Upward mobility and the potential for a better life

May 7, 2015

An analysis by Raj Chetty of Harvard University and Nathaniel Hendren of NBER estimates increased income and education for poverty-level households, based on where one lives. The results are based on tax data — 1040 and W-2 forms — from the IRS, and the focus of the analysis is on those who moved from one county to another.

The main finding was that location matters. The Upshot mapped the results, with an article whose text changes based on the county you select.

The research is interesting on its own, but the interactive piece makes it personal, local, and kind of engrossing actually. I found myself searching every county I’ve lived in and the ones near them.

It starts by detecting your location and zooming into the county it thinks you’re in. Then the body text and tables underneath change accordingly, signaled with a fading, yellow highlight. This essentially creates a localized report. As you scroll down, you can change the county with a click or a search.

Spend some time with this one.

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