather that they have bought into a moral system that ignores marginal utility, claiming that their sole dollar were exactly as vital to them as (say) Soros’ billionth were to him, and so as worthy of State protection.

      They’re not completely wrong, given that a system that said that noöne had a right to anything would be good for neither them nor Soros, but they’re wrong in their absolutism—one may have the right to drink from a river but not to divert it, and in fact the diverter can be injurous to the drinkers….

  • Yar

    One would expect that the person who makes the most money contributes most to our economy. It is not how much you make as it is how many you feed.  The undocumented immigrant who puts 50 percent of the food on our tables makes very little but contributes much.  Take him out of the economy and you will be hungry or poor.  We ignore the levels of exploitation in our economy.  Living wages with access to healthcare, a path to citizenship for those who feed us, mow our lawns, and do the work while we pretend life is fair, and all one needs is a degree to be successful.  

     

    • William

       I think you would have to define a person’s contribution to society. Just paying taxes does not contribute as much as a person that creates jobs and spurs economic growth. A illegal that works here is taking more than he contributes by not paying for the local schools, medical, police, fire services and sends a large amount of his income back to his country. Additionally, illegals lower the wages and keep wages from increasing for Blacks and poor Americans.

      • Yar

        @@davidjenson:disqus You are blaming the slave for actions of his master. On whose sweat does the “job creator” make his fortune? You are simply wrong that an undocumented worker takes more than he contributes. It is his work that pays the taxes when they are paid by the people who employee him or buy the product of his labor. Don’t curse those who harvest sunshine, they feed us all.  The source of all wealth is energy harvested from the stars.

        Make him a citizen and pay a living wage.
        “I don’t want peace, I want equal rights and justice.”

        • William

           Illegals don’t pay property, state, local, federal income taxes all of which support the various services they use. Illegals send billions of dollars back to their country rather than spending (investing) the money in the local community. You can say we have recreated a modern day slave state by allowing this to go on for such a long time which is nothing we can endorse as a good idea. I don’t curse illegals or look at them as something that should be encouraged. Your misguided opinion is part of the problem with encouraging more cheap labor at any cost..i.e. modern day slavery.  The living wage issue can be solved by a shortage of labor or gaining marketable skills.

          • Donald Morris

            Do illegals rent apartments? They pay property tax.  Do they eat? They pay sales tax. Do they drive cars? They pay Federal and state gas taxes.

          • Don_B1

            Many (most) also have Social Security taxes (F.I.C.A.) withheld from their wages, which they cannot apply for when they reach retirement. This has contributed to the strengthening of the S.S. Trust Fund for the rest of us.

  • b smart

    just trying to focus on not being downwardly mobile

  • John Cedar

    Things would greatly improve if we could just open our boarders  to millions of third world country illegal immigrants.

    Raise the social safety net high. The result is  fewer people are upwardly motivated.

    Denmark sounds like utopia. Of course impoverished Americans would squirm at the thought of having as little “stuff” as their average citizen has.

    “I think that the hon. Gentleman knows that I have the same contempt for
    his socialist policies as the people of east Europe, who have
    experienced them, have for theirs. I think that I must have hit the
    right nail on the head when I pointed out that the logic of those
    policies is that they would rather the poor were poorer. Once they start
    to talk about the gap,…] So long as the gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer.
    One does not create wealth and opportunity that way. One does not create
    a property-owning democracy that way.”

    • 1Brett1

      And, yet, according to the map, border towns with Mexico all along the southwest (where the big bad illegal immigrants are supposedly doing the most damage to ‘Merka) seem to have the most upward mobility. This doesn’t fit in with your narrative.

      • John Cedar

        Narrative?
        It is not my side that describes American economics as a game of musical chairs, with 99 people left standing, it is yours. It fits somebody’s narrative…importing better players who sit in those chairs faster or simply find a better place to sit than they were standing yesterday…is upward mobility.

        • 1Brett1

          You are presuming that the data reflects illegal immigrants are counted, and that those areas in the border towns are only counting upward mobility among illegal immigrants and not others in those areas…in fact, you are presuming a lot of information not present to further your narrative. And I’m not talking about “necon” narrative, I’m talking about yours, John Cedar. Instead of making more of your position solid, you deflect by making some inane comment about “my side” or some irrelevant correlation about another aspect of the dwindling middle class.

        • Don_B1

          It is precisely your side that describes American economics as a “game of musical chairs” as you try to set up the strawman that you can so nicely knock down.

          But that is NOT, repeat NOT, what your “other side” describes the American economy as, nor does it agree that YOUR description applies.

    • northeaster17

      Yeah all those poor people don’t want to work. They just want your stuff. Right? Pathetic.

      • John Cedar

         “I told you he’d understand…”
         ~ Randolph Duke

        • Don_B1

          You just can’t appreciate sarcasm.

    • geraldfnord

      That’s right, all socialist policies are exactly the same, regardless of extent or nature.

      Similarly, since main-lining twenty aspirin (or acetaminophen, or ibuprofen) will kill you, you must never take two orally for your headache.

      Why listen to anyone who claimed that Society did not exist whilst it enabled every aspect of her rise? (Yes, there is no thing ‘Society’… just as ‘Justice’ , ‘Rights’ , ‘Good’, and ‘Evil’ are not things, but exist well enough to be useful.) And, frankly, I believe her to have been speaking in bad faith, as her Spencerian ancestors made no secret of their approval and appreciation of the gap between an happy Rich and a suffering Poor and claimed it for a sign of _health_.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Patrick-Dwyer-Jr/100002088204784 James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    Here in the south, people believe that Fox news is fair and balanced, resslin(wrestling) is real and Jesus Christ is coming on Tuesday. They read nothing, question nothing and believe what the talking head on TV and their pastor tells them is the truth because it’s what they want to believe.  We live in states that are considered as backward because we have republician governors we voted in. A lot would have to change for us to become upwardly mobile I believe. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime.

  • Wahoo_wa

    I wonder if this study takes into account college educated people who move away from where they are born to pursue their careers.

    • Wahoo_wa

      In the same vein I wonder if areas like Boston count incoming college students or recent grads as an indication of upward mobility when that population is not entirely local.  

      • Ray in VT

        Good questions both.  Hopefully they will address issues regarding their data collection and methodology.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I want to see a map with some indication of population density on it.

      Virginia (your stomping ground, right?) is a much more variably habitated place than MA.

      And when we get west of the Mississip’, the stretches between population areas gets bigger, but they’re not really noted as such.

      • Wahoo_wa

        Grew up in eastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island; went to college north of Philadelphia; went to graduate school in Virginia; started my career in Washington DC; moved to San Francisco and I am now in Boston.

        Good point on population density though.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          (Oops. I remember UVa in your background but thought you were still there.)

          So you have firsthand visuals about what we call “open space” between NYC and BOS v. the area around Charlottesville.

          PS Ever been to Champlin’s seafood shack in Narragansett?

          • Wahoo_wa

            Sure..now that you mention it I think it would be interesting to see statistics on urban environments specifically.

            I have not been to Champlin’s.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            It’s a quintessential seafood shack with a side of salt air, and a license.

            Well worth the time if you’re there. Can’t speak to anything near Watch Hill, though.

          • Don_B1

            You might find a beginning along those lines at:

            http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/did-sprawl-kill-horatio-alger/

          • Wahoo_wa

            They’re saying that SF has a high mobility rate.  I don’t think I met more than a dozen natives when I lived there.  That to me is telling of the merits of the map as a tool of assessing predestination.

          • Don_B1

            Richard Florida has been doing a lot of research on what creates a growth economy. i can’t right now cite a specific paper, but I’m sure his website would have a good list.

          • Don_B1

            Try The Bayside in Westport (end of Horseneck Road) MA!

            And stop in at Westport Rivers Winery on the way!

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Both of these are now in my “travel book”. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/pia.vastatrix Pia Vastatrix

      Yes, this seems to be a very important consideration. I’d like to hear if it’s addressed in the study.

    • StilllHere

      Where do they tend to move?

  • liminalx

    Looks a lot like the presidential electoral map…

  • creaker

    The whole discussion creates the illusion that the only direction is up. I’d like to see the stats on how many people are losing ground in this country. I’d think we’d get a much more gloomy but accurate picture of where people are headed.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Another thing that I find interesting about even the introduction of the story is the acknowledgement of circumstance when examining upward mobility.  One cannot control where one is born.  It’s a nice break from race baiting the issue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pia.vastatrix Pia Vastatrix

      One can’t help where one is born, but it’s striking how those darkest reds appear mostly in areas where slavery existed, and where the percentage of African-Americans in the population is the highest. 

      • Wahoo_wa

        Well there was slavery in the North as well so that observation is invalid.  

        • http://www.facebook.com/pia.vastatrix Pia Vastatrix

          The early (and relatively much smaller) presence of slavery in the north does NOTHING to invalidate my remark. The North never saw the forced captivity of as much as 35% of its population, and didn’t have Jim Crow laws that codified the continued low economic and social status of former slaves. These laws were in place until just 50 years ago, and continue in some areas in practice if not in law.

          • Wahoo_wa

            But as the researcher stated upward mobility is race neutral.  Please don’t race-bait the issue.  It’s inappropriate.

  • toc1234

    will the ‘two-parent household’ factor be discussed?  or glossed over?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pia.vastatrix Pia Vastatrix

    When a region has a centuries-old legacy of legally and traditionally keeping a large percentage of its population down, it’s bound to have a very long-lasting effect.

