DOI link for Economic Mobility
Economic Mobility book
In this chapter, the authors aim to analyse time trends and geographical variation in mobility across areas of the United States. Intergenerational mobility, on average, is significantly lower in the United States than in most other developed countries. Rust Belt and southeastern states have markedly lower mobility than other midwestern and southern states. In areas with the highest rates of mobility, children growing up in the bottom fifth have more than a 16.8 percent chance of reaching the top fifth. However, white individuals in areas with large African-American populations also have lower rates of upward mobility, implying that racial shares matter at the community level. Social capital indices—which is proxies for the strength of social networks and community involvement in an area—are very strongly correlated with mobility. There is also substantial variation in upward mobility across cities, even among large cities that have comparable economies and demographics.