Place, opportunity, and social mobility: What now for policy?
Where does opportunity live in America? Increased political and policy attention is being paid to the challenge of improving intergenerational mobility. But new research suggests that the opportunity structure of the U.S. is far from uniform and where one grows up has a huge impact on success in later life. A child raised in poor home in San Jose, California has an almost three times greater chance of rising to the top of the income ladder than one born in Atlanta, just as a childhood in Baltimore City means lower wages for life. Children who move to a more affluent area do better than those they leave behind. Why? How does place impact opportunity? What are the key local factors that expand or shrink life chances? What policies can promote greater upward mobility in our most troubled cities?
On June 1, the Center on Children and Families hosted a discussion with Professor Raj Chetty, the leading scholar in this field, who presented his latest research.
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.