  • ToyYoda

    I live in Boston, on the NE coast.  If you look at the map, it looks like the *entire* California rates better in upwards mobility than half of Massachusetts.  Impressive.

  • John

    The border of Mexico looks like it has high upward mobility. Guess that has to do with trade.

  • Michiganjf

    How can you LOOK at the above map, and NOT immediately discuss the RED STATE correlation???!!

    I’ll be FLOORED if Tom yet again plays it safe, and doesn’t bring up THIS OBVIOUS CORRELATION!!!!

    • Gary Trees

      relax

    • homebuilding

      NO !

      Don’t relax.  There is something here–very significant, too.  They’ve already pointed out that mobility is related to having the kids living with both biological parents.  (The poorer mobility areas have far more single parent homes–of all races)

    • Don_B1

      There are more than one correlation going on here and one more is urban sprawl, as shown yesterday in a post by Paul Krugman on his blog:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/did-sprawl-kill-horatio-alger/

    • Michiganjf

      Yet another academic and radio host made overly cautious by the politics of the day…

      … 80-90% of the above map correlates to 
      Red State/Blue State!

      It’s amazing that they can so willingly dance around ONE obvious conclusion!

  • Gary Trees

    It would be nice to have the outline of states superimposed over the map.  The patchwork makes it difficult to pinpoint inland locations with any degree of certainty. Also, description of the ratio in the plot itself would be helpful.  I’ve always thought that a good chart should be able to be looked at by anyone and deciphered independently. This one…not so much.

  • creaker

    “upward mobility” is a way to take 1000 people and tell the other 995 that it’s their fault they all didn’t get the 5 jobs that were available.

  • RealEstateCafe

    Question for guests about housing:  What would this map reveal if it showed areas where Generation X & Y *** CANNOT *** afford to buy their parents’ homes?  #DownwardMobility

    • RealEstateCafe

      Will be interesting to watch the President’s cross-country trip and see what happens when awareness of income inequality increases.  This documentary will be in theaters this Fall, too:

      http://inequalityforall.com

      Maybe the filmmakers and / or Robert Reich can be part of a future OnPoint program, or call into this one!

  • creaker

    Another slant of this study is the inference that the only measure of “moving up” is the amount of $$ in your paycheck.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Marie-Davidson/1031260734 Joan Marie Davidson

       This is precisely what I was thinking, wondering about, wanting to ask.
      “Success” in our country seems to mean making Big Bucks and I do not understand what they mean by mobility unless it means cutting out, moving elsewhere to get a remunerative job.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Here come the race baiters….so sad.

    • Wahoo_wa

      …and that was nipped in the bud (thank God).  Let’s move on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pia.vastatrix Pia Vastatrix

      If you really think the legacy of slavery has nothing to do with economic mobility and opportunity, I think you’re delusional.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pia.vastatrix Pia Vastatrix

        For what it’s worth, I’m a white, middle class, middle-aged woman who has lived my entire life in the South.

        • Wahoo_wa

          I don’t think your race or the fact that you lived in the south all your life changes the data.

      • Wahoo_wa

        I don’t buy it at all especially considering the researcher’s own statement that whites in low upward mobility areas have the same probability of upward mobility as blacks do.  Please don’t race bait this issue.

  • JMue

    How does the study look at geographic mobility?  Does the study only look at people who do not move cities?  Do people who move geographically have different mobility?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      It costs money to move, and it costs money to commute.

      I’d think that the higher up one is on the ladder, the less of a bother in one’s available time and money either of these things are.

  • ThirdWayForward

    The inequality pattern appears to follow the Confederacy and also Republican control of state legislatures. So what is causal here? 

    Is it that where Republicans and conservatives hold political sway, communities are more segregated by income and race, with bad public transportation and underfunded social services (schools, Medicaid, etc.)? Or is it that people in these regions are more accepting of economic inequality (and more religious and traditional) tend to buy into conservative ideology (and demagoguery) and tend to vote in conservatives Republicans?

    Some other correlations would be useful to look at, such as medical bankruptcy rates.

    So, what is the connection with the political map?

  • Don_B1

    This is a response to Toyoda at about 10:22(?) which Disqus refuses to post as a reply:

    Western MA has had economic problems since the electronics manufacturing decline of 30 or more years ago took place.
    Companies such as GE (electrical transformers), Sprague (capacitor manufacturing, etc) had plants all over the Berkshires and neighboring areas in NY, and left with PCB contaminants in the rivers, etc. (GE is still fighting cleanup of the Hudson River.)

    Papermaking (Crane was and is a maker of fine papers) has declined with the drop in letter-writing, etc.

    Malcolm Gladwell had an article in The New Yorker:

    http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2013/06/24/130624crbo_books_gladwell

    on the life of Albert O. Hirshman and his analysis of the risk taking in building the Housac Tunnel (through the Hoosac Mountain) in the mid-nineteenth century. It’s cost was initially estimated much lower than it turned out to cost, but the benefits eventually arrived and made growth in Western Massachusetts possible for its residents.

    Something similar in effect if not a strict parallel is needed now. Certainly it is an arts mecca, with dance, plays and particularly music (Tanglewood) are great helpers but may not be enough.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You forgot to mention what may be GE’s biggest legacy in Pittsfield: Every month one hears something new about the PCB cleanup. It’s almost on the level of the “Springfield Tire Fire” in The Simpsons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.p.grace David P Grace

    I would like to know how he rated the projections? Did he factor by fiat or specia?
     

  • GeorgeHewes

    Seems to be related to regional economic swings. When southern states first went toward a more free-market oriented approach and businesses rushed in a few decades ago, their parents did well during the time. Then things slowed down. After this, other parts of the country caught on and made changes by cutting government and the swing went back in their direction. Shows that cutting government helps, but goes through cycles. Current cycle favors areas outside the south because those areas were relative rust buckets in comparison in 1980 while their populations headed South. The South overbuilt to a degree, too much too fast and then added to their government structure while other areas started cutting back. I imagine this map changes over the decades like a ripple in the water.

  • homebuilding

    On the air, they are discussion the levels of social spending/school spending, just now.

    From my direct experience, much social spending, particularly in schools, lacks true and meaningful assessment of the spending.  
    For me, a bottom line is that in wealthier, smaller areas, the kids have many opportunities to see what upward mobility can be for them–they can see a path upwards for themselves.

    Those surrounded by poorer schools, (poorer teachers are often part of this), poorer communities, dearth of good paying jobs, have absolutely reduced possibilities and reduced mentoring to find a path of escape

    Actually, public radio and public TV is a way to enlighten the path–and more could be done, with minimal costs.  Instead, we have hollywood domination of our considerable entertainment preoccupation–to the detriment of us all

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.p.grace David P Grace

       And the defunding of public radio, tv & education.

      According to the NeoConArtists, it apparently isn’t cost effective to learn anymore.

  • 228929292AABBB

    Dear On Point – how about a show about this year’s America’s Cup sailing race?  Centuries of elite tradition shaken by an attempt to bring the public into the fold.  Out with elegance, out with history.  In with technology, spectator areas, extreme speed and death!  There is something in this year’s America’s Cup for nerds and ghouls both – but the new format has caused chaos, wrecks, and injuries (one fatal).  More has been spent for this campaign than in 110 years of racing COMBINED and the result has several times been one boat racing itself!  Is the Cup being saved or destroyed, and what does it say about society when the path to popularity is to attract a TV audience with the potential of a maiming?  Surely there’s enough for an hour of fascinating radio there, if you have any doubt type ‘AC72 foiling’ into youtube and watch 30 seconds of this new sort of racing.

    • StilllHere

      It would have been better than yesterday’s show.

      • 228929292AABBB

         Anything is better than more discussion of our President pouring his heart out and accomplishing nothing.

        • StilllHere

          Poured his hear out … I don’t buy it.  It sounded completely manufactured, almost as if he were auditioning for the job of president of a foundation designed to address issues that don’t exist and just waiting to take money from any sucker willing to turn it over.  He’s gotta think about post-16, right?

  • John Cedar

    You seem to have a selective appreciation for relativity and extent. If we could just agree on how many flat-screens, cellphones, tattoos and degrees the average American should own. And maybe how much effort they ought to put into owning them. Then maybe you could apply your concepts to those standard deviations, to define an acceptable level of “upward mobility”.

    Fortunately, I have a high threshold of pain and am always headache free, so I  never take  those poison analgesic/NASAIDs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.p.grace David P Grace

     If your theories are accurate, this map would be a useful one to keep for future reference & projections.

  • hennorama

    US Household Median Income by County 2009:

    Source:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

    • 1Brett1

      Thanks, henn!

      • hennorama

        YW as always 1B1.

    • creaker

      I love all the “yes, but”‘s in this kind of data.

      Like we should all move to northern Alaska if we want a big paycheck.

      • hennorama

        creaker – remember these are median figures, not means or minimums.

        In other words, half are above, and half below the value indicated.

        • creaker

          Agreed – I just noticed a number of large areas with high median incomes – but they  are also areas with very few people. So although they look impressive in this graphic, it doesn’t really mean much.

          I expect if they divided that area in Alaska into smaller sections it would tell a very different story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.p.grace David P Grace

    The advancement of civilization should be a factor. Since invention is 99 percent perspiration, is it cost effective to have inventors?

  • 2Gary2

    Until the workers are given their productivity pay raises that the 1% have been stealing nothing will change.  This is why there is wage stagnation–the rich have been stealing the productivity increase raises workers used to get.

  • alsordi

    BEN BERNANKE COMMENTS ???  what a HYPOCRITE !!

