Most better off than parents

Most children of lower-income parents make more money than their parents did, but their progress varies widely across the nation. This map looks at upward mobility of children of parents with income at the nation’s 25th percentile, or about $30,000 per year. County colors reflect the difference between the income of the parents and the average income of their children.

  • About the same as parents
  • National average
  • Higher
  • Insufficient data

States with counties where children's income is about the same:

  • 1. Georgia, 40 counties
  • 2. North Carolina, 38
  • 3. South Carolina, 27
  • 4. Mississippi, 24
  • 5. Virginia, 12

States with counties where children's income is far higher:

  • 1. Iowa, 36 counties
  • 2. Minnesota, 31
  • 3. Wisconsin, 19
  • 4. Nebraska, 13
  • 5. Texas, 11

Note: In this analysis, the U.S. income ladder is divided into 100 rungs, or percentiles, each representing about 1 percent of the nation. Starting with parents with incomes at the 25th percentile, the map shows on average for each county the difference between the income percentile rank of the parents and of their children. The children’s income ranked higher than their parents in all but two counties. In a typical county, the children moved 18 income percentiles above their parents. Counties with data here have at least 600 children in study.

In the state tally of counties where the children make about the same as parents, the difference between their income ranks was 11 percentiles or less. In the state list of counties where children make far more, the parent-child difference was 25 percentiles or more.

SOURCE: The Equality of Opportunity Project.