Income mobility is pretty much the core of the “American dream,” the idea that people who begin their lives with little can work hard and improve their lot. But such depends on where you live. Some cities and neighborhoods are much more amenable to income mobility than others.
So check this out:
(Note: The chart shows the effect on boys whose parents have incomes in the bottom quarter. The effect is pretty much the same for girls.)
Via Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, the chart is from a working paper he tracked down that examines the effect of low-income children moving to different (“better”) neighborhoods. Of all the factors that were studied, commute time was the most significant, eclipsing even things like crime rates, parent incomes, social capital, and segregation.
Why might that be? Drum doesn’t have any clear answers. The erosion of family time by long distance daily travel certainly seems like a bad idea!
What do you think?