“Neighborhoods matter in a really big way,” says one researcher. Use our resources to better understand neighborhoods.
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.
- The fascinating New York Times interactive map creates what the accompanying article calls an “atlas of upward mobility” in the United States. What is upward mobility?
- Upward mobility is the movement from a lower social class to a higher one, through income or job type.
- Economists say the new study suggests that “geography does not merely separate rich from poor but also plays a large role in determining which poor children achieve the so-called American dream.” What is the American Dream?
- Broadly, the American Dream is a set of ideals including personal freedom, justice, and the opportunity for economic and social prosperity. (Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . ?) Upward mobility is a vital part of the American Dream.
- This is a great quote: “[T]that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. . . . It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
- Read through the NYT article. How does race contribute to the conversation about geography and upward mobility?
- According to the Times, “The places where poor children face the worst odds include some—but not all—of the nation’s largest urban areas . . . Many of these places have large African-American populations, and the findings suggest that race plays an enormous but complex role in upward mobility. The nation’s legacy of racial inequality appears to affect all low-income children who live in heavily black areas: Both black and white children seem to have longer odds of reaching the middle class, and both seem to benefit from moving to better neighborhoods.”
- What are some characteristics of “better neighborhoods”—ones that provide the most opportunity for upward mobility?
- According to the Times, “They have 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.” It is this last characteristic—economic integration—that poor families profiled in the article cite as crucial to upward mobility.
- HUD Secretary Julián Castro said the new data calls for a “two-pronged approach” to housing policy. What are these two prongs?
- 1. Housing voucher reform. “Castro said his department had been planning to reallocate funding, so that some people moving to more expensive neighborhoods would receive larger vouchers. Currently, the value of vouchers tends to be constant across a metropolitan area.”
- 2. Urban renewal. “Finding ways to improve [impoverished] neighborhoods, for people who cannot or do not want to move, is also important.”
New York Times: An Atlas of Upward Mobility Shows Paths Out of Poverty
New York Times: The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares map
ArcGIS: USA Median Household Income map
Nat Geo: What is a neighborhood?