My recent column took on a sobering report by economists at Harvard and University of California at Berkeley that poor children growing up in certain cities will have a far more difficult time escaping poverty than others. Check out this New York Times interactive and map of the “Equality of Opportunity” project.
The reasons make sense: some cities, Atlanta for example, are sprawling behemoths where good jobs, schools and housing are located geographically out of reach for low-income families, many of whom often lack cars or other reliable transportation. Cities most likely to engender success, including Seattle, have strong economies and accessible public services.
Readers responded with views that often diverged on their personal ascents out of poverty:
Anna Bee wondered what researchers, and my column, meant by economic “success.” This reader also appeared to take issue with my mentioning social safety nets as key to successfully moving out of poverty.
“I am betting it has everything to do with how graciously one accepts handouts. I’ve never been good at that. We just weren’t raised that way. Maybe it is because our zip code was always changing so that my mother and father could keep us fed without having to ask for hand outs.”
Good ole Preposterousness from Idaho offered a sobering truth: “In today’s economy you can do everything right, including being born in the correct ZIP code, and still fall out of the middle class.” Indeed.