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You'll never guess the best and worst places to grow up in South Mississippi, financially

Lauren Walck lwalck@sunherald.com @laurenwalck

This map shows how much extra money a county causes children in poor families to make, compared with children in poor families nationwide
This map shows how much extra money a county causes children in poor families to make, compared with children in poor families nationwide THE UPSHOT/NEW YORK TIMES

Moving a child to a new area directly affects income earned later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren used the incomes of more than five million children who moved between areas when they were growing up in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Upshot used some of their data to create an interactive county-by-county map showing how much extra (or less) household income children of poor families made in early adulthood compared to the national average.

In South Mississippi, the data shows that, regardless of economic background, children are likely to have higher incomes in the northern counties than the coastal counties.

Overall the counties, ranked from highest to lowest, were Stone, Greene, George, Harrison, Hancock, Pearl River and Jackson.

However, when divided by economic background and gender, the counties differed substantially.

Poor children made above-average incomes in Stone and George counties, but below average in the other four.

“Every year a poor child spends in Stone County adds about $80 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county,” the Upshot story says.

When divided along gender lines, girls of all backgrounds had the highest incomes in George County. And for kids in the average, rich and top 1 percent categories, George County girls actually made more than the boys.

Poor boys had the highest income in Stone County, but all other backgrounds were highest in Greene County.

In Harrison County, the only group who earned an above average income were poor boys. For Hancock, it was boys in the top 1 percent. For Jackson, all groups were below average.

New Orleans ranked nearly last (5 of 2,478) in the country and Forrest County was second-worst in the region (151).

“Across the country, 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.”

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