During a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Jeb Bush was asked about the role of race in poverty. "Do you think a culture of poverty exists," Bush was asked, "and if you do not think a culture of poverty exists, then how come the average white family makes a lot more money than the average black family and Latino family? If there's no culture of poverty, what do you attribute this disparity to?"

Before we get to Bush's answer, we'll stipulate the details of the question. In every state for which significant data existed in 2013, black poverty rates were higher than the white and overall poverty rates. In December of last year, Pew Research noted that the persistent gap between black and white net worth grew larger during the recession. In 2007, the median white household was worth 10 times the median black household. In 2013, it was worth 13 times as much. For Hispanics in 2013, the median white household was worth 10 times as much.

Bush's response, in part:

If you want to lift people up to give people the power to make choices for themselves, rather than trap them in a situation of interdependency. This has nothing to do with race, nothing at all. It has to do with people being born poor, staying poor, because we have systems on top of them that put lids on their aspirations.

Bush's proposed solutions: Safer communities, stronger families, jobs and an overhaul of the education system.

The part about race, though, is worth looking at more closely.

The Equality of Opportunity Project at Harvard University looks specifically at the upward mobility of children versus their parents. Included in the project's data is an analysis of how likely mobility is in American cities and counties. The main discovery made by the team behind the project is that upward mobility hasn't decreased recently -- but that it's been hard to make economic progress for a long time.

So does race play a role? After the project released data in 2013, the New York Times's David Leonhardt looked at this question. The areas that had lower likelihoods of inter-generational improvement were also those in Southeast and Midwest -- areas with large populations of black Americans.

If you compare the density of black population for each county with the expected change in economic status between parents and children in those places, there is a correlation. The link is stronger when parents start out at lower income percentiles, though it's not terribly strong even there.

Leonhardt noted that the economists that wrote the study didn't include race as one of the factors that explains variation in upward mobility. "The simplest way to explain [the economists'] conclusion may be to point out that upward mobility tends to be rare for both blacks and whites, as well as for Latinos, in low-mobility areas," Leonhardt wrote. "In Charlotte, Atlanta and Indianapolis, low-income white children have also tended to grow up to be low-income adults."

In that sense, Bush is correct: The relationship above can be explained by the fact that black people are more likely to live in poverty than white people, and that poorer communities are less likely to see improvement.

But giving Bush a passing grade here requires operating under the assumption that entrenched poverty in the black community is itself disconnected from race. As we noted above, blacks have consistently had lower net worths than whites. As we've noted in the past, blacks have seen unemployment rates at least two-thirds higher than whites since the government started keeping records. Middle-class blacks are more likely to live in poorer neighborhoods than poor whites. And as Ta-Nehisi Coates detailed exhaustively last year, there are numerous entrenched and recurring ways in which blacks have been disadvantaged -- and are disadvantaged -- in the economy on the basis of race.

Inter-generational mobility is low and has been low for some time. It is apparently worse in places with higher black populations, in part because more blacks are likely to live in poverty. The causes of that poverty are complex and long-standing.

The reader may make his or her own determination as to whether or not inter-generational poverty has "nothing to do with race."