    Its the private bank called the Federal Reserve that is causing this gap in wealth.  

    Ben and the banker scumbags are creating no or low interest money for their cousins to play with and pump up the stock market. The rich are getting richer on BEN’S PONZI SCHEME.  While doubling the interest rate on student loans.

  • marian107

    Fascinating! Please explain any correlation between mobility and political party positions.

  • SamEw

    The problem with the map seems to be that it is heavily slanted towards giving a positive projection of places that attract immigration. For example, as someone who has lived both in Metro Detroit and southwest Florida I think there is considerably more opportunity for upward mobility in Metro Detroit. However, the people who make a lot of money move to southwest Florida throwing the map off for both regions and no they don’t move there for jobs generally either. 

  • Eizabeth12

    How does this study control for individuals who have pursued careers where their true earning potential will not be reached until later in life… ie individuals pursuing academic careers or in medicine (PhD, MD, etc)
    -Elizabeth in Boston

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Isn’t our economic system the fundamental contributor to limited upward mobility? Universal education and healthcare are the primary casualties in the pursuit of the dollar. Without these true equality cannot exist. I completely agree with the comments regarding increased disparity in the “Redder” States. Right To Work, right? Also, how does the Prison Industrial Complex play into the picture? Tired old phrase I know but that does not make it any less relevant.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      The phrase “Prison Industrial Complex” isn’t tired, Drew.

      That would mean the Diane Sawyers and George Wills of the world have grown tired of talking about them on national TV.

      Part of me wants to know where prisoners are counted on this map: Where they’re from, or where they’re “stored”. It’s already a major scandal on several levels: Sentencing rates, prosecutions, and mandated sentencing. Then on top of that the census counts these folks where the prison is, so that rural place gets the weight of the population for redistricting.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Madison is a college town — lots of opportunities, great public transit, decent schools.

    Milwaukee is a post-industrial city. Interestingly Wisconsin’s petty-fascist governor, Scott Walker, hails from Milwaukee.

  • GeorgeHewes

    This map relates to the rust belt maps, also relates to the happiness maps.  This map goes with people born in an area, right?  When you are not happy, it implies you want more in life.  Unhappy people can be driven to do more and want more and move around to try to find a better life.  When they move, they compete with the less driven locals.  Happy people may stay put.  Those possibly less ambitious people who are happy with less stayed put in the rust belt.  If they were born there, and they had no competition from the more driven unhappy people moving in to compete with them, then they tended to do better.  Likewise, new talented people looking for more out of life were rushing into the South competing with groups of locals who were less driven.  The reason for the drive is based on companies seeking out lower taxes in various areas at various times in their economic cycles.  When a community feels better off, they add taxes and government, then the companies tend to move back to other parts who are now making cuts.  The happiness map, rust belt maps, and timing are all related to this as well.  This would be more interesting if it had been done every decade for 100 years or so.

  • SueCV

    Please quit calling low income people low class.  Our income has nothing to do with our class.  As anybody who has ever seen a reality show knows, high income certainly doesn’t mean high class.  Referring to us as low income, middle income, or high income would be more accurate.

  • Sue Ann Gardner

    Where do you see the cities superimposed on the map? I am just seeing a US map with no states or cities indicated.

  • truegangsteroflove

    Left out of the discussion is the change over time from manufacturing industries to service industries. Coincident with the movement away from manufacturing is the movement towards labor displacement technology. For people at the bottom of the income scale already, the lack of jobs that are more labor intensive would tend to make them downwardly mobile.

    Another thing left out of the discussion is that we are entering an era where the need for infinite growth of output is contending with the ability of the planet to withstand human intrusion. Climate change, pollution, resource depletion and human overpopulation do not bode well for a system that depends on infinite growth in order to survive.

    Unfortunately, conversations like this are reductionistic, and are only capable of looking at problems in isolation. We do not live in a world of isolated variables. Everything exists in concert, or disconcert, with everything else.

  • Benjamin Miller

    how come he kept saying that you can interact with the map for hours? Where is the link that I am missing? The one above is just an image. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      At the NYT link there is a bigger map which has greater detail and better readability between the color shades.

      When I hover over it it gives me some numbers. If you have script-blocking stuff on your computer, some sources may need to be enabled.

    • VeganGalNoLa

       Yeah, that’s the main reason I came here…

  • c_j_drawbridge

    Is the next step in solving one particular state’s mobility issue to now run the same analysis for any given state, or perhaps a partical region of a state (depending on it’s size) - analizing the color distribution across particular cities for example……….

  • hennorama

    US
    Household Income Quintiles 2011:

    (upper
    limit of the range, in US $)

    Lowest  20,262

    Second  38,520

    Third     62,434

    Fourth  101,582

    Highest    —-

    Based
    on this data, the “pole vault” from the lowest quintile to the
    highest is $81,320. Another way to look at it – going from the
    lowest to the highest requires at least a quintupling of household
    income.

    Remember,
    these are by household, not per individual. The Harvard team used
    household income also.

    Source:

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=330

  • William

     That is odd since more women than men are graduating from college.

    • HonestDebate1

      It doesn’t do any good if they work in the Obama administration, he pays women peanuts compared to the men.

  • burroak

    Whatever happened to American manufacturing? Is that not would developed our middle class. Aside from that, nowadays America has become a service-job economy. You cannot save for a house, buy a new car, raise a family, renovate a kitchen, bathroom, save for a kids college, and maybe, just maybe have a few pennies in the piggy bank put away for retirement, on minimum wage, or 9, 10, 11 dollars per hour. The math does not add up.
    America has to revisit, reinvest in the trades and manufacturing, and study how these two sectors can work with 21 century national infrastructure projects such as utilities, transit, and city/town redevelopments.
    Serving fries and a soft drink will not buy a dream home anytime soon.
    A book worth reading was published about 15 years ago: “America, What Went Wrong”. What books exist today which discuss they ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots?

    • tbphkm33

      American manufacturing is still there – 2nd largest manufacturing base next to China (only recently passed), as far as quality, across the board perceived to only be behind Germany.  The outlook for U.S. manufactured products sold overseas is bright.  

      The issue is that what manufacturing is left in the U.S., small- and medium-sized companies, has been forced to become leaner and smarter in their manufacturing processes.  Which fortunately has resulted in higher quality, but also resulted in less need for manpower.  Especially unskilled manpower.  U.S. manufacturing today is like German manufacturing, where it takes years of training to reach the skills needed.  Difference is that Germany has a strong history of public-private partnership, where workers enter the workforce through apprenticeships.  Here in the U.S., it is a circular route of a multitude of private vocational educational organizations that hopefully leads to a job.   

      • burroak

        Thank you “thphkm33″ for your input.
        Question: what percentage of American goods are U.S. made? And all the robotic apparatus that now makes assembles much of an automobile; where are those robots made? Thanks.

  • William

    Landlord pays. Gas tax pays for roads not schools. They work for cash no tax.

    • 1Brett1

      Own a car = pay property tax…But, go ahead and keep re-parsing your meme. Also, “They” don’t only work for “cash.”

    • hennorama

      William – It’s estimated that about half of all undocumented workers are on payrolls, with the other half working “off the books.”

      Another fact that few may have considered – undocumented workers who are on payrolls are paying Social Security and Medicare taxes via deductions from their paychecks, but won’t receive benefits unless their status changes. Many also pay Federal, state and local income and other taxes via payroll deductions. Some but not all undocumented workers file tax returns using an ITIN (individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and either receive refunds or pay additional taxes.

      They also contribute to Federal, state and local revenues by paying sales taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes (either directly through real estate ownership or indirectly via their landlords), various fees, etc.

      Another factoid many may not be aware of – about 1 in 6 workers in the US are foreign-born (this includes those who entered via both legal and illegal means). Nearly half of these foreign-born workers are Hispanic, and about one quarter are Asian. Median incomes of foreign-born workers is nearly $32K, which is about 78% of the median for native-born workers. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is that foreign born workers are more likely to be employed in lower-wage service occupations.

      Source:
      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/forbrn.pdf

  • William

     ID theft should not be rewarded.

  • J__o__h__n

    Not much mobility in the “right to work” states. 

    • HonestDebate1

      I agree with FDR that public sector unions are intolerable because they make the tax payer and the public employee adversaries. Public and private sector unions are always conflated. Regarding private sector unions, I think they’re fine if that’s what you want but you become a number. A right to work State does not mean workers can’t organize to for unions.

      I’m replying because of your premise. It’s true with a union you don’t have to be a very good worker. You will be paid like everyone else as determined in smoke filled rooms irrespective of merit. And it’s also true you will be promised the moon but it’s not related to the market, it’s an artificial construct with devastating consequences. The UAW had a lot to do with GM’s bankruptcy as well as Detroit’s dramatic fall. I don’t call that upward mobility. I would never join a union because I don’t want to be held back. I want my work determine my value. I’m not afraid of that.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        I’m not afraid of my work determining my value, well, except when some depshet boss has it in for me.

        • HonestDebate1

          If you make yourself indispensable then they will love you.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            No, if a boss or boss’ boss is an aswipe, they can just fire you because of the necktie you wore once last year. It’s call “at will” or whatever, and it’s every non-union employment contract everywhere.

            Really, just quit while you’re behind.

      • nj_v2

        “I agree with FDR…”

        Hahahaha!!

        Desperately wanting to be taken seriously, the prolific forum clownhack, DisHonestMisDebaterGreggg is pretending to know something about history.

