Study says hard for poor children to rise above poverty in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Orleans County is a tough place for children to break out of the cycle of poverty, according to a study that looks at upward mobility of kids in counties throughout the United States.

“Orleans County is pretty bad for income mobility for children in poor families,” states a May 4 article in the New York Times. (Click here to see “The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares.”

Orleans County is in the 35th percentile, 871 out of 2,478, for best places to grow up for income mobility for poor children. About 65 percent of other counties have higher income mobility for the poor.

Orleans and several other Western New York counties are difficult places for poor children to change that economic outcome when they are adults.

The study says poor children in Orleans County can expect to earn $120 less at age 26, compared to working in the average county. Wyoming County offers the best economic prospects for poor kids in Western New York. In that county, poor children will make $3,320 more annually at age 26, compared to being in the average county.

(Monroe County fares the worst of 11 WNY counties. Poor children who grow up in Monroe earn $2,380 less annually at age 26 compared to the average county.)

The study reported in The New York Times was compiled by Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren.

The say location is a big factor in a child’s economic prospects. Chetty, Hendren and other researchers identify five factors 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, according to The New York Times.

“The broader lesson of our analysis,” Chetty and Hendren say in their report, “is that social mobility should be tackled at a local level.”