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Are The Twin Cities a Good Place for Living the American Dream?

A report released Thursday reported that upward mobility varied hugely from region to region and city to city.

The average percentile rank of children who grow up in below-median income families / National Bureau of Economic Research
The average percentile rank of children who grow up in below-median income families / National Bureau of Economic Research

Want to give your children the best chance possible of living the American dream? You may want to start by looking at where you live.

A study released Thursday by the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that upward mobility varied hugely from region to region and city to city. The Mountain West and West coast fared the best, while the Southeast and Rust Belt did the worst.

Minneapolis ranked eighth among the country’s 50 largest commuting zones for absolute mobility—or how children who grow up in below-median income families compare to their parents. A Minneapolis child born in the bottom fifth of income distribution has an 8.5 percent chance of reaching the top fifth.

That’s still a long shot, but it’s better than most other places in the country.

“For example, a child born in the bottom fifth of the income distribution has a 7.8% chance of reaching the top fifth in the U.S. as a whole,” the authors wrote. “But in some places, such as Salt Lake City and San Jose, the chance of moving from the bottom fifth to the top fifth is as high as 12.9%.”

The report authors did not speculate on what causes or limits upward mobility, but they did find five factors strongly correlated with how children compare to their parents:

  • Residential segregation,
  • Income inequality,
  • School quality,
  • Social capital and
  • Family structure.

Still, they said one of the big questions remaining is whether the differences are caused by the characteristics of people living these places or the institutions there.

What do you think of the report’s findings and Minneapolis’ place in the rankings? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 


Mike B. January 24, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Minnesota and the Minneapolis area lags farther and farther behind surrounding states. Wisconsin, with its excellent Governor Walker, continues to lure businesses from high-tax, anti-business Minnesota. South Dakota, Iowa, and North Dakota are also leaving Minnesota in the dust. And states that offer citizens a better measure of safety, such as Florida and Texas, with strong "stand your ground" laws, for example, also benefit at Minnesota's expense.
G Wright January 26, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Mike B- Where do you get your information? Minnesota has more (by a significant number) Fortune 500 firms than the other states you mentioned combined. And as for crime, look at the statistics... Florida and Texas are some of the worst for violent crime in the country.

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