        Like nearly every other subject that DisHonestMisDebaterGreggg thinks he knows something about, his specious opinions are usually based in distortion or outright lies proffered by the right-wing disinformation blowhards and hacks he so admires, and whose vile garbage he regurgitates in this forum.

        FDR’s reservation about public unions was that they shouldn’t strike. Period.

        http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120923/ADOP06/309230003/Correcting-misinformation-FDR-8217-s-union-views

        Correcting misinformation on FDR’s union views

        …So what is one to take from Roosevelt’s perceived dissonance about public unions? This letter was saying one thing and one thing only: Federal employees should not have the right to strike.

        At the time Roosevelt wrote this letter, the right to strike was implicit because the private sector was the only sector in the U.S. where collective bargaining existed, and private-sector unions did — and still do — have the right to strike. Bargaining without the right to strike simply did not exist in America, hence his argument that “collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.

        ”Roosevelt’s concern was that if federal employees were to strike, it could present a threat to the nation’s security — a legitimate concern for the government, where about half of workers are employed by agencies with a clear national security mission. At a time when the great powers of Europe and Asia were re-engaging the gears of war, it is no wonder Roosevelt would be concerned about the continuity of federal service.…

        http://bloggingblue.com/2011/02/28/what-fdr-really-said-about-public-employee-unions/

        What FDR really said about public employee unions

        • HonestDebate1

          Where is the conflict with what I wrote?

          http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15445

          • nj_v2

            There really is something wrong with you. Were you kicked in the head by a horse as a child?

            If there were some logical reason, i could possible have some sympathy.

          • HonestDebate1

            I wrote: “I agree with FDR that public sector unions are intolerable because they make the tax payer and the public employee adversaries.”

            … as manifested by a strike. That’s what I’m talking about. 

            FDR even used the word “intolerable” as I did. That’s why I posted the complete letter. He also said: “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

            So no, I don’t get the where the conflict is. I wish you would explain it to me.

    • keltcrusader

      yeah, the “right to work” for less money, no benefits or job protection

  • eastiowan

    most concerning thing is that this snapshot of US income mobility from 33 years ago (methodological and definition or meaning of mobility issues notwithstanding) is historical and rather mild compared to what it is likely today.
    things have changed much to the worse: people born in the 90′s and 2000′s have faced/are facing much dimmer prospects, in this era of financial deregulation and increasing inequality. Interestingly, since neither Tom Ashbrook nor any of the callers commented on it, Raj Chetty mentioned it with the line that “one would hope things have changed to the better” or something like that. -if he really understood his data, he should know better.-

  • tbphkm33

    On a grand macro scale, how much of U.S. economic mobility is (or was) directly attributed to the economic wealth absorbed by the U.S. as a result of the Second World War and the three decades after the war?  Led by a further three decades of stagnation, bringing us to today’s decline.  Of course, this can be applied to more than just the measure of economic mobility.  

    My contention is that in some ways U.S. economic mobility has been artificially inflated as a result of world events, namely WWII.  Now, we are entering an era where a natural correction has taken place, resulting in economic constriction on the U.S.  One of which will be increasing tightening of economic mobility.  

    A reality that is troubling for large swats of the U.S. population, but for some, bringing new opportunities.  Those with the education and compunction need to see this not a game of rising in the U.S., but as rising in the wider world.  Toss nationalism aside, realize that your personal economic mobility may lay in one of those far flung foreign markets.  We have gotten so used to the U.S. being a magnet for people wanting to get ahead, the new reality is that more-and-more American’s themselves will have to travel abroad to get ahead.  

  • cp10000

    I just caught the tail end of the show.   The conclusion of the guest’s study is not surprising to me, because I think upward mobility requires a minimum of high verbal skills.   It’s a minimal condition.   In big cities like Atlanta, the correlation is not so much color of skin but rather levels of verbal skills.   Many members of the black community move upwards when they have high verbal skills.   Also, a city like Atlanta has a strong culture of harsh, street-like language propagated in the medias, particularly on popular radio shows.

    • tbphkm33

      Hmm, you are on to something there.  I have seen the other side of the coin, professionals with great credentials, but low verbal skills.  The results often being limited mobility.  It really is not a question of who you network with, but how you sound while networking. 

      • cp10000

        You’ve got it!  I have seen what you mentioned:  lower class, often black, university graduates but with poor speaking skills.   I feel sorry for them.  Poor speaking abilities carry heavy prejudices.   Those poor speech patterns are transmitted by parents and environment early in life.   The black community in American does not grasp this problem enough.   There is a bright side.   I have seen blacks from Great Britain and France that speak a much higher level of proper English or proper French.   These black people move up much quicker, even if Europe in general is saturated at the higher levels.   I have no doubt that if these European blacks would move to the US, they would bubble their way upward much faster.   An example of the would be the British singer ‘Seal’ of Nigerian origin.   His speech is so much more nuanced and proper.   By the way I am a black man from Haiti.

        • hypocracy1

           In America that just makes you black…

        • HonestDebate1

          I agree with you. When you say poor speech patterns are transmitted by parents and environment early in life (I also agree), why do you think that is? I think a lot of people, whites especially, don’t expect blacks to speak properly because they are black. It’s almost like being black in and of itself is an excuse, it’s not. I think everyone should be held to the same standard, no excuses. I am not surprised when I hear an articulate, well spoken black person but many are.

          • cp10000

            The poor speech patterns is not limited to blacks in America only.   Plenty of whites speak poorly also.   It’s more a signature of a certain traditional lower class.   They wear the poor speech proudly as a badge of honor.   Being proud of who you are and who your ancestors were is not all bad.   So that’s what makes the issue so delicate to debate openly.   However, the bottom line is as stated previously.   As a black person, I would like American researchers to look more deeply into how European blacks progress in parallel.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are absolutely right, point taken. But I do think, by and large for some reason, whites are held to a higher expectation level. Poor speaking whites are readily called dumb rednecks or illiterate or just plain stupid. No one gets upset.

            GWB coined the apt phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations” and I agree with the sentiment. 

            That would be interesting research but I think it would reveal the same thing across the board without regard to color as was your original point. Expressing oneself well with diction, grammar and clarity is a very important key to success.

          • 1Brett1

            Pretty soon you’ll be using that meme as a reply to every comment on every show.

          • 1Brett1

            So you think blacks speak inarticulately because whites don’t expect them to speak well and because whites don’t hold blacks to any standard of conduct…well, that’s one theory…Seems sort of like your opinion is that blacks are formed wholly by whites’ perception of them and by whites setting low expectations. Hmmm, that sounds racist to me.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s crazy. First, I didn’t mention conduct, much less “any standard”. And I said “especially” whites not “only” whites. Parents are a big part. And where you got the word “wholly”, I have no idea. But the insane part (telling me what I think) is the claim I said the reason was because of whites. The reason is as cp100000 says and I agreed with. But society enables and excuses it. It’s nuanced, don’t try to understand.

            Look at Biden’s or Reid’s comments about Obama in 2008. Biden said a clean, articulate black man was an exception. No problem.

            I believe when whites have lower expectations of blacks, because they are black, it can only mean they also have low opinions of blacks. For instance, why would anyone have a problem with expecting Rachel Jeantel to speak articulately, finish high school or read cursive by age 19? I say it’s inexcusable but she has her defenders. Why? Because she’s black.

            I know saying so sounds racist to you, everything does. I think not saying so reveals the real racism.

          • 1Brett1

            No, everything doesn’t sound racist to me, just many of the things you say sound racist. There’s a difference. 

          • jefe68

            He’s lost in his own dogma cloud.

          • cocoais

             I think its pitiful that you believe that black people aren’t speaking properly when they don’t speak as you do.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s not it at all.

          • VeganGalNoLa

            To which I reply with an equally straight face and a smile: “So do you!”

  • Cindy Nelms

    As a resident of Alabama, I would just like to know what the Republicans are doing that is helping the south so much. This chart gives a whole new meaning to “Red States”

    • VeganGalNoLa

       Right, Cindy. I’m a degreed professional who’s been seeking gainful, steady employment for more than three years. Just started going on interviews over the past five or six months. Now, I’ve got an EEOC charge pending. Did you all know that 40-plus is a protected class??

      I can’t GET a job. Even one way below me that I’m willing to work because I NEED to earn a living. At the 20-months long retail gig I gave up in December – which I thought I’d be working for just six months or so – I couldn’t even get a guaranteed 20 hours a week! At $10.20 an hour. How do these deciders sleep at night???

      • glorkohl

        Same situation here in NJ!  More than 80% of NJ on food stamps and no hiring for anyone over 45-degreed or non degreed. 
        We need to accept that most of us will never do meaningful, productive work- let alone get paid- again in our lifetime.  The best you can do is hope for better for the children, but it don’t look like “much” there either!At least in your climate you can live outdoors-NJ gets cold.

        • VeganGalNoLa

          I DON’T accept it. As a journalist, I still have meaningful work in me. I do wonder if all these years I’ve spent as an entrepreneur are in any way threatening, though… I don’t have children.

  • HonestDebate1

    The near universal record setting trend is to move people from full time to part time to get under the 30 hour Obamacare mandate. There is also a great effort to get down to 49 employees for the similar reasons. Obamacare is a huge driver of downward mobility.

    • 1Brett1

      Of course that trend was a phenomenon years before the ACA was even talked about. So now employers cut an employee’s hours from 30 to 28 (instead of the more common practice for years of cutting hours from 40 to 30) and reduce their workforce in their company and that is a “trend.” Corporations tend to use any excuse and anything other than their own greed as an excuse to stick it to employees. 

