King County - A Fairly Decent Place for Poor Children

This assessment comes from the New York Times and their massive look at counties throughout the U.S.

Here's the link for the King County assessment.

Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the Seattle area, it’s better to be in Snohomish County than in Pierce County or Skagit County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Snohomish, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more. 

Every year a poor child spends in Snohomish County adds about $190 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. 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 $3,700, or 14 percent, more in average income as a young adult. 

These findings, particularly those that show how much each additional year matters, are from a new study by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren that has huge consequences on how we think about poverty and mobility in the United States. The pair, economists at Harvard, have long been known for their work on income mobility, but the latest findings go further. Now, the researchers are no longer confined to talking about which counties merely correlate well with income mobility; new data suggests some places actually cause it. 

Consider King County, Wash.our best guess for where you might be reading this article.

It’s among the best counties in the U.S. in helping poor children up the income ladder. It ranks 2,013th out of 2,478 counties, better than about 81 percent of counties. It ranks better for poor children than it does for rich children.


Anonymous said…
King County[] It ranks better for poor children than it does for rich children.

Now, that's a ridiculous piece of "research". Why on earth would King County "rank" worse for poor kids than rich ones? ??? Because rich kids don't get richer than their parents and somehow exhibit income mobility? The only reason rich kids wouldn't be getting richer is because there's already SO MANY rich accidental millionaires due to the handful of companies (led by Microsoft, the first, best, and most generous sharer of wealth) that were millionaire factories in the 90's and 00's. Well duh. Why should their kids be getting richer just because their parents were incredibly lucky? Those rich kids are doing just fine - even if they haven't hit the 90j's era jackpot.

RealResearch Please
Anonymous said…
err. I meant - Why should King County rate BETTER for poor kids than rich ones?

(Answer: it doesn't)

RealResearch Please
Real Research, two things.

One, these are well-known researchers who are saying that a poor child does better in a better off area.

Two, only two-name monikers, please.
Anonymous said…
Snohomish has high teacher pay, a heroin problem, and the world's largest aircraft plant. So if you want to increase the lifetime earnings of poor people, increase teacher pay, or increase drug distribution, or build giant aircraft factories near them?

Anonymous said…
Real Research,

This is how I see it =>

Here is what the researchers found:

Across the country, the researchers found five factors associated with strong upward mobility:
1.. less segregation by income and race,
2.. lower levels of income inequality,
3.. better schools,
4.. lower rates of violent crime, and a
5.. 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.

This research is about the effects of place: how it effects young adult income.

The national average income for the young adult who comes from a low income family = $26,700

The difference by county shows a greater than $26,700 income for young adults from low income families for all the counties below except for Cowlitz and Grays Harbor.

county income
snohomish 3740
king 2960
kitsap 1860
lewis 1640
mason 1600
island 1010
thurston 1010
pierce 1000
clallam 940
whatcom 940
clark 840
jefferson 670
Skagit 560
pacific 500
san juan 140
grays harbor -130
cowlitz -220

But since a lot of folks do not stray too far from where they graduated from high school .... this may measure the economy of the county. Also Washington has a high minimum wage so one would expect higher wages than the national average. Note: 15 out of 17 Western Washington counties are above the national average.

A big factor related (but unnamed in the research as one of the 5 causes) to upward mobility is the Bakken Shale Oil Formation and Fracking in Montana and North Dakota.

Williams ND 7,500
Bottineau ND 7,450
Richland Mont 7,050

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
So what? You say that as if it matters. Maybe having a high minimum wage is really the key thing in upward mobility. If so, it would be great news because that would be way easier, and cheaper than getting everyone to pass "college and career readiness" tests... which are neither. And, imagine the costs of sending everyone to college... when they all return afterwards still unable to earn a dime. I'm all for legislating the bottom up. Way up.

Anonymous said…
Hey there kids get your folks to move to the dark blue areas on the map located in this NY Times article.

Note: Go to the right places in the inter-mountain West or the Bakken formation.

-- Dan Dempsey

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