There is "great variation" in rates of upward mobility in rural areas, according to Eleanor Krause and Richard Reeves of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution. They published a report this month detailing their studies on social mobility, as first studied by their colleague Raj Chetty. The analysis is notable for its inclusion of the nation's most rural counties.
"Certain rural counties have some of the highest mobility rates in the country, while others are 'mobility traps,' where children born to disadvantaged circumstances are extremely unlikely to get ahead," they write in an article about the report.
Counties with the highest rates of upward mobility tend to have better K-12 education, more stable families, and stronger local job markets. Those counties also have the highest outward migration rates, especially among youth and young adults -- so much so that the outward migration is draining the local populations there. In short, the rural areas with upward mobility are losing the successful people produced there.
|Brookings Institution chart; click on it for a larger version|