      There are those conservatives I know who own businesses and hate Obama and have so much business they don’t know what to do with it all, but they “are going to close their doors because” they “just don’t know what  the future will bring,” or who blame Obama for everything including higher taxes forcing them to increase their prices, yet their profits aren’t even close to being over $100,000, not even close to any tax increases. Sure, there are people like you who blame Obama for everything. That’s not really much of a point. We already know you blame Obama for everything.

      • HonestDebate1

        It’s at a record level, we’ve never seen anything like it. Obama even had to delay the mandate by decree with no authority to put the devastating affects off until after 2014. It’s not partisan, it’s business. If you know so-called conservatives who are willing to cut of their nose to spite their faces then you know only stupid conservatives. Meanwhile liberals will do anything, say anything or believe anything to misplace the blame.

        Obama is not connected to his own policies in the liberal mind. It’s Bush’s fault or racism. It’s the State department, or the IRS or the DOJ all out of his control. He even said, “the buck stops with you”. Really, he did. And Mitch McConnell is the most powerful man on the planet with Obama completely helpless under his spell…or so the story goes. Have you ever heard of the Limbaugh Theorem? 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705111132 Sean Hagenbuch

          Then I’ve never met a smart conservative.

          • HonestDebate1

            You should get out of the bubble.

        • 1Brett1

          It’s not so much that conservative business owners will “cut their noses to spite their faces,” it’s that they engage in the propaganda that says they will. I’ve yet to see a conservative who has “threatened” to close his doors actually do so. 

      • John Cedar

        The 30 hour trend had largely run its course, after the pension raiding, union crushing, right-sizing, off-shoring, giant sucking sound of the 90′s. Full time employees no longer caused the overhead they once did and employees had gotten their 40 hours back with some OT to boot. Now Obamcare has brought another round of labor hour cuts.

        • 1Brett1

          Says you. “The ’90s”? What?! Are your serious? Were you asleep through the middle part of the first decade of the 2000s? …Um, was ’07 and ’08 just a bad dream? Did you type your comment with a straight face? Was the hemorrhaging of jobs in late ’07 (losing between 700,000 and 900,000 jobs a month in a free-fall economy) just something made up by the media? Or was your alternate universe of “40 hours back with some OT to boot” the actual reality?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Like I’ve been joking for over a decade, the average work week is one set of people working 28 hrs (no benefits) and another set of faux-management (no overtime) people working 56 hrs a week.

            The average “hours a week worked” sounds good, but is meaningless.

    • jefe68

    • jimino

      Having access to health insurance that is not tied to your employer and its whims would be the best booster of upward economic mobility we could ask for.

      • HonestDebate1

        I agree 100%. We have another year.

    • Mike_Card

      So that nasty rumor about your being banned was only a rumor!  Glad to hear it–I’ll be back with a report on Asheville.

      • HonestDebate1

        No, I’ve not been banned. They love me here.

        • 1Brett1

          This is true…you may be a village idiot, but you’re OUR village idiot.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s literally the sweetest thing you’ve ever said about me, thanks.

    • glorkohl

      Absolutely true!!

  • Geraldine McBarker

    has someone already asked this?  If you move to one of the high mobility places, say by the time you are 30, will that give you any advantage?
     

    • John Cedar

      It is self evident that you get more opportunities by being willing and able to move to the opportunity instead of depending on the opportunity coming to you.

      But…chances are slim to none that the “high mobility places” are accurately reflected by any maps prepaired by jaded, agenda-driven, liberal, garden-variety, soft- science, academics. Besides…Galt would make it in any location.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Moving costs money.

        I’ll move X hundred miles for the job which would be good for my career; no surprise. I’m even at the strata where traveling that far to interview is a tax writeoff. I’ve done those because I’m rich enough to not had to choose between making a car/rent payment and seeking an opportunity three states away with two round trips on a plane.

        This is miles away from the risk/reward/opportunity  target for many working class people. Scarcity is a great way to screen out opportunity.

  • Geraldine McBarker

    can it also be that there is more culture discrimination in the southeast.  that is, against blacks, and against poor in general.

  • jimino

    Assuming you are a real person who really “thinks” consistently with what you write, your entirely make-believe world is just as fictional as Galt, who never existed and never made it anyplace real.  You may as well point to Prince Charming and Snow White as people to emulate (I hope you don’t think they are real too.  If so, sorry to burst your bubble)

    But if you want to live your life following fairy tales, like some 4 year-old, you are free to do so.

    **this is meant to reply to John Cedar below but Disqus sent it here**

    • John Cedar

      I didn’t do good at English
      but I think it be called a literary device
      “archetype” or something like that

      Instead of the typical ad hominem attacksYou have raised the bar for the crackpot loony left.
      by suggesting that I might not exist.
      You would of gotten a gold star for creativity.
      but I have to take it away
      because you tried and failed at making a point.

      • jefe68

        Well he made a point that made sense in my view. 

        You post a lot of bull crap.

      • jimino

        Using your terminology, I simply theorized that, given the unrealistic nature of many of your comments, you yourself might be some sort of archetype of what passes for a conservative nowadays.

  • CAPerring

    Why would you lump “Los Angeles” with so many other cities and counties? There are somewhere between 3 and 4 million people living in L.A. Upward mobility for kids in Riverside or San Bernardino or Santa Ana could be very different than L.A.

  • Steve__T

    I see a very great difference between random county’s  I choose verses population and what is shown, gives me pause to consider why this is so. The largest county in California is Riverside with a population of 2,268,783 (2012) us census, the population of Wake county NC is 929,780 (2011) us census. Their is not a lot of  large MGF or Industry in Riverside Al tho they are trying to increase more.  The average income in Riverside co. Is 34,697. Their is a lot of MFG and industry in Wake co. The  average per capita income for the county was 54,988

    I hope someone can see my confusion. Less is more more is less?

    http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-West/Riverside-Economy.html
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06065.html
    http://www.city-data.com/forum/california/164389-all-california-counties-ranked-average-annual.html
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=population+of+wake+county+nc&pc=Z128&form=ZGAFDF&install_date=20111031
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake_County,_North_Carolina

  • MintDragon

    This has been a really interesting story. I like the fact that you pointed out some possibly contributing factors (taking the whole causation does not equal correlation caveat.) The map is especially helpful in pointing out potential regional patterns and anomalies from those patterns.  But I wonder about how many conclusions we can draw from one generational snapshot. Another limitation is that many of grew up moving around pretty frequently. Finally, there’s our worn-out old politics. This study makes you think, but I’m worried that if politicians can’t fit it into their left-right partisan paradigm that it won’t have much impact nationally. And it’s not neat or simple: it’s less about taxing and spending and more about the broader health of the economy and civil society. However, this just leaves the opportunity up to ALL OF US in our own cities and regions. This study motivates me to think about what I can do in my own city to
    even the odds. We are not as bad as Atlanta but we could do much better.

  • Peter Fobel

    .

  • Peter Fobel

    .

  • http://www.facebook.com/gail.secord Gail Patterson Secord

    The way this study is done, with movement between top fifth/bottom fifth, somebody always has to be at the bottom fifth.  Could this be measured by upward/downward movement of the bottom fifth?  Are the poorest of the poor as comparatively “poor” as they were before?  Do the standards of living of those at the bottom improve or decline?  That’s perhaps more what I’d like to know.  

    • glorkohl

       Now the poor are poorer than they were 30 years ago, and most folks know it. How could those standards of living do anything but decline in this economy, which shows no improvement? Im in NJ-
      yeah, really” upwardly mobile” at 14% unemployment- mostly college educated unemployment, though!  

    • Lusitan75

      The AEI did a related study on that a while ago.

      “Our results show evidence of considerable improvement in material well-being for both the middle class and the poor over the past three decades. Median income and consumption both rose by more than 50 percent in real terms between 1980 and 2009. In addition, the middle 20 percent of the income distribution experienced noticeable improvements in housing characteristics: living units became bigger and much more likely to have air conditioning and other features. The quality of the cars these families own also improved considerably. Similarly, we find strong evidence of improvement in the material well-being of poor families. After incorporating taxes and noncash benefits and adjusting for bias in standard price indices, we show that the tenth percentile of the income distribution grew by 44 percent between 1980 and 2009. Even this measure, however, understates improvements at the bottom. The tenth percentile of the consumption distribution grew by 54 percent during this period. In addition, for those in the bottom income quintile, living units became bigger, and the fraction with any air conditioning doubled. The share of households with amenities such as a dishwasher or clothes dryer also rose noticeably”
      http://www.aei.org/files/2011/10/25/Material-Well-Being-Poor-Middle-Class.pdf

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    I wonder how this map will change when computers and robots do everyone’s jobs

    • Vigilarus

      Te people who live where they make computers and robots will prosper, and the rest will be catalyzed for robot fuel.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        the robots will make the robots and computers. hopefully they never realize they don’t need us like the 1% have

  • DCMcG

    How about DOWNWARD mobility? If a locale has high upward mobility wont it also have high downward mobility? Won’t those people going from the lowest to the highest quintile displace an equal number who then move to the lower 4 quintiles.

    • Vigilarus

      No, these places are like Lake Wobegone, where all of the children are above average.

      Maybe those who don’t rise in a mobilty town drop out, move to the deep south, and drown their sorrows in fried food and cheap beer.

