Black Families Seek Upward Mobility in Promising Neighborhoods

Families have long sought to move to better neighborhoods and schools to set their children on the path to success. Census Bureau study gives a fresh perspective on where to look.

It revealed significant racial differences between demographic groups. For example, white families have high rates of upward mobility in high-income areas. But in many cases, black families lose wealth from generation to generation.

Black boys from low-income families have had the most success in neighborhoods with low incarceration rates and large adult male populations. Another key factor is the low level of racial discrimination as measured by implicit bias and racial dislike tests using Google search results.

An interactive map Based on a collaboration between researchers from the Census Bureau, Harvard University, and Brown University, shows which areas are most likely to have children who move into higher tax brackets. The dataset contains the anonymous tax returns of 20 million Americans over 35 years.

Ellora Derenoncourt, professor of economics at Princeton University, told CNBC that the findings raise big questions: “Should we blame poverty on people and individuals and the choices they made? Or are there external factors that really determine their life path?

In selected areas of Maryland, Virginia as well as New YorkBlack families produced children who, as they grew older, earned more than the national average. Areas in Houston and Atlanta have results that show where targeted improvements have a big impact.

Improving conditions for the black workforce is a key issue for business. Federal labor statistics often show that black workers are bearing the brunt of an economic downturn. “The reasons for this mostly come down to a lack of mentorship and the fact that many black workers are in jobs that don’t provide a clear path up,” said Shelley Stewart III, a partner at McKinsey & Company.

Watch the video above to learn more about the most successful black neighborhoods today.

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