Poverty, Mapping

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South?

Interesting findings, at least as presented here.  The map is interesting to me, too.  Often, maps seem to end up looking like population density maps because the underlying data don’t seem to have been adjusted for that.  So it will seem to look, for instance, that people seem to have more blue cars in NYC than they do in Kallispell, Montana, when really, it’s just because there are more cars in NYC because there are more people there.

The map here isn’t so bad.  The writer of the article (not the paper) almost comes off like he’s blaming “the blacks” (he isn’t) but he doesn’t go very far beyond that, like looking at overall poverty instead of just race.

What the map shows, or tries to show, is the probability that kids born into the lowest income quintile will make it to the highest quintile.

I suspect that that the “problem”  is that the people in certain areas are poor, not that they are black (or white or hispanic or native).  And I can’t tell if they tried to adjust for regional disparities in income — someone in the top quintile of income in New Mexico likely has less income than someone in the top quintile of income in New York.

But I’ve only read the abstract of the paper.  Maybe if I read it, I’d answer my own questions?  🙂  It’s a “working paper” from the National Bureau of Economic Research (Paul Krugman says all the research in econ is coming out as “working papers” since the traditional journals take a very long time to publish anything).

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