      • VeganGalNoLa

        I left Salt Lake City 17 years ago to come back home to New Orleans and make a difference. Not entirely regretting it, but do wonder about the possibilities…

    • Lusitan75

      Yeah good point.  The whole issue of relative positioning strikes me as an odd one.  It seems to me that it’s more important whether all boats are rising, rather than which boats are in the lead.

  • cp10000

    I recall, I recall, …..in the last few years that some researcher had gathered data about the variations of English slangs (something similar…I don’t remember exactly) in America.   A geographical map was generated from his data. I remember seeing that map on the Internet.   It would be interesting overlap this map with the map discussed in this mobility map.   A thorough statistical correlation analysis between those two maps would be very interesting.   Just from my memory, I recall that the heaviest slangs on the map were roughly similar the dark areas of this map.

  • 1Brett1

    I was just reading a quote from a thread on this topic about certain elements to success having to do with speech and race: 

    “Expressing oneself well with diction, grammar and clarity is a very important key to success.”Yes, this is true, but what if something physical interferes with at least some of those prized attributes? What if good “diction” were interfered with and one’s ability to develop verbally had inherent limitations?  

    I can guess speech therapy is outside of the realm of many on here, but severe malocclusion can interfere with such development. Should someone be judged based on such an impediment? For example, Rachel Jeantel, while uneducated and inexperienced outside of her very limited world, had such a physical impediment. It was obvious in watching her talk. Her bottom plate is a good half inch protruding out from her upper plate. She has a severe underbite, probably the most severe malocclusion I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of people who have suffered from this. Having a malocclusion of this severity renders speaking with any kind of articulation or diction impossible.

    Imagine growing up in a limited world of ignorant people and having such a limitation, never developing speech, not having intelligent parents see a need or having the means to get a child an operation/therapy. Having everyone with whom one comes into contact laugh and make fun of one’s speech one’s whole life through.

    Having such limitations in articulation makes developing speech and becoming articulate/well spoken unlikely. Expectations of her ability to appear in that courtroom with any kind of grace, well-spoken poise, good diction and intelligence based on somebody else’s standard outside of her world were unrealistic…just imagine.

    She will certainly have a difficult life because of a whole array of limitations in her development, some as a result of her environment (of which some responsibility falls on her), some from limitations truly beyond her control. Ultimately, it will be up to her to transcend her limitations, as much as anyone can. I hope someone mentors her and helps her. So many young people need that sort of mentoring.

    I would like to see someone like Al Sharpton (of whom I am not a fan) take someone under his wing, as it were, and use his wealth/influence to help them succeed. It would mean more for the cause, so to speak, than what he engages in. 

    While children in the African-American community need fathers who are present, or at least responsible as any parent should be, they also need the larger community to help them; that includes the African-American community itself but even the larger community of our entire society. It isn’t enough to place blame on parents, African-Americans, and even to say, “I succeeded without anyone’s sustained help and they should to.” A childhood of neglect produces adults who haven’t the skills to meet the demands of life. A society that dismisses this as someone else’s fault and someone else’s problem is a society incapable of meeting the demands of the future.

    This notion extends to children who start life out poor from disadvantaged communities, irrespective of their race.

     This is a socialistic proposition, not a libertarian one.

    • VeganGalNoLa

       At the very least, I pray someone is already teaching Miss Jeantel to read – and write – in cursive. I understand that with keyboarding in schools these days – “progress” – many students aren’t being taught penmanship.

      • 1Brett1

        I subscribe that knowing how to read cursive is still an important skill to have…I wonder how long that will be true?

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        they stopped penmanship a while ago. if you consider the example in 1984 Winston was able to free himself by writing in a notebook.   modern kids won’t be able to do that. they can only communicate using NSA monitored electronic devices. the Russians just bought a few thousand mechanical typewriters.

        • HonestDebate1

          The first Register of Deeds for my County when it was founded in 1847 was Moses Austin. I own property where he once lived. He was a cripple from a young age so he taught himself good penmanship. The deeds he wrote are beautiful, they’re like works of art. Legend has it, every morning he was strapped to an upright chair fixed to an ox sled which he drove to the County seat for work. 

          No point really.

          • 1Brett1

            “a cripple”? Oh, boy. 

            Penmanship was prized back in those days, and basic “schooling” emphasized that (and writing itself) over most skills. This is evident among Civil War soldiers who were marginally educated and just in to their mid teens writing elegantly penned, beautiful, eloquent letters. 

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea, a cripple, that’s all the history books say. The point is that he had all kinds of excuses to fail but he didn’t. His legs didn’t work so he used his hands. 

            This guy has the opposite problem:

            http://nesn.com/2012/09/archer-with-no-arms-wins-silver-medal-in-paralympics-video/

          • 1Brett1

            Ah, so by using “cripple” you were just being historically accurate…were you quoting a history book? They used the “n” word over 150 years ago too. Would you use that to describe a black person from back then? I doubt it; of course, you might in your circle.

            You definitely have your views on race, disability, and so on…”screw all that PC crap; if they said cripple over 150 years ago, it’s good enough for me.” ’bout right?

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t know what his ailment was, he was a cripple. Did you have a point. Did I just make someone cry? 

            Moses Austin is long gone. there’s nothing PC about it, although good point. If they called him a cripple 150 years ago, I’ll refer to him the same way. But I would never say what you made up.

          • 1Brett1

            The person you are calling something that is disparaging isn’t around so it’s okay? His disability is unclear so you’ll just call him “a cripple”? …My point is that you didn’t have a historical reference (“if they called him a cripple…” you’ll refer to him the same way), yet because he was non-ambulatory he was “a cripple” to you. It shows how insular your life is and how little diversity you have around you. It also shows a belligerence. I have noticed a number of misspellings that people have pointed out to you over time; I have noticed a few expressions that are derogatory that you use that people have pointed out to you. To a fault you continue to use them all. I believe it is a mindset that you’re not going to be PC, that nobody is going to tell you what to say, etc. It is a pigheaded bigotry that drives such a mindset. My point is to keep you talking. You show your bigotry more and more with each new comment. One would’ve hoped there was just some misunderstood poor use of language, or something, but, no, you are continually revealing that you are a narrow-minded individual.

          • HonestDebate1

            Geez, it’s what the book says. It’s not like I’m calling every gimp on the planet a cripple.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            I was at an Ag fair the other day those sleds are a pretty good way to get around

        • VeganGalNoLa

          I always say: “Just ’cause it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s better.”

          In 20 years or so, we might have regressed to have mortgage documents and such marked with “X”…

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            I think they would use a thumbprint instead of an X sometimes. we are back to that already. right now people sign things with a mouseclick or a wave of their smartphone

    • HonestDebate1

      “That’s real retarded, sir.”

      • 1Brett1

        Leave it to you to add something moronic. But, to answer your nonsensical reply, has she ever been taught to have compassion? Or has she been taught not to have compassion? If she were introduced to a person/people with intellectual disabilities and explained their societal struggle, could she transcend such ignorance and transcend saying such insensitive things as you quote? I offer that she would. 

        Your categorical condemnation of her is clear; are you basing some opinion of her on the way she talks? Don’t young people from rural southern areas sound ignorant (thick accents that can’t be understood easily, for example?) and say ignorant things because of their lack of exposure to worlds beyond what they see around them? How about a teenager with a thick South Boston accent who is, say, around ignorant people, is barely understood from their verbalizations, and says ignorant things they hear from their peers, authority figures and from their environment in general? 

        • HonestDebate1

          Diction is not a dialect, ditto decency. Dadgum! Grammar is not an accent.

          I am talking about how she expresses herself, the first two words in the quote that inspired your comment. She was capable of pronouncing words clearly when she became agitated enough to stop mumbling.

          And sure, she was let down by a lot of people. Why didn’t someone wash her mouth out with soap years ago? She was let down by a community that accepts schools where the inability to read cursive will get you a 3.0 GPA. She was let down by a culture where racial slurs are thrown around willy nilly and a deep animosity towards a particular race is gospel. She was let down by the soft bigotry of low expectations. 

          I suppose one could suppose a symphony of excuses, you’re good at supposing but I’m talking about what is. She’s 19. By that age you figure it out. We have 19 year olds fighting for our freedom overseas, maybe the military would be a good option for her.

          • hennorama

            Obese Hat Dent – Grammar is an antecedent female, and Dadgum is a what a male parent masticates.

            Just FYI.

          • notafeminista

            Unless Heather has two mommies.

          • hennorama

            notalogician – one supposes you thought your remark droll.

            Of course, if “Heather has two mommies” Heather still has a male parent, PLUS “two mommies.” Lucky Heather.

            Unless biology has been repealed.

            Thank you for your response.

          • notafeminista

            Biology doesn’t make one a parent.    Can’t have it both ways.  

          • hennorama

            nota[fillintheblank] – If you say so. But you may want to look up the word “parent” before further comment. Its definition is not as narrow as you seem to believe.

            Thank you again for your response.

          • 1Brett1

            “Diction” was the fifth word in the quote…but don’t let that get in the way of your quibbling for an argument.

            She never used more than a three or four word sentence in any of her testimony or interviews, and most were syntactically incorrect. Also, accents are tied in with speech patterns, how words are pronounced, whether someone sounds intelligent (whether wrongfully maligned or not), etc. Clearly her speech has been delayed in her life, but you don’t understand syntax and speech development, the difference between “articulation” and “articulateness,” and how environment affects speech and demeanor. I doubt she also has much understanding of courtroom decorum. She was also no less combative and antagonistic with Attorney West than he was with her (as ignorant a notion on her part as that might well be). You also don’t know what kind of environment she was raised in and how it may or may not have had any “deep animosity” toward certain people…but you missed my point. 

