Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Geography of Economic Mobility in the USA

Economic Mobility by State 2012
Source: Pew: Economic Mobility by State
Apparently President Obama wishes to direct national attention to the lack of economic mobility in the United States. Certainly that is an important problem. The story we have told ourselves about this country is that anyone could get ahead. Now other developed countries have more economic mobility than we do. This is especially a problem since the economic growth in the nation is not being shared with the poor and middle class, but being monopolized by the affluent, and especially the very rich.

The map above shows that poor economic mobility is concentrated in the old south, Missouri, Iowa and the Dakotas. Better than average economic mobility is found in a number of northeastern states, Michigan, the far west, Colorado and Utah.

Notably, the core of Republican conservatism is in states with less than average economic mobility and the core of Democratic progressive politics is in states with more than average economic mobility. Economic mobility seems to be related to urban areas, those with high levels of education and jobs for the educated; lack of economic mobility with rural areas with lower levels of education and lower levels of white collar jobs.

Can one suspect a cycle, in which the culture produces conservative or progressive culture, which leads in turn to further growth of the aspects of the culture consonant with that conservative or progressive culture?

No comments: