New research into poverty could have substantial implications for towns and cities trying to understand and address economic mobility.

Friend of the blog Jim Tankersley — one of our colleagues over at Wonkblog — did such a great job writing about the finding yesterday, we’ll just sit back and let him explain:

Building on groundbreaking work from a team of economists led by Harvard’s Raj Chetty, researchers at the liberal Center for American Progress have found a strong correlation between the size of a region’s middle class and the economic mobility the residents of that region can expect to experience over their lifetimes.



For example, Scranton — Scranton! — has a significantly larger middle class than average for the largest 100 regions in the country. Its mobility is well above average, too. The Washington region has a much smaller middle class, and its mobility is lower.

Chetty and his team looked into how more than two dozen variables affect mobility and the CAP analysis suggests that mobility shares a stronger relationship with middle-class size than almost any of them, Jim notes. Check out his full post for the rest.