            My point was about how environment plays a role and how people aren’t always quite what they appear, and how often children are left unprepared to step into adulthood, and how our entire society has a responsibility to prepare children for success in adulthood, and no, 19 is not old enough for everyone to have figured “it” out, whatever “it” is, irrespective of how some 19 year olds are enlisted in the military. I’ve seen some pretty dumb, unprepared 19 year olds in the military, so your counter to Ms. Jeantel’s age isn’t much. As I said, she has responsibility herself, but you’re judging every aspect of her being by that alone. Would you be as judgmental toward an ignorant white country girl from western North Carolina? I’ve seen plenty of them in that neck of the woods.

          • HonestDebate1

            There’s a subject and a predica…. oh never mind.

          • VeganGalNoLa

             Guys, I didn’t watch much testimony at all from the trial, but I’m pretty sure Mademoiselle Jeantel is a first-generation American of Haitian descent. That means in addition to everything else you’ve delineated about her shortcomings, she operates in TWO languages and cultures.

            Just finally needed to put this on the record.

          • 1Brett1

            While she may not have met certain standards (“shortcomings”) in the view of some, I was speaking of developmental limitations–those which she’ll need to overcome to be judged less harshly and more fairly–in her ability to communicate with others in general society. 

            My thought about her communication when seeing her testimony was that she communicated fine (i.e., her testimony conveyed her answers to the defense attorney’s questions effectively and accurately, especially considering that his approach was to make attempts at tripping her up and discrediting  what she was saying), but I also thought–especially by the badgering she received from the defense attorney–that others would judge her communication differently than I, perhaps because she communicates differently than they do. 

            To those who were quick to condemn her testimony based on her speech patterns and lack of articulateness, they seemed to base their opinions on standards of speech within their own insular world. The defense attorney seemed to be engaging in the very same mindset, which I found hypocritical; his world is just as insular as hers in many respects, and it is ultimately WHAT is communicated not how eloquently it is communicated that should be considered during a person’s testimony. 

            The focus of my comments were how her malocclusion, and all that such a condition might present as part of a complex set of challenges and delays in development, might have interfered further with her ability to clearly enunciate (sort of what I was attempting to get at with my “articulation” vs. “articulateness”). If, indeed, English is not a language with which she has equal experience as with another language, this could also have been a factor in people’s perceptions and how she sounded to them in her speech patterns. 

          • HonestDebate1

            “To those who were quick to condemn her testimony based on her speech patterns and lack of articulateness, they seemed to base their opinions on standards of speech within their own insular world.”

            Who on the planet condemned her testimony? I didn’t and I did not say anyone else condemn her testimony either. She was believable and offered insight although I don;t think it had much impact. 

            But evidently her jaw made her rude.

          • 1Brett1

            It’s not about you. Is every comment about something either you did or didn’t say?  Jeesh,  get a grip on that ego.

          • 1Brett1

            You said somethingabout her and her testimony that wasderogatoryearlyon…I guess that doesn’tcount?

          • HonestDebate1

            Just her, not the testimony.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was talking about everyone on the planet,who were you referring to?

    • notafeminista

      Due respect, you already made it someone else’s fault in your argument. “Imagine growing up in a world of ignorant people.”  

      Are you including Ms. Jeantel’s public school teachers in that world?

      • 1Brett1

        Um, the comment wasn’t really about Ms. Jeantel. It was about judging people with different challenges growing up who are still very young, who have limited opportunities, who perhaps lack mentoring, who grow up to be adults inadequately prepared to face adulthood. Besides, I did mention that she has some responsibility. So, saying I “made it someone else’s fault in…[my]… argument” is inaccurate.  

        Also, do you know her relationship with her teachers? Do you know her teachers? Have you ever seen teachers who are inadequate to handle what they are charged with? Is your statement meant to get me into some “debate” about public education? 

        I wasn’t mounting an argument but pointing out that environment affects the whole person, but often times a physical limitation does too and is attached unfairly to judgements like, “she stupid,” etc.
         

        • notafeminista

          Thanks for the clarification.  Seems I understood perfectly.

      • jefe68

        With all due respect you did not get one thing Brett posted did you. He was pointing out a physical problem that a lot of people have.
        Mayor Menino of Boston has something akin to this I think. 

        It’s telling that you can’t help but to go into the regressive right wing attack on teachers.

        • HonestDebate1

          Jay Leno did okay. And how about a shout out for Jesse Lee Peterson!

          Here’s a medical explanation with examples on page 3:

          http://www.cmds.canterbury.ac.nz/documents/CMDS111/Lecture%2010b.pdf

          • 1Brett1

            Jay Leno did okay, so…? You’re such a clod. Talk about the nuance of a jackhammer. 

          • Ray in VT

            Well, Allen West said that he didn’t have to wait in line to vote, so there’s no problem on that front, and Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and became one of the richest people on Earth, so I guess that people don’t really need a college degree.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Bill Gates…oh yeah.

            Raised by millionaires, don’tcha know. That provides a certain floor that the Horation Algers don’t have.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, funny how the best way to get ahead is to start ahead.  Maybe we should all just have chosen to have been born into affluent families.  You see, it’s all about choice and personal responsibility.

          • 1Brett1

            You got what I’m saying…Gregg, however, seems to think my point was that Jay Leno wasn’t actually successful because he got fired…but I’m sure he’d find agreement with both your examples, seeing how Allen West is one of Gregg’s heroes and proof positive that blacks don’t need any anti-discrimination laws, and Gates is a good example of no need for education; who needs all that liberal, intellectual claptrap anyway?!

          • Ray in VT

            I was going along the line that the example of one person succeeding given certain factors shouldn’t be predictive of an entire population.  Why aren’t all blind people cranking out epic poems?  Also, on another front, if we’re bringing back old terms for people, then I nominate deaf ‘n’ dumb instead of deaf mute.

          • HonestDebate1

            You just write your own little story.

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay, he just got fired, point taken. But overall he did okay.

            The University of Canterbury over there in New Zealand uses him as an example in their lectures. Quentin Tarantino did all right too. And who knew that Michelle Obama had Class III malocclusion?

          • 1Brett1

            I made no point about Leno getting fired…it is just silly to make comparisons of a long- successful adult to condemn a teenager who hasn’t found her way yet.

            Rick Wakeman got famous and wealthy as a keyboard player, so did Booker T., so did Keith Emerson, so did Tony Banks, so did  McCoy Tyner, so did Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington (to name a few off the top of my head), and literally thousands of others…what happened to you? Were you let down by the soft bigotry of low expectations? Hey, and you’re in your 50s! Why didn’t someone kick you in the rear years ago? You said you have worked your butt off to get where you are. Wow, and you’re not even famous or rich or known in any top tier sense of piano players. What is your excuse? So, you work your butt of and that’s what your achievements yield you? I’d consider that a very low expectation. Imagine how much harder you would have worked with some other disadvantage beyond your control.

          • HonestDebate1

            I opened up for Booker T in 2007. I played his Hammond, in front of 12,500. That was cool.

          • 1Brett1

            So, you have used Google a little bit today, and suddenly you are an expert. “Google is NOT knowledge,” unless, of course, you are using it, aye? Now you are an expert in Class III malocclusion?! Haha. You are now extolling the virtues of Michele Obama?! Yeah, why can’t Rachel Jeantel be like Michele OBama?!?! You are an idjut.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Yeah, why can’t Rachel Jeantel be like Michele OBama?!?!”

            Great question!

          • HonestDebate1

            True, Google is not knowledge but Leno’s malocclusion is reference often. But at least I’m not pretending to be a medical professional and diagnosing poor Ms. Jeantel over the internet, thereby violating ethics.

          • 1Brett1

            Yeah, we don’t know what her diagnosis is, so I guess we could just use your methods and call her a cripple.

          • HonestDebate1

            Leno is in the medical books. I never called Ms. Jeantela cripple, she walks fine. Where’d you get that?

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s a good question. It seems to me the stringent opposition to school vouchers chains poor students to bad teachers.

  • VeganGalNoLa

    Touché. I’m LIVING it, but praying for a turnaround any day now. Ain’t much razzle dazzle left.

  • HonestDebate1

    One thing that struck me about the show was the focus on financial success. Maybe that’s what upward mobility means. But maybe some people are happy where they are both geographically and financially. If someone wants to climb the corporate ladder or seize the brass ring and the opportunities are not available then they can always move. Or maybe instead  their focus is on family and community. How rich must one be to feel fulfilled? 

  • Lusitan75

    Interesting show.  One thing that came to mind listening to this program was whether there were any statistics that study the absolute increase/decrease in wealth for people in various parts of the country, rather than the relative position of people in the country.  

    No matter how wealthy the citizens of the U.S. are, there will always be a “top 20%” and a “bottom 20%”.  But one would hope that the material living standards, life expectancy, etc. of people in the bottom 20% still increase over time, thereby improving the lives of everyone.

    The discussion during the program about “above average schools” being an important factor in moving people from the bottom 20% to the top 20% made me think of that intro line from Prairie Home Companion radio show about Lake Wobegone – “where all the children are above average.”  By definition, we can’t really increase the number of schools that are “above average” — we can improve schools over all, and increase the performance of schools everywhere, and reduce the gaps between the top performing schools and the bottom performing schools, but there will always be a large group of “average” schools, a small group of “above average” schools, and a small group of “below average” schools; it’s just a matter of statistics.

