Charts of the week: Rural social mobililty, teacher pay inequality, opioids and work

A roundup of recent data and infographics from Brookings research.


More upward mobility in rural counties that spend more on teachers, have smaller class sizes

In a new report from the Center on Children and Families, Eleanor Krause and Richard Reeves document how rates of social mobility vary across rural areas of the United States and find that investing in people, as opposed to places, is “essential to boosting opportunity” in rural America. The chart below shows that rural counties with the most upward mobility spend more on education and have lower teacher-student ratios than rural counties with low social mobility.

Chart: School quality and upward rural mobility

Age, education account for over 20 percent of wage inequality among public school teachers

In a recent report, Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero examine factors that contribute to wage inequality within the public school teaching profession. Hansen and Quintero find, among other things, that age and education account for over 20 percent of the wage inequality across public school teachers, and that public school teachers wages are more dependent on these variables than most other professions.

Contribution of factors related to wage inequalities

One-fifth of men’s labor force participation rate decline attributable to increase in opioid prescriptions

As part of the Fall 2017 Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Alan Krueger makes the case that up to 20 percent of the decline in labor force participation among prime age men (25-54) could be attributed to the opioid crisis. The map below shows a county-by-county look at the correlation in the participation rate at the state level and the opioid prescription rate at the county level.

Map: Combined effect of opioid prescription rates and change in labor force participation rate, prime age adults, ages 25-54


Allison Branca and Chris McKenna contributed to this post.