Map of the Month

Each month a new map is presented to the Commission to help explain important trends in the Bay Area, across the nation and around the world. These custom-crafted maps are prepared by MTC’s Data & Visualization team.

May 2015

The Best And Worst Places To Grow Up

Children who grow up in some places go on to earn much more than they would if they grew up elsewhere. Location matters enormously. If you're poor and live in the San Francisco area, it's better to be in Contra Costa County than in San Francisco County or Alameda County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Contra Costa, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more. Every year a poor child spends in Contra Costa County adds about $160 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $3,200, or 12 percent, more in average income as a young adult. These findings, particularly those that show how much each additional year matters, are from a new study by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren that has huge consequences on how we think about poverty and mobility in the United States.