Baltimore ranks last in upward mobility, new study says

by Vinnie Rotondaro

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new study released by a group of economists called the Equality of Opportunity Project sheds light on the conditions needed to produce or prevent upward mobility in America. 

The study finds that in some U.S. cities, children have a chance of escaping poverty; in others, they don't. 

Ranking last for upward mobility was none other than Baltimore, where riots raged last week over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. 

Reporting on the root causes of the Baltimore violence, NCR found that a lack of opportunity and a historical decline in access to jobs may have played an important role in creating a sense of hopelessness among low-income black Baltimoreans.

The Equality of Opportunity Project study, which argues that race plays an important role in all of this, suggests that hopelessness may not be inevitable, however.

Quoted in The New York Times, one of the study's main authors, Harvard professor Raj Chetty, said: "The data shows we can do something about upward mobility ... Every extra year of childhood spent in a better neighborhood seems to matter." 

The hallmarks of a "better neighborhood" include "elementary schools with higher test scores, a higher share of two-parent families, greater levels of involvement in civic and religious groups and more residential integration of affluent, middle-class and poor families," according to the Times

However, as the Times reports: "For low-income families, a home in places with these characteristics is often a financial stretch."

[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is] 

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