The NYT’s “Upshot” section dealing with Raj Chetty’s latest research contains this missive about the St. Louis area:
Saint Louis City is extremely bad for income mobility for children in poor families. It is among the worst counties in the U.S.
Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the St. Louis area, it’s better to be in Monroe County than in Saint Clair County or Saint Louis City. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Monroe, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.
Every year a poor child spends in Monroe County adds about $260 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $5,300, or 20 percent, more in average income as a young adult.
These findings, particularly those that show how much each additional year matters, are from a new study by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren that has huge consequences on how we think about poverty and mobility in the United States. The pair, economists at Harvard, have long been known for their work on income mobility, but the latest findings go further. Now, the researchers are no longer confined to talking about which counties merely correlate well with income mobility; new data suggests some places actually cause it.
Consider Saint Louis City, Mo., our best guess for where you might be reading this article. (Feel free to change to another place by selecting a new county on the map or using the search boxes throughout this page.) [Close enough for government work. I’m actually in St. Louis County, but since I’m a native of the city, I won’t bust your chops. — Blogmeister Ed.]
It’s among the worst counties in the U.S. in helping poor children up the income ladder. It ranks 59th out of 2,478 counties, better than only about 2 percent of counties.
Okay, so according to Raj logic, all the destitute ratchet blacks from St. Louis City should move to a corn farm between Waterloo and Red Bud, and they’ll be all the more prosperous as adults. Gotcha.