Carroll Daily Times Herald
May 11, 2015
Carroll County is in the top 1 percent for income mobility for children in the nation — meaning children who grow up here go on to make much more money than if they were raised almost anywhere else in the nation, according to exhaustive national study from Harvard University published in The New York Times.
The new study by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren has huge consequences for how the nation thinks about poverty and mobility in the United States, The Times reports.
Specifically, the Times reports, Carroll County is among the best counties in the United States in helping poor children up the income ladder. It ranks 2,448th out of 2,478 counties, better than about 99 percent of counties. It is also among the best counties in improving the outcomes of middle- and higher-income boys and girls — who are also in the top 1 percent for earning mobility, The Times reports.
“Every year a poor child spends in Carroll County adds about $340 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county,” The Times report says. “Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $6,800, or 26 percent, more in average income as a young adult.”
Across the country, according to The Times, the researchers found five factors associated with strong upward mobility: less segregation by income and race, lower levels of income inequality, better schools, lower rates of violent crime, and a larger share of two-parent households. In general, the effects of place are sharper for boys than for girls, and for lower-income children than for rich.
Carroll City Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann tells the Daily Times Herald what she finds most interesting are the five factors they associate with “strong upward mobility.”
“Three of the five factors mentioned by the researchers — better schools, lower rates of violent crime, and a larger share of two-parent households — are highly valued in Carroll County,” Siemann said. “Regardless of whom we are, we share and promote the these values—family values are a significant part of our culture.”
Des Moines Community College Carroll campus provost Joel Lundstrom, a member of the Carroll Area Development Corporation board, said strong schools, and the ability for Carroll High School and Kuemper Catholic High School and other students in the county to obtain college credits locally, clearly play a critical role in the income mobility.
“We’re happy to be part of that equation where kids get an opportunity for higher education at an affordable cost,” Lundstrom said.