Follow the link to the article and hopefully your browser works as well as mine did to allow you to interactively see the big and little picture of income mobility in the US by county. I'd recommend going off and playing with that a little first.
Back now? Good ... if you followed my advice, you went over, focused on either where you were born or where you live now (likely both), hopefully also got the bigger picture as well and then came back. Humans focus on themselves -- both Jesus (love your neighbor as YOURSELF) and Adam Smith (make self-interest work for all) were right!
The light blue on the chart is "no data" ... the dark blue is really good, the green is good. The red is really bad, the orange bad, yellow is average.
When you look at the chart, it looks like the upper Midwest and the eastern slopes of the central Rockies got splotched with blue and green, while both coasts and the south get a lot of red, orange and yellow. It would be great to have some other such charts so we would run off and do correlation games -- note, while that is fun, it DOES NOT show causality, the "why" ... but it might give us some hints.
But I'll do some conjecture anyway -- it is always fun to let our biases run wild.
- It isn't "red vs blue" counties. We have seen those charts too many times with essentially the whole country being red except for the very center of urban areas and a few larger counties in MN, CO, CA, VT, etc. So scratch the easy one.
- Cold weather / long winters jump to mind. When it is cold from November - March, and maybe only June-July-August being really "summer", there is just more time to hit the books when young and to work hard later in life.
- Immigrant heritage. If you did a correlation of Scandinavian / German heritage with those charts what would you see? In the current world it is popular to say "we are all the same" -- certainly the chart shows that we are not the same relative to income mobility. Might culture matter? Dangerous thought I know.
- Low population density effects? I'm guessing the big swath of light blue down the middle would be blue / green if there was enough data. Higher population density means "more things to do" -- mass kinds of things, entertainment kinds of things. Low density means that you have to come up with your own things to pass the time (innovation)-- maybe with a tiny group of often life-long friends (outlook / attitude).
- All the stuff I haven't thought of ... and this is likely the longest and most important list. My biases lead me down certain paths just like everyone else. Maybe the "reasons" are too complex to tease out -- I tend to not believe that, but it is possible.
I find these things of interest. Actual data that MIGHT be actionable if we were really so inclined.
Can ANYONE look at that chart and believe that a FEDERAL program bent on treating everyone the same has ANY prospects of being successful? I sure don't.
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