Which States Have the Most Economic Mobility?
Americans love economic mobility. It’s kind of a founding myth for us: We see ourselves as having broken free from rigid, aristocratic Europe to form a meritocracy that guaranteed a chance to move up in the world. Though there has been much talk lately about rising income inequality in the United States, what has worried pundits on both the left and the right has been recent reports that Americans aren’t as economically mobile as citizens other Western nations.
Interestingly enough, geographic mobility doesn’t appear have a large effect on economic mobility. That is, it doesn’t matter if you’re born in Maryland or you move there – you’re more likely move up the economic ladder either way. According to Erin Currier, Project Manager of the Pew Economic Mobility Project, individuals who do move states do have better economic mobility, but more than two-thirds of Americans stay in their birth state for the remainder of their lives. Therefore, “Geographic mobility might help an individuals’ economic mobility, [but] it’s not really driving state-level findings as a whole.”
So why are some states more economically mobile than others? This study doesn’t seek to specifically address the causes of relative mobility between states, but there are some important factors that the Economic Mobility Project has found are essential to promoting economic mobility overall, and these include things like like “educational attainment, savings and asset building, and neighborhood poverty during childhood,” according to Currier.
“You can imagine that the rungs of the earnings ladder are farther apart for the nation as a whole than they are in any region of the country. So by looking at people’s relative mobility using the earnings distribution of their region, we can answer a different question about their mobility prospects.”
Read the full article at time.com.