    Another interesting map would be to show where the people studied are living today.  So rather than tying the people to the place they were born, tie them to where they live now.  A map like that may show, for example, that people who live in Atlanta now are more likely to have moved up in the income ranks, while people who live in small towns are less likely to have moved up the income ranks.  A map like that might indicate, for example, where a young person seeking to move up in the ranks should think about moving to, in order to have more opportunities.

  • Abnaxis

    This show bugs me, for one big reason: nothing presented here is all that novel.  There is a large mass of literature in sociology that not only measures upward mobility across geographic locations, it also delves into and studies the causes and the consequences of lacking upward mobility.

    The only difference between this paper and prior knowledge is exists is that it was written by economists–experts who, incidentally, do not have the proper expertise to be studying social phenomenons, a fact that is plainly obvious in the way your guests were framing their conclusions.  Despite this, those same economists are the only ones who get any press.  The next time you’re thinking of shining a spotlight on social inequality, could you please actually bring in an expert in the proper field?  Economists aren’t the only people with important things to say–quite the opposite, in this case.

    • The_Truth_Seeker

       Agree with you – not that spectacular for a MacArthur  “genius” – I guess this award depends on who you already know.

      • Abnaxis

        Now, that’s not really a fair thing to say.  I’m not really certain which person you are referring to with that barb, but I’m sure Mr. Chetty is an intelligent person and a distinguished economist.  I truly believe that if he had applied himself in the field of sociology and gotten his doctorate he would have excelled.

        The thing is, he didn’t go to school for social science.  He went to school for economics, yet everyone is clamoring for his analysis of social constructs, including race relations, social network topology, political policy, neighborhood divisions, and inequality.  Popular culture seems to have it in their heads that economists in general are some sort of soothsayers who have the answers to every big question we pose to them (and to be fair, the economists aren’t rushing to correct this misconception).  

        We would get much better information if we feature actual experts in the proper field on the New York Times and NPR, instead of ignoring the issue until an economist runs a rudimentary analysis that doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.

        • The_Truth_Seeker

          Have you ever studied who gets MacArthur awards? The only people who can be nominated are those known to prior winners. Last year, the last person of a well known string trio got theirs. Both others got theirs in prior years. These awards don’t go to the, as yet undiscovered, “Einsteins”, they go to the already affluent and well known. That’s OK, I guess, but lots of people don’t know this. It’s more like a boat, or gulf club, than a real talent search – you have to be invited to join and you’re not going to get invited if you are not well known to at least “a few” of the prior winners. So, most of these prizes are pretty elitist, actually. Also, almost none of those receiving the money ever seems to need it (as is the case for the Nobel prizes, Lemelson prizes, and many others).

          Most such prizes financially reward those who are already “winners” in society. A famous Russian mathematician turned down one of the most prestigious prizes in math (and the $1M), in part, because I think he also felt that the prize was elitist (even though he was living in poverty with his mother at the time). He never said exactly why, but I think it was because he wasn’t about prestige, or winning prizes, or getting the approval or acceptance of others. For that I respect him.

          • VeganGalNoLa

             Wow, Truth_Seeker! I had NO IDEA. I actually know a local visual artist who is a McArthur Fellow and he’s quite an ass. Next time I run into him, I’ll have to check this out…

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            I think you are trying to be funny, right? I didn’t imply this, just that there is probably only 1-2 degrees of freedom between this winner and one or more of the prior winners. Check that out and let me know.

          • VeganGalNoLa

            No, I’m not trying to be funny. Everyone’s not dripping in sarcasm to make others look like fools. I’m here for the dialogue.

            You taught me something new I hadn’t even considered. I have ACCESS to a McArthur Fellow. I’ll check it out. :)

          • Abnaxis

            The politics underlying the MacArthur Award do not surprise me at all, and.  From what you’ve said, they sound like pretty much every other academic accolade given on the basis of “merit.”  By and large, merit-based scholarships, fellowships, and awards only go to those advantaged enough to have an established network in the upper echelons and the resources required to present themselves in a favorable light, and the MacArthur sounds no different.

            However, in the context of this thread I’m not all that concerned about academic reform right now. Even if I were, it is not productive to insult everyone who has received an award solely because the institution that gave them the award is flawed.  While I wish the scientists featured in the show would display a little modesty and admit that they are talking about issues outside of their knowledge, it doesn’t help to just thumb my nose at them and say “I guess we know what that award’s worth, don’t we?  :p”

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            Agree with you here as well and I am not opposed to any of these awards (it’s better than no awards in the sciences). But, people believe these go to the MOST deserving rather than the well deserving (with whom I have no particular issues with, even if my statements appeared to be “insults”). I’m just saying that even in the world of “prestigious” awards, the system can be a little bit rigged in favor of the already famous and well compensated. It’s clear that ALL our systems seem to now be rigged in favor of those already successful – that’s partly why we have this huge income disparity. Same goes for R&D grants.

  • Pingback: In The Boston Area, Surprisingly Strong Economic Mobility | WBUR

  • The_Truth_Seeker

     There also needs to be a study of movement within the middle class (how does it compare with 30-,40 and 50 years ago). Another study should look at what fields and professions have upward mobility and which don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be the “usual suspects” (involving financials and medicine).

    • Abnaxis

      See, here is an example of where we would be much better off asking people other than just economists for analysis.  There is much, much more to mobility than how much money you make.  There is also occupational prestige and quality of life to consider.  A person making $100K a year as a surgeon is not in the same social class as someone who makes $100K a year from lottery winnings.  They both have vastly different qualities of life and command widely different influence within their communities. We know this already, and there are countless papers that look at all of these factors together–commonly termed as socio-economic status (SES)–and how different classes of people in different types of communities and from different minorities are able to raise their SES.  

      Asking what professions have upward mobility is an integral part of a proper analysis, though in a different way than you understand it because you are focused on money.  Which is fair, because the entire show focused solely on income mobility, because…well, the original work was written by economists.  Money is what they study.

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        Unfortunately, money is pretty much the ONLY thing that people care about these days (and even before these days). Independent inventors and innovators in America are becoming altogether extinct. but no one cares about this decline, because if they are unable to get rich, they are considered useless (just like artists and authors). Money is the only thing that carries any currency in a capitalist society – it’s as simple as that. Prestige might get you some increase in respect, but nothing gets attention and carries power like money (at least if you have lots of it).

        • Abnaxis

          I hear what you’re saying, but I think a quick skim through the comments here disprove your assertions.  There are many, many people posting here wanting a more rigorous study of upward mobility.  The thing is, 99% of the suggestions here HAVE been studied, but these studies are never featured in laymen’s terms by the media, because the only studies you ever see in the news are either done by economists or by politically-biased think-tanks.

          The public at large wants more information about how society actually functions, it’s just that the mass media is afflicted with a severe form of tunnel vision when it comes to the economy.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            Copy that!

  • Isernia

    Geography is Destiny ??? Canadian mobility is higher than the US and they have more recent foreign immigrants than the U.S. (% demographics) I live near the Canadian border, my grand-niece at age 18 just moved from Mississippi to Atlanta.   
    Her public high school there has NO AP courses in contrast to the church/private high school she attended in Mississippi.
    Should I encourage her to move closer to me for her further education ? Toronto is less than an hour away.  

    • Ray in VT

      It is funny (not haha funny mind you) how different experiences can be even in a small geographic area.  One of my college friends got a job teaching at a public high school down around Atlanta.  They required her to pursue and Master’s Degree and later a Ph.D.  Her workload was almost entirely AP history.  Of course the school was in a very affluent part of metro Atlanta.

      • Isernia

        Ironically, the Atlanta based aunt (my niece) of the above-mentioned grand-niece was a counselor and Spec. Ed. teacher in a nationally recognized private school there…where nearly all the subject matter teachers have advanced degrees.  As a former AP Reader myself, I know about the high quality of the Lovett School, but don’t know why the grand-niece is not going there (money is no object).

        • Ray in VT

          That is a bit of a puzzler. Have you flat out asked her, or would that not be appropriate?

  • Regular_Listener

    Another great show and a fascinating subject that raises lots of interesting questions.  If you have upward mobility, does that mean that you also have downward mobility?  In what areas are people most likely to drop down a couple of rungs on the social ladder?  Is it tied to overall economic health?  Clearly in a place like Atlanta, it is not.

    I’m all in favor of mobility and meritocracy, if in fact that is what is going on, but at the same time I am not totally discouraged by the notion that not everyone can move up.  For too long now America has lived by the myth that we are the land of opportunity, where anyone can rise from the poorest circumstances and become if not rich, then at least middle class.  Give us your hungry masses longing to be free.  That is going to have to change in the new century.  We don’t have room for everyone.  We won’t have good jobs for everyone.  The same goes for medical care, a good education, cars, etc.  

  • ExcellentNews

    You mean there are places left in America that HAVE upward mobility and middle class??? We must put a stop to that!!! Hire some MBAs and CEOs to export the jobs, deregulate their bankster pals, give them inheritance tax cuts, and let nature take its course. Before you know it, these places will be like the tax-free banana republics and slave-labor dictatorships where our “job creators” created so many jobs…

  • Regular_Listener

    Another thought I had on this subject – the economist and others were going on and on comparing different regions of the country. But it seems like even in the most upwardly mobile parts of the USA, the rate of people getting out of poverty is well under 20%. That means that at least 80% of poor folks, everywhere in the land, are pretty much stuck in a life of poverty if those are the kind of circumstances they are born into. That doesn’t sound very mobile to me.

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