Local Economic Mobility for Children Slightly Higher than Parents

mobility_geoCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Children of lower-income parents in Clarion County and surrounding counties are likely to make more money than their parents did when they are employed, but progress varies widely throughout the nation, according to a report last month by Harvard and Berkeley economists.

In a map of the United States, broken down by county, data presents upward mobility of children with parents with income at the nation’s 25th percentile, or about $30,000.00 per year.  Clarion County is pegged at 51st, Venango County 45th, Jefferson County 45th,  Armstrong County 49th, and there was insufficient data to forecast for Forest County.  The projections for our local counties are better than national statistics.

Follow this link to view a map and article from the Washington Post: here  and even more information here.

Dr. Rod Raehsler, a professor of economics at Clarion University, says our region looks to be right near the middle meaning that we have not changed much with regard to how much more we earn compared to our parents.

“Put another way, it is encouraging that the current generation of new workers can expect to earn more than parents but this gain has not improved,” said Raehsler. “This means that people who come from poor families will make more but will still be poor. Individuals from middle-income families can expect to make more but still remain in the same income category. This is true nationally as it is locally (since we are at the middle of the sample distribution when comparing regions). This can be attributed to the widening income gap we are seeing at the aggregate level.”

Another interesting aspect of the findings was the value of primary school education and projecting future income.

“Here is what I find interesting: it appears there is a significant correlation between the potential for generational income growth and the quality of primary schools and greater social capital,” said Raehsler. “This means that with better schools and a community that provides a better network linking government and jobs, we can achieve greater economic success for future generations. Improved social capital implies greater cooperation in a community between schools, businesses, and government agencies.”

Raehsler says the research appeared to be concentrated on comparing generational income mobility between two time periods and then looked at some characteristics influencing those changes.

“They didn’t go deep enough to precisely explain what causes differences between regions.”


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